By: Mir M.Hosseini
''The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has no intention, nor is it going to take any action whatsoever, to threaten the life of the author of The Satanic Verses or anybody associated with his work, nor will it encourage or assist anybody to do so,'' the Iranian Foreign Minister, Kamal Kharrazi, said in a statement that he read to reporters. The reward offered to anyone willing to kill Salman Rushdie had been officially renounced.
The Satanic Verses was first banned in India, in the fall of 1988, and prompted riots in Pakistan in early 1989 before coming under Ayatollah Khomeini's edict, shocked Muslims in many countries, who deemed it blasphemous. After Khomeini's Fatwa for Rushdie's death, he was forced to seek haven in a series of safe houses in London and was guarded around the clock. He has been traveling in public with a team of Special Branch agents guarding him. Khomeini died in June 1989, a few months after the edict was issued.
It was a signal of change to the world from the moderate President Khatami. The British, who had been represented in Tehran by a charge d'affaires, soon rose the level of representation to Ambassador. Although relations with U.K. were severed several times, the British managed to keep diplomatic ties even at the minimal level; a major difference between such an imperial foreign policy compared to a day by day shift as in the U.S. case. The United States has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since the seizure of the United States Embassy and the taking of American hostages in 1979.