In February 1989, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Revolution regime, issued a fatwa calling on any Muslim to kill the author Salman Rushdie for his novel The Satanic Verses, on the grounds that the book is "blasphemous" and Rushdie is an infidel. Throughout the next three decades, Iran has been stressing that this fatwa must be carried out.
In August 2022, Hadi Matar, a Muslim-American of Lebanese origin, attacked Rushdie as he was about to give a public lecture in Chautauqua, New York, severely wounding him.
On February 21, 2023, Iranian cleric Mohammad Esmail Zarai, secretary of the Popular Organization for Implementing [Ayatollah] Ruhollah Khomeini's Fatwa to Kill Salman Rushdie and chief military prosecutor in Mazandaran province in northern Iran, praised Hadi Matar for attacking Rushdie, and announced that he would be given a one-dunam field (about a quarter of an acre) in Iran as a reward. Zarai reiterated the organization's commitment to implementing the fatwa and promised that every effort would be made to do so, and added that whoever killed Rushdie would also be given land in Iran.
It should be noted that Iran has officially denied any connection to Matar's attack on Rushdie, and has said that Rushdie himself is to blame for what happened to him.
SUPPORT OUR WORK
Zarai made his announcement at a conference held by his organization. Another speaker at the conference was Mohammad Javad Larijani, who formerly served as senior foreign affairs advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as secretary of the Human Rights Committee in the Iranian judiciary and as a Majlis member.
Mohammad Esmail Zarai, secretary of the Popular Organization for Implementing Ruhollah Khomeini's Fatwa to Kill Salman Rushdie, addressing the conference; in the background is a picture of Hadi Matar in a headband (image: Fars, Iran, February 21, 2023)
The following is a translation of Zarai's address at the conference:
Popular Organization For Implementing Ruhollah Khomeini's Fatwa To Kill Salman Rushdie Secretary Zarai: More Land Will Be Given To Whoever Sends This Virus Of Corruption To Hell
"We thank the young American [Hadi Matar] from the bottom of our hearts for the courageous action he carried out in an effort to implement the historic fatwa issued by the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini]. His success in blinding Salman Rushdie in one eye and paralyzing his hand brought great joy to the Muslims.
"Salman Rushdie is a dead man walking. In order to honor this courageous act, [Matar] or his legal representative will be awarded, in a special ceremony, about 1,000 square meters of valuable and fertile agricultural land, donated in the name of the late hajj and sheikh Hossein Zarai.
"More land will be awarded to whoever sends this virus of corruption [i.e. Rushdie] to Hell. We believe that this fatwa must be implemented under any circumstances, and we will make every effort to implement this historic fatwa of the Imam [Khomeini]."
 Fars (Iran), February 21, 2023.