The US State Department has placed sanctions on an Iranian organization that put a multi-million dollar bounty on Salman Rushdie.
In September, the 15 Khordad Foundation increased the bounty it had placed on the author by $500,000, offering a total of $3.3 million for Rushdie’s death.
In response to the stabbing attack on Rushdie in August, the State Department designated the entity for sanctions on Friday.
“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,” the State Department said in a statement.
Indian-born Rushdie, 65, spent a decade in hiding after Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued the 1989 fatwa against him for his novel The Satanic Verses.
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 in a message carried by the official IRNA news agency that Rushdie was considered an apostate whose murder was authorized under Islam.
The State Department noted that the fatwa was reaffirmed by Iran’s Supreme Leader in 2017 and was republished by Iranian state-controlled media as recently as August 2022.
The 15 Khordad of Foundation issued a bounty on Rushdie in support of Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa and increased it in 2012.
“The infamous fatwa was intended to incite terrorism and violence, bring about the death of Rushdie and his associates, and intimidate others,” the State Department said. “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.”