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Justice Department Reportedly Looking into Iran Ties of Salman Rushdie’s Stabber

Hadi Matar. freebeacon.com
Hadi Matar. freebeacon.com

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is reportedly investigating whether the man accused of stabbing British author Salman Rushdie last year had ties to an Iranian terrorist group.

Hadi Matar was arrested on August 12, 2022, for allegedly stabbing Rushdie, the award-winning author whose 1988 novel The Satanic Verses earned him a fatwa from Iran, on stage at a Chautauqua Institution festival in New York. The media largely portrayed Matar as a "lone wolf," but federal prosecutors have launched a broader investigation into the son of Lebanese immigrants' possible ties to Hezbollah, an Islamist militant group, or the Iranian regime, according to Chautauqua County’s district attorney Jason Schmidt, whose office is prosecuting Matar's case. Matar pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and attempted murder and will stand trial early next year.

The broadened investigation, which Schmidt told Semafor was "outside my paygrade," may have political implications for President Joe Biden's Iran nuclear deal, which analysts have said will bring Tehran even "closer to the nuclear threshold."

"I do think it does have political considerations and recognizing, for instance, that the Biden government is trying to negotiate with Iran now to kind of bring them back into a nuclear treaty," Schmidt said. "I understand that there’s a lot of considerations here that, you know, that are way outside my paygrade."

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