The Myth of Iran’s Anti-Nuclear “Fatwa” Returns

March 24 2021

Last month, mainstream American news outlets reported that Ali Khamenei, the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader, had issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, in the 1990s forbidding the production of nuclear weapons. The reports, based on a recent statement by the Iranian intelligence minister, are nothing new: mention of the fatwa has appeared in Western media for years, and it has been cited by policymakers and analysts as evidence that the deeply religious regime has no intention of putting its nuclear program to military use. But the problem with this line of reasoning, writes Sean Durns, is that no such fatwa exists:

Iran’s spy chief, [by citing the supposed ruling], is . . . engaged in a longstanding, and recently renewed, disinformation campaign. . . . Tehran has long used claims of a nuclear fatwa as part of its propaganda. . . . In his September 24, 2013, remarks before the UN General Assembly, then-President Barack Obama said, “The supreme leader has developed a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons.” Both Hillary Clinton and John Kerry echoed Obama’s remarks.

In April 2010, Khamenei wrote a letter to the Tehran International Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation referring to nuclear weapons as prohibited. But this is not a fatwa. . . . Since 2004, Iran has published hundreds of newly issued fatwas online. They run the gamut from political to religious and cultural issues, addressing subjects as varied as dancing to taking medicine that contains alcohol. No fatwa against nuclear weapons has surfaced.

Although there isn’t any evidence of an Iranian nuclear fatwa, there is growing evidence of Iran’s nuclear activity.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Ali Khamenei, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Iran nuclear program, John Kerry

Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?

Sept. 26 2023

The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:

The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.

Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy