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Opinion

Iran talks in Baghdad: Western naiveté

As world powers head into nuclear talks with Iran in Baghdad on Wednesday, is Obama so naive as to hang on to a fake fatwa promising no nukes? With enough enriched uranium to eventually make six nuclear bombs, Tehran is simply stalling for time. Recent chronology bears this out.

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In other words, the West has caved to Iranian demands of accepting its domestic nuclear enrichment.

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Most interesting is an Iranian analysis of Khamenei’s fatwa: “If the Obama administration realizes the importance of the place of the supreme leader in Iran and understands the fatwa, then most of their problem [with Iran’s nuclear issue] will be solved.”

The analysis ominously stated: “There will be no other guarantee beyond the fatwa to the West” – meaning that the West will only get the word of a leader whose regime has been based on lies and deceit, a leader who has ordered the slaughter of thousands of Iranians – and also Americans – in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a leader who constantly threatens the existence of Israel and the “defeat” of America.

Khamenei is not a grand ayatollah, or a marja, and therefore cannot issue a fatwa. Many in Iran’s Islamic leadership know this. He was elevated to ayatollah status overnight to replace Ruhollah Khomeini when he died in 1989. Even if a marja issues a fatwa, he can overturn it if it benefits Islam. So Khamenei’s fatwa can be tossed out at the right time.

Interestingly, the regime’s interpretation of the Quran is to deceive its enemy, i.e. the West, until such time as the regime is strong enough to confront it.

Is Obama so naive as to hang on to a fake fatwa in return for accepting a nuclear Iran?

His secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, says she has discussed the fatwa with Turkey’s prime minister, experts, and religious scholars. “If it is indeed a statement of principle, of values, then it is a starting point for being operationalized, which means that it serves as the entryway into a negotiation as to how you demonstrate that it is indeed a sincere, authentic statement of conviction,” she said last month.

According to media reports, the US is expected to push Iran to close its Fordow facility and send its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium out of the country.

Iran has ruled out the closure of Fordow, even announcing that it will increase the number of centrifuges at that facility. And so far, its strategy of expanding its nuclear program while wearing down the West has already proved successful. 

It is clear that after a decade of negotiations and sanctions, the leaders of the Islamic regime will not accept a full halt to their nuclear program. But given that Iran now has the know-how to make a bomb, that is the only outcome that should be acceptable to the West.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the author of the award winning book "A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran." He teaches at the US Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA) and is a member of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security.

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