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Iran cleric calls for ‘special weapons’

TAKES HARDLINE VIEW Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi wrote in his book that Iran should not be deprived, 'even if our enemies don’t like it.' TAKES HARDLINE VIEW
Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi wrote in his book that Iran should not be deprived, "even if our enemies don’t like it."
By Ali Akbar Dareini
Associated Press / June 15, 2010

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TEHRAN — The hard-line spiritual mentor of Iran’s president has made a rare public call for producing the “special weapons’’ that are a monopoly of a few nations — a veiled reference to nuclear arms.

Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi wrote in a book circulated among senior clerics that Iran should not deprive itself of the right to produce these “special weapons.’’

Iran’s government and its clerical hierarchy have repeatedly denied the country is seeking nuclear weapons, as alleged by the United States and its allies.

The Security Council last week imposed a fourth round of sanctions in response to Tehran’s refusal to halt uranium enrichment, which Iran maintains is only for its nuclear energy program, but could conceivably be used to produce material for weapons.

The new UN sanctions call for an asset freeze of another 40 additional companies and organizations, including 22 involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities.

European Union foreign ministers agreed yesterday to recommend a package of additional sanctions against Iran that go beyond the UN measures. Those sanctions would focus on trade, especially on dual-use items that could have nuclear applications. They also would further restrict insurance and financial transactions.

Yazdi’s hard-line views, including devotion to the Mahdi, a messiah-like figure to reappear ahead of judgment day, have had a strong impact on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who shows him more respect than any other senior cleric.

Yazdi’s book, “The Islamic Revolution — Surges in Political Changes in History,’’ was written in 2005 and then reprinted last year but would have had only a very limited circulation among senior clerics and would not have been widely known.

“The most advanced weapons must be produced inside our country even if our enemies don’t like it. There is no reason that they have the right to produce a special type of weapons, while other countries are deprived of it,’’ Yazdi wrote.

Yazdi is a member of the Assembly of Experts, a conservative body of 86 senior clerics that monitors Iran’s supreme leader and chooses his successor. He also heads the Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute, an Islamic think tank, in the holy city of Qom, 80 miles south of the capital.

In his book, Yazdi said Iran must acquire the necessary deterrent weapons in order to stand up to its enemies.

“Under Islamic teachings, all common tools and materialistic instruments must be employed against the enemy and prevent [the] enemy’s military superiority,’’ he said.

He also said Muslims must not allow a few powers to monopolize certain weapons in their arsenal.

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