During his annual statement marking the Persian new year, President Obama referred to the Iran Supreme Leader's Fatwa about producing a nuclear bomb:
"Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons, and President Rouhani has said that Iran would never develop a nuclear weapon."It's a nice thought and not the first time Obama has referenced the fatwa. Too bad the Supreme leader never issued the rule.
Supreme Leader Khamenei has never issued such a fatwa, and no one has been able to produce one. The tale about Khamenei's anti-nuke fatwa has been used by the Iranian regime and its spokesmen for several years. In fact each time the Fatwa was mentioned, it was given a different year of issue (some of the years given include 2005, 2007, and 2012) but the actual "fatwa" was never presented.
Of course President Obama is the first president to fall for the bull story. Even former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton fell for it:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton clarified that she had discussed the fatwa with "experts and religious scholars" and also with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. At the NATO conference in Norfolk, VA, in early April, she stated: "The other interesting development which you may have followed was the repetition by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei that they would – that he had issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons, against weapons of mass destruction. Prime Minister Erdogan and I discussed this at some length, and I’ve discussed with a number of experts and religious scholars. And if it is indeed a statement of principle, of values, then it is a starting point for being operationalized, which means that it serves as the entryway into a negotiation as to how you demonstrate that it is indeed a sincere, authentic statement of conviction [emphasis added]. So we will test that as well.
Some people point to a 2006 speech by Supreme Leader Khamenei as evidence of his fatwa against nuclear weapons. But in the speech Khamenei denied Iran is developing nuclear weapons, saying "any benefit would not be worth the cost," according to a translation from Farsi. The reason he cites, however, is not religious or God's law, but international pressure and he does not issue a Prohibition.
The organization MEMRI has research with regard to this "fatwa" and has published reports demonstrating that it is a falsehood. One of the best examples provided from MEMRI comes from the Ayatollah himself:
Khamenei's websites post fatwas issued by him in response to questions submitted to him. Online submission of questions is an accepted and official means; all his websites offer readers options for doing so. Fatwas are issued by jurisprudents in standard question-and-answer format, and are published publicly in writing. They can also include the reasoning behind them, but not always. Today, fatwas are generally concise and limited to a yes or no answer – but always in question-and-answer form, including a summary by the jurisprudent, as follows: "I was asked a question on a certain matter. My answer is such and such." This can be seen in the following.In August 2013 MEMRI published a list of Fatwas By Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei –Originally published On July 30, 2013 by "the Iranian Tasnimnews website, which is close to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), published a compilation of 493 of the "newest" fatwas issued by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. These fatwas cover a wide range of issues, from political and cultural to religious, and include such topics as the treatment of Baha'is, trade with Israeli companies, religious purity and uncleanness, the status of women, and more. A fatwa by Khamenei and that the development, possession, or use of a nuclear bomb, is not included in this compilation. "The conspicuous absence of such a fatwa by Khamenei from such a compilation confirms MEMRI's argument that it does not exist."
On March 15, 2012, the following question on the possession and use of nuclear weapons and referring to the alleged fatwa was submitted to Supreme Leader Khamenei, via Facebook, by a group called The Light of Freedom (Cheragh-e Azadi):
"Q: Your Excellency has announced a ban on the use of nuclear weapons, and considering that nuclear weapons are a requirement for deterrence and that the aim of obtaining them is to intimidate the enemies in order to prevent them from acting aggressively, and in light of what is written in Surat Al-Anfal, Verse 60... is it also forbidden to obtain nuclear weapons, as per your ruling that their use is prohibited?
"A: Your letter has no jurisprudential aspect. When it has a jurisprudent position, then it will be possible to answer it.
"Summary: No answer was given."
In March 2014 Iranian ex-pat and award winning journalist Amir Taheri wrote:
When lobbying to prevent further sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, US President Barack Obama often refers to a fatwa, an Islamic religious opinion. According to Obama, the fatwa supposedly issued by “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei, confirms Tehran’s claims that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful. Obama does not quote the text of the mysterious fatwa, nor does he tell us where and when he saw it.
The trouble is that no one has actually seen the fatwa, although many people comment on it. In a bizarre twist, some mullahs even quote Obama as the source that confirms the existence of the fatwa. “Our Supreme Guide has issued a fatwa against the use of nuclear weapons, as confirmed by the President of the United States,” Ayatollah Mahmoud Yussefwand told the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) last week.
In other words a Fatwa is worth the paper it is printed on and it hasn't been printed anywhere. Truth is to date no fatwa issued against nuclear weapons. But that hasn't stopped Barack Obama claiming there was one, after all it helps his objective of signing a deal with Iran, no matter how lousy it may be.