President Biden’s administration is weighing up new sanctions targeting Iranian proxies for promoting attacks on the writer Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed in New York last month.

The Wall Street Journal reported that people familiar with the matter have said that the sanctions under consideration include limiting access to the global financial system for entities that have offered rewards to kill Rushdie.

On August 12 Rushdie was stabbed numerous times as he prepared to take the stage for a lecture at New York’s Chautauqua Institution.

Although the federal authorities are still investigating the motivation of the suspected attacker, Hadi Matar, US officials say parts of the Iranian regime are liable. Matar, who is from New Jersey and is of Lebanese descent, pleaded not guilty last month.

Rushdie spent decades under police protection following the publication of his 1988 book The Satanic Verses after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Iran’s supreme leader, called for his execution.

The 1989 Islamic edict, or fatwa, has been incentivised over the years with a bounty on Rushdie’s head. The Fars news agency, managed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has publicly pledged to contribute to a bounty offered by a charitable organisation under the supervision of the Office of the Supreme Leader.

The 15th Khordad Foundation in 1997 offered a bounty of about $2.5 million for Rushdie’s execution. The organisation raised it to $2.8 million in late 1998 and again to $3.3 million in 2012. Since then 40 Iranian state-run news outlets have added $600,000 to the bounty.

According to WSJ sources, no decision has yet been made on the sanctions, which could possibly include blacklisting former Iranian officials. Shortly after the attempt on Rushdie’s life, Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, said that the US would use “every appropriate tool at our disposal” to hold Iran culpable for the attack.

“Iranian state institutions have incited violence against Rushdie for generations, and state-affiliated media recently gloated about the attempt on his life,” said Blinken.

The fatwa against Rushdie for his novel, which included fictionalised elements of the Prophet Muhammad’s life, is unlikely to be rescinded. Iranian officials have said only Khomeini could overturn it, but Khomeini died in 1989.

Source » theportal-center