Fact check: The debunked statement about Iran that Obama keeps repeating

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Revmitchell, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. Revmitchell

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    Feb 18, 2006
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    Editor’s Note:
    We originally published this piece on March 20, in response to President Obama's Nowruz address to the Iranian people. Today, April 2, during his statement at the White House on an interim nuclear deal reached with Iran, Obama again repeated his claim that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khameini, has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons.

    UPDATE April 2, 2015: Obama repeated the statement while announcing the framework for a nuclear deal with Iran. Read our original fact check below.

    President Barack Obama recently delivered an address to the Iranian people in celebration of the Persian New Year, Nowruz, imploring its citizens to get behind a nuclear deal. While you may have heard about the address, if you did not watch closely, you may have missed the president repeating a critical statement about Iran’s nuclear program that has been thoroughly debunked.

    Obama stated: “Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khameini, has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons.”

    A fatwa is a ruling by an Islamic religious authority.

    The problem is that no such ruling exists.

    Several days ago, former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy penned a post on just this topic in response to similar comments from Secretary of State John Kerry, and before him Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. McCarthy wrote:

    [T]he “fatwa” in question does not exist.

    The invaluable Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has done extensive research into compilations of Khamenei’s published fatwas. (See here and here, and citations therein.) No such fatwa has ever been published. [Emphasis McCarthy's.]


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