Nuclear Weapons Religiously Forbidden, Ayatollah Says

11.13.07 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

An Iranian religious leader reiterated last week that not only is Iran not pursuing nuclear weapons, but that to do so would be a violation of Islamic law.

“Production of nuclear bomb and even thinking on its production are forbidden from Islamic point of view,” said Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani in his Friday sermon at the Tehran University campus.

See “Ayat. Kashani: N-bomb production religiously forbidden,” Islamic Republic News Agency, November 9.

It has previously been reported that a “fatwa” or religious decree against nuclear weapons was issued by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But as far as is known, no text of such a fatwa has ever been published to substantiate these reports. See “Iran’s Missing Anti-Nuclear Fatwa,” Secrecy News, August 11, 2005.

Meanwhile, open source information on Iran’s ballistic missile programs was surveyed in a brief new report (pdf) from the Congressional Research Service.

“Today, there is little disagreement among most experts that Iran has acquired some number of ballistic missiles from other countries and has developed other ballistic missiles indigenously or in cooperation with others,” according to CRS.

“At the same time, however, there has been considerable public disagreement over precisely what kinds of ballistic missile systems Iran has or is developing. This is because there is little transparency in Iran’s ballistic missile programs, which has led to a lack of confidence in Iran’s public assertions.”

“Finally, details about Iranian ballistic missile programs remain classified in the United States. Because of the secrecy inherent in the development of weapon systems, especially in less open societies, open-source analyses reflect a wide range of technical views.”

See “Iran’s Ballistic Missile Programs: An Overview,” November 8, 2007.