Iran’s Nuclear Fatwa

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Farhad Shahabi Sirjani, PhD in International Relations, University of Kent


In 2012, alongside the negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, special media attention was paid to a Fatwa (religious decree) issued by Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, banning all weapons of mass destruction (WMD), nuclear weapons in particular.  This study addresses some misunderstandings and erroneous claims, about the Fatwa. Its aim is to provide accurate and clear information and to investigate why the Fatwa was issued, its importance, credibility, relevance and relationship to international law. The latter is achieved through examining the Fatwa's legal concordance with international principles regarding nuclear weapons non-proliferation and disarmament, as embodied in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  In addition to providing sources and texts of the Fatwa, the study pays special attention to its logical consistency and solid historical roots. The Fatwa elaborates and confirms Iran’s commitment regarding WMD ban, on the one hand, and Iran's insistence on its NPT right to peaceful uses of nuclear technology, on the other. It is concluded that the commitment undertaken by Iran via the Fatwa, is, in some important respects, more comprehensive and more long-lasting than that Iran has undertaken under the NPT.

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Keywords: Iran's Nuclear Fatwa, Islam, WMD, NPT, Peaceful Nuclear Technology, Discrimination, Confrontation, Shahabi Sirjani

Source: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs - IRFA

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