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Iran MP's back Rushdie edict

NICOSIA (Reuter) - Two-thirds of the members of Iran's parliament said yesterday that the British author Salman Rushdie must be killed, Tehran Radio reported.

The deputies backed a speech by Iran's supreme leader, Aya tollah Ali Khamenei, on Sunday in which he said a fatwa, or religious edict, issued against Mr Rushdie by the late Ayatollah Khomeini four years ago must be carried out whatever the consequences.

'One hundred and eighty deputies stressed the need for the implementation of the Imam's (Ayatollah Khomeini's) decree on the apostate Salman Rushdie,' the radio said.

European countries have denounced statements by Ayatollah Khamenei and other Iranian leaders backing the religious edict. But a Tehran Radio commentary said the edict was backed by Muslims around the world, and the West would stand to lose by opposing it.