Iran distances itself from reward for killing Rushdie

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran’s government distanced itself Thursday from a $2.5 million reward for the death of Salman Rushdie, a move interpreted by the author as meaning an end to 10 years of living in the shadows.
The Iranian “government disassociates itself from any reward which has been offered in this regard and does not support it,” Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said after a meeting with his British counterpart, Robin Cook.
While the religious decree that called on Muslims to kill Rushdie was not lifted, Rushdie said Kharrazi’s statement “means everything.”
“This looks like it’s over,” he said in London.
Rushdie was forced into hiding, spending much of his time under guard in Britain, after the death sentence was imposed. Western intellectuals took up his cause as an important battle over freedom of expression.
Cook said he was delighted with Iran’s gesture, and said both nation’s were ready to exchange ambassadors.