An Iranian envoy has been dispatched to encourage other Moslem nations to support Iran's position on the novel "The Satanic Verses" at a conference this week, according to news reports Saturday.
In England, home of the novel's author, Salman Rushdie, Moslems staged demonstrations in two cities.Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that Parliament speaker Hashemi Rafsanjani said during an audience with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini the controversy over the book was helping export the Islamic revolution.
Khomeini did not speak during the meeting at a mosque in a Tehran suburb, said IRNA, monitored in Nicosia.
IRNA said Ayatollah Ahmed Jannati, a special envoy, was touring Moslem states in the region to try to forge a united front on the issue at the Organization of Islamic Conference meeting scheduled to begin Monday in Saudi Arabia.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Sahabzada Yaqub Khan said in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Velayati, that he hoped the OIC "will take a decisive stand to condemn the book," IRNA reported.
Observers expect a showdown between the majority Sunni and the minority Shiite Moslems over the issue.
There are 100 million Shiites among the world's estimated 1 billion Moslems. More than half the Shiites live in Iran, which has called on Moslems to kill Rushdie.
Iran stands firm
> Iran is ready to halt trade with Britain and cut diplomatic relations with West Germany if European ambassadors do not return to Tehran, Iranian sources said Saturday. The Iranian Majlis (parliament) had decided on further action against the European Community (EC) because of its support for British author Salman Rushdie, the sources, who are close to senior Iranian parliament members, added.