Despite a reported fatwa (Islamic decree) by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2005 indicating that the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons was forbidden under Islamic law, an International Atomic Energy Agency document reveals that Khamenei himself, before he was Supreme Leader, supported the production and use of nuclear weapons back in 1984.
The document, commissioned three years ago by the IAEA, reveals that Khamenei had declared that the production and possession of nuclear weapons was the only way to preserve the "spirit" of the Islamic revolution and to protect it from enemy plots. Khamenei also wrote that nuclear weapons would hasten the arrival of the Mahdi (Hidden) Imam, who according to Shiite Muslims would bring about the Islamic redemption.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak commented last week on Khamenei's fatwa, telling CNN's Christiane Amanpour, "I don’t buy it so easily. It is the same Khamenei who said just a year ago he scorned Gadhafi for caving so easily to pressure, to give up his nuclear military program, and he [Khamenei] points to where he [Gadhafi] is now.”
Barak went on to explain his take on Islamic rulings and said "Have you heard the term taqqiya, which means in Islam, especially in Shia Islam, a kind of permission from Heaven for the leader to lie and mislead others as long as it is to achieve the objectives of the movement, the group, the tribe, or the nation. So I don’t buy it. I follow the facts on the ground. Enrichment continues. They got a pause of five weeks until the next gathering in Baghdad ... everything is still working.”
The defense minister said his assessment was that Iran had not yet decided to produce a nuclear weapon. "It’s true that probably Khamenei has not given orders to start building a [nuclear] weapon, but why he is doing this? Because he understands that if he starts to break the IAEA [rules] and starts to actually build a weapon, he might find himself faced with an American response, or an Israeli response … in a way that may damage him. But that’s the only reason why he did not give the order. But they are clearly heading toward this objective."