Juan Cole, who famously managed to convince the wishful thinkers of the world that Iranian leaders never said they wanted to destroy Israel even when official Iranian translations of their speech said they did, has been particularly strident in pretending that Khamanei's fatwa somehow proves Iran's peaceful intentions, and not its willingness to lie.
The problem is, as I have noted before, that Khamanei was on the record as supporting nuclear weapons development before his more recent pretend conversion to the cause of pacifism. He said in 1984 that "A nuclear arsenal would serve Iran as a deterrent in the hands of God's soldiers."
Moreover, despite his beard, Khamanei is not considered a major Islamic scholar. He is a politician first and foremost. And he slavishly follows the words of his predecessor, Ayatollah Khamanei, who was also on the record as supporting the development of nuclear weapons.
Finally, even Arabic media are deriding the idea that Khamanei's fatwa is anything but a political ruse. As Asharq al-Awsat's Tariq Hamid notes,
The problem with the administration of U.S. President Obama that it wants to pursue policies that may be acceptable to the dreaming cultural elites, but that would not be effective with the systems that are filled with cunning and deception, such as the Iranian regime. That regime does not prioritize openness, human values, nor the well being of its citizens, or even tolerance. Instead, the Iranian regime and its ideology is based on expansion and penetration into other countries, and sectarian motives. International laws, conventions and norms, and self-interests atre what rules the world and it is absurd to talk about an Iranian fatwa when negotiating with Tehran. States, like individuals, have a reputation and history that can not be ignored. The reputation of a rogue state, like the reputation of an individual villain, cannot be judged by words, or fatwas, but with deeds. When Hillary talks about the Iranian fatwa surely they have not heard of a "pious" Iran! Instead Iran has a history of promises and agreements, which it did not comply with, and the simplest example here is the Iranian president's visit to the UAE island of Abu Musa that is occupied by Iran, despite all the agreements between the UAE and Iran for negotiations and dialogue. Tehran did not respect those promises. If the The head of state does not abide by a promise, how trustworthy is his advisory fatwa?One does not have to use the argument of "taqiyya" to prove that Iran's Supreme Leader is a liar. His own actions and words prove that quite well without resorting to Islamic law or history. He is a politician, and he has already proven that he is not above using religion to push his own political agenda. Believing in the righteousness of a proven liar, as Juan Cole and his acolytes clearly do, is in itself far worse than any real or alleged taqiyya being practiced here.
If this opinion is one of the merits of dialogue with Iran, I swear we are going to a real disaster in this region of the world.