TEHRAN -- No one has the right to level accusations against Iran over Friday’s attack on Salman Rushdie, for which he is to blame after denigrating the world’s Muslims, the foreign ministry in Tehran said on Monday.
Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said freedom of speech did not justify Rushdie’s insults against religion through his 1988 blasphemous novel “The Satanic Verses”.
“(Regarding) the attack on Salman Rushdie, we do not consider anyone other than himself and his supporters worthy of ...reproach and condemnation,” Kanaani told a news briefing. “No one has the right to accuse Iran in this regard.”
The Indian-born writer has had a bounty on his head since “The Satanic Verses” was published in 1988.
Rushdie, 75, was about to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York when police say a 24-year-old man rushed the stage and stabbed him.
Ministry spokesperson Kanaani said Rushdie had “exposed himself to popular outrage by insulting Islamic sanctities and crossing the red lines of 1.5 billion Muslims.”
Iran, he said, had no other information about the novelist’s suspected assailant except what had appeared in media.
The suspect, Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault at a court appearance on Saturday, his court-appointed lawyer, Nathaniel Barone, was quoted as saying.
Matar is the son of a man from Yaroun in southern Lebanon, according to Ali Tehfe, the town’s mayor. Matar’s parents emigrated to the United States, where he was born and raised, the mayor said, adding he had no information on their political views.