Demonstrators in Tehran called for the death of Salman Rushdie after Ayatollah Khomeini issued his fatwah in February 1989,

Salman Rushdie’s recovery is “headed in the right direction,” his agent told The New York Times Sunday.
Rushdie was stabbed 10 times in an attack reports say may be linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
In 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s assassination over his book “The Satanic Verses” 

Author Salman Rushdie is on “the road to recovery” after being stabbed roughly 10 times in an attack reports say may be connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Rushdie was attacked Friday as he took the stage to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. He sustained three stab wounds his neck and four to his stomach, puncture wounds to his right eye and chest, as well as a laceration on his right thigh, CNN reported.

“The road to recovery has begun,” Andrew Wylie, Rushdie’s literary agent, said in a text message to The New York Times. “It will be long; the injuries are severe, but his condition is headed in the right direction.”

The 75-year-old author of “The Satanic Verses” remains in critical condition and is receiving extensive medical treatment for his injuries, according to a statement released by his son on Sunday. Rushdie was removed from a ventilator and supplemental oxygen on Saturday.

“Though his life-changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty and defiant sense of humor remains intact,” Zafar Rushdie said in the statement.

Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old accused of the stabbing, plead not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault with a weapon during his arraignment on Saturday. While no motive had been identified, reports from Vice and NBC News New York indicate the New Jersey resident is “sympathetic to Shia extremism” and may have ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The IRGC is an ideologically-driven branch of the Iranian Armed Forces intended to protect the country’s Islamic republic political system. It is considered a terrorist organization by the governments of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.

In 1989, Iranian cleric Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s assassination, claiming his book “The Satanic Verses,” a magical realism novel inspired by the life of the prophet Muhammad, was “against Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran.”

European and Middle Eastern intelligence officials told VICE World News Matar had been in direct contact with members of the IRGC on social media but did not specify who initiated the contact, when it took place, or what was discussed.

NBC News New York reported a preliminary law enforcement review of Matar’s social media accounts indicated he followed IRGC causes.

A NATO counter-terrorism official told VICE World News the stabbing presented with the hallmarks of a “guided” attack, where an intelligence service — such as the IRGC — talks a supporter into violence without direct involvement in the incident itself.

“A 24-year-old born in the United States did not come up with Salman Rushdie as a target on his own,” a Middle Eastern intelligence official told VICE World News. “Even an avid consumer of Iranian propaganda would have some difficulty finding references to Rushdie compared to all the other, modern enemies, designated by the regime.”

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