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Speech among pilgrims and residents of Mashhad

(2015/03/23)

On the first day of the new Iranian calendar year on March 21, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei addressed tens of thousands of pilgrims and residents in the holy city of Mashhad in northeastern Khorassan Razavi Province. In his speech to the huge crowd at the holy shrine of Imam Reza, the eighth Imam of the Prophet Mohammad’s Infallible Household, Ayatollah Khamenei outlined the motto for the current year – Government and Nation; Empathy and Rapport.

He underscored the mutual obligations of people and the government, saying people should fully support the legal and legitimate government, and officials should, in turn, exercise patience vis-à-vis logical criticism.

Referring to the four main pillars of the structure of the Islamic establishment as well as the opportunities and challenges lying ahead, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “It is a major and collective duty for officials to set targets and make plans to contribute to economic prosperity and progress, and for people, particularly economic activists and media, to help promote national economy. Today, the economic sector is a specific arena which requires strenuous efforts based on the mobilization of potentialities and internal initiatives as well as the use of tools, methods and policies applicable to this arena.”

Regarding the ongoing nuclear talks, the supreme Leader said: “In Iran, nobody is opposed to a diplomatic settlement of the nuclear issue, but in the meantime, the Iranian nation and officials and the negotiating team will not back down in the face of the US’ coercion and bullying, and that they will pass this big test successfully through perseverance.”

Citing a verse from the holy Quran, Ayatollah Khamenei said “daily prayers, zakat (Islamic excise), promotion of virtue and prevention of vice” are the four indicators of the structure of the Islamic Republic’s establishment. “Almighty God has promised to help any nation which has the above-mentioned features and to save them from the yoke of cruel powers,” he said.

He added: “Each of these indicators has its own individual and social aspects which are instrumental in shaping the structure of an Islamic establishment.”

The supreme leader referred to the individual aspect of daily prayers, that is happiness and salvation of believers, saying: “Meanwhile, daily prayers [also] have social aspects which pave the way for establishing connections between Muslims’ hearts and [leading them] towards the same direction at a specific time.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said the zakat tradition boosts the spirit of forgiveness in mankind. Regarding the social aspect of zakat, he said: “From a social standpoint, zakat shows that a Muslim person does not remain indifferent vis-à-vis the Islamic society, the poor, the weak and the needy.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said “promotion of virtue and prevention of vice” are the cornerstone of all Islamic teachings. Noting that all pious people, wherever in the world they might be, are obligated to encourage the society to move toward virtue and dissuade it from straying towards vice, the Leader said: “What should be focused upon is promotion of the biggest virtue which is the establishment and safeguarding of the Islamic system.”

He said among other major issues are saving the Iranian nation’s face, cultural progress, moral health, family health, reproduction and training the younger generation ready for contribution to national progress, giving fresh impetus to economy and production, promoting Islamic moralities, developing science and technology, establishing judicial and economic justice, struggling for Islamic unity and empowering the Muslim community. He said everyone has a duty to work toward promoting those virtues.

Ayatollah Khamenei then referred to cultural depravity, helping enemies, undercutting the Islamic establishment and culture, and undermining the economy, science and technology as major examples of vices. He said that Almighty God, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and the infallible Imams are among the leading promoters of virtue and preventers of vice. “It is necessary for all pious people, anywhere in the Muslim world, to fulfill this divine obligation.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said the motto for the current year – Government and Nation; Empathy and Rapport – is based on the four aforesaid indicators and in line with national and social solidarity among people in the Islamic establishment. “Islam requires [individuals with] different tastes to work toward solidarity, synergy and mutual assistance. Therefore, any government in the Islamic establishment should be supported by all people, even those who have not voted for it,” he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei said government-people unity is a must, particularly when the country faces important challenges. “Today, the entire nation is obliged to help and support state officials.”

He said cooperation with and helping governments is an unchanging principle, adding: “All governments are mainly concerned with resolving the people and country’s problems as much as they can. Therefore, everyone has to help governments resolve these problems.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said the majority of votes lay the groundwork for “legal legitimacy”. “It’s not important what percentage of people votes for a president. Any administration elected by people with whatsoever number of votes is constitutionally legitimate and people should help the legal administration as much as they can.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei said mutual rights shouldn't be forgotten in such an ambiance of mutual cooperation.

He then elaborated on how criticism and critics should be dealt with.

He said any administration naturally has its critics. “The current administration, like its predecessors, has critics. That’s ok and some people who are opposed to the method, behavior, words and policy of this administration are free to crtiticize. However, criticism should be expressed within a logical framework,” he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei added: “I personally have been critical of different administrations and I have not hesitated to give notices wherever necessary, but I have expressed my notices in a proper manner.”

Explaining the requirements of “logical criticism”, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Criticism should not be such that it would cause public mistrust of officials. Nor should it be insulting and violent.”

He said behavior based on friendship, empathy and rapport is a criterion for criticism. “Of course, these pieces of advice are for both sides. Officials in all three branches [of government] should respect these limits and treat their critics without any insult and humiliation because humiliating detractors by officials runs counter to prudence and wisdom.”

“I don’t invite our dear people to indifference and no-supervision, but rather, I call upon all of them to be involved in the country’s affairs and I insist that both people and officials should not behave in an insulting and humiliating manner,” the supreme Leader said.

“It would be no wrong that some individuals be concerned over certain issues in the country and there are no restrictions to that effect, but it should not lead to finger-pointing and disregard for efforts and services. Meanwhile, the administration and its supporters should not insult those who express their misgivings,” he added.

Ayatollah Khamenei said he has constantly supported all administrations, adding: “I support this administration too, but I give nobody a blank check and I will judge and act based on performances.”

The Leader referred to opportunities in the country as well as challenges lying ahead, saying: “By planning and proper use of opportunities and potentialities, these challenges could be overcome with God’s help.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said efficient, innovative and mostly young manpower and people’s sympathy with the Islamic establishment are among the major opportunities in the country, saying: “Despite a massive foreign media campaign against the country’s youth in a bid to disappoint them in the future or pit them against the establishment or make them irresponsible, tens of millions of these youths take to the streets across the country on Bahman 22 (February 11) and show their profound loyalty to the Islamic establishment and the late Imam (Rest in Peace).”

Ayatollah Khamenei said scientific advancements under sanctions are another major opportunity for the country, adding: “Scientific progress in recent years, including the startup of industrially sophisticated projects like Phase 12 of South Pars [gas field] and the unveiling of new equipment during the Armed Forces’ maneuvers, which was stunning to the enemies, all happened at a time when all ill-wishers imagined that Iran was under crippling sanctions.”

The supreme leader said the existing sanctions are an opportunity despite their difficulties and then elaborated on some of the challenges facing the Islamic establishment. He said: “One of the main challenges currently facing the country is the issue of national economy and solving people’s economic and livelihood problems, which requires serious action.”

Ayatollah Khamenei reminded officials of his earlier predictions that the enemy is targeting the economy and that officials should be ready. He said: “The ill-wishers of the Iranian nation have said openly that their objective behind economic pressure is a political one, and that is to cause discontent among people and disrupt national security by pitting people against the government and the establishment.”

He said facing this challenge needs cooperation and rapport among all authorities and requires the issue of economy to be taken seriously. He went on to highlight four major points in that regard.

The first point mentioned by Ayatollah Khamenei was insistence upon the necessity of an untiring campaign to counter Washington’s hostile policies in the economic arena. To that effect, the Leader said, there are two views on how to deal with economic problems.

“According to one viewpoint, economic development and prosperity should be achieved by using local potential which has so far been ignored or received little attention,” he said.

“The second viewpoint is the exact opposite. It maintains that economic prosperity and development is possible through an outward look and that we should reconsider our foreign policy and compromise with arrogant powers and accept their bullying, so that the economic problems could be solved,” he added.

“This second viewpoint is totally erroneous, ineffective and useless,” said Ayatollah Khamenei.

As to why the second viewpoint is wrong, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “The existing Western sanctions against the Iranian nation are a clear reason why the viewpoint which says economic prosperity should be sought beyond national borders is wrong. The reason is that foreign powers are never content with any level of imposition and bullying while they also give rise to some abrupt and unexpected issues like plotting to reduce global oil prices to harm the country’s economy.”

“Today, the ill-wishers of the Iranian nation are making efforts to promote the second viewpoint and that is why the US president, in his New Year message to the Iranian people, says economic prosperity, jobs and business will be created in the country if you accept our demands in the nuclear talks,” he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Looking outside to solve economic problems will never pay off. Therefore, we should always seek to tap the country’s domestic potentialities and the ‘resistance economy,’ which was welcomed by all economists, is evidence of the domestic capabilities and potentialities of the country and the nation.”

The third point mentioned by Ayatollah Khamenei with regard to economic issues was the necessity for officials to set goals and make policies while not getting preoccupied with routine affairs.

Ayatollah Khamenei said: “The most important objective officials and people should focus upon this year is to make efforts to boost domestic production.”

As for how local production can be boosted, he said: “Supporting medium-sized and small-sized enterprises, bolstering knowledge-based enterprises, campaigning for lower sales of raw materials, facilitating investment, reducing imports of consumer goods and fighting smuggling are options for supporting domestic production. Of course, banks can be both supportive and destructive. Therefore, senior banking officials should pay due attention to this issue.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said it would be a difficult task to adopt these measures in practice, adding: “The officials should carry out these difficult tasks because the issue of economy and economic prosperity is important.”

Ayatollah Khamenei described as very effective the role of investors and people in supporting domestic production, saying: “Shifting investment funds towards production and consumption of domestically manufactured products and avoiding extravagance are among approaches to boost domestic production.”

Regarding the fourth and the last point about national economy, the Leader said: “Sanctions are the only tool for the enemy to confront the Iranian nation. Therefore, if plans are made with insight and by relying on domestic manpower, the impact of sanctions will be reduced and sanctions will be useless at last.”

“If government officials, people and economic activists make endeavors and public media help them, we will see that the sanctions will not be able to keep the Iranian nation from progress,” he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei also referred to several points regarding the nuclear talks.

He said Iran’s negotiating parties, mainly the US, has made precise planning and policies. “The Americans desperately need these negotiations and their internal disputes are because the rival faction of the incumbent US administration is making efforts so that the advantage gained through these negotiations will not be registered in the track record of its rival party,” he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the US president’s dishonest remarks in his New Year message to the Iranian nation, saying: “In his message, the US president says there are people in Iran who oppose a diplomatic settlement of the nuclear issue. That’s false because in Iran, nobody is opposed to the resolution of the nuclear issue through negotiations.”

What the Iranian nation is opposed to is the bullying and imposition of demands by the US government, but the nation is standing up to them.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Neither officials, nor negotiators nor the Iranian nation will ever accept the US bullying.”

He insisted that the ongoing negotiations between Iran and the US are limited to the nuclear issue. “We will by no means negotiate with the US about domestic and regional issues and the issue of arms because the US policy in the region is aimed at creating insecurity and confronting regional nations and Islamic Awakening. That is contrary to the pivotal policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The supreme leader dismissed as “trickery” the US officials’ frequently expressed remarks that the sanctions against Iran would be lifted after an agreement is reached, adding: “That is unacceptable because the lifting of the sanctions is part of the negotiations and not the result of the talks. Therefore, as the esteemed president made clear, the sanctions should be lifted immediately after an agreement is reached.”

Referring to the US officials’ remarks that Iran’s decisions in any possible agreement should be irreversible, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “That is also unacceptable because if they reserve the right to reinstate the sanctions under any pretext after a possible agreement, there would be no reason for us to accept irreversible measures.”

“Iran’s nuclear industry is a domestic and popular industry which has to move ahead as progress is an inherent part of every industry and technology,” said the Leader.

Pointing to the US allegations that Iran is seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, Ayatollah Khamenei noted: “They know quite well that we have honored all our international commitments and political obligations in these negotiations and we never reneged on our promises and we did not show any fickleness, but the Americans broke their promises and they were fraudulent and showed fickleness and double-standards in their deeds and words.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said the behavior of the Americans in the nuclear talks has served as a lesson for people, adding: “The behavior of the US also serves as a lesson for intellectuals in the country (Iran), so that they would realize who we are negotiating with and how the US is behaving.”

He touched upon the US threats to ratchet up the sanctions or resort to military action if no deal is clinched in the nuclear talks, and highlighted: “These threats do not scare the Iranian nation because the nation is resisting and it will emerge the winner from this big test.”

The supreme leader said divine blessings and assistance are key to the success of the Iranian nation on this path, adding: “The government and the nation shoulder heavy responsibilities. Among them are the issue of Islamic unity, helping oppressed nations and expanding the spiritual influence of Islam in the region, of which the Iranian nation is a standard-bearer today.”

Ayatollah Khamenei also referred to the history of the Norouz tradition, saying the current Norouz ritual is a “shrewd Islamic initiative. “The ancient Norouz belonged to monarchs and it was a chance for autocratic rulers and sultans to show off their ostensible glory and grandeur to the nations, but Muslim Iranians very astutely changed this trend in their own favor.”

Describing Norouz as a “truth belonging to people”, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Today’s Norouz is not the ancient Norouz, but Iranian Norouz and the Norouz of a Muslim nation which has managed to carve out an asset for itself from the very heart of this tradition to move towards spiritual objectives.”

“Today, during Norouz and at the turn of the New Year, the most crowded cities in our vast country are the holy shrines of Imams and the mausoleums of their descendants,” said the Leader.

Referring to the coincidence of the anniversary of the martyrdom of Hadhrat Fatima (SA), the daughter of the Prophet Mohammad, and Norouz festivities, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Given the Iranians’ shrewd view vis-à-vis Norouz, this year Norouz celebrations should not be in conflict with commemorating the martyrdom of the great lady of the Muslim world, Hadhrat Fatima, and certainly there would be no such conflict.”

 

In a message marking the year 1394

(2015/03/21)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Saturday congratulated the Iranian nation and all nations marking Norouz the start of Persian New Year, naming the calender Iranian year of 1394 as the Year of ‘Government and Nation; Empathy and Rapport’.

Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the coincidence of the start of new calendar year with the anniversary of martyrdom of Fatima (SA), the daughter of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and said: “The sincerity of our people vis-à-vis the household of the prophet [Muhammad] and the esteemed daughter of the great messenger has requirements which everyone is bound to meet and will definitely do so. We hope that these days and this [new] year would be adorned with the blessings of Fatima and the blessed name of this great figure and her memory would leave profound and durable effects on the life of our people.”

The Supreme Leader underlined the necessity for close cooperation between the government and the nation, saying: “In order to realize the slogan of the [calendar] year 1394, or the Year of ‘Government and Nation; Empathy and Rapport’, both sides of this motto, i.e. the esteemed, great, courageous, prudent, knowledgeable and determined nation of Iran and the government, dedicated to serving people, should trust one another and have friendly cooperation.”

Referring to the aspirations of the Iranian nation in the new calendar year, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Economic development, regional and international might and dignity, scientific breakthroughs in the proper sense of the word, judicial and economic justice and above all, faith and spirituality are our big wishes for the Iranian nation in this year and of course all these wishes and expectations are attainable and they do not lie outside the great capacity of the Iranian nation and the policies of the [Islamic] establishment.”

He said realization of these wishes depend on cooperation, solidarity and friendly ties between the government and the nation.

In his assessment of the realization of the slogan for the last calendar year, he said the year 1393 witnessed challenges and progresses in the country.

“The motto ‘National Resolve and Determined Management’ was chosen for the year 1393 in light of these challenges and our nation demonstrated its firm determination in enduring certain problems that existed, it proved this determination, this aspiration on Bahman 22 (February 11), on Quds Day and in the massive demonstration on Arabeen (December 13, 2014),” he added.

Ayatollah Khamenei also said the slogan of Determined Management was realized in some sectors. “Wherever Determined Management was manifested, there was also progress. Furthermore, national resolve and determined management are not specific to the year 1393. The esteemed Iranian nation needs them this year and the following years,” he said.

bulletSee the complete speech: Supreme Leader's Norouz Message 1394

 

Meeting with members of the Assembly of Experts

(2015/03/16)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, in a meeting with members of the Assembly of Experts on March 12, said realization of “perfect Islam” is what has been demanded by Almighty God and is the main objective of the Islamic Republic.

Referring to the necessity of presentation of pure Islam against efforts by arrogant powers to spread Islamophobia among nations, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “In examining the reasons of solutions for the existing challenges, one should avoid superficiality and manage the issues logically by finding their roots.”

He highlighted the personality and background of as well as services rendered by Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, the new chairman of the Asmebly of Experts, said the election of the chairman was appropriate and well thought out. “This election was very well-founded and without any margins and it could serve as an example for other bodies.”

Citing verses from the holy Koran, Ayatollah Khamenei said attention to all pillars and instructions of religion is the main demand of Islam. “In Islamic teachings, there is no such thing as religion of minimums and realization of all elements of Islam and full realization of the enlightening religion should be set as objective and every effort should be made to that end,” he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei underscored the necessity of preserving all aspects of Islam both in appearance and in spirit, saying plans must be made for a perfect implementation of Islam.

He said world bullying powers are the main obstacle to the realization of perfect Islam.

“Spreading Islamophobia by the propaganda and political apparatuses of the Zionists indicates their fear for the annihilation of their illegitimate interests,” he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei said some enemies of the Islamic Republic claim that they seek the change in the behavior of the Islamic Republic and not regime change.

“A change in the behavior of the establishment means that the Iranian nation should back down from necessities of moving towards ideals and implementation of perfect Islam and this objective is in fact regime change and the annihilation of the very spirit of religion in the Islamic establishment. This time, [regime change] is being pursued through this method,” he said.

He said that everyone should avoid being passive vis-à-vis the phenomenon of Islamophobia, adding: “Islamophobia is in fact the manifestation of fear and panicking of international bullying [powers] in the face of political Islam and an Islam enshrined in the life of nations. The Iranian nation has become the standard-bearer of such Islam by its Islamic Revolution and has stabilized and bolstered it.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said Islamophobia could be transformed from a threat into an opportunity. “Incessant efforts for scaring nations and youths off Islam has brought to limelight an important question for public opinion; What’s the reason for this flood of onslaught and invasion against Islam?”

He said that this question could be answered through presenting pure Islam to nations, adding: “We should exhaust all our capacities to that end.”

Regarding characteristics of pure Islam, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Introducing Islam as a religion that supports the oppressed and opposes the oppressor will excite and motivate youths everywhere in the world and will make them understand that Islam has practical plans in support of the oppressed.”

He said Islam is opposed to promiscuity, illusionism, social injustice and rigid-mindedness. “We have to introduce an Islam, committed against promiscuity, an Islam present in everyday life versus secular Islam, an Islam of mercy for the weak and Islam of jihad against arrogant powers to the world. In this way, we will transform the enemies’ Islamophobia project into an opportunity for attracting the attention of nations to pure Islam.”

Ayatollah Khamenei also referred to existing challenges between Iran, the US and some European countries on the nuclear issue, saying: “In examining the reasons of solutions for the existing challenges, one should avoid superficiality and manage the issues logically by finding their roots.”

As a concrete example, he referred to the sanctions and its consequences, saying: “A scrutiny [of the issue of sanctions] would make it clear that the reason for harms we have endured due to sanctions is the country’s dependence on oil, state-run economy and absence of people in the economy.”

“Had we not made the country’s economy and the nation’s life dependent on oil revenues and by avoiding the repetition of mistakes we made after the Revolution regarding government control of all affairs, and let people get involved in economic activities, could the enemy inflict these harms by imposing oil embargo and sanctions against state organs?”

“If we find the roots of such issues and resolve them, our problems will be resolved and we will no longer be waiting for enemy’s affection,” he added.

Ayatollah Khamenei referred to Iran’s nuclear issue, saying: “To be fair, the nuclear team the esteemed president [Hassan Rouhani] has picked is good, trustable, acceptable and sympathetic and is making endeavors.”

“But,” he said, “I am worried because the opposite party practices trickery and deception and stabs in the back.”

Ayatollah Khamenei called on Iran’s nuclear negotiators to watch out for the US plots, saying: “Always ahead of the deadline set for the conclusion of negotiations, the Americans adopt a harsher, tougher and more radical tone in order to realize their objectives. We have to watch out for this ruse.”

He dismissed a general view that powerful governments no longer need to be deceitful. “Certain [individuals] imagine that the US no longer needs slyness and tricks, but despite this imagination, the Americans depend on ruse and deception and this is how they are behaving now. This reality worries us,” he added.

He referred to “disgusting and meaningless” claims by American official in recent weeks, saying: “After a Zionist clown travelled to the US and made remarks, the US officials sought to steer clear of all this, but they still claimed that Iran sponsors terrorism. That’s risible.”

“The Americans and their allies in the [Middle East] region created the most infamous and murderous terrorists, ISIL, and their likes and they continue to support them. But they attribute such things to the Iranian nation and the Islamic [Republic] establishment,” he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the US government’s support for the fake Zionist government, saying: “Washington is supporting in the most heinous way a government which officially acknowledges its terrorist acts, but at the same time it raises allegations against the Islamic Republic.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said a recent letter signed by a group of US Republican senators against Iran heralded the demise of political ethics in the US government.

“As required by internationally recognized regulations, all world countries remain committed to their obligations even after their governments change, but the American senators officially announce that after the current administration bows out, the obligations will be null and void. Is it not the ultimate of collapse of political ethics and implosion in the US system?”

“The Islamic Republic’s officials know well their job and they know how to act so that the US government could never renege on [its obligations under any] deal which may reach,” said Ayatollah Khamenei.

Ayatollah Khamenei also honored the late Ayatollah Mohammad-Reza Mahdavi Kani, the former head of the Assembly of Experts, describing him as a knowledgeable scholar and an influential combatant. He prayed to Almighty God for mercy upon him.

Prior to Ayatollah Khamenei’s remarks, Ayatollah Yazdi, the newly-elected chairman of the Assembly of Experts, presented a report about the 17th meeting of the Assembly.

Ayatollah Yazdi said Iran’s nuclear issue and domestic affairs, insistence on the implementation of the economy of resistance, avoiding slogans, presenting a report about the status of Islam in the current world, Islamophobia in the West and some worrying cultural issues were among the main topics discussed during the Assembly of Experts’ meeting.

 

Leader of the Islamic Revolution received officials in charge of protecting natural resources and environment

(2015/03/10)

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei met with officials and authorities in charge of natural resources and environmental protection on Sunday, March 8, 2015, noting that resolving environmental issues such as air pollution, the issue of haze and illegal acquisition of forests, pastures, and other green spaces needs planning, foresight, as well as continued and serious follow-up and firmness of related state bodies.

The leader emphasized: “Protection of the environment is a sovereign duty and this very important duty should be fulfilled by formulating a national document on environment as well as environmental annexes for all development and industrial projects in addition to criminalizing destruction of environment.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution then pointed to Islam’s viewpoint on the importance of protecting land and public resources of the Earth, adding, “Islam and divine religions have put emphasis on the need for human beings to act responsibly vis-à-vis environment and maintaining a balance between humans and nature because disruption of this balance is the main factor behind all environmental problems.”

Ayatollah Khamenei noted that the environmental challenge is a universal challenge across the world and while enumerating long-term effects of environmental issues, said, “The experience of various countries shows that many environmental problems can be prevented and have their own solutions.”

The Leader then pointed to air pollution in big cities and the haze phenomenon as major examples, emphasizing that such problems can be solved through patience, foresight and necessary follow-up.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution said, “The issue of environment is not an issue for this or that government, and is not an issue for this or that person, or an issue for this or that [political] faction, but is a countrywide and national issue and everybody should take part in solving problems that are related to it.”

Ayatollah Khamenei mentioned air, water and soil as three main elements of environment, noting, “To solve such problems as air pollution in big cities and the haze problem as well as shortage of water and soil erosion, serious work and endeavor, and continued follow-up are needed more than mere publicity.”

The Leader then described forests and pastures as breathing lungs of cities and main factors protecting soil, expressing deep regret about encroachment of profiteering people on forests and natural resources, especially in the northern part of the country.

“All responsible organizations should categorically stop encroachment upon forests under any excuse such as building hotels, attracting tourists, building religious seminaries and other apparently acceptable justifications,” Ayatollah Khamenei added.

The Leader noted that illegal land acquisition, which has recently turned into illegal acquisition of mountainous areas in the form of construction in highlands, was another regretful problem, emphasizing, “Such measures should be considered as crime under the law, and involved people should be put to judicial prosecution with no mercy, and in case of any dawdling on the part of state bodies, people responsible for the dawdling should be firmly punished.”

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution also stressed that protecting the environment is a sovereign duty, adding, “Drawing up a national document for environment; [considering] environmental annexes for all development, industrial and business projects; revision and amendment of laws to criminalize destruction of environment; and strengthening indiscriminate supervision are among the most important mechanisms to protect the environment and fight profiteers and lawbreakers.”

Ayatollah Khamenei then assessed as important the role played by people in protecting the environment in addition to building a suitable environment culture in the society by the national television, noting, “Anything worthy of mention was said today and from now on, it is for people to judge which state body fulfils its duty for protecting the environment and which body does not take necessary measures for the protection of the environment.”

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