Originally posted by zeeblebot
Iran is not known to possess weapons of mass destruction, and has signed treaties repudiating possession of them, including the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Over 100,000 Iranian troops and civilian ...[text shortened]... lear weapons has been issued by the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic Ali Khamenei.
Iran's Hard-Liners Look To Justify A Nuclear Arsenal
''Taqiyyeh, anyone?'' Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (left) and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (center) in Tehran on February 25
February 26, 2010
By Hossein Aryan
During the commissioning ceremony for Iran's first domestically built destroyer earlier this month, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denied that Iran seeks to possess nuclear weapons. He said that weapons of mass destruction are haram, or forbidden by Islam, in the Islamic republic.
The comments came just one day after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that Iran might be working on a nuclear warhead and suggested for the first time that Tehran has either resumed such work or never stopped it, as U.S. intelligence agencies famously concluded it did in 2003.
Khamenei's latest remarks are not the first time he has used religious precepts to deny that Iran wants nuclear arms. In September 2004, as the IAEA Governing Council was debating Iran's nuclear program, a government spokesman announced that Khamenei had issued a fatwa banning the use of nuclear weapons.
In a political context, 'taqiyyeh' is the concealment of one's beliefs and actions in potentially hostile situations; under it, a true believer must not allow the "infidel" to know what he is up to at any given time.
Such a fatwa -- which was never published in any Iranian newspaper -- and similar statements are meant to persuade non-Muslims that Islam forbids the use of such weapons, but they carry no legal weight in Iran. In addition, Shi'ite tradition holds that only sources of emulation (marja) may issue religious rulings -- and Khamenei is not a marja. Although politically he is Iran's supreme leader, religiously he is considered a minor ayatollah.
Khamenei and many other Iranian officials have repeatedly emphasized the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program. However, in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, these official declarations appear to fall within the old tradition of dissimulation known as taqiyyeh or ketman. In a political context, taqiyyeh is the concealment of one's beliefs and actions in potentially hostile situations; under it, a true believer must not allow the "infidel" to know what he is up to at any given time.
Some Shi'ite scholars attribute this practice to Imam Hassan, the second Shi'ite imam, who concealed his right to power and ceded the caliphate to the Umayyads in order to save Islam from devastating internal strife. The contrasting practice of tabiyeh (mobilization of forces) is attributed to Iman Hussein, the third iman, who rebelled against the Umayyads to restore to power the Holy House of Ali.
In addition, Khamenei's purported fatwa and other statements that nuclear weapons are banned by Islamic teachings fly in the face of his own earlier statements as president of Iran. In February 1987, when the country was still locked in a bitter war against Iraq, Khamenei told a gathering of Iranian nuclear scientists: "Regarding atomic energy, we need it now.... Our nation has always been threatened from outside. The least we can do to face this danger is to let our enemies know that we can defend ourselves. Therefore, every step you take here is in defense of your country and your revolution. With this in mind, work hard and quickly."
In 1988, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani -- the speaker of the Majlis and commander in chief of Iran's armed forces -- was even more explicit. In a speech to soldiers, he said: "With regard to chemical, bacteriological, and radiological weapons training, it was made very clear during the [Iran-Iraq] war that these weapons are very decisive. It was also made clear that the moral teachings of the world are not very effective when war reaches a serious stage and the world does not respect its own resolutions and closes its eyes to violations and aggressions that are committed on the battlefield. We should fully equip ourselves both in the offensive and defensive use of chemical, bacteriological, and radiological weapons."
Making A Case?
Current official statements that nuclear weapons are haram are also contradicted by arguments put forward by conservatives in state-run, pro-Khamenei newspapers. These commentators are clearly seeking to establish a plausible ideological basis to justify the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.