Thứ hai, ngày 23 tháng 9 năm 2019

Iranian supreme leaders’ viewpoints on prohibition of developing weapon of mass destruction (WMD)

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a theocracy, religion and particularly its leaders play a central role in its politics. Understanding this is fundamental to assess Iranian intentions, to anticipate future Iranian moves, and to formulate an effective policy for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program in particular and weapon of mass destruction (WMD) in general. Policy decisions in Iran are grounded first and foremost on the principle of raison d’etat and only secondarily on the tenets of Shia Islam. Ayatollah Khomeini set down this principle in a series of letters in December 1987 and January 1988 to then president Khamenei and the Council of Guardians. In these, he affirmed the Islamic Republic’s authority to destroy a mosque or suspend the observance of the Five Pillars of Islam (the profession of faith, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and the Hajj) if the expediency/interest of the regime (maslahat) so required.[1] In setting this precedent, Khomeini formalized the supremacy of raison d’etat over the tenets of Islam as the core principle guiding domestic and foreign policymaking in the Islamic Republic. This principle is routinely invoked to justify decisions at the highest level of the government, as well as the actions of the regime’s soldiers.[2] Thus, for those who embrace the regime’s ideology, the survival of the Islamic Republic is the ultimate religious value. In this way, the extreme means often employed by the regime can be justified by a sacred end - the preservation of the Islamic Republic - since only the regime’s survival can ensure the spread of revolutionary Islam. By this logic, then, religious prohibitions would not prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring or even using nuclear weapons if the regime’s leadership believed that these actions served its vital interests. Thus, the article will examine the two country's Supreme Leaders as well as their viewpoints on nuclear energy, nuclear weapons in particular and WMD in general.



[1] Asghar Schirazi, The Constitution of Iran: Politics and the State in the Islamic Republic (New York: I. B. Taurus, 1997), pp. 233–246; David Menashri, Revolution at a Crossroads: Iran’s Domestic Politics and Regional Ambitions (Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy,1997), p.8. Asghar Schirazi, The Constitution of Iran: Politics and the State in the Islamic Republic (New York: I. B. Taurus, 1997), pp. 233-246; David Menashri, Revolution at a Crossroads: Iran’s Domestic Politics and Regional Ambitions (Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1997), p. 8.

[2] Thus, when jailed Iranian activist Abdollah Momeni asked his interrogators why they used brutal methods such as torture to extract confessions, they responded that “according to the founder of the Islamic Republic the preservation of the regime is the foremost obligation.” From “Letter of Prominent Prisoner of Conscience, Abdollah Momeni, to Ayatollah Khamanei,” International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, September 9th, 2010, http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/09/letter-momenikhamanei. In July 1988, during the final weeks of the Iran-Iraq War, Ayatollah Khomeini reportedly issued a fatwa authorizing the execution of thousands of detainees from various opposition groups. For more on this tragic chapter, see Iran Human Rights documentation Center, Deadly Fatwa: Iran’s 1988 Prison Massacre (September 2009), http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/publications/reports/3158-deadly-fatwa-iran-s-1988-prison-massacre.html.

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