DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – In its first official reaction, Iran blamed author Salman Rushdie and “his supporters” for the stabbing attack on the famed writer.
“Regarding the attack on Salman Rushdie, we do not consider anyone other than [Rushdie] and his supporters worth of blame and even condemnation,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said in a televised news conference on Monday.
Rushdie is recovering at a hospital after being repeatedly stabbed on stage in front of a New York audience in an attack Friday which left him with multiple severe injuries, his family said.
The suspect, identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar, of Fairview, New Jersey, was arrested by a state trooper after the attack and taken into custody.
Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses,” drew condemnation from some Muslims who found the book to be sacrilegious. The late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who described the book as an insult to Islam and Prophet Mohammed, issued a religious decree, or fatwa, calling for Rushdie’s death in 1989.
“We have not seen anything else about the individual that carried out this act other than what we’ve seen from American media. We categorically and seriously deny any connection of the assailant with Iran,” Kanaani said according to Iranian state media.