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    Iran condemns British knighthood for Salman Rushdie

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    TEHRAN, July 1 (RIA Novosti) - The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the British queen's awarding of a knighthood to Salman Rushdie, author of the controversial novel Satanic Verses.

    "The Islamic Republic of Iran believes such actions are an open insult to the beliefs and values of over a billion Muslims throughout the world," ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said.

    Rushdie, whose 1988 novel prompted Iran's spiritual leaders to issue a religious decree urging Muslims to kill him, was last week awarded a knighthood for services to literature by Queen Elizabeth II. The honor had been announced last year.

    Rushdie, 61, was forced to go into hiding for about 10 years after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's fatwa was declared, and rarely appeared in public.

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