A hard-line Tehran newspaper Tuesday rejected Salman Rushdie's efforts to end Moslem anger over his novel "The Satanic Verses." It said the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's death edict still stands.
The British author announced Monday that he has embraced Islam and will not allow the book to be published in paperback. He also pledged that he would no longer seek to have the novel published in other languages.The novel has sold 1 million copies and already been translated into 15 languages. The book is banned by 20 countries.
The Abrar daily said in an editorial that "Khomeini's historic edict on Rushdie is irrevocable even if he (Rushdie) repents."
In February 1989, the Iranian fundamentalist patriarch called on Moslems to seek out and kill Rushdie for allegedly blaspheming Islam in "The Satanic Verses." Iran subsequently offered a $1 million bounty for Rushdie's death.
Rushdie has been in hiding ever since.
Rushdie announced his concessions to Moslems in a statement released in London by one of several Islamic leaders with whom he met in secret on Monday.
Hesham el-Essawy, president of the Islamic Society for the Promotion of Religious Tolerance, said Rushdie had typed the statement himself.
Essawy said Rushdie, who was born to a Moslem family in India and had previously said he did not consider himself a religious Moslem, now had "a clean slate" with the world's estimated 1 billion Moslems.
But Abrar dismissed Rushdie's efforts as part of "propaganda maneuvers by the British government aimed at bringing Rushdie out of isolation and making Moslems neglect" Khomeini's edict.
Although Essawy said that he and two other prominent Moslem scholars met with Rushdie, the newspaper claimed "no British Moslem leader . . . could confirm any such meeting."
Iran severed relations with Britain over the Rushdie affair, accusing the London government of defaming Islam by allowing "The Satanic Verses" to be published.
Relations were resumed Sept. 27 after British officials conceded that Rushdie's book offended Moslems and that London had no wish to offend Islam.
The resumption of relations came amid efforts by Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani, leader of his country's so-called pragmatists, to build bridges with the West following the June 1989 death of Khomeini.