Mossad 'likely' behind Salman Rushdie stabbing, claims Denver professor

Nader Hashemi, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, said Rushdie's attacker may have been convinced to commit the attack by a Mossad agent.

 Author Salman Rushdie gestures during a news conference before the presentation of his latest book 'Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights' at the Niemeyer Center in Aviles, northern Spain, October 7, 2015.  (photo credit: REUTERS/ELOY ALONSO)
Author Salman Rushdie gestures during a news conference before the presentation of his latest book 'Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights' at the Niemeyer Center in Aviles, northern Spain, October 7, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ELOY ALONSO)

The stabbing of novelist Salman Rushdie last week may have been orchestrated by the Mossad, suggested Nader Hashemi, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, in a Saturday interview with Negar Mortazavi, host of the Iran Podcast.

Questioning the timing of the attack, Hashemi highlighted what he believed to be two possible explanations.

Did Iran try to assassinate Salman Rushdie?

Hashemi said that one possibility is that Iran wanted to take vengeance on the United States for the 2020 assassination of IRGC general Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike at Baghdad Airport.

"So one possible explanation," he said, "could be that after the assassination of Iran's top general in January 2020, Qassem Soleimani, Iran was looking to retaliate. And the Department of Justice, a few days before the attack on Salman Rushdie, announced that the Iranian [Islamic] Revolutionary Guard Corps were seeking to assassinate Mike Pompeo and John Bolton. So this could be one possible explanation. They couldn't go after Pompeo and Bolton, in other words, the IRGC couldn't go after those high-value targets so they chose a soft target such as Salman Rushdie. Perhaps, possibly, we don't know."

Was Israel's Mossad behind the stabbing of Salman Rushdie?

Another possibility, Hashemi said, adding that he believes this is more likely, is that Rushdie's attacker, Hadi Matar, had been convinced to commit the attack by a Mossad agent masquerading as an IRGC operative or supporter.

 A New Jersey police officer and a plain-clothed police officer exit the building where alleged attacker of Salman Rushdie, Hadi Matar, lives in Fairview, New Jersey, US, August 12, 2022. (credit: EDUARDO MUNOZ / REUTERS) A New Jersey police officer and a plain-clothed police officer exit the building where alleged attacker of Salman Rushdie, Hadi Matar, lives in Fairview, New Jersey, US, August 12, 2022. (credit: EDUARDO MUNOZ / REUTERS)

"That so-called person online claiming to be affiliated with the Islamic Republic of Iran could've been a Mossad operative."

Nader Hashemi, Director, Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver

"The other possibility, which I actually think is much more likely, is that this young kid Hadi Matar was in communication with someone online who claimed to be an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps member or supporter and lured him into attacking Salman Rushdie and that so-called person online claiming to be affiliated with the Islamic Republic of Iran could've been a Mossad operative."

Why would the Mossad attack Rushdie?

Hashemi went on to suggest that Israel's motive for carrying out a false flag operation would be to galvanize opposition to the ongoing efforts of world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement.

"Israel has taken a very strong position against reviving the Iran nuclear agreement," he said. "We were in very sensitive negotiations, like an agreement was imminent, and then the attack on Salman Rushdie takes place. I think that's one possible interpretation and scenario that could explain the timing of this at this moment during these sensitive political discussions related to Iran's nuclear program."