Iran state media says Trump and Pompeo are next after Rushdie stabbing

‘It is now the turn of Trump and Pompeo’: Iran state media threatens ex-president and ex-Secretary of State with attacks as they praise fanatic who stabbed Salman Rushdie in the neck

  • Kayhan newspaper, whose editor is personally chosen by Iran’s Supreme Leader, on Sunday said that Trump and Pompeo were targets for revenge
  • An editorial in the paper said the pair will now ‘feel more in danger for their lives’, following Friday’s stabbing of Salman Rushdie in New York 
  • Trump and Pompeo have frequently been singled out: in January this year, Iran’s president said they should pay for killing Qassim Soleimani
  • Soleimani, head of the Quds Force, was killed in January 2020: the president said the ‘hand of revenge will eventually come out of the sleeve of our nation’
  • On Sunday, Rushdie’s son said that his father was off the ventilator and breathing by himself, but remained in critical condition – albeit ‘feisty and defiant’
  • The man accused of stabbing him, Hadi Matar, 24, from New Jersey, was charged with murder on Saturday and remains in custody 

Rushdie (pictured in Los Angeles in 2013) has now been taken off a ventilator and can speak. There had been fears he would be left unable to talk after the attack last week

Iran’s state media has warned Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo that they are next in line, following the stabbing on Friday of Sir Salman Rushdie.

The Kayhan newspaper, whose editor is personally chosen by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declared in a front page story published on Sunday that after Rushdie ‘it is now the turn of Trump and Pompeo’.

The editorial stated, according to The Daily Telegraph: ‘God has taken his revenge on Rushdie. The attack on him shows it is not a difficult job to take similar revenge on Trump and Pompeo and from now on they will feel more in danger for their lives.’

Rushdie, a 75-year-old British-American novelist, was speaking on stage at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York when 24-year-old Hadi Matar rushed onto the platform and stabbed Rushdie up to ten times.

Matar, born in the US to Lebanese parents, was quickly detained and charged with attempted murder. His mother told he became withdrawn after visiting Lebanon in 2018, but she had no idea he was radicalized, and she now disowned him.

The threats against the former president and his former secretary of state are not new.

Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo were both threatened by Iranian state media on Sunday 

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is pictured on June 4. Khamenei tightly controls Kayhan newspaper, which on Sunday threatened Trump and Pompeo

Newly released mugshots show suspected knifeman Hadi Matar as he was detained in New York

Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie spent years in hiding after being issued ‘spiritual’ death threat by Iran

Sir Salman Rushdie is a Booker Prize-winning author and novelist.

His writing is often based around the themes of connections and migrations between Western and Eastern civilizations.

He won the Booker Prize in 1981 for his second novel, Midnight’s Children. His writing has spawned 30 book-length studies, and over 700 articles on his writing.

Rushdie’s writings have broadly been acclaimed to the genres of magical realism and historical fiction.

He has been living in the US since 2000, and he was named a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University in 2015.

He has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times, including for Midnight’s Children, in 1983 for Shame, in 1988 for The Satanic Versus, in 1995 for The Moor’s Last Sign, and in 2019 for Quichotte.

Salman Rushdie, 75, is an Indian-born author who has been acclaimed for his writing in the genres of magical realism and historical fiction

In January, on the second anniversary of the killing of Qassim Soleimani, the powerful commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi publicly vowed to seek revenge against the pair.

A U.S. airstrike killed Soleimani, 62, and others as they traveled from Baghdad’s international airport on January 2, 2020.

The Pentagon said Trump ordered the U.S. military to take ‘decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing’ the high-profile general.

Raisi declared in January this year: ‘If the conditions for a fair trial of Mr Trump and Mr Pompeo and other criminals become available, they will be charged for committing this heinous crime and will face the consequence of their criminal actions.

‘However, let there be no doubt that I say here to all American statesmen that the hand of revenge will eventually come out of the sleeve of our nation.’

Anthony Blinken, Pompeo’s successor as secretary of state, told Congress in April that Iran’s attempts to assassinate Pompeo ‘are real and ongoing’.

On Wednesday, the United States charged a member of the Revolutionary Guard with plotting to murder John Bolton, a national security adviser to Trump.

The Justice Department alleged that Shahram Poursafi, also known as Mehdi Rezayi, 45, of Tehran, was likely motivated to kill Bolton in retaliation for the death of Soleimani.

Pompeo was the second target, according to reports.

Poursafi remains at large.

The author – who has had an Iranian death sentence hanging over him since 1989 after writing The Satanic Verses – was left with damage to his liver and severed nerves in one arm, and his agent has said he could lose his sight in one eye.

On Sunday morning Rushdie’s son, Zafar, 42, said his father’s condition remains ‘critical’, despite doctors being able to take him off a ventilator.

He was able to speak a few words, Zafar said, and ‘his usual feisty and defiant sense of humor remain intact’. 

Salman Rushdie (left) stands with eldest son Zafar (right) at an event in London in June 2007

Rushdie told a German magazine earlier this month that the fatwa against him no longer scared him. Here bystanders and staff tend to Mr Rushdie on stage after the attack

Rushdie is being held at UPMC Hamot Surgery Center in Erie, Pennsylvania (pictured yesterday). Son Zafar said the family has come together at their father’s bedside

Zafar wrote this afternoon: ‘His usual feisty and defiant sense of humour remains intact’

London-based PR agent Zafar wrote: ‘My father remains in critical condition in hospital. 

‘We are extremely relieved that yesterday he was taken off the ventilator and additional oxygen and he was able to say a few words.

‘Though his life changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty and defiant sense of humour remains intact. 

‘We are so grateful to all the audience members who bravely leapt to his defence and administered first aid along with the police and doctors who have cared for him and for the outpouring of love and support from around the world.

‘We ask for continued patience and privacy as the family come together at his bedside.’

Zafar’s moving statement came moments before new mugshots taken at Chautauqua County Jail in Mayville, New York were published.

An author who was at the event wrote about the horrifying moment in an op ed published by CNN.

‘A man leaps onstage, hate on two feet, storming Rushdie with lightning speed,’ wrote Lydia Strohl. 

‘The author rises and steps back to evade him, but his black suit and polished shoes are unprepared for the youth in trainers, head wrapped like a ninja, a cyclone of anonymous fury.’

It was also revealed that the celebrated author is on the ‘road to recovery’ and is expected to survive the attack.

Zafar posted a defiant message after the attack, referencing his father’s habit of speaking out

Salman Rushdie was attacked before he was due to give a talk to an audience in New York state. Here he is pictured on stage moments before the attack

The acclaimed author was rushed to hospital after being stabbed ’10-15 times’ while on stage. Here he is pictured being taken to a air ambulance

Agent Andrew Wylie stated on Sunday afternoon: ‘It will be long; the injuries are severe, but his condition is headed in the right direction.’

And Rushdie is now able to ‘talk and joke’, a friend who visited him confirmed this morning. 

The Indian-born writer has lived under the threat of violence since 1989, when Iran’s then Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa, or decree, declaring The Satanic Verses to be blasphemous and urging Muslims to kill him. 

A judge ordered that Matar be held without bail after District Attorney Jason Schmidt said the suspect had purposely put himself in position to harm the author.

‘This was a targeted, unprovoked, pre-planned attack on Mr Rushdie,’ Mr Schmidt said.

Prosecutors said he had bought an advance pass to the lecture and arrived a day early with a fake ID. 

He is believed to have lived with his mother and two sisters in Fairview, New Jersey, where neighbours described them as a ‘normal, very nice, very American family’.

Matar is said to be a devout Muslim and loner, but friends said he had not spoken of Iran or Rushdie. The suspected assailant was wrestled to the ground after running on the stage and stabbing the author repeatedly.

Henry Reese, who was to lead an on-stage discussion with Rushdie, and was also hurt, said at first he thought the attack was a ‘bad prank’ as it ‘didn’t have any sense of reality’.   

Meanwhile Rushdie’s comments to a German magazine made two weeks ago but published in the wake of his stabbing reveal the author’s relentless optimism in the wake of ‘scary times’.

Rushdie said death threats ‘have become more normal’ – but that the fatwa no longer scared him.

He explained: ‘A fatwa is a serious thing. Luckily we didn’t have the internet back then. The Iranians had send the fatwa to the mosques by fax. 

‘That’s all a long time ago. Nowadays my life is very normal again.’

Iran issued a call on Muslims worldwide to kill the author after his fourth novel, the Satanic Verses, was considered blasphemous.

Rushdie lived in hiding for 10 years in London under police protection, but gradually returned to public life after Iran’s government withdrew its support for the death sentence – without formally rescinding it.  

Rushdie’s fourth book, which he is pictured holding in February 1989, prompted a fatwa edict for his murder by the state of Iran. It has been ignored by frontline politicians since 1998

Earlier this month Rushdie, 75, had said his life had become ‘very normal again’ as fear of the fatwa faded 

Rushdie came out of a decade-long hiding in 1998 after incoming Iranian president Mohammad Khatami said he no longer supported the fatwa.

But some Muslims continued to back Ayatollah Khamenei’s extreme edict – and the bounty on Rushdie’s head was raised to $3 million.

Rushdie, who became a US citizen in 2016 and lives in New York City, said he was most worried about threats to democracy in the United States.

‘Trump’s victory over truth is most important there. His people believe that they are lied to by the others, not by him,’ he said.

Hadi Matar, 24, arrives for a hearing at Chautauqua County Courthouse, NY on Saturday. He pleaded not guilty to attempted murder

Rushdie added that he is optimistic about the future, stating: ‘I believe something very good is happening in the young generation. 

‘It is much more inclined to activism. We are seeing a generation grow of age that we urgently need right now, a combative one. 

‘We need people who can organize themselves, and people who are prepared to fight. Fighters. For a society worth living in. 

‘As an author I also notice that young authors are becoming role models again – instead of the way it used to be, namely just the dead ones.’

Exclusive: Distraught mother of alleged Iranian sympathizer accused of trying to murder Salman Rushdie says her son returned home as religious zealot after a month-long trip to the Middle East and says he is ‘responsible for his actions’

The distraught mother of the alleged Iranian sympathizer accused of trying to murder Salman Rushdie revealed how her outgoing, American-raised son took a month-long trip to the Middle East – and came back a religious zealot. 

Silvana Fardos revealed in an exclusive interview with that she expected her son Hadi Matar to come back from the 2018 trip ‘motivated,’ but instead, her once outgoing and popular son returned a ‘moody introvert’ and would locked himself in the basement, refusing to speak to his family for months. 

As FBI agents raided her Fairview, New Jersey home on Friday afternoon, it was the first she was learning of the frenzied stabbing of acclaimed author Rushdie.

Fardos said a number of items FBI agents seized from her son’s basement apartment – including a computer, PlayStation, books, knives and a tool to sharpen blades.

‘I received a call from my daughter. I was at work and she told me the FBI are here – I was shell shocked,’ Silvana, 46, told 

Rushdie’s life has been under threat since 1989 when the late Ayatollah Khomeini – leader of Iran’s Islamic revolution – condemned his famous book, The Satanic Verses, as blasphemous and issued a fatwa calling for his death.

Silvana, who is Lebanese and born Muslim, said she didn’t know if her son had ever read Rushdie’s book, but detected he had become more religious since his trip, adding that he would criticize her for not giving him a strict Muslim upbringing. 

‘I just cannot believe he was capable of doing something like this. He was very quiet, everyone loved him. As I said to the FBI I’m not going to bother talking to him again. He’s responsible for his actions.

‘I have another two minors that I need to take care of. They are upset, they’re shocked. All we can do is try to move on from this, without him.’

Silvana Fardos, the mom of Hadi Matar, 24, the alleged Iranian sympathizer who is accused of trying to kill Salman Rushdie on Friday says her son took a trip to the Middle East – and came back a religious zealot

Hadi Matar, 24, is accused of carrying out a stabbing attack against ‘Satanic Verses’ author Salman Rushdie. He has entered a not-guilty plea on charges of attempted murder and assault

‘To tell you the truth I never heard of his writer before. I never read any of his books, I didn’t know that such a writer even exists. I had no knowledge that my son ever read his book,’ she explained. 

Matar was born in the US to Lebanese parents who emigrated from the southern border town of Yaroun, a stronghold of the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah.

He grew up and went to school in Cudahy, California, before his mom divorced his father Hassan Matar in 2004, her ex-husband returning to the Middle East while she moved to New Jersey for a fresh start.

It was on a trip to Lebanon in 2018 to visit his father that Hadi changed from a popular, loving son to a moody introvert, according to Silvana.

‘The first hour he gets there he called me, he wanted to come back. He stayed for approximately 28 days but the trip did not go well with his father, he felt very alone,’ she told

‘I was expecting him to come back motivated, to complete school, to get his degree and a job. But instead he locked himself in the basement. He had changed a lot, he didn’t say anything to me or his sisters for months.

‘I couldn’t tell you much about his life after that because he has isolated me since 2018. If I approach him sometimes he says hi, sometimes he just ignores me and walks away.

‘He sleeps during the day and wakes and eats during the night. He lives in the basement. He cooks his own food.’

Matar was born in the US to Lebanese parents who emigrated to California where he went to school. His mom divorced his father and moved to New Jersey for a fresh start

Silvana Fardos  detected that her son was becoming more religious and he would criticize her for not giving him a strict Muslim upbringing

Silvana also detected that her son was becoming more religious and he would criticize her for not giving him a strict Muslim upbringing.

He also barred her from entering his basement abode which is directly under the $700,000, four-bed home where she lives with his twin sisters, aged 14.

‘One time he argued with me asking why I encouraged him to get an education instead of focusing on religion. He was angry that I did not introduce him to Islam from a young age,’ Silvana added.

‘I’m Lebanese but I’ve been here for 26 years. I’m living a simple life as a single mom, trying to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table for my kids.

‘I don’t care about politics, I’m not religious. I was born a Muslim and that’s it basically. I didn’t push my kids into religion or force anything on my son. I don’t know anyone in Iran, all my family are here.’

Matar, whose now-deleted Facebook page is plastered with pics of Iranian politicians, rushed onto the stage Friday morning at a literary festival in upstate New York as Rushdie was announced.

He stabbed the Booker Prize-winning author multiple times before being pinned to the ground by horrified witnesses and apprehended by a state trooper.

Rushdie was airlifted to hospital and placed on a ventilator but has since recovered enough to speak and remains his ‘feisty and defiant’ self, his son Zafar announced today.

Matar was understood to be using a fake drivers license under the name Hassan Mughniyah when he committed the botched assassination.

The current leader of Hezbollah is named Hassan Nasrallah while one of its most notorious commanders was called Imad Mughniyeh. It listed his address as an apartment in West New York, New Jersey, but the unit’s owner told she had never heard of either Matar or Mughniyeh.

Matar never had a job, never had a girlfriend but did join a local boxing gym three months ago – before abruptly cancelling his membership last week.

Despite his growing zeal for Islam he never dressed any differently, leading Silvana to hope it was just a passing phase.

‘When I heard he had joined a gym I was happy,’ added his mom, a special aid assistant teacher and high school Arabic translator.

‘I had been encouraging him to get a job, go back to school. He did actually start a job a few months ago at Marshalls.

‘He even shared with me that he was going back to school in September to study cyber security which I was super excited about.

‘I felt like he was in a long-term depression and now it was time for him to recover and come back to life, to come back to his family.’

Fighting tears she added, ‘I have not watched the video of what happened, I don’t want to. All I know is what was written.

‘The FBI gave me a document to sign saying they had taken his computer, his PlayStation, some books, some other items including knives and a sharpener.

‘I feel sorry for Mr Rushdie. I hope he recovers but there’s nothing much I can say or do because this wasn’t my act.’

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