Biden administration mulls sanctions on Iranian entities following Salman Rushdie attack

The Biden administration is considering sanctioning some Iranian organizations and entities following an assassination attempt on author Salman Rushdie last month.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported Wednesday that the White House is mulling whether to restrict the Iranian entities’ access to the global financial system to punish them for encouraging an assassination attempt on Rushdie.

No decision has been made, according to the Journal.

Rushdie, 75, was stabbed about 10 to 15 times by attacker Hadi Matar, 24, at a Chautauqua Institution event last month in Chautauqua, N.Y.

Rushdie, who was giving a speech at the time, survived and is recovering. Matar has pleaded not guilty.

The assassination attempt came decades after Iran first called for the death of the author.

Iran’s former supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa, or an edict, in 1989 calling for Rushdie’s death after the writer published “The Satanic Verses,” a novel some in the Islamic community deem blasphemous.

The 15th Khordad Foundation, an Iranian charitable organization, put a $2.5 million bounty on Rushdie in 1997 and raised it over the years to $3.3 million.

Iranian media outlets have also placed bounties on Rushdie. Around 40 Iranian publications offered a collective $600,000 bounty on his head in 2016.

The Association of Hezbollah University also offered a more than $300,000 bounty for Rushdie in 1998, according to The Associated Press.

Iran denied any involvement in the attack on Rushdie, but some hard-line Iranian media outlets praised the assassination attempt.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement last month that “Iranian state institutions have incited violence against Rushdie for generations, and state-affiliated media recently gloated about the attempt on his life.”

“This is despicable,” he wrote. “The United States and partners will not waver in our determination to stand up to these threats, using every appropriate tool at our disposal.”

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.