RISHI Sunak has demanded Iran is sanctioned after the brutal stabbing of Salman Rushdie.
The potential future Prime Minister believes the attack should be a “wake up call for the west” and has warned that the UK “can’t take the eye off the ball”.
The author, 75, suffered horror injuries as he was knifed up to 15 times in front of a horrified crowd at New York’s Chautauqua Institution.
Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it offensive to Islam.
He spent about 10 years under police protection in the United Kingdom, living in hiding after Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s execution.
Rushdie was rushed to hospital after he was knifed multiple times in New York yesterday following years of death threats over his book.
The Indian-born writer suffered a damaged liver, severed nerves in an arm and an eye.
He is on a ventilator and unable to speak, his agent Andrew Wylie said on Friday evening. Rushdie is likely to lose the injured eye.
Mr Sunak tonight told The Telegraph that the UK should now take action against Iran.
He said: “The situation in Iran is extremely serious and in standing up to [Vladimir] Putin we can’t take our eye off the ball elsewhere.”
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Warning about the potential attempts to revive the Iran nuclear deal, he added: “A nuclear-armed Iran would pose an existential threat to our ally Israel, and indeed imperil the whole of Europe with ballistic missile capability.
“We urgently need a new, strengthened deal and much tougher sanctions, and if we can’t get results then we have to start asking whether the JCPOA is at a dead end.
“The brutal stabbing of Salman Rushdie should be a wake-up call for the West, and Iran’s reaction to the attack strengthens the case for proscribing the IRGC.”
Hadi Matar, 24, was today in court accused of attempted murder and assault as Rushdie remained hospitalized.
An attorney for Matar today entered the not-guilty plea on his behalf during an arraignment hearing in New York.
US law enforcement last night revealed an initial investigation suggested Matar is sympathetic to the Iranian regime and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, the New York Post reported.
He was born in the US to Lebanese parents who emigrated from Yaroun, a border village in southern Lebanon, said its mayor, Ali Tehfe.
A state trooper and a county sheriff’s deputy had been assigned to Rushdie’s lecture, and police confirmed the trooper nabbed the man.
But after the attack, some longtime visitors to the center questioned why there wasn’t tighter security for the event, given the bounty on his head offering more than $3 million to anyone who killed him.
As Rushdie remains desperately ill in hospital, Iran’s dictatorship has celebrated the horror attack – branding him an “apostate” and “heretic” as they praised his attacker for “tearing neck of the enemy of God with a knife”.