TEHRAN, October 9. /TASS/. Iran has refused to participate in a major international book fair in Frankfurt on October 14-18 in protest against the presence of British novelist Salman Rushdie, author of the controversial book called The Satanic Verses.
The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has issued an official statement to declare that Iran has officially refused to participate in the Frankfurt book fair to protest the presence of Salman Rushdie and his works at the event.
"Iran invites all Muslim countries to react to provocative actions by the book fair’s organizers," the ministry’s statement runs.
"The Frankfurt Book Fair is one of the most prestigious events of this kind in the world. However, this year the fair is in glaring contradiction with the mission of book publishing. On the pretext of respect for the freedom to express opinion and thought the book fair has allowed a person who in the past aroused nothing but the Islamic world’s anger for his Satanic Verses to present his latest works that directly or indirectly call in question Islamic convictions and views," the ministry said.
In 1989, after the publication of the Satanic Verses in 1988, Iran’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini accused Salman Rushdie of crude blasphemy, declared him the enemy of all Muslims and even issued a fatwa calling for his assassination. Rushdie has since been forced to take precautions to ward off threats to his life. Although he has presented public apologies to the Islamic countries for being tactless and even returned to the fold Islam Rushdie has failed to obtain rehabilitation and forgiveness. The harsh verdict remains in force. The Rushdie affair has for many years been an annoyance in the no easy Iranian-British relations.