An Iranian government official denied on Monday that Tehran was involved in the assault on author Salman Rushdie, in remarks that were the country’s first public comments on the attack.
Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Ministry, made the remarks in a briefing to journalists.
“We, in the incident of the attack on Salman Rushdie in the U.S., do not consider that anyone deserves blame and accusations except him and his supporters,” Kanaani said. “Nobody has right to accuse Iran in this regard.”
Rushdie was attacked in an event in New York when he was about to be interviewed as part of a lecture series on Friday when a man rushed the stage and stabbed him repeatedly.
Rushdie’s “road to recovery has begun” but “will be long”, the novelist’s agent said on Sunday.
“The injuries are severe,” the agent, Andrew Wylie, said in an email to the Guardian, alluding to stab wounds that the author had suffered to his neck, stomach, eye, chest and thigh two days earlier. “But his condition is headed in the right direction.”
On Saturday, Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old accused in the attack, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault at a brief court appearance where he was denied bail.