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Iranian State-Supported Newspaper Calls for Attack on Former President Donald Trump Following Salman Rushdie Stabbing

An Iranian state-supported newspaper has called for attacks on former President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo following the stabbing of Salman Rushdie in New York.

The Kayhan newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Hossein Shariatmadari, was personally selected by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

A front-page editorial published in Sunday’s edition of the Kayhan stated that “God has taken his revenge on Rushdie” and that “it is now the turn of Trump and Pompeo.”

“The attack on him shows it is not a difficult job to take similar revenge on Trump and Pompeo and from now on they will feel more in danger for their lives,” the editorial stated, according to a translation published by the Telegraph.

Rushdie was stabbed ten times in the neck, face, and abdomen while speaking at an event in New York on Friday. He has since been removed from a ventilator and is reportedly able to speak.

In 1989, Rushdie went into hiding after publishing the novel  The Satanic Verses, which was highly critical of Islam. At that time, the government of Iran issued a fatwa, or decree, offering a $3 million reward for him to be killed. The fatwa remains active to this day, and in 2012 an Iranian religious foundation added an additional $500,000 to the reward.

The newspaper is unlikely to have published the editorial without the agreement of the Iranian government as Shariatmadari is widely said to be a sort of spokesperson for the ayatollah.

“Few others operate with the impunity of Mr. Shariatmadari, whose official position is representative of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and who has ties to the intelligence services,” the New York Times reported in 2007.

Mahmoud Shamsolvaezin, a former editor of Kayhan, told the Times that “the truth is, Kayhan is an intelligence newspaper.”

The Iranian government has denied that Tehran was involved in the attack on Rushdie, but blamed the author instead of the attacker for the violence.

On Monday, in their first public comment about the stabbing, Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Ministry, said “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.”

“In this regard, no one can blame the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he continued, according to a report from NPR. “We believe that the insults made and the support he received was an insult against followers of all religions.”

In January, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called for former President Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo to face “a fair court” over the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani and threatened retaliation.

Iranian President Calls For Trump and Pompeo to Face Trial Over Soleimani Assassination

Soleimani was killed in a drone strike ordered by Trump near Baghdad’s airport on Jan. 3, 2020.

Raisi made the remarks during a speech on the anniversary of Soleimani’s death, during which he promised revenge if there is not a trial.

“If Trump and Pompeo are not tried in a fair court for the criminal act of assassinating General Soleimani, Muslims will take our martyr’s revenge,” Raisi said. He added that “God’s ruling” must be carried out against the former president.

“The aggressor, murderer and main culprit – the then president of the United States – must be tried and judged under the (Islamic) law of retribution, and God’s ruling must be carried out against him,” Raisi continued.

Following the strike, then-President Trump said, “we took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told Congress in April that attempts to assassinate Pompeo are “real and ongoing.”

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