The Fantasy of the Ayatollah’s Anti-Nuclear Fatwa

July 22 2022

In a 2015 speech in the Rose Garden announcing a breakthrough in nuclear negotiations with Iran, then-president Barack Obama stated that “Iran’s supreme leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons.” The same religious ruling has been cited by numerous advocates for compromise with the Islamic Republic for over a decade, and on Wednesday it was mentioned by a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry. Ruthie Blum comments:

The fatwa in question, which Iran yammered about for years until supposedly publishing its text in 2010, is a hoax. The propaganda about it was used by Iranian figures as a tool to prove to the administration of then-U.S. president . . . Barack Obama that Tehran’s intentions were honorable. It was thus music to Washington’s ears, and nobody at the White House or State Department bothered to find out whether or not it was true.

[A]t this stage, even delusional American diplomats appear to have stopped grasping at that particular straw. . . . Naturally, this hasn’t kept Iranian officials from invoking the phony fatwa every time one or another of them brags about Tehran’s military prowess. It’s their default maneuver and one that media outlets can’t resist highlighting.

It’s silly, really, since those who refer to the Islamic decree always say in the same breath that it will be moot the moment that Iran decides to violate it. This is precisely what the former Iranian deputy foreign minister Mohammad-Javad Larijani did on Sunday in an interview on Iranian TV. “Naturally, according to the [supreme] leader’s fatwa, we are religiously forbidden from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, and this includes nuclear weapons,” he stated. “Nevertheless, if we ever want to do this, nobody will be able to stop us, of course. They themselves know this.”

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Barack Obama, Iran nuclear program, U.S. Foreign policy

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism