Iran Blames Rushdie for Attack Against Him, Denying Any Involvement

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A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry blamed the author Salman Rushdie himself on Monday for the violent assault that left him critically wounded, and denied any Iranian role in the attack.

Mr. Rushdie was stabbed roughly 10 times on Friday while speaking at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York. He suffered multiple injuries, including a damaged liver, and is expected to lose an eye.

In the first official statement by Tehran since the attack, the spokesman, Nasser Kanaani, put the blame on Mr. Rushdie.

According to the Iranian Students’ News Agency, Mr. Kanaani said that Mr. Rushdie had crossed “red lines” and “exposed himself to the anger and ire of the people.” He said that Tehran had no information on the attacker beyond what was being reported in U.S. news media.

“In this case, we don’t blame or condemn anyone except Salman Rushdie and his supporters,” Mr. Kanaani said.

The police arrested Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old New Jersey man, in the attack.

Mr. Rushdie, a prizewinning writer, had been the subject of a fatwa issued in 1989 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then the supreme leader of Iran, that ordered Muslims to kill him and put a price on his head of several million dollars. He was targeted for his novel “The Satanic Verses,” which drew ire in many parts of the Islamic world because of its portrayal of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.

In 1998, President Mohammad Khatami of Iran, who was considered relatively liberal, said that the country no longer supported the killing. But the fatwa remains in place.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken accused Iran of having “incited violence against Rushdie for generations,” saying in a statement that “state-affiliated media recently gloated about the attempt on his life.”

“This is despicable,” he added.

Mr. Rushdie spent years living under police protection but more recently had traveled freely and largely without security.

Friday’s attack came minutes before he was to deliver a talk at the Chautauqua Institution, a venerated cultural retreat.

Mr. Rushdie has since been removed from a ventilator and his “road to recovery has begun,” his agent, Andrew Wylie, told The New York Times on Sunday. “It will be long; the injuries are severe, but his condition is headed in the right direction.”

In court on Saturday, prosecutors said the attack was premeditated. Mr. Matar had traveled by bus to the intellectual retreat and purchased a pass that allowed him to attend Mr. Rushdie’s talk on Friday morning, according to the prosecutors.

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