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September 30, 2013 3:10 pm

Middle East Institute: No Evidence for Obama Claim of Iranian Fatwa Against Nuclear Weapons

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The Arak IR-40 heavy water reactor in Iran. Photo: Nanking2012/Wikimedia Commons. There is no evidence documenting the claim by U.S. President Barack Obama that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa, or religious edict, against the development of nuclear weapons, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“I do believe that there is a basis for resolution. Iran’s supreme leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons,” Obama said during a White House press conference on Sept. 27, following a call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

But MEMRI, in a report issued Sept. 30, said that it has never found evidence confirming the fatwa.

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“MEMRI has conducted in-depth research with regard to this ‘fatwa’ and has published reports demonstrating that it is a fiction,” MEMRI said.

MEMRI claims that the fatwa is an eight-year-old hoax perpetrated by Iranian diplomats and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Iranian regime officials’ presentation of statements on nuclear weapons attributed to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as a fatwa, or religious edict, when no such fatwa existed or was issued by him, is a propaganda effort to propose to the West a religiously valid substitute for concrete guarantees of inspectors’ access to Iran’s nuclear facilities,” MEMRI wrote in a previous report in April 2012.

This past July, MEMRI issued a detailed list documenting 493 fatwas by Ayatollah Khamenei dating back to 2004.

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