When exactly did Iran's supreme leader declare a fatwa against building nukes?

Last week the Jerusalem-based Middle East Media Research Institute released a report arguing that Khamenei’s anti-nuclear fatwa doesn’t exist. MEMRI staffers could find no evidence of any such fatwa on the websites belonging to Khamenei—neither his personal site, nor the one devoted exclusively to his fatwas. MEMRI concluded: “No such fatwa ever existed or was ever published, and that media reports about it are nothing more than a propaganda ruse on the part of the Iranian regime apparatuses—in an attempt to deceive top U.S. administration officials and the others mentioned above.”

Others beg to differ with MEMRI’s findings, including Middle East experts like Juan Cole. Last week, the University of Michigan professor argued that Khamenei did issue the fatwa—even though Cole couldn’t find the ruling or even notice of it on the Iranian News Agency’s website. According to Cole, the official state news-agency report has simply “gone into the deep web” and the fact that it isn’t surfacing is “irrelevant.”…

But the fact that Tehran is indeed moving ahead with the bomb suggests that even if the fatwa does exist, it is simply intended as an information operation meant to confuse the United States. That American officials appear to be so easily taken in by this propaganda campaign damages U.S. prestige. Our allies, even in the Muslim world, wonder why the Obama Administration would bother taking seriously a fatwa from a state sponsor of terror. After all, the regime has issued numerous outrageous fatwas, including one that opined on the permissibility of sex with chickens, and another that called for the head of novelist Salman Rushdie.