By JOANNA PARASZCZUKForghani, who formerly called on Iran to annihilate Israel, argues that Islamic Republic needs nukes to repel US threat.
While Iran continues to deny its nuclear program is anything but peaceful, the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guards-linked Fars News published an op-ed on Monday arguing that Islamic countries - and Iran - need a nuclear arsenal.
The op-ed, entitled "Nuclear Confrontation: The Islamic World Needs to have the Atomic Bomb", is written in Persian by Alireza Forghani, an analyst and strategy strategist allied with Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Notably, Forghani hit the headlines earlier this year when he published another essay urging Iran to launch a preemptive strike on Israel, in which he laid out a detailed strategy and religious-legal case for destroying the Jewish State. In his latest essay, Forghani, who writes in a colorful and colloquial style, emphasizes that the op-ed contains his personal opinions and is not an instruction to the Islamic Republic.
The essay sets out what Forghani says are the religious foundations for Islamic states to stockpile nuclear weapons, and frequently cites Khamenei as well as his predecessor, Ayatollah Sayyed Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini.
Forghani says that the US is the "main enemy of the Islamic Republic" and blames America for using various methods to threaten Iran.
In setting out his case for Iran to have a nuclear bomb, Forghani poses the rhetorical question of whether Pakistan should be the only Islamic country to be allowed such a weapon, and why the US only allows its allies to have nuclear bombs.
"The Muslims of Syria and Lebanon are forever concerned that if their governments don't cooperate with Israel via the UN Security Council - America's bastard offspring - they will be condemned and then right afterward they'll have to host illegitimate NATO troops," Forghani opined.
He added: "Iran is one of those countries that the US keeps threatening. We've experienced their failed attacks in the past, and there's no doubt that [America] will attack Iran again since it calls us the 'Axis of Evil." The Khamenei-linked strategist warned that the US would likely attack Iran again, this time with a nuclear bomb, "like it did in Japan".
"It is the right of the Islamic people to possess nuclear weapons," Forghani wrote, calling on the Islamic world to declare that right to the US and Israel.
"Yeah, possessing nuclear weapons is a 'right'," he added. "If that right did not exist, Israel would have been destroyed 30 years ago and America wouldn't have flaunted itself in Iraq and Afghanistan." The strategist, whose personal website features a prominent photograph of Khameini, concludes by referring to Iran's Supreme Leader.
"According to Imam Khamenei, if we're attacked we should respond at the same level,' he wrote. "And that requires a rapid response at the level of an atomic bomb to [an attack with] an atomic bomb."
Is this the first step in the direction to change the nuclear fatwa?