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Renowned British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie spoke at the opening press conference of the Frankfurt Book Fair, on Tuesday. Rushdie said that publishing "is starting to feel like a war," as he addressed issues of freedom of speech for writers today. "Writers are not warriors, we have no guns, we have no tanks but it falls to us - I think - to hold the line, not withdraw from our positions but to understand that this is a position from which we cannot fall back," added Rushdie. The writer also took aim at "tyrants" trying to control culture, stating "if you believe on a single vision of the truth… then people offering diverse visions of the truth become your enemies." His appearance at the fair comes amid controversy as the Iranian government cancelled its attendance at the festival. The Islamic Republic cited Rushdie's alleged blasphemy in his 1989 novel "The Satanic Verses" as the reason for their cancellation. In the book Rushdie depicted the Muslim prophet Mohammed, an act which led to the writer being the target of a religious edict or fatwa calling for his killing by the then Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The Iranian government ceased their support in 1998. Juergen Boos, the Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, declared his disappointment with Iran's "boycott," calling it "another missed opportunity to cooperate with our Iranian colleagues."
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