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Iran says it had nothing to do with stabbing of author Salman Rushdie

Author Salman Rushdie was seriously injured on Friday before he gave a lecture at an event in New York. File Photo by Michael Bush/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/1ee6423428a2b953e8aef4a562e88180/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Author Salman Rushdie was seriously injured on Friday before he gave a lecture at an event in New York. File Photo by Michael Bush/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Iran on Monday denied involvement in the stabbing in New York that seriously wounded renowned author Salman Rushdie and said the controversial writer was himself responsible.

The attack, which authorities say was premeditated, happened at the Chautauqua Institution on Friday as Rushdie was preparing to give a lecture.

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Authorities said the assailant, 24-year-old Hadi Matar, had purchased an advance ticket to the speech and then used a phony ID to get inside.

"Regarding the attack against Salman Rushdie in America, we don't consider anyone deserving reproach, blame or even condemnation, except for [Rushdie] himself and his supporters," Nasser Kanaani, a representative of Iran's Foreign Ministry, said, according to Al Jazeera.

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Kanaani's remarks are the first from Iran's government since the attack.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused Iran's government of supporting violence against Rushdie after the assault was widely praised in Iranian media.

Friday's attack left The Satanic Verses author with serious internal injuries, including lacerations to his liver and severed nerves in one of his arms. He also received a serious wound to one of his eyes, which doctors fear he might lose.

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Matar remains in custody without bond after pleading not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges. Authorities are still trying to determine his motive.

World leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, condemned the attack and immediately cast suspicion on Iran due to its long record of vehemence toward the author.

Rushdie became a pariah in the country after publishing The Satanic Verses more than 30 years ago. In 1989, Iran's then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for Rushdie's death and a $3 million bounty was put on the author's head.

RELATED Salman Rushdie stabbing suspect pleads not guilty to attempted murder

That same year, Rushdie escaped death in London when a bomber sent to kill him instead killed himself accidentally with the explosives.

Kanaani on Monday also accused Rushdie of undermining Islamic values.

"Salman Rushdie exposed himself to popular anger and fury through insulting the sacredness of Islam and crossing the red lines of over 1.5 billion Muslims and also red lines of followers of all divine religions," he said.

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