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Rushdie Undergoes Eye Operation

March 20, 1999

LONDON (AP) _ Writer Salman Rushdie has had surgery on his eyelids to correct a condition making it increasingly difficult to open his eyes, a British newspaper reported Sunday.

``If I hadn’t had an operation, in a couple of years from now I wouldn’t have been able to open my eyes at all,″ Rushdie was quoted as telling The Sunday Times.

The condition, called ptosis, affects the tendons of the eyelids, which were growing weaker and stretching, the report said.

The article was accompanied by a ``before″ photograph of Rushdie’s familiar heavy-lidded gaze with an ``after″ picture of a very different Rushdie, smiling and wide-eyed.

Iran’s deceased leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini condemned Rushdie to death in 1989, saying his novel ``The Satanic Verses″ blasphemed Islam. Iran announced last year that it was disassociating itself from the fatwa, or death sentence, but some hard-liners still threaten to kill him.

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