Sanctioning the Iranian Entity Responsible for a Bounty on Salman Rushdie

October 28, 2022

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Antony J. Blinken

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Secretary of State

In response to the attack on author Salman Rushdie, the United States is designating the Iranian entity ‘15 Khordad Foundation.’ 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.

In 1989, following the publication of Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses, then-Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the author’s death, leading to attacks on Rushdie and those associated with him. The fatwa was reaffirmed by Iran’s current Supreme Leader in 2017 and was republished by Iranian state-controlled media as recently as August 2022. 15 Khordad Foundation issued a bounty on Rushdie in support of Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa, and later, in 2012, increased the bounty. Several of Rushdie’s translators and business associates involved with the publication of The Satanic Verses in several countries have been killed or severely injured as a result of this incitement, as have dozens of innocent civilians.

The infamous fatwa was intended to incite terrorism and violence, bring about the death of Rushdie and his associates, and intimidate others. 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.