Iran on Monday denied having any involvement with the attack on Indian-born British-American author Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed during a speaking engagement in Western New York on Friday.
"Regarding the attack against Salman Rushdie in America, we don't consider anyone deserving reproach, blame, or even condemnation, except for [Rushdie] himself and his supporters," Iranian official Nasser Kanaani said Monday. "In this regard, no one can blame the Islamic Republic of Iran."
"We believe that the insults made and the support he received was an insult against followers of all religions," the official added.
Rushdie was scheduled to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution on Friday when a man ran onto the stage and attacked him, causing liver damage and severed nerves in an arm and an eye, The Associated Press reports.
The 75-year-old author and his work have long proven controversial in the Muslim community; his purportedly blasphemous 1988 novel The Satanic Verses, for example, prompted Iran's then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to issue a so-called fatwa, or an Islamic edict, demanding the author's death. Authorities are investigating whether there is a link between the fatwa and the motive of suspected attacker Hadi Matar, per The Wall Street Journal.
Rushdie "exposed himself to popular anger and fury through insulting the sacredness of Islam and crossing the red lines of over 1.5 billion Muslims and also red lines of followers of all divine religions," Kanaani continued Monday, seeming to blame the author for the violence against him.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken released his own statement in which he condemned the "despicable" attack, but stopped short of directly blaming Iran.