Between 1995 and 2005 there were numerous reports and statements that Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, had issued a Fatwa–religious decree–that nuclear weapons were forbidden–haram! This is part of the text from his official Fatwa page, conveniently translated by the Iranians for English-language readers.
We believe that besides nuclear weapons, other types of weapons of mass destruction such as chemical and biological weapons also pose a serious threat to humanity. The Iranian nation which is itself a victim of chemical weapons feels more than any other nation the danger that is caused by the production and stockpiling of such weapons and is prepared to make use of all its facilities to counter such threats. We consider the use of such weapons as haraam and believe that it is everyone’s duty to make efforts to secure humanity against this great disaster.
Here is another citation, stating the same thing, from the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
“The Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued the Fatwa that the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who took office just recently, in his inaugural address reiterated that his government is against weapons of mass destruction and will only pursue nuclear activities in the peaceful domain. The leadership of Iran has pledged at the highest level that Iran will remain a non-nuclear-weapon state party to the NPT and has placed the entire scope of its nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards and additional protocol, in addition to undertaking voluntary transparency measures with the agency that have even gone beyond the requirements of the agency’s safeguard system.
If we assume that Iran’s Supreme Leader (and BMW distributor) is an honest religious leader, whose Fatwas reflect statements of the truth, then there was no need for any diplomatic agreement with Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. If the development of such weapons was haram, then there was no need to constrain Iranian weaponized nuclear development. No agreement reached between Iran and assorted other states could possibly have more importance than a Fatwa from Shia Islam’s Supreme Leader! So why bother trying to negotiate JCPOA?
That effort only makes sense if you believe that Khamenei is also Iran’s Supreme Liar! And, apparently, that is what George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama, and John Kerry believed!
It’s interesting that now that Trump has withdrawn from JCPOA, the Iranians are threatening the world with a resumption of a nuclear program that, at the time, they claimed did not exist because it was judged haram by a Fatwa from the Supreme Leader.
In other words, Trump’s action to withdraw should only worry you if you are convinced that Iran’s Supreme Leader is also a big-time liar, who Fatwas cannot even be trusted to be true. So why cut a deal with this guy? If his Fatwas are examples of blatant dishonesty, why trust him to live up to any other promise he’s made?