Sharp UK protest to Iran on Rushdie

IN THE mounting war of words between Britain and Iran, a Foreign Office minister yesterday summoned Tehran's top London envoy to protest against Iran's recent and frequent reiteration that Salman Rushdie must be killed.

The protest came a day after two-thirds of Iranian MPs supported the call for the execution of the four-year-old fatwa against Mr Rushdie over his book The Satanic Verses. They endorsed a declaration made three days earlier by Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which said the death edict 'must be implemented without a doubt, and shall be implemented'. The call by the majlis, or parliament, reinforced the impression of an increasingly defiant Iran, because it was the majlis which voted to sever relations with Britain over the Rushdie book in 1989.

Douglas Hogg, a Minister of State, told the Iranian charge d'affaires, Gholamreza Ansari, that the British government was 'deeply disturbed by recent statements from a number of figures in Iran' and that 'this was an outrageous infringement of Mr Rushdie's rights and a violation of international law'. He asked Mr Ansari to 'reinforce this message to his government'. The envoy handed over a message from President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani for John Major, the contents of which were not disclosed.

In the past few weeks, Britain has deliberately raised the profile of the fatwa issue by inviting Mr Rushdie for talks at the Foreign Office and by bringing up the issue in international contexts. The question has been internationalised by other European governments, notably Bonn and Paris, speaking up for Mr Rushdie. Germany announced this week that it was freezing a cultural agreement with Iran, prompting calls in the Iranian press for Tehran to stop signing contracts with firms from Germany, Iran's biggest trade partner.

Iranian sources said they had identified a shift in Europe's policy since the departure of Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the former German foreign minister. One newspaper warned that 'the Germans are on the edge of an abyss' after having been 'duped by the British because of their inexperience in international affairs' - a reference to the relatively inexperienced German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel. The sources said that rather than prompting Iran to reconsider, the European posture would lead to a radicalisation of the Tehran regime.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before