Given my own deep prejudice toward religious zealotry, it has not been difficult for me to accept the conventional American view that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme theocratic ruler of Iran, is a dangerous madman never to be trusted with a nuclear weapon. How then to explain his recent seemingly logical and humane religious proclamations on the immorality of nuclear weapons? His statement challenges the acceptance of nuclear war-fighting as an option by every U.S. president since Harry Truman, who, in 1945, ordered the deaths of 185,000 mostly innocent civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“We do not see any glory, pride or power in the nuclear weapons—quite the opposite,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Tuesday in summarizing the ayatollah’s views. Salehi added, “The production, possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons are illegitimate, futile, harmful, dangerous and prohibited as a great sin.”