State Department Responds To Stabbing Attack On Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie, writer, Milan, Italy, 2010.
Leonardo Cendamo/Getty Images

The U.S. State Department has responded to the stabbing attack on Salman Rushdie following criticisms from Iran on Friday.

The Sunday statement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the action, referring to the incident as a “heinous attack.”

“We join those across the country and around the world who are keeping Salman Rushdie in our thoughts in the aftermath of this heinous attack,” Blinken wrote.

“More than a literary giant, Rushdie has consistently stood up for the universal rights of freedom of expression​, freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of the press. While law enforcement officials continue to investigate the attack, I am reminded of the pernicious forces that seek to undermine these rights, including through hate speech and incitement to violence,” he added.

Blinken also blasted Iran’s state institutions for multiple generations of inciting violence against the bestselling author.

“Specifically, Iranian state institutions have incited violence against Rushdie for generations, and state-affiliated media recently gloated about the attempt on his life. This is despicable,” Blinken said.

The secretary of state also highlighted Rushdie’s resolve as a key part of opposing those who stand against universal human rights.

“The strength of Rushdie — and that of all of those around the world who have endured such threats — steels our resolve and underscores the imperative of standing united as an international community against those who would challenge these universal rights,” Blinken concluded.

The remarks came one day after President Joe Biden released his own statement on Saturday condemning Rushdie’s stabbing.

“Jill and I were shocked and saddened to learn of the vicious attack on Salman Rushdie yesterday in New York,” Biden wrote.

“We, together with all Americans and people around the world, are praying for his health and recovery,” he added.

Rushdie was previously the target of a 1989 death warrant issued by Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini over his book “The Satanic Verses.” As The Daily Wire previously reported, he was stabbed on Friday as he was about to give a speech in New York.

A man stormed the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and stabbed Rushdie multiple times, according to The Associated Press, which also noted that the Iranian regime has offered more than $3 million to anyone who killed Rushdie.

The stabbing occurred just days after a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was charged by federal law enforcement officials for allegedly attempting to assassinate former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Shahram Poursafi, 45, of Tehran, Iran, allegedly attempted to arrange Bolton’s assassination in response to the Trump administration’s killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qasem Soleimani.

Poursafi attempted to pay individuals $300,000 to carry out the assassination in or around the nation’s capital, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

“The Justice Department has the solemn duty to defend our citizens from hostile governments who seek to hurt or kill them,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “This is not the first time we have uncovered Iranian plots to exact revenge against individuals on U.S. soil and we will work tirelessly to expose and disrupt every one of these efforts.”

“Iran has a history of plotting to assassinate individuals in the U.S. it deems a threat, but the U.S. Government has a longer history of holding accountable those who threaten the safety of our citizens,” said Executive Assistant Director Larissa L. Knapp of the FBI’s National Security Branch. “Let there be no doubt: The FBI, the U.S. government, and our partners remain vigilant in the fight against such threats here in the U.S. and overseas.”

Ryan Saavedra contributed to this report.

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