Iranian group offering $3m for Salman Rushdie murder sanctioned by US

Iranian organization which offered $3.3m reward for murder of author Salman Rushdie is sanctioned by US government – after writer of The Satanic Verses was stabbed on stage in August and blinded in one eye

  • 15 Khordad Foundation targeted over ‘financial support for an act of terrorism’
  • Group put up $3.3m reward for murder over Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses 
  • Author was blinded in one eye after he was attacked at literary event in New York
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemns Rushdie attack ‘in strongest terms’ 

The US has sanctioned an Iranian organization which offered a $3.3m reward for the assassination of author Salman Rushdie, who was brutally attacked by a suspected terrorist in August.

Officials said the 15 Khordad Foundation was targeted for providing ‘financial support for an act of terrorism’.

As recently as 2012, the group offered a multi-million dollar reward for the murder of Rushdie, 75, because of his novel The Satanic Verses, which some Muslims consider blasphemous.

In August, he was violently attacked at a literary event in New York state.

The author had lost sight in one eye and the use of a hand following the attack.

Rushdie’s literary agent Andrew Wylie said he had suffered ‘serious wounds’ to his neck and ’15 more wounds to his chest and torso’.

Salman Rushdie pictured lost sight in one eye after he was stabbed during lecture in New York

Hadi Matar, 24, pleaded not guilty  to second degree attempted murder and assault charges

Rushdie, who is British American, was stabbed several times in the neck and abdomen before he was due to give a talk at the Chautauqua Institution.

He was air-lifted to a nearby hospital for emergency surgery, and though his condition improved in subsequent weeks, his agent has said the writer lost sight in one eye.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US condemns the attack on Rushdie ‘in the strongest terms as a blatant assault on freedom of speech and an act of terrorism’.   

He said the organization is also being designated for diplomatic penalties.

The sanctions and designations deny the group access to any property or financial assets held in the US, and the ability to travel to the US.

 Secretary of State Antony Blinken sanctioned the group over $3.3m offer for Rushdie’s murder

Blinken said August attack was ‘a blatant assault on freedom of speech and an act of terrorism’

‘The United States will not waver in its determination to stand up to threats posed by Iranian authorities against the universal rights of freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of the press,’ said Brian Nelson, Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

‘This act of violence, which has been praised by the Iranian regime, is appalling. We all hope for Salman Rushdie’s speedy recovery following the attack on his life.’

The main suspect, Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old from New Jersey with roots in Lebanon, was arrested immediately after the attack on Rushdie.

He pleaded not guilty during a hearing in New York state in mid-August.

The attack sparked outrage in the West but was praised by extremists in Muslim countries like Iran and Pakistan.

Sanctioned group was affiliated with deceased Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

Rushdie had to undergo emergency surgery after suffering multiple stab wounds in the attack

Suspect Hadi Matar (pictured on August 18) said he was ‘surprised’ the author had survived

Sanctions records show the 15 Khordad Foundation was created in 1979 and is affiliated with deceased Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Rushdie had lived in hiding for years after Iran’s first supreme leader ordered his killing for what he deemed the blasphemous nature of The Satanic Verses’.

Blinked added: ‘The infamous fatwa was intended to incite terrorism and violence, bring about the death of Rushdie and his associates, and intimidate others.’ 

The Daily Mail revealed this month that Rushdie has apparently married poet Rachel Eliza Griffiths, who is 31 years his junior.  

Rushdie’s great friend and fellow novelist Ian McEwan suggested Griffiths, 44, is now Rushdie’s fifth wife.

Atonement and Amsterdam author McEwan said: ‘His wife, Eliza, is with him all the time.’

She was said to be helping to nurse the author back to health. 

Poet Rachel Eliza Griffiths, 43, is said to have recently married author Salman Rushdie, 75

As Sir Salman Rushdie slowly recovers from the assassination attempt that left him with ‘life-changing injuries’, he is being nursed back to health by the poet Rachel Eliza Griffiths

McEwan, who did not say when they were married, added: ‘He’s been extremely ill. It was a very, very savage assault.

‘I’ve had some indirect contact with him and he’s going to be back with us. He’s strong, he’s a very courageous man. He’s got lots to say, and I’m sure we’re going hear from him again.’

The US has hit Iran’s government with a host of sanctions this year for a variety of actions related to human rights abuses.

Financial penalties were imposed after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September.

She was detained by the morality police, who said she didn’t properly cover her hair with the mandatory Islamic headscarf, known as the hijab. Amini collapsed at a police station and died three days later.

Her death has sparked months of protests across the country of 80 million people.

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