Iran refuses to condemn bounty on Rushdie

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The Independent Online
Iran was angrily criticised by the Government yesterday after it emerged that the bounty on Salman Rushdie's head had been increased from $2m to $2.5m, about pounds 1.5m.

Despite official claims that it had nothing to do with increasing the reward for fulfilling the fatwa, or death sentence, on the author, the Foreign Office called upon President Hashemi Rafsanjani to publicly condemn it - something the Iranian leader has so far failed to do.

The reward was increased by the 15 Khordad Foundation, a shadowy organisation which Iran claims is independent.

President Rafsanjani has insisted that the comments do not reflect official policy. His government says it cannot overturn the fatwabut it has given an undertaking not to send agents to kill him.

The Foreign Office said in a statement yesterday that it did not accept the Iranian assurances and demanded more preventative action from President Rafsanjani.