Iran on Monday denied being involved in the attack on author Salman Rushdie in New York, the Associated Press reported.
“We, in the incident of the attack on Salman Rushdie in the United States, do not consider that anyone deserves blame and accusations except him and his supporters,” Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Ministry said. “Nobody has the right to accuse Iran in this regard.”
Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and abdomen at an event in New York’s Chautauqua Institution on Friday.
According to Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, the author’s liver and nerves in an arm were damaged in the attack and he will likely lose an eye. Rushdie was taken off the ventilator on Saturday.
Rushdie’s attacker was identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar of New Jersey and was arrested at the scene. He pleaded not guilty before a court in the Chautauqua County of New York’s Mayville and was remanded to custody without bail.
Media reports said Matar was sympathetic toward the causes of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces. It is committed to protecting the country’s Islamic system from hostile foreign powers and internal threats.
Rushdie has faced several death threats since his novel The Satanic Verses was published in 1988, as many Muslims consider it to be blasphemous. In 1989, Iran’s late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a religious edict known as a fatwa, asking Muslims to kill Rushdie.
The Booker Prize-winning author was placed under police protection by the United Kingdom government for many years, and he was subjected to numerous threats of assassination. His book’s Japanese translator was killed in July 1991. A few months later, an Italian translator was also stabbed and the book’s Norwegian publisher was shot.
On Monday, Kanaani said that Iran has no information about Rushdie’s assailant except what was being reported by the western media, according to The Associated Press.
He also alleged that the West was being contradictory by denouncing the attacker and in return “glorifying the actions of the insulter [Rushdie]” to Islamic beliefs.
“Salman Rushdie exposed himself to popular outrage by insulting Islamic sanctities and crossing the red lines of 1.5 billion Muslims,” Kanaani said, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Rushdie’s family said they felt relieved after the author was taken off the ventilator and was able to say a few words.
“Though his life-changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty and defiant sense of humour remains intact,” Rushdie’s son, Zafar Rushdie, said in a statement on Sunday.
He added: “We are so grateful to all the audience members who bravely leapt to his defence and administered first aid along with the police and doctors who have cared for him and for the outpouring love and support from around the world.”