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In light of Rushdie attack, Israeli ambassador to Azerbaijan speaks out against Iranian threats

Also threatened by an Iranian official, George Deek says: “Take the threats of this murderous regime seriously” 

Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan George Deek (Photo: Screenshot)

Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan George Deek related to the stabbing attack on author Salman Rushdie at a New York literary festival last week, said the threats of the Iranian regime need to be taken seriously.

“Iran’s ambassador to Azerbaijan recently threatened me with death,” Deek said in a video from his office, posted to social media. “He tweeted that I had crossed a red line and that I would be buried by the people of Iran.”

The “red line” was a photo Deek posted on Twitter of himself reading a book titled “Magic Tales of Tabriz,” with the caption “I’m learning so much about Azerbaijani history and culture in Tabriz in this great book I was recently presented.”

Tabriz is a city in Iran, but it dominated by Azerbaijani culture and language. In response to Deek's post, Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Seyed Abbas Mousavi said that Deek – an Arab Christian – would be “buried” by the people of Tabriz.

“For the information of this adventurous boy: Our beloved Tabriz is known as the land of FIRSTS in Iran’s proud history. Apparently, the FIRST Evil Zionist is going to be buried by the zealous people of Tabriz, too. Never cross our red-line, ever!” Mousavi wrote on social media.

This week, Deek responded to the attack on Rushdie – author of "The Satanic Verses" – drawing comparisons between the two incidents.

In 1989, Iran’s former Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, an Islamic legal decree, against Rushdie saying his book insulted Muslims and Islam. The fatwa condemned Rushdie to death, as well as his editors and publishers, and called on Muslims everywhere to execute the fatwa. The decree offered a reward of several million dollars for Rushdie’s murder, and offered the designation of martyrdom to any Muslim killed while carrying out the deed. 

“You can imagine my thoughts when I heard author Salman Rushdie was stabbed before a speech. Iran also said that he had crossed a red line. Iran also threatened him with death,” Deek began.

“A terrorist just tried to murder him in broad daylight. So, you can imagine why this feels a bit personal for me. As someone who, only weeks ago, was directly threatened by an Iranian official, I urge you in the strongest possible terms: Take the threats of this murderous regime seriously.” 

“Don’t let it intimidate you, but do not dismiss them even for a single second,” the Israeli ambassador stated on the video. “They threaten to kill atheists, activists and anyone who disagrees with them. They threaten to spread terrorism throughout the world.” 

“They threaten to destroy Israel, democracy and our freedom. They mean it. Just ask Salman Rushdie. Let’s make sure this is the last stabbing in the name of medieval hatred,” he said. “How? By making sure everyone, everywhere, knows his name. By standing together and confronting Iranian terrorism wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head.”

Iran regularly threatens expat activists and others who somehow insult the regime or Islam. For example, Iranian-American journalist and activist Masih Alinejad who fled to the United States in 2009 and regularly speaks against Iran’s Islamic regime, has been the subject of a kidnapping and murder attempt.

Alinejad spoke out recently about these threats by Iran. After man with an assault rifle was arrested by the FBI near her Brooklyn home recently, she said she believes the Iranian regime had sent the man to kill her.

“I don’t know anything about the person, but I know the Islamic Republic. I know that my first enemy is the Islamic Republic,” Alinejad said. “Imagine if the guy had opened fire. Who knows how many of my neighbors would have been killed?”

ALL ARAB NEWS also reported about the kidnapping of Jamshid Sharmahd, an Iranian exile living in the United States who was abducted in Dubai in 2020. He now faces the death penalty in Iran.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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