Forty of Iran’s state-run media outlets placed a new bounty on the head of controversial British author, Salman Rushdie, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) reported Saturday.
The decision coincides with the anniversary of the fatwa, or legal decree issued in February 1989 by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic. Khomeini called on all faithful Muslims to hunt the author down and kill him after Rushdie published his Booker Prize-winning novel, “The Satanic Verses.”
After being accused of blaspheming the prophet Muhammed, Rushdie was forced to go into hiding for several years. Almost a decade later, in 1998, Iran declared it would not support the fatwa.
Since then, Rushdie has continued to publish books and speak at conferences around the world.
The new bounty, set at $600,000, is the largest organized effort to take Rushdie down since the fatwa was issued nearly three decades ago.
Mansour Amini, the head of the Saraj Cyberspace Organization and the Secretary of the Third Exhibition of Islamic Revolution’s Digital Medias announced on Feb. 17 the names of the outlets that contributed money to the bounty. The state-run Fars News Agency, which is closely affiliated to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), was among the largest contributors, donating one billion Rials, or nearly $30,000 to the cause.
— Amir Taheri (@AmirTaheri4) February 18, 2016
“This once again clearly shows that terrorism is intertwined with the very existence of this regime as one of the pillars of its survival,” Shahin Gobadi of the NCRI said. “The mere fact that even the so-called media in this regime allocate a budget for terror manifests that all of the regime’s institutions are geared toward its ominous objectives.”
The Iranian regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei and other officials have reiterated Khomeini’s fatwa on numerous occasions over the past 27 years. NCRI reported that on Oct. 20, 2015 Khamenei once again underscored the fatwa’s validity.
It is unclear as to whether Rushdie has been made aware of the new bounty.