17th February 1998 TEHRAN - Rushdie Must Die as a Lesson says Speaker

The Speaker of the Iranian Parliament says he hopes Muslims will kill British author Salmmi Rushdie as a lesson to "those who oppose God and God's prophets." Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri , was speaking in Parliament te mark the ninth anniversary of the fatwa (religious ruling) issued by the late Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. An Iranian newspaper said the country's Revolutionary Guards had issued a statement supporting the fatwa. "The statement described the fatwa as irrevocable and emphasised that Rushdie should be:; punished for his scandalous action said the Persian-language Farda newspaper. Ayatollah Khomeird's fatwah condemned -Rushdie to death for alleged blasphemy against Islam in his novel The Satanic Verses and said any Muslim in a position to kill the author had a duty to do so. Rushdie has since been in hiding. An Iranian group which promised a $US2.5 million (increased in Feb 97) reward to anyone who kills Rushdie was reported to have said it was considering increasing the bounty. REUTERS, IRNA

Rushdie is currently writing "The Ground Beneath Her Feet" for completion in 1999, for which he is receiving a $2.3 million advance.

This position concerning Rushdie contrasts sharply with Khatami's declared intention of establishing cultural ties with the West as illustrated in the cartoon below.

"We are interested in a cultural exchange.
We will give you one of our writers, and you give us Salman Rushdie"
New Yorker Jan 26 1998