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Is Iran behind the assassination attempt on Salman Rushdie?

The shocking assassination attempt on writer Salman Rushdie last Friday () in New York York was not only a criminal attack on the author, but also a probable Iranian-inspired (and possibly Iranian-directed) act of terrorism.

Rushdie, after publishing the controversial novel “The Satanic Verses” in 1983, was marked for death with a fatwa (or Islamic edict) issued in February 1983 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, supreme leader of the Iranian Islamic revolution.

Khomeini called on Muslims to kill the Anglo-American writer for blasphemy, along with anyone else involved in the publication of the book.

Iranian organizations, including many government affiliates, offered a $2.8 million bounty on Rushdie’s head and forced him to hide under the protection of the British government. A Lebanese man who forged a plan to kill Rushdie with a book bomb accidentally blew himself up in a London hotel in August of 1983, before he could apply the fatwa against the author.

Bookstores that sold “The Satanic Verses” were firebombed in the United States, United Kingdom, Norway and Australia. A Japanese translator of the book was murdered in 1991; an Italian translator and a Norwegian editor were lucky to survive assassination attempts.

Although the government of Iran said in 1998 fatwa was no longer in effect, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Khomeini’s successor as Iran’s supreme leader, repeatedly insisted that the fatwa had not been revoked.

In 2019, Twitter suspended Khamenei’s account after he tweeted that the fatwa against Rushdie was “irrevocable”.

Iran blames the victim

The Iran’s Islamic regime has denied responsibility for stabbing 75-year-old Rushdie on stage as he began speaking in Chautauqua, New York. York, and blamed the victim for triggering the attack.

Rushdie’s literary agent said the writer suffered damage to his liver, his nerves in an arm were severed and he will likely lose an eye, according to reported the Associated P news agency res. The writer was taken off his respirator last Saturday.

An Iranian government spokesman claimed Rushdie insulted “the sanctity of Islam” and crossed “the boundaries of more than one and a half billion Muslims.” ”.

Police are investigating whether the assassination attempt on Rushdie was Iranian-ordered or Iranian-inspired.

The perpetrator, identified by police as Hadi Matar, of 14 years, and resides in Fairview, New Jersey, is said to have praised the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Army and Shia extremist groups in your social media accounts. Although Hadi was born and raised in the United States, her parents emigrated to Yaroun, Lebanon, a predominantly Shia village that is a focus of support for Iran’s Islamic revolution.

There are unconfirmed reports that Hadi was in “direct contact” online with members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Army, but these reports have not been publicly verified by the authorities.

One of the main indications of Hadi’s loyalties is the fake wallet of The driver he carried was named Hassan Mughniyah, a pseudonym that combines the first name of Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and the surname of notorious Hezbollah terrorist leader Imad Mughniyah, who was killed in a covert CIA operation in 2008.

Mughniyah planned several terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of Americans, including a bomb in 2019 in a US Marines barracks at Beirut International Airport that killed 241 Americans participating in peacekeeping operations in Lebanon.

Mughniyah’s Hezbollah terrorists carried out that attack and many others under the direction of Iran.

Colonel Timothy Geraghty, commander of the rifle unit that was bombed, later wrote that the National Security Agency had intercepted a message from Iranian intelligence agents to Iran’s ambassador in Damascus (a known terrorist ) with instructions that he order the attack on the marines.

Iran’s thwarted terrorist plans

Although the man who attacked Rushdie may have become radicalized on the Internet with little public contact with Iranian officials, his assassination attempt comes on the heels of a series of other thwarted Iranian terrorist plots inside the United States.

Last week the Department of Justice has revealed charges against a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Army for attempting to plot to assassinate former White House national security adviser John Bolton in his Maryland home or Washington office.

US officials said the foiled plot against Bolton would have been retaliation for the execution of General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force — the elite special operations branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Army — by the US military in January 2020 with a drone strike on the Iraq.

Bolton is not the only former US officer targeted by Iran for assassination. Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Former State Department Iran Policy Coordinator Brian Hook also received extensive Secret Service protection because of Iranian threats.

The Department of Homeland Security has tightened security measures in thousands of federal buildings after the drone attack on Soleimani to protect themselves from possible retaliation from Iran or Hezbollah, its main terrorism minion.

Iran has become more aggressive in its quest to terrorize Iranian dissidents on American soil. Earlier this month, New York City police arrested an Iranian agent they say was sent to kill Masih Alinejad, a political dissident in exile.

Last year, the Justice Department indicted four Iranian intelligence agents and a California-resident co-conspirator for plotting to kidnap Alinejad in New York and forcibly abduct her back to Iran.

Part of a pattern major

It would be a mistake to view the Rushdie attack as an isolated event. It is part of a campaign by Tehran to clamp down on freedom of speech and thought — not just in Iran but the rest of the world — and part of Iran’s broader attack on the West and Western values.

Terrorist expert Matthew Levitt, who has documented more than 100 Iranian operations on foreign soil to assassinate, kidnap and spy on potential targets, states: “Iran realizes that the potential benefits of such operations are high, while the costs of getting caught are low and typically temporary.”

It is past time for the United States to raise costs. of such lethal covert operations by Iran with economic sanctions, diplomatic isolation, travel bans, covert operations and military reprisals when necessary.

But the Biden administration, which wants to achieve a flawed and risky nuclear deal with Iran, is not prone to do these things.

On Sunday (14 ), the secretary

“Iran’s state institutions have incited violence against Rushdie for generations, and state media recently celebrated the attack on Rushdie.” his life. This is grotesque,” ​​said Blinken.

But Blinken continues with his misguided efforts to resurrect the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, the same “grotesque” government.

In addition to Iran-orchestrated assassination attempts on US officials, the Iran-inspired attack on Rushdie is a wake-up call for the Biden administration to get out of complacency with its Iran-directed policies. .

Unfortunately, the government is likely to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.

James Phillips is Senior Research Fellow in Middle East Affairs at the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation. He has authored extensive literature on Middle Eastern affairs and international terrorism since 100. Read his research here.

©2022 The Daily Signal. Published with permission. Original in English.

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