Israel’s ambassador to Azerbaijan, George Deek, on Tuesday published a video to Twitter in which he responded to last week’s stabbing in New York of author Salman Rushdie.
Last month, Deek himself was attacked and threatened on Twitter by Iran’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan after he posted a tweet about a book he was reading on the Iranian city of Tabriz, the population of which has a large number of Azeris.
The tweet appeared to anger the Iranian Ambassador, Seyed Abbas Mousavi, who responded, “For the information of this adventurous boy: Our beloved Tabriz is known as the land of FIRSTS in Iran's proud history. Apparently, the FIRST Evil Zionist is going to be buried by the zealous people of Tabriz, too. Never cross our red-line, ever!”
In the video he posted on Tuesday, Deek said, “Iran’s ambassador to Azerbaijan recently threatened me with death. He tweeted that I had crossed a red line and that I would be buried by the people of Iran.”
“You can imagine my thoughts when I heard that author Salman Rushdie was stabbed before a speech,” the Israeli ambassador continued. “Iran also said that he had crossed a red line. Iran also threatened him with death, and a terrorist just tried to murder him in broad daylight. So you can imagine why this feels a bit personal to me.”
“As someone who only weeks ago was directly threatened by an Iranian official, I urge you in the strongest possible terms: Take the threats of this murderous regime seriously,” stated Deek.
“Don’t let them intimidate you. But do not dismiss them even for a single second. They threaten to kill atheists, activists and anyone who disagrees with them. They threaten to spread terrorism throughout the world. They threaten to destroy, Israel, democracy and our freedom. They mean it. Just ask Salman Rushdie.”
“So let’s make sure this is the last stabbing in the name of medieval hatred,” the ambassador said.
“How? By making sure everyone, everywhere, knows his name and by standing together and confronting Iranian terrorism wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head.”
Eyewitnesses said that Rushdie was stabbed 10 to 15 times during Friday’s attack. Rushdie fell to the floor immediately, as the attacker was restrained, they added.
Rushdie, who was taken to hospital by helicopter and treated for stab wounds to his liver, arm, and one eye, may lose the use of one of his eyes.
Reports on Sunday indicated that Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old man accused of stabbing Rushdie, had been in direct contact with members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on social media, though there is no evidence Iranian officials were involved in organizing or orchestrating the attack on Rushdie.
Rushdie since 1989 has been the target of an Iranian fatwa calling for his murder for allegedly blaspheming Islam and its prophet Mohammed in his book "The Satanic Verses."
In 2012, an Iranian foundation added another $500,000 to the reward for killing Rushdie, raising the total bounty for his death to $3.3 million.
Rushdie spent a decade in hiding after Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued the 1989 fatwa against him for his book.
Although Iran's foreign ministry in 1998 assured Britain that Iran would do nothing to implement the fatwa, current supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in January 2005 reaffirmed that Rushdie was considered an apostate whose murder was authorized under Islam.
In 2019, Twitter temporarily banned an account connected to Khamenei after it posted a message threatening Rushdie.