Rushdie camp cool on Iran pledge

Supporters of Salman Rushdie reacted coolly yesterday to suggestions that the Iranian government was distancing itself from the fatwa it imposed on the novelist six years ago, writes Steve Boggan.

For the second time Iranian officials said they had no intention of sending a death-squad to kill Mr Rushdie, but their assurances have fallen short of the public U-turn sought by his supporters.

Iran has been under pressure from the European Union to lift the fatwa on Mr Rushdie. Its desire to forge trading links with the EU has provided negotiators with diplomatic leverage.