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Rushdie’s stabbing highlights divisions in Iranian society

British author Salman Rushdie listens during an interview with Reuters in London April 15, 2008. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/File Photo

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DUBAI, Aug 14 (Reuters) – Many Iranians have considered social media showing their anger and praise on the attack on novelist Salman Rushdie at a lecture in NY state, with some conspiracy theories linking it to Tehran’s nuclear talks in Vienna.

Rushdie remained hospitalised after he was repeatedly stabbed on Friday. His agent has said he could be more likely to lose a watch, among other injuries. read more

Authorities in Iran, where in fact the author’s novel “The Satanic Verses” had drawn death threats since 1989, have made no public comment concerning the attack. But hardline state media outlets have celebrated it with headlines like “Satan has been blinded”.

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Many ordinary Iranians have expressed their sympathies, however, posting on social media marketing about their anger at the Islamic Republic’s clerical rulers for issuing a fatwa, or religious edict, in 1989 that urged Muslims to kill Rushdie.

“Through the fatwa, the Iranian regime is in charge of the attack on Salman Rushdie. This attack isn’t just an assault on freedom of speech, but shows how dictators have expanded their reach all over the world to challenge security,” tweeted an Iranian user defined as Behrouz Boochani.

In 2019, Twitter suspended Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameneis account over a tweet having said that the fatwa issued by the late founder of Irans 1979 Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, against Rushdie was solid and irrevocable.

Iran blocks usage of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube but an incredible number of Iranians easily bypass that through the use of virtual private networks.

Some Iranians have blamed america of plotting to disrupt the nuclear talks, where Tehran and Washington have already been struggling to salvage Iran’s nuclear pact with world powers that former U.S. President Donald trump exited in 2018.

“…, isn’t it odd that once we near a potential nuclear deal, the united states makes claims in regards to a hit on (John) Bolton… and this happens?,” Mohammad Marandi, a media adviser to Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, tweeted – drawing a huge selection of likes and retweets, along with people chiming in making use of their own similar comments.

Washington has charged an Iranian with plotting to murder Bolton, a national security adviser to Trump. Iran has rejected the accusation as “baseless”. read more

In its online Sunday issue, the hardline Kayhan newspaper, whose editor-in-chief is appointed by Khamenei, wrote: “Divine vengeance has befallen Rushdie. Trump and (former U.S. Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo are next.”

Those comments echoed praise for the attacker in other hardline Iranian media on Saturday. Online posters also voiced their vitriol. read more

“I am hoping you die,” tweeted Iranian Mohammad, utilizing the trending hashtag #SalmanRushdie in Farsi.

The accused attacker, 24-year-old Hadi Matar of Fairview, NJ, pleaded not liable to charges of attempted murder and assault at a court appearance on Saturday.

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Writing by Parisa Hafezi;Editing by Alison Williams

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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