IranWire understands that Ataollah Mohajerani, an Iranian ex-Minister of Culture who wrote a book promoting the 1989 fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini to murder Salman Rushdie, is looking for a lawyer after facing a torrent of accusations.
Sources close to the former government official told IranWire that since the attack on Salman Rushdie in New York last Friday, Mohajerani has been consulting on a possible return to Iran but has yet to receive an answer from the office of the Supreme Leader.
In the past few years, Gholamhossein Karbaschi, a former mayor of Tehran, and Mohammad Atrianfar, a journalist and politician, have been advocating for Mohajerani's return.
However, a source added, Mohajerani and family are also worried that he may have to "pay a fine" or "lose his British citizenship" in relation to the content of his book, A Critique of the Satanic Verses Conspiracy, in which he declared Rushdie to be an "inherent apostate" who could be killed according to Islamic jurisprudence.
As IranWire reported on Tuesday, Iranian human rights advocates in the UK have expressed the intent to file a criminal complaint against Mohajerani. The lawyer Kaveh Moussavi told IranWire he believed the text could amount to incitement to murder.
Two translators and an editor who worked on The Satanic Verses have also been killed by fanatics inspired by the fatwa since its publication. The actual punishment for incitement to murder in the UK, if applicable and proven, is a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
Mohajerani has responded to criticism of his book in a series of tweets, in which he stood by the content, saying the royalties he had earned from its 30 editions were "legitimate and sweet" and he was thinking about how to introduce the 31st.
He also described any court case in London as "a golden opportunity", and in a follow-up tweet on Tuesday, wrote: "I am serious. I will turn the court into the trial of Salman Rushdie and Satanic Verses."