May 6, 2018 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1394

Insights Following Exposure Of Iran's Military Nuclear Program – Part I: The Leadership Of Iran's Religious Regime Lies About Essential Islamic Matters, Manipulates Religion To Justify Its Grip On Power, Regional Expansion

May 6, 2018 | By Yigal Carmon and A. Savyon*
Iran | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1394

Ever since suspicions arose in 2002 that Iran has a military nuclear program – when the Mujahideen Khalq organization exposed that Iran was secretly enriching uranium without the consent or knowledge of the IAEA – the Iranian regime leaders, from both the ideological camp and the pragmatic one, have been vehemently denying these suspicions, declaring that Iran does not have, never had and never will have a military nuclear program. They stressed that this is because nuclear weapons are banned by Islam, emphasizing that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has even issued a religious ruling (fatwa) prohibiting the development, manufacture, possession and use of such weapons.[1]

U.S. president Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, John Kerry, bought this religious Iranian claim regarding Khamenei's fatwa, and presented it as an internal Iranian religious infrastructure that justified their diplomatic measure of making the agreement with Iran. Western researchers of Iran and of Shi'ite Islam likewise accepted the lie and legitimized the Obama administration's diplomatic move.

MEMRI was the only research institute that claimed, in a series of documents, that this fatwa had never been issued and that all the Iranian leaders' statements to this effect were a lie (see below).

Israel's exposure of Iran's military nuclear program reveals that:

1. All the Iranian regime officials who claimed that Islam bans the development, manufacture and use of nuclear weapons lied and continue to lie in this matter.

2. All the statements about a fatwa that bans this are a lie.

3. The Iranian regime officials have never hesitated to lie about matters that pertain to the tenets of the Islamic faith in order to promote Iran's military program unhindered.

4. In so doing, they degraded the status of Islam in the Islamic Revolution regime, which relies on the religious authority of the jurisprudent: Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

5. For the Islamic Revolution regime, the goal of obtaining nuclear weapons supersedes any religious value, and therefore any Western attitude which regards the Iranian regime as motivated by religious values is misguided. The Iranian regime exploits the religion in a manipulative manner to consolidate its grip on Iran and the region, as exemplified by its claim that its presence in Syria is motivated by the need to protect the Shi'ite holy sites there.

The following is a list of MEMRI reports on the issue of the fatwa:     

Inquiry & Analysis No. 825, Renewed Iran-West Nuclear Talks - Part II: Tehran Attempts to Deceive U.S. President Obama, Sec'y of State Clinton With Nonexistent Anti-Nuclear Weapons Fatwa By Supreme Leader Khamenei, April 19, 2012.

Special Dispatch No. 5406, Release Of Compilation Of Newest Fatwas By Iran

Supreme Leader Khamenei - Without Alleged Fatwa About Nuclear Bomb, August 13, 2013.

Special Dispatch No. 5461, President Obama Endorses The Lie About Khamenei's 'Fatwa' Against Nuclear Arms, September 29, 2013.

Inquiry & Analysis No.1022, The Official Iranian Version Regarding Khamenei's Alleged Anti-Nuclear Weapons Fatwa Is A Lie, October 3, 2013.

Special Dispatch No. 5574, Iranian President Hassan Rohani In Article In Saudi Daily: While Avoiding Confrontation And Hostility, We Shall Be Diligent In Pursuing Our Supreme Interests, December 23, 2013.

Special Dispatch No. 5681, Prominent Iranian Analyst, Author, And Columnist Amir Taheri: Nobody Has Actually Seen Khamenei's Anti-Nuclear Fatwa, Which Obama Often Quotes,  March 17, 2014.

Inquiry & Analysis No. 1080, U.S. Secretary Of State Kerry In New And Unprecedented Statement: 'President Obama And I Are Both Extremely Welcoming And Grateful For The Fact That [Iranian] Supreme Leader [Khamenei] Has Issued A [Nonexistent] Fatwa' Banning Nuclear Weapons,  April 19, 2014

Special Dispatch No. 5881, Tehran Again Offers Khamenei's Nonexistent Fatwa In Negotiations As A Guarantee That It Is Not Developing Nuclear Weapons, November 14, 2014.

Inquiry & Analysis No.1151, Iranian Regime Continues Its Lies And Fabrications About Supreme Leader Khamenei's Nonexistent Fatwa Banning Nuclear Weapons, April 6, 2015.

* Y. Carmon is the President and Founder of MEMRI; A. Savyon is Director of MEMRI's Iran media project.


[1] This claim is fundamentally groundless, since the Islamic Pakistan developed nuclear weapons, and it was the Pakistani nuclear scientist 'Abdul Qadeer Khan who provided Iran with the initial knowhow in this field.



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