|code: 312059||Date: 2012/04/30 - 12:07||source: MNA|
"World should seize opportunity provided by Iranian Leader’s fatwa on nuclear weapons": An Indian Dr.
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued a fatwa (religious edict) declaring the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons are all haram (prohibited in Islam).
Sujata Ashwarya Cheema, an assistant professor of political science at the National Islamic University (Jamia Millia Islamia) in New Delhi, says the fatwa has “introduced moral and religious aspects into nuclear restraint, which should be welcome by anyone who believes in responsible use of nuclear power.”
In an interview, Cheema said the international community “needs to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the ayatollah’s words.”
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: What led to the success of the talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (the P5+1 group) in Istanbul on April 14? What is your evaluation of the negotiations?
A: The Istanbul talks were successful in the sense that they ended on a positive note, although no agreement was reached or promises made. The fact that discussions were held in an atmosphere of cordiality was an achievement, especially in the context of the unending drumbeat of war on Iran from several quarters. The principle adopted by the P5+1 for negotiations was “step-by step approach and reciprocity,” which went down well with the Iranians. It underscored the need to address all crucial issues concerning Iran’s nuclear program through dialogue and mutuality as opposed to threat and coercion. Baroness Catherine Ashton’s assertion that Iran has the right to a peaceful nuclear program, and that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty must be a “key basis” for future talks, was clearly a dealmaker, and went quite a distance in restoring the confidence of the Iranian side.
Q: Iran has said “the next talks should be based on confidence-building measures, which would build the confidence of Iranians.” How can this be achieved?
A: The first step should be to take the threat of war off the table. Constant talk of a military action, if talks fail, generates unnecessary pressure and hardens the position, although a time frame for reaching an agreement needs to be put in place. Both sides need to put aside their longstanding complaints against each other and focus instead on pointed issues such as enrichment, the Fordow nuclear site, and (providing) full access to IAEA inspectors. The issue of enrichment is a major sticking point that requires wise and judicious negotiations by the P5+1 rather than dictation based on preconceived notions. The catchphrase here is to go “slow and steady”, building mutual trust and respect, that are key ingredients to a successful diplomatic negotiation.
Q: Iran’s Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa declaring the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons are all haram. Can this help resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear issue?
A: Ayatollah Khamenei’s declaration is both topical and timely. It has introduced moral and religious aspects into nuclear restraint, which should be welcome by anyone who believes in responsible use of nuclear power. The international community, represented by the P5+1, needs to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the ayatollah’s words. In effect, it would be a good idea to hold the Iranian leaders to them. If nuclear weapons are un-Islamic, why not come clean on the issue? The Supreme Leader’s statement needs to be publicly endorsed by the international community. This would give the Iranian negotiating team the necessary political shield to accept a tough agreement.
Sujata Ashwarya Cheema is an assistant professor at the Centre for West Asian Studies of Jamia Millia Islamia. She is the author of Civil Society: Democracy and State in West Asia.