Khatami's position on Rushdie reiterates that the fatwa remains in force

Remarks by mullahs' President Khatami in his meeting yesterday with reporters in New York contained nothing new on the regime's positions against Salman Rushdie. By reiterating that the fatwa to murder Rushdie is a matter of jurisprudence, he was in fact saying that it cannot be rescinded.

This is contrary to the biased reports broadcast by the CNN and some Western circles. Mullah Ahmad Jannati, Secretary for the Guardian Council said on July 23: "His Eminence the Imam spoke on Rushdie. No one dares to violate the Imam's decree. It remains in force."

In the past, the clerical regime's officials had time and again made similar remarks. For example, on October 10, 1997, Hashemi Rafsanjani, then the regime's president, described the decree as "an expert opinion." But this did not prevent mullah Hassan Sane'i, an advisor and a close ally of Khatami, to formally call on Muslims around the World on September 10, 1998 to "carry out the fatwa to murder Rushdie" in return for a 2.5-million-dollar reward.

After Khomeini issued the anti-Islamic and anti-human decree to murder Rushdie in 1989, Khatami, at the time Khomeini's propaganda minister, announced that "on the basis of His Eminence Imam Khomeini's religious fatwa, Rushdie must be executed." (Kayhan, March 7, 1989)

There has been no change whatsoever in Khatami's position on Rushdie, 18 months into his presidency. Moreover, consistent with the mullahs' approach to the matter in past eight years, Khatami's government has refused to offer any written guarantees that Rushdie will not be assassinated.

The only solution to the Rushdie problem is to adopt a decisive policy vis-a-vis the theocratic regime ruling Iran. Nine years of dialogue by the European Union with the Iranian regime has been futile and only benefited the Iranian regime.

Khatami's hollow rhetoric in New York is intended for foreign consumption only and does not change the harsh realities in Iran. The state radio and televisions deleted Khatami's remarks about Rushdie when broadcasting his press briefing.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
September 23, 1998

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