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US imposes sanctions on organization that issued bounty on Salman Rushdie

<i>Herbert Neubauer/APA/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>On October 28
APA/AFP via Getty Images
Herbert Neubauer/APA/AFP/Getty Images
On October 28

By Kylie Atwood, CNN

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday announced new sanctions on the “15 Khordad Foundation” over the attack of author Salman Rushdie, due to the group putting a multimillion-dollar bounty on his head before the August stabbing.

“In response to the attack on author Salman Rushdie, the United States is designating the Iranian entity ’15 Khordad Foundation.’ Before the attack, this entity had issued and subsequently increased a bounty on Rushdie’s life in support of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s order calling for Rushdie’s death. We are designating it today for providing financial support for an act of terrorism,” Blinken said.

After the release of Rushdie’s novel “The Satanic Verses,” then-Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the author’s death and the “15 Khordad Foundation issued a bounty on Rushdie in support of Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa, and later, in 2012, increased the bounty,” Blinken said.

Blinken also notes that the fatwa was “reaffirmed” in 2017 by Iran’s current Supreme Leader, and then, in 2022, was republished by Iranian state-controlled media.

“The infamous fatwa was intended to incite terrorism and violence, bring about the death of Rushdie and his associates, and intimidate others. The United States condemns such incitement and the attack on Rushdie in the strongest terms as a blatant assault on freedom of speech and an act of terrorism. Today’s action is another clear signal that we will not stand by in the face of it,” Blinken said.

Rushdie lost his sight in one eye and one of his hands was “incapacitated” following the stabbing attack in August, according to an interview given by his agent to a Spanish newspaper.

Rushdie, 75, underwent emergency surgery after he was stabbed several times before his scheduled lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in New York on August 12.

Staff members and guests then rushed onto the stage and held down the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar, of Fairview, New Jersey, before a state trooper assigned to the event took him into custody, according to New York State Police.

Matar has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder in the second degree, and second-degree assault, over the attack.

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CNN’s Samantha Beech contributed to this report.

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