The U.S. is imposing sanctions on an Iranian group that issued a multi-million dollar bounty on Salman Rushdie in response to the stabbing attack of the British-American author in August.
The Treasury Department has designated the 15 Khordad Foundation a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” for offering a $3.3 million reward for anyone who assassinates Mr. Rushdie.
The group, which officials say is subordinate to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, began publicly offering a cash reward in 1989 after the Iranian regime issued its fatwa calling for Mr. Rushdie’s assassination in response to his fourth novel, “The Satanic Verses.”
The fatwa against Mr. Rushdie was reaffirmed by Mr. Khamenei in 2017 and republished by Iranian media as recently as August, according to the State Department.
Mr. Rushdie, 75, was stabbed multiple times in August during a speaking engagement in New York. He lost sight in one eye, and one of his hands was “incapacitated” as a result of the attack.
“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,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Friday. “Today’s action is another clear signal that we will not stand by in the face of it.
“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,” Mr. Blinken said. “We are designating it today for providing financial support for an act of terrorism.”
Mr. Rushdie’s alleged assailant — Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old American born to Lebanese parents — was quickly detained and charged with attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty.