Asserting that Salman Rushdie has consistently stood up for the universal rights of freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of the press, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Sunday said Iranian state institutions have incited violence against the Indian-origin author for generations and state-affiliated media recently gloated about an attempt on his life.
Rushdie (75) was stabbed by a 24-year-old New Jersey resident at a literary event in New York on Friday in what US authorities described as a "targeted, preplanned" attack. He is "pulling through" and has his "feisty and defiant" sense of humour intact despite battling severe, life-changing injuries, his son and former wife Padma Lakshmi said on Sunday.
"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 said in a statement.
"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.
"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," he added.
The United States and its partners will not waver in their determination to stand up to these threats, using every appropriate tool at their disposal. The strength of Rushdie and that of all of those around the world who have endured such threats steels the resolve and underscores the imperative of standing united as an international community against those who would challenge these universal rights, Blinken said.