Salman Rushdie and his supporters are solely to blame for Friday’s attack on the novelist, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
Rushdie is recovering after being repeatedly stabbed in a public appearance in upstate New York.
Freedom of expression does not justify Rushdie’s insults against religion in his writings, ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani told a news conference.
The Indian-born writer has lived with a price on his head since the publication of his 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses,” which some Muslims say contains blasphemous passages.
In 1989, Iran’s then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling on Muslims to kill the novelist and anyone implicated in the book’s publication.
The Iranian government said in 1998 that it would no longer support the fatwa, and Rushdie has lived relatively openly in recent years.
“Salman Rushdie exposed himself to popular outrage by insulting Islamic sanctities and crossing the red lines of 1.5 billion Muslims,” Kanaani said.
“During the attack on Salman Rushdie, we did not consider anyone but himself and his supporters worthy of reproach, reproach and condemnation (…). No one has the right to accuse Iran in this regard.”
He said that Iran had no other information about Rushdie’s assailant except what had appeared in the media.