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Iran renews Rushdie's death sentence

No "bygones" over there, it seems.
Iran renews Rushdie's death sentence
Revolutionary Guards renew 14-year death sentence for author

TEHRAN (AP) Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards have renewed a call to kill Salman Rushdie, whom Iran condemned to death 14 years ago for allegedly insulting Islam in a prize-winning novel.

The hardline Guards, Iran's main fighting force, said in a statement that the fatwa, or Islamic edict, issued by the late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, was ``irrevocable," the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported late Friday.

Khomeini issued the fatwa against Rushdie on Feb. 14, 1989, ordering Muslims to kill the novelist because he had allegedly insulted Islam in his best-selling novel, The Satanic Verses.

In 1998, the Iranian government declared it would not support the fatwa, but at the same time the government said it could not rescind the edict as, under Islamic law, that could be done only by the person who issued it. Khomeini died in June 1989.

The news agency quoted the Guards as saying "Khomeini's historical edict on Salman Rushdie is irrevocable and nothing can change it." The Revolutionary Guards are seen to be loyal to hardliners inside Iran's Islamic government.

Reformist and independent newspapers ignored the 14th anniversary of the death sentence this week, while few extremist hardline papers gave it prominent coverage.

But the hardline Jomhuri Islami ran a 16-page supplement Saturday with a front-page cartoon of a dead Rushdie being carried in a coffin draped with flags of the United States, Britain and Israel, countries seen by hardliners as the main supporters of Rushdie's novel.

Ayatollah Hassan Saneii, head of the semi-official Khordad foundation that has placed a $2.8 million US bounty on Rushdie's head, was quoted by Jomhuri Islami as saying that his foundation would now pay $3 million US to anyone who kills Rushdie.

Khomeini's 1989 fatwa sent Rushdie into hiding under police protection, but didn't stop him from writing more novels. In 1990, Rushdie published an apology and reiterated his respect for Islam

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