Iran’s cultural ministry has confirmed its Iranian representatives will not attend the Frankfurt Book Fair next week - and has urged other Islamic countries to boycott in protest about Salman Rushdie's presence there.
The Guardian has reported that the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday (6th October) the fair had "under the pretext of freedom of expression, invited a person who is hated in the Islamic world and create the opportunity for Salman Rushdie... to make a speech".
Rushdie is due to give an address at an opening press conference for FBF next Tuesday (13th October) on the subject of the significance of freedom of expression for authors and the book industry.
He was made the subject of a fatwa in 1988 after the publication of his controversial novel The Satanic Verses, lives in the US as a British citizen.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, now deceased, issued the order to Rushdie for depicting the Prophet Muhammad irreverantly, forcing the author into hiding and placed under police protection.
Deputy culture minister of Iran, Abbas Salehi said: “Fair officials chose the theme of freedom of expression, but they invited someone who has insulted our beliefs.”
He also said recently: “Imam Khomeini’s fatwa on this issue is reflective of our religion and it will never fade away.”
The Frankfurt Book Fair has declined to comment at this time.