Friday, September 25, 1998 Published at 07:49 GMT 08:49 UK
Rushdie enjoys 'freedom'
Salman Rushdie, with the offending novel
Salman Rushdie holds a news conference at 1300 BST/1200 GMT.
The author of the controversial book The Satanic Verses has welcomed a statement issued by Iran distancing itself from the Islamic fatwa issued against him.
Mr Rushdie and a senior member of the UK Goverment are due to hold a news conference in London later.
Full diplomatic relations are being restored between Iran and the UK following the rift over his novel.
"Now that is a breakthrough. It is much the clearest statement we've had from the government of Iran. It makes it perfectly clear they want nothing to do with any threat to Salman Rushdie."
It means freedom - Rushdie
Following the announcement, Mr Rushdie expressed his relief, saying: "It means everything - it means freedom.
"After 10 years an extraordinary thing has been achieved," Mr Rushdie said.
Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said after a meeting in New York with Mr Cook: "The Iranian Government dissociates itself from any reward which has been offered in this regard and does not support it."
Mr Cook said he was delighted to re-open diplomatic relations.
"These assurances should make possible a much more constructive relationship between the United Kingdom, and I believe the European Union, with Iran and the opening of a new chapter in our relations."
However, Dr Kharrazi's comments stopped short of lifting Iran's death sentence on Mr Rushdie.
Dr Kharrazi said Mr Rushdie was still guilty of blasphemous abuse of their religion.
Iranian officials say they are powerless to lift Khomeini's fatwa, saying it could have been lifted only by the revolutionary leader himself.
Fatwa 'cannot be withdrawn'
In Britain many Muslims agree the fatwa can never be withdrawn.
Assessments of the level of protection he needs will continue to be done an official said.
Dr Ghayasuddin Sidiqui, leader of the self-styled Muslim parliament, said Mr Rushdie was still in danger from Islamic extremists, even if relations between the UK and Iran have improved.
He said: "I don't think the Iranian Government can do anything at all.
"They can make promises, but that is all they can do."
Iran has been trying to change its foreign policy ever since Mohammad Khatami, a moderate cleric, took over as president in August 1997.