President Obama could be hanging his hopes for productive nuclear negotiations with Iran on a hoax, according to one Middle East-focused think tank.

On Friday, Obama cited a “fatwa,” or religious edict, from Iran’s all-powerful Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, banning the pursuit of nuclear weapons.

“There is no such fatwa. It is a lie from the Iranians, a deception, and it is tragic that President Obama has endorsed it,” MEMRI Founder and President Yigal Carmon

- Yigal Carmon, president of Middle East Media Research Institute

“I do believe that there is a basis for a resolution [because] Iran’s Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons,” Obama told reporters.

But although talk of such a fatwa has been around for at least eight years, there’s no evidence it was ever issued, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute, which flatly called the fatwa a hoax. MEMRI claims the phony fatwa is promoted by Iranian diplomats and Turkey’s Islamist prime minister, Recep Erdogan.

“There is no such fatwa. It is a lie from the Iranians, a deception, and it is tragic that President Obama has endorsed it,” MEMRI Founder and President Yigal Carmon told FoxNews.com.