Iran’s supreme leader never issued an Islamic legal ruling banning nuclear weapons, contrary to claims by President Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry, according to the Middle East Research Institute.
The Washington-based organization – which translates documents from Arabic, Persian and other languages into English – found no evidence of an anti-nuclear “fatwa” by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei after an extensive search of Iranian records.
MEMRI has bluntly accused Obama of spreading a "lie" by promoting a nonexistent ruling.
The group claims Iran has refused to provide specifics about the date of the fatwa or its actual language. At various points, the regime has said the fatwa was issued as 2005, 2007, and 2012, the institute reported.
Iranian exile Amir Taheri writes that when lobbying to prevent further sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, Obama refers to the “fatwa” but never quotes the supposed text.
Taheri – a prominent analyst and author who edited the Iranian Daily Kayhan before the 1979 revolution – says Obama should consider the possibility “that the famous fatwa does not exist or is couched in the style of obfuscation that would open it to countless interpretations. The least that Obama can do is to see the fatwa that he is defending.”
Kerry most recently praised the elusive fatwa in a March 20 interview with the Voice of America commemorating the Persian New Year.
“We have great respect for what it means,” he said. “And … the trick – the art, the requirement here is to translate the fatwa into a legally binding, globally recognized, international understanding. And so I hope that’s achievable. And I think it’s a good starting place. And President Obama and I both are extremely welcoming and grateful for the fact that the supreme leader has issued a fatwa” declaring nuclear weapons unacceptable.
Obama applauded the ruling in a September 2013 address to the U.N. General Assembly, when he praised Khamenei for “issu[ing] a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons.”
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