NICOSIA, CYPRUS, DEC. 25 -- A hard-line Tehran newspaper today rejected Salman Rushdie's efforts to end Moslem anger over his novel "The Satanic Verses." It said the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's death edict against the British author still stands.

Rushdie issued a statement Monday embracing Islam and stating that he will not allow the book to be published in paperback. He also pledged that he would no longer seek to have it published in other languages.

The novel has sold more than 1 million copies in English and has been translated into 15 languages. The book is banned in 20 countries.

The Abrar daily said in an editorial that "Khomeini's historic edict on Rushdie is irrevocable even if he {Rushdie} repents."

In February 1989, the Iranian fundamentalist patriarch called on Moslems to seek out and kill Rushdie for allegedly blaspheming Islam in "The Satanic Verses." Iran subsequently offered a $1 million bounty for Rushdie's death.

Rushdie has been in hiding ever since.

The author announced his concessions to Moslems in a statement released in London by one of several Islamic leaders with whom he met in secret on Monday.

Hesham Essawy, president of the Islamic Society for the Promotion of Religious Tolerance, said Rushdie had typed the statement himself.

Essawy said Rushdie, who was born to a Moslem family in India and had previously said he did not consider himself a religious Moslem, now had "a clean slate" with the world's estimated 1 billion Moslems.

But Abrar dismissed Rushdie's efforts as part of "propaganda maneuvers by the British government aimed at bringing Rushdie out of isolation and making Moslems neglect" Khomeini's edict.

Although Essawy said that he and two other prominent Moslem scholars met with Rushdie, the newspaper said that "no British Moslem leader ... could confirm any such meeting."

Iran severed relations with Britain over the Rushdie affair, accusing the London government of defaming Islam by allowing "The Satanic Verses" to be published.

Relations were resumed Sept. 27 after British officials conceded that Rushdie's book offended Moslems and that London had no wish to offend Islam.

The resumption of relations came amid efforts by Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani, leader of his country's so-called pragmatists, to build bridges with the West following the June 1989 death of Khomeini.

The Iranians have not rescinded Khomeini's death sentence on Rushdie, saying it is a religious edict that cannot be revoked. But Rafsanjani and his supporters have indicated they are prepared to allow the decree to lapse.

Rushdie said in a telephone hookup with a news conference Monday that it is up to Iranian leaders to decide whether to withdraw the death sentence. But he added, "I feel a lot safer tonight than I felt yesterday."

Many Moslems worldwide object to Rushdie's use of the names of the Prophet Mohammed's wives for the prostitutes in his novel and the implication that Mohammed wrote the Koran, Islam's holy book, instead of receiving it from God.

Some Moslem leaders in Britain were not satisfied with Rushdie's concessions, demanding that hardcover editions of "The Satanic Verses" be removed from bookstore shelves.

Sher Azam of the Council for Mosques in Bradford in northern England, where the book had been publicly burned, said:

"Until the book is completely removed, our campaign goes on."