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Rushdie Dismisses Iran Proposal

January 8, 1998

LONDON (AP) _ Speaking from somewhere in hiding, British author Salman Rushdie declared himself unimpressed today at the Iranian president’s proposal of cultural relations with Americans.

Rushdie’s short response, relayed through a spokeswoman in London: ``Half-measures don’t work.″

Rushdie has been in hiding since 1989, when the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared that Rushdie had blasphemed Islam in the novel, ``The Satanic Verses.″ Khomeini called on Muslims around the world to kill him.

President Mohammad Khatami, in his first U.S. broadcast interview since taking office in May, proposed exchanges of scholars, artists, writers and tourists as a way toward restoring relations between the American and Iranian people.

A moderate, Khatami’s overtures face opposition by Iran’s hard-liners.

In August, Iranian lawmakers tested the commitment of a Khatami Cabinet nominee by asking if he would kill Rushdie if he happened upon him.

Nominee Ataollah Mohajerani, who avoided a direct answer to the question, won appointment as cultural minister.

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