Tracking Number: 221681
Title: "Editorial: Iran Urged to Rescind Decree." No government can be allowed to threaten the life of a citizen of another country simply because it does not like his writings.
To tolerate such conduct would be to abandon an important principle of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and surrender to international terrorism. Iran should rescind its death decree against Salman Rushdie. (920401)
Translated Title: Editorial: exhortan a Iran a rescindir decreto. (920401)
EDITORIAL: IRAN URGED TO RESCIND DECREE (460)
(Following is an editorial, broadcast by the Voice of America April 1, reflecting the views of the U.S. government.)
British author Salman Rushdie made a private visit to Washington last week. He spoke at a conference on freedom of expression sponsored by the American University School of Communication and a private group called the Freedom Forum. Unlike most public appearances by well-known authors, Rushdie's talk was not publicized in advance. This is because he lives under a sentence of death from Iran.
The death decree was first issued in February 1989 by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after Rushdie published a novel, The Santanic Verses, that was considered offensive to Islam. Despite many calls for the death decree to be rescinded, it was renewed in February of this year. Others associated with The Satanic Verses have already been victims of violence. Last July, the Japanese translator of the Rushdie novel was stabbed to death, and an Italian translator was stabbed and seriously wounded. Since the death call was issued, Rushdie has been forced to live in hiding, cut off from family and friends, and under constant guard.
The position of the U.S. government on the death decree against Salman Rushdie is well known and has not changed since it was issued more than three years ago. The United States has repeatedly condemned the death decree and called upon the government of Iran to rescind both the decree and related bounty offers. As President George Bush has said, "inciting murder and offering rewards for its perpetration are deeply offensive to the norms of civilized behavior." No country that puts out such decrees can be accepted as part of the civilized community of nations.
In regard to The Satanic Verses and other works by Salman Rushdie, the U.S. government does not take a position on anyone's writings or views. But the U.S. government strongly supports the right to free speech, which is at the heart of America's democratic tradition. Like most countries -- including Iran -- the United States is a signatory to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That document states that: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
No government can be allowed to threaten the life of a citizen of another country simply because it does not like his writings. To tolerate such conduct would be to abandon an important principle of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and surrender to international terrorism. Iran should rescind its death decree against Salman Rushdie.
File Identification: 04/01/92, TX-301; 04/01/92, AX-301; 04/01/92, PX-392; 04/01/92, EU-326; 04/01/92, NE-306; 04/06/92, AS-108
Product Name: Wireless File; VOA Editorials
Product Code: WF; VO
Keywords: IRAN/Foreign Affairs; RUSHDIE, SALMAN; LITERATURE; TERRORISM; HUMAN RIGHTS; FREEDOM OF SPEECH; IRAN-US RELATIONS
Document Type: EDI
Thematic Codes: 1NE; 2HA
Target Areas: AF; EA; EU; NE
PDQ Text Link: 221681; 222263
USIA Notes: *92040101.TXT
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