In the same Der Spiegel interview I previously mentioned, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif asserted that the Supreme Leader’s fatwa far outweighs some of his compatriots’ possible support for obtaining nuclear weapons:
Zarif: …Our decision not to build a bomb does not derive from NPT. It derives from our own moral and strategic convictions.
DER SPIEGEL: Did the killing of Soleimani change these strategic considerations?
Zarif: No. Moral convictions do not hinge on the illegal behavior of others.
DER SPIEGEL: There’s a faction inside the Iranian leadership that believes that nuclear weapons are the only way for Iran to defend itself against the U.S. They may well have an additional argument for that case now.
Zarif: As I told you, Iran is not a monolith – you will not find unanimity in Iran on most issues. But the revolutionary leader has issued a fatwa (Ed’s note: a religious legal opinion) prohibiting weapons of mass destruction.
Iranian officials, of course, frequently mention the fatwa, but it’s rare that they acknowledge some Iranians’ support for nuclear weapons.