The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) says U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised a nonexistent fatwa by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on banning nuclear weapons.
In a recent interview with Voice of America, Kerry said, “I show a lot of respect for this fatwa as it is a religious message and is highly respected by people.” According to MEMRI, however, the fatwa “has never been seen” and “in fact does not exist.”
Kerry has called on the Iranian government to put the purported fatwa “into a legally binding, globally recognized, international understanding” form. But in statements documented by MEMRI, the Iranian leadership’s official position is for such a fatwa to remain religious law, which for Iran supersedes international law.
“This historic fatwa can be treated as a legitimate document, with validity equal to the validity of the text of international treaties,” Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Director Ali Akbar Salehi said in February.
The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from JNS.org.