State-run Iranian media outlets have raised $600,000 to add to the bounty for the killing of British author Salman Rushdie, according to reports from the semi-official Fars news agency. This is biggest increase in the bounty since its inception 27 years ago. The latest hike reportedly brings the total award close to $4 million.
The fatwa against Rushdie was announced in 1989 after he published "The Satanic Verses," a book deemed blasphemous by Iran's former supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The announcement sparked an international outcry and resulted in the breaking of diplomatic relations between Iran and the U.K. for almost a decade. Rushdie has lived in semi-seclusion under the protection of bodyguards ever since.
Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami said in 1998 the fatwa, or religious pronouncement, was "finished" but it has never been officially lifted.
Iranian organizations usually mark the anniversary of the Rushdie fatwa with symbolic gestures.