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IRANIAN SAYS DEATH ORDER ON RUSHDIE STILL IN EFFECT

SHARE IRANIAN SAYS DEATH ORDER ON RUSHDIE STILL IN EFFECT

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati said Friday the death sentence imposed on British author Salman Rushdie 14 months ago by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini still stood.

"The verdict that was issued by our late Imam still is valid," he told a news conference.The death sentence was decreed against Rushdie, who has since lived in hiding, for allegedly blaspheming Islam in his novel "The Satanic Verses."

Pressed about prospects for the lifting of the sentence, Velayati said: "All 46 Islamic countries in the Islamic Conference confirmed that verdict unanimously in the Islamic conference in Riyadh a few months after the issuing of that verdict."

"And it shows that this is based on the principle of Islam. Nobody can eliminate that," he added, without elaborating.

The news conference was delayed briefly as security guards hustled away several Iranian demonstrators opposed to the Tehran government who shouted slogans against the foreign minister as his party was entering the press room.

Velayati was not touched.

It was not known how they entered the U.N. building.

Rushdie, in his first live interview since being forced into hiding, said in a telephone interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation Thursday that he was surprised no one in Britain had been prosecuted for making threats on his life.