Before the Iranian revolution, Mozaffari had been head of the Department of International Relations at Tehran University; now he lives in distant Denmark. Though presented as a general study of fatwas (non-binding opinions about matters of Islamic law), this book is to a great extent an expression of the author's (understandable) anger at Khomeini and his acolytes for the destruction, disrepute, and violence they have brought to his native land. In a meandering presentation, he shows how they turned Shi'ism from a quietest tradition to a radicalized one, how Khomeini himself had a "necrophiliac" personality, and so forth. The title of the book should be something like "The Iranian Revolution: Reflections from Exile."
One topic, however, stands out: Mozaffari's discussion of the edict Khomeini issued against Salman Rushdie, in which he convincingly argues that Khomeini did not see this pronouncement as a fatwa (he made only one glancing reference to it as such) and in fact, the edict in many ways does not fit the mold of a fatwa: it was not in response to a question, it was not handwritten, it was neither signed nor sealed, and as his country's ruler, Khomeini was specifically disbarred from issuing a fatwa. Mozaffari notes that in news accounts the next day, the Iranian media referred to Khomeini's "message" (payam) and states that "nobody in Iran used the term 'fatwa' for Khomeini's sentence." It was, he holds, two French scholars of Islam, Olivier Roy and Gilles Kepel, who came up with the term fatwa, which then others picked up.
Mozaffari then shows that Khomeini "broke his own rules" in calling for Rushdie's death and concludes that the edict had no legal standing even within Iran; "His decree was null and void from the moment it was published."