Weeks after Salman Rushdie’s book ‘Satanic Verses’ was released, on February 14, 1989 Iran’s state broadcaster stopped its daily programs to air a fatwas or religious edict from Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, architect of Islamist revolution in Iran. The religious edict called for the slaughter of Salman Rushdie for writing the book, which Khomeini never read. Following this Salman Rushdie went into hiding under security protection and had also offered apology for writing this book. But, it seemed, Khomeini’s fatwa did not go extinct even after thirty-three years of its pronouncement. Salman Rushdie came under gruesome jihadist attack in American soil while Iranian media and mullahs celebrated this incident.
Iran’s propaganda outlets controlled by the IRGC and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei immediately set the tone for the country’s response to the attack.
In the early hours of August 13 in Tehran, IRGC-linked Fars News Agency republished a 2016 analysis from the official website that justified attacks on Rushdie’s life—it quoted Khamenei as saying that the “arrow fired by [his predecessor] Imam Khomeini will eventually hit home”.
Fars published the analysis with a single comment added to the top: to “succeed in diplomacy”—an apparent reference to indirect ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna—Iran should follow the example of “dealing” with Rushdie.
Elaborating further, the analysis noted that Iran must “adhere to Islamic principles and not give up on them when facing international challenges”.
Hours earlier, the government-run Islamic Republic News Agency had posted a Twitter thread about Mustafa Mahmoud Mazeh, “the first martyr” who tried to kill Rushdie following the fatwa. Lebanese national Mazeh died on August 3, 1989, when a book bomb he was priming for Rushdie prematurely exploded in a London hotel.
In a front-page article titled “devil’s neck under the sword”, the government-run Iran-newspaper celebrated that Rushdie had “finally [been] attacked thirty-four years after the historical fatwa”.
Ali Khamenei’s mouthpiece, Kayhan daily, praised the assailant and wrote that “his [Hadi Matar’s] hands should be showered with kisses”. Pointing to Rushdie sustaining neck injuries in the attack, the paper jubilantly added that his neck will “soon be cut off”, apparently signaling a second assault.
Since Salman Rushdie’s condition was unstable at the time, conservative daily Khorasan wrote “devil en route to hell” next to a picture of Rushdie being rushed to the hospital on a stretcher.
It may be mentioned here that, contrary to narratives peddled by some left-leaning Western pundits that Iran has tried to distance itself from the 1989 fatwa, Ali Khamenei has upheld the religious edict on multiple occasions, including in 2016, 2017, and 2019.
On August 14, editor in chief of hardline daily Khorasan wrote that the attack on Salman Rushdie is being falsely framed as a “violent act against freedom of speech and thought” while the West “heavily punishes” people who “question or deny an incident like the Holocaust, which is abused by Zionists”.
The next day, Khorasan doubled down on its call for the international “criminalization” of offending “holy prophets”, while criticizing the West for having “double standards” by allowing “religious sanctities to be offended” while “punishing Holocaust deniers”.
This particular incident of Salman Rushdie and the way Iranian regime and its propaganda machines expressed joy at the gruesome attack on the writer, Biden administration’s ambition of nuclear talks with Tehran and unfreezing billions of dollars would be a matter of gravest concern. Iran is and will always remain a terror-patron nation, until it is ruled by the rogue mullah mafia regime.
By Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Source credit: https://www.weeklyblitz.net/international/iran-wants-salman-rushdie-dead-cheers-attack-on-his/