Report: White House Mulls Iran Sanctions After Rushdie Attack

Report: White House Mulls Iran Sanctions After Rushdie Attack
Last updated Aug 25, 2022
Image credit: Benoit Faucon and Ian Talley/WSJ


  • The Biden admin. is reportedly considering new sanctions targeting Iranian-linked entities in response to the stabbing attack on writer Salman Rushdie in New York last month.
  • Some of the entities considered for sanctions are those who offered rewards for Rushdie's death following Ayatollah Khomeini's 1989 fatwa following the publication of "The Satanic Verses."
  • According to unnamed US government officials, the sanctions could include limits on access to the international financial system.
  • Rushdie was giving a speech when he was stabbed multiple times by attacker Hadi Matar, 24, at an event last month in Chautauqua, NY. Rushdie survived and is recovering, and Matar has pleaded not guilty.
  • The Iranian-linked entities reportedly considered for sanctions are the 15th Khordad Foundation in Iran, several Iranian media organizations, and former Iranian officials.
  • The Biden admin. reportedly hasn't made any final decisions on the potential sanctions.


Anti-Iran narrative

The attack on Rushdie was Iranian-inspired, if not Iranian-directed. Tehran-affiliated entities are deeply responsible as they have supported the fatwa against Rushdie for decades. The US and its partners should use every appropriate tool at their disposal to fight those who threaten the universal rights of freedom of expression​, freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of the press.

Pro-Iran narrative

Iran cannot be blamed for the attack. If anyone is to blame, it's Rushdie and his supporters. Though nothing justifies the brutal attack, it was Rushdie's blatant and deliberate insulting of Muslims that prompted it, not orders from Iran, direct or otherwise. US policies are unfair, and Washington has clear double standards when it comes to supporting freedom of expression.

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