US sanctions group that offered money to kill Rushdie

WASHINGTON (HPD) — The United States has imposed financial sanctions on an Iran-based organization that raised money to attack British-American author Salman Rushdie, who was violently assaulted in August during a literary event.

The Office for Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a branch of the US Treasury Department, sanctioned the 15 Khordad Foundation, which offered a multimillion-dollar reward for Rushdie’s murder. He is the author of the novel “The Satanic Verses”, which some Muslims consider blasphemous.

Authorities US officials point out that in 2012, the 15 Khordad Foundation increased its reward to $3.3 million, claiming that the entire sum will be given to anyone who kills Rushdie. Sanctions records show the organization was created in 1979.

Rushdie’s agent reported that the author lost the vision in one eye and the mobility of one hand while recovering from an assault by a man who took the stage at the event in western New York.

An Associated Press reporter saw the assailant confront Rushdie onstage at the Chautauqua Institution and stab or punch him 10 to 15 times as the writer was introduced. The author was pushed or fell to the ground and the man was arrested.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the organization is also being targeted for diplomatic sanctions for “providing financial support to an act of terrorism.”

Blinken added that the United States condemns the attack on Rushdie “in the strongest terms as a blatant attack on free speech and an act of terrorism.”

The sanctions and designations prevent the group from accessing any property or financial assets held in the United States and the ability to travel to the United States.

“The United States will not waver in its resolve to address the threats posed by the Iranian authorities against the universal rights to freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of the press,” said Brian Nelson, assistant secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasure.

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