PEN America today released a statement condemning renewed threats against Salman Rushdie 27 years after Ayatollah Khomenei’s 1989 fatwa against him.

“Periodically there are attempts to draw new attention to the threats against Rushdie by those who want to capitalize on old passions to win new political gains,” said Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of PEN America. “But these threats have proven no match for Salman Rushdie’s will to write, speak, and rise to the defense of other targeted writers. At a moment when they seek rapprochement with the world, Iran’s leaders must be pushed to make clear that such rhetoric has no place in their country.”

Read the full statement below.

PEN America, joined by PEN International and English PEN, deplores the effort at intimidation mounted by 40 state-run media outlets in Iran that have announced a $600,000 bounty put forward this week to augment Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1989 death fatwa on the writer Salman Rushdie. The specter of a new financial reward being added to this longstanding threat is a craven attempt to fan the flames of religious extremism and hatred.

Rushdie—a former President of PEN America, United States resident, and citizen of the United Kingdom—has lived for 27 years under a religious death warrant because of his novel The Satanic Verses. Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa led to the killing of a Japanese translator of the book, as well as other violent attacks. In spite of the threat, Rushdie’s outspokenness and passionate defense of imperiled writers the world over stand as an inspiration, providing a daily reminder of what is at stake in safeguarding free thought.

We call on Western governments that are now expanding relations with Tehran to insist that the Iranian government nullify its threat and bounty, disavow the fatwa once and for all, and uphold its international obligations to protect free expression.