When President Trump just days ago said the U.S. has no interest in regime change in Iran but does not want the rogue Islamic regime to have nuclear weapons, one Iranian official trotted out a claim that has been around for years.
He said Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued a “fatwa,” or a ban, on such weapons.
But the analysts at the Middle East Media Research Institute pointed out in a report this week that such a ban never existed.
It was Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who claimed there was such a fatwa.
On Twitter he said, “Ayatolla @khamenei-ir long ago said we’re not seeking nuclear weapons – by issuing a fatwa (edict) banning them.”
MEMRI said Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri also made such a claim during a visit this week to a Tehran exhibition.
“The Supreme Leader of the Revolution [Khamenei] issued a fatwa and also a regime edict according to which there is a religious ban on possessing nuclear weapons. We published this as a document at the U.N.,” he said.
But that “document” is a letter by Cyrus Nasseri, Iran’s representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency to the August 2005 IAEA board meeting, MEMRI said.
“The letter reported that such a fatwa had been issued by Khamenei. However, this document is not the fatwa; the fatwa itself is not to be found anywhere,” said MEMRI.
“Iranian President Hassan Rohani himself stated in a May 2012 interview that he had come up with the idea to say that Khamenei had issued such a fatwa in a November 2004 Friday sermon. However, no such fatwa can be found on Khamenei’s fatwa website, neither in November 2004 nor on any other date. Rohani’s initiative was aimed, he said, at presenting this to the Europeans as a guarantee that Iran would not strive for nuclear weapons.
“As MEMRI has shown in numerous past reports, no such fatwa has ever existed. Iran’s claiming that there is such a fatwa – in an attempt to use it as a substitute for intrusive oversight apparatuses – was promoted by the Obama administration, even though no one could produce the fatwa. In fact, in 2012, U.S. media reported that the Obama administration had used this nonexistent fatwa as justification for reviving nuclear negotiations with Iran. For example, on May 11, 2012 in The Washington Post, David Ignatius wrote that President Obama had sent a message to Khamenei, delivered in March 2012 by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that his ‘fatwa banning nuclear weapons would be a good starting point for negotiations.'”
Further, in an apparent response to President Trump’s statements, Khamenei addressed the issue of producing nuclear weapons but made no mention of a fatwa.
“Our scientific and technical capabilities in the nuclear field are high, yet we are not striving for nuclear weapons,” he said. “Not because of America, not because of the sanctions, but on principles. Our rational principle does not permit weapons of mass destruction such as chemical or nuclear weapons and the like. These are religious bans. Some told us: ‘Say that they will be produced but not used.’ No, because this too is a mistake. Because if we produce [nuclear weapons], it means that we will not benefit from it, even though we will have spent a great deal on it. Even for the other side, when it knows we are not expected to use it, it is as if we have nothing. Thus, producing [nuclear weapons] when [from the outset] we do not intend to use them is absolutely illogical and unwise. Therefore, we oppose it in principle. This is our religious and jurisprudent principle. We do not seek to obtain nuclear weapons – but we do need to enrich [uranium].”
Regarding the claimed ban on nuclear weapons, MEMRI argued that Islamic Pakistan already has developed them.
In fact, Iran previously developed components for nukes, and “all the talk by the Iranian regime and the Obama administration about a fatwa that guaranteed that Iran would not develop nuclear weapons was groundless.”