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Iran pulls out of Frankfurt Book Fair over Sir Salman Rushdie appearance

The Iranian government has cancelled plans for a national stand at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair to protest over a planned appearance by British author Sir Salman Rushdie.

Sir Salman is due to appear at a news conference on Tuesday ahead of the annual fair's opening.

The author spent years in hiding with heavy security after his novel The Satanic Verses drew a death edict from Iran's religious authorities.

Fair director Juergen Boos said that he regrets the cancellation by Iran's culture ministry and hopes this year's absence of an Iranian national stand will only be "a short interruption".

But he added that free speech "is not negotiable".

Book fair organisers said a few Iranian publishers are still expected at this year's event.

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