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Leader's Speech at Imam Reza's Shrine

23/03/2008

The following is the full text of the speech delivered by the Supreme Leader at Imam Reza's Shrine on March 20, 2008.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Al-Mustafa Muhammad, and upon his immaculate and infallible household, especially what remains with Allah on earth.

I am thankful to Allah the Exalted who once more bestowed upon me the blessing of being at the holy Shrine of Imam Abul Hasan al-Reza in the company of you dear people who live close to this holy place or have traveled here as pilgrims from other parts of the country. I express my congratulations on the auspicious occasions of the birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet (SWA) and Imam Sadiq (AS). I also congratulate the Iranian nation on the New Year [Norouz], which is a national celebration for our nation and a symbolic eid.

As the birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet - who was the standard-bearer of monotheism, justice, wisdom and purity - is only a few days away, I would like to mention a couple of points about his birth anniversary. "He it is Who raised among the illiterates a Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His messages and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom." [The Holy Quran 62:2]. The whole period, from the beginning of his mission to the time when he was selected by the Almighty as the prophet - he was about 40 years old then - was a test of our esteemed Prophet's purity, trustworthiness, sincerity and magnanimity. His holy being was the manifestation of all these qualities. At that time, both friends and foes - from chiefs of clans to ordinary people, to travelers who went to Mecca, and to those who met the Holy prophet on their business trips - unanimously admitted to the fact that this noble and magnanimous person was the embodiment of purity, honesty, sincerity and magnanimity. During these 40 years, nobody observed him tell a single lie, do a disgraceful act or encroach on other people's rights. All the people could testify to these qualities as he was associated with these qualities for 40 years.

After the age of 40, when his prophetic mission had started, a large portion of the same people flooded the Prophet (SWA) with enmity, spite, and slander. The same people who could all testify to the purity, wisdom and sincerity of His Holiness before his prophethood, made a U-turn and labeled him as a magician, a lunatic and liar after he was chosen as the prophet. The Holy Quran also mentions these slanders. Therefore, the enemies of the Prophet (SWA) had no problems with his personality. They only had a problem with his message. All those who formed a unified camp against the Prophet (SWA) were antagonistic towards his religious teachings and his call to monotheism and justice.

This has been the case during the past 1,400 years. Today, when we observe that some insult is leveled at the Prophet (SWA) - whether in the literature of some Western countries or in the speech and writings of some writers from various corners of the Western world who have been affected by Western policies - we can trace it back to the old issue of ignorance that prevailed in the early Islamic era. Today, those who argue against the Prophet (SWA) and those who insult his name and memory are similarly antagonistic towards his message of monotheism, justice and broad-mindedness that he brought for humanity. All those who have accumulated power and wealth through oppression, deception, coercion, humiliation and slavery are opposed to this message. These people are opposed to the message of monotheism, a message that calls people to serving one God. Anybody who serves the single God will not stoop to serving the gods of power and wealth.

Those who have founded their lives on discrimination between different nations and individuals do not approve of the Prophet's (SWA) message of justice and are aggressive towards it. These aggressive reactions were the signs of weakness and fear at that time, as they are today. Those who are opposed to the Prophet (SWA) and Islam, bear grudges against them and insult them, do so from the position of weakness rather than the position of power. At that time, they felt threatened and were terrified by the Prophet's (SWA) message of monotheism and justice. Similarly, in our time - in which the souls of all individuals throughout the world thirst for spirituality and in which people are filled with hatred towards oppressors' coercion - they feel that Islam is a threat to them, the religion that bears the flag of justice and equality, the religion that has raised the flag of spirituality and servitude to Allah all over the world and has called to itself the humanity that is tired of materialistic systems. In the modern world, the arrogant powers of the world and their mercenaries keep insulting the Prophet (SWA) out of fear. This bears testimony to their defeat, not to their power.

It is a mistake to imagine that money-minded caricaturists - like the ones who did those horrendous things in Europe - or mercenary writers like Salman Rushdie are the opponents of Islam. These people are only the poor and pitiable vanguards of the global hegemony. Islam has to deal with policies. Islam has to deal with the members of the global network of arrogance and hegemony - that is, the treacherous bloodthirsty Zionist network and the politicians that are under their influence. That is the reason why we see that an official in the European Union blatantly declares that all Western media should insult the Prophet of Islam. That is an instance of showing one's true colors and putting oneself in disgrace. It is evident that Islam has managed to capture the hearts of people throughout the world, and that it has petrified arrogant and bullying powers so much so that they are forced to resort to being antagonistic towards the prophet of Islam (SWA). Back then, the enemies were defeated and, by Allah's favor, they are going to be defeated by Muslims in our time as well.

I would also like to mention a couple of points regarding the auspicious birth anniversary of the truly expressive Imam Ja'far Ibn Mohammad al-Sadiq (AS). This esteemed Imam had more opportunity than other Imams in his lifetime to convey the teachings of the Prophet's household - pure Islamic teachings - to the enthusiastic hearts of those who were thirsty for these teachings.

It is a mistake to assume that all those thousands of students who were taught by Imam Sadiq were Shia Muslims who believed in his being an Imam. That was not the case. There were many individuals among his students who did not believe - the way Shia Muslims do - that he was an Imam, but they used to go to him to benefit from his knowledge and what he knew about Islamic teachings.

We have many traditions from Imam Sadiq (AS) that have been related by Sunni Muslims - non-Shia Muslims. This points to the fact that the Islamic Ummah and the Muslim world still need the teachings of Imam Sadiq and other Imams. They must benefit from these teachings. Members of the Islamic Ummah from various social classes must add to one another's knowledge in this way so that they can help improve the level of Islamic teachings, which necessitates that we avoid building a wall of enmity and spite between Muslims of various denominations. This is what we mean by Islamic unity.

The Week of Unity is only a few days away. In the Week of Unity the call of the Islamic Republic to unity does not imply that Sunni or Shia must give up their denomination and adopt the beliefs of the other side. The Islamic Republic calls people to focus on the commonalities that different denominations share and to demolish the walls of enmity and spite that have been built by the enemies. The Islamic Republic calls on different denominations to come together and exchange views on various aspects of the teachings of the Prophet's (SWA) household. Today, the enemies are more than ever strengthening the foundation of these walls and elements of enmity and spite and are trying to foment schism among Muslim brethren.

Americans, Zionists and global arrogant powers like neither the Shia nor the Sunni. They are antagonistic towards both of them. They are opposed to all efforts made by Muslims to stand up to their coercion in the name of Allah and by relying on their Islamic faith. As you can see, they are as antagonistic towards the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah as they are to the Sunni Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad. During the reign of the evil Pahlavi regime, they were as cooperative with the corrupt, dependant and mercenary court of the regime - which was a Shia government in name only - as they were with similar governments in countries that were so-called Sunni Muslims.

They are opposed to the kind of Islam that stands up to coercion, arrogance and the plundering of natural resources and the kind of Islam that requires people to claim their rights. Shia and Sunni are meaningless labels to them. However, in order to prevent the Islamic Ummah from gaining power and asserting their opinions, they follow the divide-and-rule policy to foment schism between Muslim brethren and between and within the Shia and the Sunni. They seek to foment discord. We, our elites and our people must understand this.

We are proud of being a follower of the members of the Prophet's (SWA) household, of Shi'ism, and of the leadership of the Commander of the Faithful and his direct rule as the caliph. But this is not something to be proven on streets. Rather, such things have to be proven in a discussion with the elites and those who are experts in the field. What is more, these discussions have to be done in a logical manner. Slandering, fault-finding, using bad language and trying to settle issues by swords is a kind of help to the enemies of Islam, who oppose both the Shia and the Sunni. We proposed this idea to be raised as the flag of Islamic unity in the Islamic Republic. That is what the Iranian nation wants, and it is what our nation is trying to say.

As for the New Year, I believe that the New Year is the time for innovation and flourishment. I named this year 'the year of innovation and flourishment'. The spring itself is the season for innovation and flourishment. The whole nature puts on a new a green gown, and it flourishes. We want the year 1387, the whole year, to be the spring of innovation and flourishment for the Iranian nation. But, why did we decide to coin the slogan of innovation and flourishment this year?

The Islamic Republic was itself a great historical innovation, which was created by the Iranian nation and went down in the history of the country and humanity at large. The Revolution was an instance of innovation, as was the Islamic Republic.

After the advent of colonialism, the world was divided into two parts: those who dominated and those who were the object of domination. Some powers and countries managed to dominate some other countries by relying on knowledge, weapons or deception. These powers became the dominators and the other nations - willingly or unwillingly - came under their domination. The world got used to this classification. By convention, some nations had to be under the yoke of domination and arrogance of some other nations. Then, the Islamic Republic stepped in and made this illogical classification and this wrong system totally invalid. The Islamic Republic declared that it was opposed to domination and that it will never choose to dominate other nations even if it gains the power to do so. The Islamic Republic declared that it will neither spread its domination over other nations nor will the country officials spread their domination over their own people. Our Islamic Republic is opposed to domination, and even more so to submitting to domination.

Being submissive to domination is a sign of surrender and an open invitation extended to dominators. The nation that stands by and lets the dominators come and use up its resources and determine its fate, encourages the dominators and digs its own grave.

From a moral point of view, oppressive domination and colonization of a country constitutes an act of humiliation and destroys the identity of its people. When a people are placed under the yoke of domination, they gradually lose their culture and identity as well as their national pride and their general patriotic sentiments.

From a political point of view, domination means taking a nation's destiny in one's hands, an instance of which happened in the pre-Revolution era. The American regime placed our country under domination. Our nation had no control over the situation. They had installed a tyrant and used his rule to dominate this nation. They used to interfere in our domestic affairs. They used to appoint and discharge officials, determine the guidelines for the government, and appoint and discharge prime ministers. They even interfered in the appointment of ministers and army commanders.

From an economic point of view, domination entails the plundering of the country's resources or results in the suspension of these resources. These are the results that domination may produce.

The Islamic Revolution stepped in and drew a line at all these things. Based on this prominent stance, it is almost 30 years that the Islamic Republic has put up strong resistance in the face of the domineering powers of the world that consider the whole world as belonging to themselves. The American regime used to rule this region, and the Middle East was treated like a doormat by the arrogant U.S. statesmen. Iran - which was the most important country in the Middle East and the geographical center of this region - was dominated by the U.S. The Islamic Revolution came and put an end to this state of affairs. The system of the Islamic Republic stood at the heart of this situation and changed it.

If you take a careful look at the situation in the Middle East, you will notice that this region has turned into a showcase for America's failures and defeats. Since the victory of the Revolution, they have done whatever they could in order to prevent the Islamic system from growing and gaining power. You would be mistaken to think that they refrained from dealing us a blow while they could do so. They did whatever they could. If they did not do certain things, it was because they did not have the necessary means.

Supported by the great and brave Iranian nation, the Islamic Republic strongly fought back against the imposed war, their stealthy invasion, economic sanctions, psychological warfare, propaganda and the political uproar that they caused as well as the shameless plots that they hatched against us in the world. Of course, this does not mean that we withstood their pressures and just managed to survive. Rather, it means that we gained more and more power on a daily basis.

Today, the message of the Islamic Revolution is widespread and deeply-rooted. Today, the nations that cast bewildered and admiring looks on our nation are not just limited to the neighboring countries. The nations that think highly of our senior officials are not just limited to our own region. The fame of the Islamic revolution and the resistance of the Iranian nation and its adherence to its principles and values are spread to many parts of the world.

In terms of the depth of its message, the Islamic republic has managed to scientifically, technologically and socially push the country forwards and do numerous great services for the people. The services that have been rendered by different administrations during the past 29 or 30 years are incomparable to those rendered under the Pahlavi regime in the same time span. There has been a giant leap in the economic, social and political spheres in Iran. The national glory of our country is well-known in the world.

In terms of scientific advances, our country that used to be ranked at the bottom is now one of the top countries in many fields. We see that the Islamic Republic is sometimes considered among the top 8-10 countries, or in some cases, it is even ranked higher than them. The path that took them many years to tread has also been treaded by the Iranian nation in some fields, thanks to its diligent and talented youth. The prospects are bright, and the Iranian nation believes that the future holds many promises for them. These facts point to the progress that our nation has made.

In a matter of months, we are going to enter the fourth decade of the Revolution's life. Before we start the fourth decade, we must take a look at our lives and see where the shortcomings lie. There are many shortcomings. As I mentioned in my New Year address today, in many areas, we have inherited one hundred years of shortcomings as a legacy of the evil regimes that ruled the country before the Revolution.

We have declared that we are determined to join the most advanced ranks of humanity. But we must note that as we move forwards other nations will also move along and will not stand still. We must plan our rate and kind of movement in a way that we can catch up with those at the forefront. Otherwise, if we just proceed at the rate other nations do, we will still stay behind.

If we look carefully, we will observe that there are two major things that we must certainly achieve in the next ten years: progress and justice. Unlike some countries and governments in the world we do not exclusively focus on progress. We want justice as well as progress. There are many countries in the world that are scientifically advanced. And when you look at the economic facts and figures, you realize that their annual income is very high indeed. However, the important point that we should keep in mind is the distribution of this annual income among the members of their nation. This factor is exactly what non-divine systems and the governments that have modeled themselves on arrogant powers fail to take into account.

We cannot avoid taking this factor into consideration. We want our country to progress on all fronts, including scientific, economic, technological and political arenas. We want our nation to achieve nationwide welfare. However, we also want to have justice in our country. That is an important point. Justice is not desirable in the absence of progress, neither is progress in the absence of justice. Justice in the absence of progress means equality in backwardness and poverty. This is not what we desire. Neither do we desire progress at the cost of justice. What we are seeking is progress as well as justice.

Social distinctions must be diminished. Those who are equally energetic must enjoy equal opportunities. The lazy person himself has to suffer the consequences of his laziness. We must not allow some parts of the country to suffer from a lack of opportunities for scientific or economic activities while other parts have unlimited access to the resources and facilities of the country. That is what deserves praise and that is what our nation must demand from different administrations, parliaments, the judiciary branch of the government and all officials.

The country must progress on all fronts. We must make progress in all fields: progress in producing wealth, progress in raising the levels of productivity, progress in national resolve, progress in national unity and in bringing together people from various social backgrounds, progress in scientific and technological achievements, progress in morality and spirituality, progress in diminishing social distinctions, progress in public welfare, progress in social discipline, progress in making every individual conscientious, progress in moral security, progress in raising awareness, progress in political growth, and progress in national self-confidence.

I raised the issue of national self-confidence a couple of months ago. Our nation must have confidence in itself and know that it can do what it wants. This is exactly the opposite of what the enemies of this nation have been trying to induce us with for many consecutive years. They have been trying to suggest and convince us that we are unable to do what we want. Progress is needed in all these fields. However, all this progress must be coupled with justice.

Some economic experts or so-called economic theoreticians may say that this is impossible and that one must accept social distinctions if one intends to make economic progress. That is where "innovation" steps in, I would say. We must not imagine that Western economic prescriptions are the ultimate end of human achievements. That a prescription, and like all other prescriptions they have an expiry date. After they expire, new ideas will be proposed. Go and look for those new ideas, which will serve as the yardstick.

We want the country to progress. We want investments to be widely channeled into production. There are many people in our country who are wealthy. These people can use their wealth in profitable and honorable investments. These investments will be profitable for they themselves and for the people and will lead to Allah's satisfaction. Investments that wealthy people make in the country's production sectors and cause an increase in the amount of domestic production - with high levels of productivity - constitute worship and deserve to be rewarded by Allah.

The ground is prepared for such investments. People can make investments and generate wealth. The management system of the country must ensure that all people benefit from these investments. In order to empower the poor, the benefits must be especially channeled towards the lower social classes. We have made great progress in the past 30 years. Our enemies - that is, the evil Zionist network and the arrogant U.S. regime - have been defeated so far.

Today, America enjoys very high levels of hatred in public opinion polls, and it is isolated in the world. Their slogans have grown threadbare, and they are no longer credible. Is there anybody who believes that the American regime is promoting human rights and democracy? American type of human rights! Ever since the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, the U.S. government has interrogated 32 million people inside America. They themselves have declared these figures.

They tapped phone calls and tortured people in their prisons. The congress passed an anti-torture bill, but the current president of the country vetoed it, declaring that torturing is not prohibited. Do these people really understand the meaning of human rights? The U.S. has around 200 secret prisons throughout the world, some of which are in Europe. That is while Europeans never stop talking about human rights. They keep bringing up the subject everywhere, claiming that they adhere to its principles. But is this really in conformity with the principles of human rights?

All their courts, governments and newspapers form a unified front against anybody who calls the Holocaust into question. However, not only do they fail to condemn those who affront the Holy Prophet (SWA), but they also cooperate with them. Is this the kind of respect they pay to human rights, humanity and human beings? They constantly claim that they support democracy, but whenever they realize that people's votes are against their interests, they treat democracy and the democratic government with an iron fist. The Palestinian Hamas is a case in point. Was Hamas not elected by the people? Another example is the nonsensical threats that they level against the Islamic Republic, a government that is based on such widespread democracy that is unparalleled in the region and in some other parts of the world. The Islamic Republic has held about 30 elections in less than 30 years.

They say nonsensical things about the Islamic Republic, and they level threats against it. They threaten us with sanctions and military attacks. Have they not launched a military attack against us? Have they not threatened us before? Have they treated the Iranian nation leniently so far? This nation has acquired whatever it has though resistance and courage, and its power comes from an inner source that has its roots in the nation's being. They claim to be promoting human rights while they support the treacherous and bloodthirsty Zionist regime that has committed so many crimes.

I am astonished to see that some European governments fail to learn a lesson from the fate of the American regime, although they can clearly see how much they are reviled in the world. Some of these governments go to occupied Palestinian lands to welcome Zionist capitalists. In order to worm their way into the Zionists' hearts, they also condemn and reproach Iran in the parliament of the self-styled Zionist government. Why do they fail to learn a lesson [from what they observe]? Today, the Zionist regime is reviled by nations, as is America - that supports the Zionists. In the current state of affairs, the principles of human rights require that the nations throughout the world form a unified front against the coercion used by America and the by the Zionists who dominate the American government. Given the present circumstances, the Iranian nation has taken the most clear and the most courageous stance.

With the present pure intentions and the firm determination that is displayed by our nation, with the readiness that is to be found in the incumbent administration and its officials, with the newly-elected parliament and its MPs - who are, by Allah's favor, proceeding in conformity with Islamic values - and with the support of this nation, we can propel this country into further progress, provided that the officials consider innovation in using various methods as their duty and try to help flourish what has been done - or left unfinished - during the past 30 years. I advise both the administration and the parliament to work diligently and finish the projects that were started years ago, some of which are left unfinished and some have not produced any outcomes so far. I also advise them to observe the priorities when using the resources of the country and do so with utmost care. God willing, our nation, our youth and our officials will be witness to increasing prosperity of this country. I hope, by Allah's favor and the blessings of the Imam of the Age, the Iranian nation will enjoy better days at the end of this year than it is enjoying now.

Dear God, make the sacred heart of the Imam of the Age satisfied with us. O God, make us successful in serving Islam, Muslims, the country and our nation. O God, raise the position of our esteemed Imam and martyrs to the highest of positions. O God, bestow more and more honor and glory on the Iranian nation.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

 

Leader Interviewed After Voting

20/03/2008

The following is the text of an interview with the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei conducted by an IRIB correspondent.

Q: Just like the previous years, Your Eminence went to the ballot box and cast your vote. Would you please tell us what message and advice you have for our dear nation in these critical hours?

A: In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

This is a critical point and a critical day for our nation. Today is a momentous occasion. There are some days in a person's lifetime that have the capacity to determine a major part of his or her destiny. To draw an analogy, it is like Laylat ul-Qadr which marks a critical point in one's life.

Similarly, election days are decisive for a nation during a specific period of time. Therefore, I personally appreciate this day. I should also advise our honored people not to take this day for granted. They are to determine the fate of the next four years of legislation [in our country] with their votes, wills and efforts.

I also warn our dear nation not to leave this great deed to the last minute. They should came and cast their votes in these early hours. "The best deed is one that is done at the right time." One may fall ill until the evening, something urgent may come up, or one may become nervous [when one is pressed for time]. You have a lot of time now. People would be well-advised to vote as early as possible.

I have another piece of advice: our people must make full use of their rights. In Tehran, for instance, we are allowed to vote for 30 candidates, and if we voted for only 29 candidates, it would mean that we decided not to exercise one-thirtieth of our right. It would be much better if we fully exercised our rights. That is to say, we should write the names of 30 candidates - which could be more or less depending on the number of candidates in any constituency - on our ballots.

May God bestow success and a happy fate on you all, and may He accept these efforts from you. Goodbye.

Supreme Leader's Address to the People of East Azerbaijan

19/03/2008

Supreme Leader's Address to the People of East Azerbaijan

The following is the text of the speech delivered by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a meeting with the people of East Azerbaijan on February 17, 2008.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

First of all, I would like to thank all you dear brothers and sisters who have traveled such a long distance and who have come to this Hussayniah to form this gathering which is full of cordiality and serenity. Brothers and sisters, welcome [in Azeri]. The memory of the liberal and intellectual fight of the people of Azerbaijan will not be forgotten by the Iranian nation. Bahman 29, 1356 [February 18, 1978] marks one of such memories. Both before and after the Revolution and both during and after the imposed war, you experienced a lot of such events. Of course, the history of Azerbaijan which is full of glory has had certain peaks, and one of these peaks is February 18, 1978.

If one wanted to depict the issue in two sentences for you dear youth who have not seen that day, one would say that a movement was started by the people and the Islamic seminary of Qom to withstand the treacherous regime. And the reckless and treacherous regime that was reliant on America crushed it forcefully. It was so shocking that one could barely breathe. Everyone thought it was over. The factor that did not let the issue end there, and changed an accident into a movement and a process was Azerbaijan and Tabriz. To put it another way, the brave, clever and zealous people of Tabriz changed an accident into a movement. They did not let this accident be buried in Qom. If we wanted to compare it to the events of early Islam, we could say it was like what Zein ul-Abedin and Zeinab did to keep the events of Ashura alive and prevent the events from being buried and forgotten in Karbala. You made a flag out of it and held it in your hands powerfully so that the flag became a benchmark. That shows the very importance of this event.

If we wanted to reflect upon this event and compare it to the tendencies and characteristics of the people of Azerbaijan, we would come to the conclusion that these people are enthusiastic and eager in addition to being sensible and vigilant. They know what is important, and they also know when things become important. They are both passionate and brave to do what they want to, although it might be very dangerous. As is reflected in their slogan ("Azerbaijan is awake, and it relies on the Revolution"), they are very vigilant people. I personally believe in this very slogan. I have said that for many years, and in response to what you said, and in order to confirm what you said I would like to say "Azerbaijan is awake, and it relies on the Revolution." [A well-known Azeri slogan]

And it all boils down to alertness, sound reasoning, appropriate evaluation of circumstances and taking timely and brave action. What would a nation need if supposedly it wanted to change everything? A nation that has, for centuries, lagged behind under corrupt tyrannical regimes, has been unaware, has not been able to keep up with civilization, has afterwards been colonized by means of complex and mysterious actions, has been made inert, its natural resources as well as its cultural and historical values have been destroyed and whose control has been in the hands of others. Can we go to the cruel and perfidious colonizers and ask them politely to stop colonizing and forget their interests? Can it be done? Is it effective? Let's say we wouldn't plead, and we would negotiate instead, would it be solved by negotiation? Can we take the prey out of the jaws of a wolf by negotiating, speaking logically, and pleading? Is it possible to do such a thing?

At such junctures, there remains only one solution: nations must show their true abilities, reveal their power, and make use of their abilities so that the enemy would not take advantage of their weaknesses. There is no way other than this for a nation. This is what the Iranian nation did. Accomplishing such a task necessitates watchfulness, alertness, being diligent, inattention to trivial and petty material desires and amenities, and aiming for important goals and ideals. It needs all these. It is based on awareness. This is what Iran did.

February 11, 1979 marks the peak of this accomplishment. Our great Imam was the awakener whose shout for justice continued for years to awaken the people. All the people who were benevolent and were seeking reforms as well as scholars and sympathetic intellectuals helped. People from different walks of life gradually joined in and helped. All of a sudden, our nation that had experienced the Qajar dynasty and had been completely trampled upon during Pahlavi period turned into a nation that was alert and alive. It entered the arena and made its power known. It brought its power to the arena. This is national power. It is the power of all the people and no force can withstand this power. Nations must try to obtain that power. Of course it is not going to be easy. It requires sacrifice and effective leadership. If this were made possible, no nation would be oppressed in the world. No nation would suffer from poverty. These circumstances were provided in our dear country.

This awakening would not have occurred in the absence of faith. People's faith acted like an engine that made them move. If there were no faith, death would not be considered that petty by people. What makes death petty before the eyes of people is faith, so if faith is strengthened, death will appear even pettier. A faith was like that of Ali Ibn Abi Taleb. He made death appear so small and unimportant. Imam Ali said he was not afraid of death, rather, he said he embraced it. He said he had an affinity towards it and liked it. He said: "I not only like death but I also welcome it." This is a result of faith. When there is faith, death is not the end of life.

"Everything is perishable except the Supreme Being." Death is a distance between one ecstatic point and another. Some people are dragged by a chain because they are tied to this mundane life. Some other people eagerly rush towards the other point. Why is that? They do it because they know what is happening there. They see God's promise. The dear martyrs whose names you have heard, whom you knew, and whom some of you have been with and lived with, were not afraid of death. They loved life. When one looks at their wills, one realizes all these facts. This is a nation's solution, and our nation has started putting this solution into practice.

The difference that existed between our nation and its revolution in comparison to other nations' revolutions was that our nation connected itself to a strong position. It is holding on to a very strong and "firm rope." That is to say, when you want to walk on the edge of a precipice, there should be a strong rope that you can hold on to. When you are holding on to a rope, you are certain that you will not fall. This is what is meant by "the firm rope". "So whoever disbelieves in the devil and believes in Allah, he indeed lays hold on the firmest handle which shall never break." Our nation refrained from blasphemy and had faith in God, so it could go across this precipice. The nation did not face any worries, and that was what made this movement permanent among people.

Our dear youth and all scholars and intellectuals should notice that every revolution is a movement. It is the same everywhere. It is a movement, not an isolated incident. But in many cases, this movement is stopped while it is proceeding. Observe the history of different great revolutions. They fail in the middle. Some achieve a victory. They cherish it a lot and forget the people. Therefore, people gradually leave the scene and everything ends.

The French Revolution that started in the eighteenth century - in the late 18th century - was disintegrated in early 19th century. It failed completely and nothing was left of it. They stood up to the dictatorial regime. They disintegrated it, and after nearly fifteen years, another authoritarian and tyrannical ruler, named Napoleon Bonaparte, was enthroned. They had problems for decades. Afterwards, they gradually managed to avoid some of those issues.

Revolutions are never permanent. They are left incomplete because there is a lack of faith and there is no "firm rope" either. The Revolution was welcomed by our nation and was rejuvenated day by day, and it showed its efficacy more and more as time elapsed. Look at this year's February 11 ceremonies. It has been 29 years since the Revolution. This year on February 11, according to what Mr. Mojtahed Shabestari said about Tabriz, and according to the information I gathered - both in Tehran and other provinces - those who are aware of current developments almost unanimously agree that this year people's turnout, enthusiasm and participation have been more than last year and all the previous years. Why? It is because this nation and the Revolution are alive.

Those who were suddenly excited during the years after the Revolution and said that the Revolution ended, that it died and that Imam Khomeini was forgotten, were wrong. They miscalculated, and they made a mistake. The Revolution has been rejuvenated and its values have been revitalized.

Today, if someone promulgates the mottos of the Revolution among people, they will vote for him, and they will want him because they see the efficiency of the Revolution. The achievements that the Revolution brought about for this country - the global status it provided our nation with and the spirit of self-confidence it disseminated among the youth of this nation - cannot at times be gained even after a century. The Revolution did all these things, and problems will be solved this way.

The youth, potentialities, and the necessary resourcefulness will gradually change from potential into active. Ordinary human beings would become outstanding human beings, and the power of management, construction, production along with racing abilities in the competitions all over the world and among nations will be given to them, and the nation would excel. The Revolution and its values are the very essence of all these accomplishments.

These values have been preserved, and they must remain so. So far, all these values have been preserved and have been fostered more and more. I have repeatedly mentioned that the young people today are readier than the youth of 1989 when the war had just started. Their readiness to join the war is not less, if not more, than that time. We have clear plans for the future, and macro level programming by God's mercy and grace provided the guidelines for the Revolution. We know what we are planning to do.

The Iranian nation has so many treasures in the country, in its people's talents, and in the depth of its history. We want to revitalize these treasures. If a nation revitalizes these treasures, it will become rich and discerning. That nation will gain technology, knowledge, civilization, eloquence, and a better position in international debates. Then, that nation would become a model for other nations. Our nation has been a model up to now.

Palestine had not made any progress and had always lagged behind before the Islamic Revolution. The Islamic nations who had young people with a tinge of passion, gained leftist tendencies and everything ended after their bastions had been disintegrated. But the Revolution restored these nations. It awakened these nations. If we take a look at the world around us and the world of Islam, this concept will be clarified completely. Iran has been a model so far, But the day our talented youth who are to be found all over our country, realize all these talents, this nation will become a practical model for all the oppressed countries. This is very important. The key to the prosperity of this nation and other nations lies in the hands of our nation. It lies in the hands of our youth, and the enemy knows that. The enemies have realized this point, and that is why they want to stop this nation from continuing what it is doing.

The reason for all their propaganda, and political and economic efforts, and the reason behind all the diverse pressures, sanctions and resolutions is that they want to make this nation believe that they should not continue what they are doing. They are aiming for stopping this nation from continuing its way. They know that if our nation continues this way at its present rate and with the present strength, the power of oppression, tyranny, greed and pillage that is overshadowing the Muslim nations and Islamic nations will be dismantled and destroyed. The existence of tyranny will be endangered in the countries that rely on the Islamic Ummah. The enemies know this. Therefore, they will make every effort to prevent this from happening.

A few days ago, the president of the United States said: "we are going to mount pressures on Iran, so that Iranians would come to the conclusion that moving towards nuclear energy is useless." This means that when the Iranian nation reaches a technological peak - the manifestation of which, they think, is the nuclear energy - other nations will be enthused. This would make Muslim nations believe in their abilities and that is what they cannot control. They cannot restrain that power. They do not want us to obtain that power. Of course, they label this achievement differently, and they say that they are afraid of atomic bombs. But they themselves know, as do a lot of other people throughout the world, that this is a lie. The issue for them is not the issue of an atomic bomb. They know that Iran is not after nuclear weapons. Iran only wants to acquire nuclear technology and it is only after the technology. The reason for their worries is that a nation has progressed and reached a peak of success by itself without asking their permission or begging for their help. That is what makes them angry. They say that they support a certain party or a group. Why? It is because that party has stated or promised that it is not in favor of continuing these efforts, that it is not in favor of resistance either, and that it is in favor of asking America to let us make progress. We cannot take the prey out of a wolf's jaw by negotiation. We have to take it by force. It has been 1100 years since it was mentioned in the literature of this country that: "if a great man is in the claws of a lion, one should endanger his life and save the man from the lion." This is a notion that we have had in the literature of our country for the past 1100 years. At times, this (notion) has been put into practice in our history, but most of the time it has not. Today, Iran is putting this notion into practice by its resistance. "One should sometimes jeopardize himself/herself". That is the issue at stake.

This is our problem with the United States and all other tyrants throughout the world. They state that we should not make use of our talent and power so that their power, weapons and their ability in spreading propaganda would remain unrivalled, and so that they would stay dominant and control of everything. Here is the answer that our youth provide them with: "No, we can defend our rights". Our Youth say: "We can stop your violence, and if we do not do so, then God will reproach us".

The path Iran has chosen is the right path. Being present in the arena and not giving up on this great accomplishment is what the Iranian nation has opted for. Trivial issues and disagreements are not important. The petty spats that exist among different groups and different people are not important. These are trivial issues. The Islamic Revolution must preserve its integrity. In the beginning of this year, I brought up the subject of "National Unity". It means that the nation and the Revolution must keep their integrity and unity. The nation must not allow any divergence to grow. Thankfully, the nation is already aware of the importance of this principle. Maybe I did not even have to say that. We are the followers of the great rationality that exists among our nation. We said that to our nation, and they proved that it was true.

We are holding elections in the near future. Participation in the elections is another example of such rationality. It proves public presence. I emphasize participation in all elections. We should go to the ballot boxes. We should vote so that the enemies would be disappointed. The enemies don't want our nation to have elections. Neither do they want us to stage the February 11 and the Qods day rallies. They do not want us to participate in religious ceremonies and they do not want us to echo religious sentiments either. They want our youth to be immersed in apathy and indifference, and they want the youth to sink in lust, corruption and drugs. The enemies want such things. This is what is good for the enemy, and that is why they sometimes propagate it by their ideology, by political and military threats, by their gangs of drug dealers and by pornography. The enemy makes use of all means and tries very hard to distract this nation from strongly continuing on this right and esteemed path. You might remember that when it comes to elections, they mostly say something prior to the elections that means they do not want the people to participate in the elections. They take some actions, and they put efforts into it. Sometimes they hire uninformed, deceived and dependent people in order to stop the people from taking part in important events, and elections are one of those important events.

First of all, my advice to the people is that they should take part in the elections, and they should fill the ballot boxes. Standing in line may trouble the people. It may be cold. You may have to stand in line for one hour - more or less - but it is an act of struggling in Allah's way. It is jihad. One who exerts this effort deserves to be rewarded by God. People should vote. This is the first step.

Who should they vote for? This is the second point. The yardstick is that the mottos of the Revolution should be revitalized by the officials as well as the elected candidates day by day. This should be the yardstick. It has nothing to do with different parties, and it has nothing to do with names either. Putting the mottos of the Islamic Revolution into practice will put an end to the sufferings of this nation and will act as the means for achieving the ideals of this nation. All these should be preserved. Those who are in every sense of the word opposed to these mottos should not be allowed to enter decision-making centers. They may live in our country as a part of the nation. There is no problem regarding whatever belief the members of the nation hold, but those who believe that the vehicle of the Islamic Revolution should not be set in motion are not qualified to drive this vehicle. This vehicle will never start moving if we allow such people to drive it. The person who is in charge of this movement must have faith in this path, must believe in our goal, must believe in national abilities, must believe in Islam and the Revolution, and he must accept the benchmarks. This is that critical point.

Of course, we must stay vigilant. We should be afraid of duplicitous and insincere people. Islam has suffered from this insincerity and hypocrisy throughout the history. There are also many traditions regarding this issue. This should be taken care of. You are intelligent people. Whether people like me know it or not, and whether they talk about it or not, our history, revolution and the events during these twenty-nine years have proved this. It is not only proved to us, but it is also proved to the world. Therefore, the world is proud of your name, nation, and your Imam. The outstanding martyrs of the world of Islam and the martyr who was killed by the Zionists a few days ago considered themselves as Imam Khomeini's sons, and they were proud of that. Haj Imad Mughniyah who was martyred considered himself as Imam Khomeini's son. That is, he did not believe that an Iranian young man was closer to Imam than he was. He considered himself as close to Imam as the Iranian youth. Why? It was because Imam had given him a new soul, and he had revitalized him.

Such young people have always existed in Lebanon, Palestine, Gaza and everywhere else, but they would not do such great tasks. Who would have thought that the young Lebanese people, making use of ordinary weapons, could force an army that claims to be one of the greatest armies in the world to retreat that shamefully? In the first days after the 33-Day War had ended, the Zionists would say that they had not been defeated. Now, the reports of Winograd committee have revealed the truth. They put on a brave front so that they would not be that much discredited. But everything is obvious. A fully-equipped American army was also involved. You should know that America was secretly involved in the 33-Day Lebanese War, but they were all defeated. Who defeated them? A group of young people defeated them, those whose equipment included self-confidence, reliance on God, no fear of death and persistence in the battlefield. The myth that superpowers are invincible was dispelled this way.

We are thankful to God. We thank God for the blessing of the Revolution, we thank God for having such an Imam, we thank God for the grandeur that Iran has revealed, and we thank God for the grace he has bestowed upon our nation. Every one of you people and youth is a splendid blessing of God and one should thank God for having you. "And if you count Allah's favors, you will not be able to number them."[The Holy Quran 14:34] One should not waste the blessings of God. All of these blessings should be preserved. All the officials should be aware of these blessings; they should keep them and thank God to have bestowed those blessings upon them, and it is in this way that those blessings would become permanent. The people themselves should also appreciate this God-given blessing. You should know that the future of this nation is far brighter, better and more promising than its present condition. And, God willing, you young people will see those days, and you will be able to harvest the fruits of all these great efforts, and, God willing, you will make the world a place of prosperity and salvation.

Dear God, let our beloved Imam of the Age be pleased with us. Dear God, make us the warriors of that honorable person. Let us live and die under his leadership and kindness. O God, let the holy spirit of our Imam Khomeini and our martyrs be pleased with us, and associate them in the hereafter with your saints at the greatest levels possible.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessing

Leader Meets People from Various Ethnic Backgrounds

12/03/2008

‏ This is the full text of the Supreme Leader's speech in his meeting with various groups of people from different ethnic and social backgrounds on March 12, 2008.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Firstly, I welcome all you dear brothers and sisters who have traveled here from various parts of the country and formed this cordial and sincere gathering in this Hussayniah.

I extend my congratulations on the arrival of the holy month of Rabi' al-Awal which is the birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SWA), and a major historical point for the whole humanity as well. The first day of Rabi' al-Awal marks the start of the Holy Prophet's migration from Mecca to Medina which is the starting point of the Muslim's Hijri calendar. This month marks both the birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet (SWA) and the start of his migration.

These historical events are very important and valuable to the Islamic Ummah. Today, in the so-called modern world and despite the unprecedented conditions in some nations, these historical events come as an inspiration to the Islamic Ummah and Muslims across the globe. They learn lessons from these events. The memory of the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, who was selected by God and who served as a perfect example for the humanity, comes as a source of delight for Muslims living across the world, who testify to such facts as "there is no god but Allah" and "Muhammad is the messenger of Allah".

The love for the Holy Prophet is deeply rooted in the hearts of all Muslims. Therefore, the global arrogant powers target the Holy Prophet (SWA) today, and are trying to weaken Islam in that way. The Zionist regime and the governments who are under their influence, namely the arrogant powers of the world led by the criminal U.S. government, attack the Holy Prophet (SWA) when fighting against Islam and the Islamic Ummah. Why do they do these things? They attack the Holy Prophet (SWA) because his memory, his name, his birth, and his migration along with his 10-year rule in Medina, and all his acts and teachings include lessons for all Muslims if these aspects of his life are properly reflected on. These lessons open a new gate into life for all Muslims. The Holy Prophet (SWA) comes as an inspiration to the Islamic Ummah.

They have formed an opposition front against the Holy Prophet (SWA) because they are aware of these facts, and because they are afraid of vigilance in the Islamic Ummah. This is because they are petrified by the power of one and a half billion Muslims living across the world. Through their mercenaries, they insult the Holy Prophet (SWA) - who is a blessing to the whole world and who is the source of all goodness for the humanity - in their media, in the speeches of their politicians, and in their writings. This should awaken all Muslims. We should be aware of the great treasure that is hidden in the Prophet's being, in his personality, in the memories of his life, in his migration and jihad, in his lifestyle, and in his verbal and practical teachings. If it makes use of this treasure, the Islamic Ummah will gain such a position in the world that it would not allow any single power in the world to bully it, to put it under pressure, or to intimidate it. There is a lesson in that for us.

Today, the global hegemony is openly opposing Islam. They are spreading political propaganda against the Islamic Republic because the Islamic Republic has raised the flag of Islam, because it has rejuvenated Islam in the hearts of all Muslims, because it has helped Islam flourish, and because it has dignified Islam. The Islamic Republic has itself been dignified due to Islam. That is the reason why they stand against the Islamic Republic, and that is why they are hostile towards us. They are in fact opposed to Islam, that is the whole Islamic Ummah and all Muslim nations. The Islamic Ummah must strongly feel this fact.

They claim to support human rights and democracy. They talked about our nuclear activities for a while. They use all these claims to justify their enmity. The real explanation lies elsewhere. The real reason for their enmity lies in the fact that they are aware of how powerful a force the Islamic Ummah could become under Islam. This is what they are opposed to. They realize that the Holy Prophet (SWA), his memory, his lifestyle, and his teachings can rejuvenate the Islamic Ummah and turn it into an influential element in the international arena. They know that these very facts could dignify the Islamic Ummah and this is what they do not desire. They are opposed to such dignity and they stand against it.

Everyone in the world testifies to the fact that the U.S. is the archenemy of human rights. By United States, I do not mean the U.S. citizens. Rather, I mean their politicians, their top officials, those who are under their influence, those who rule in the U.S. government, and the Zionist regime who are all among the greatest enemies of humanity. Look at what they are doing in Gaza, and Palestine! Look at how they treat the Muslim nations! Look at how cruelly they treat the innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan! Look at their tortures! The U.S. president openly stands against the anti-torture bill, and this is indeed a very important issue. It bears testimony to the fact that torturing is a legal practice. It means that the U.S. is free to torture its captives who are a group of innocent people captured in Iraq, Afghanistan, or other parts of the world. They have raised the flag of torture and yet they claim to support human rights.

The result of such acts by the U.S. politicians and officials is the "Down with the U.S" slogan which is nowadays shouted by all Muslim nations from the bottom of their hearts. This slogan is shouted by all Muslims. The Iranian nation was once the only awakened nation who used to shout the "Down with the U.S" slogan. Today, the slogan is heard all over the world. Wherever the doomed U.S. president makes a trip, Muslim and even non-Muslim nations hold huge demonstrations against him. They burn up the U.S. flag and chant the "down with the U.S." slogan. They even burn the U.S. president in effigy. Can they be called the advocates of human rights?

Their blatant acts flare up enmity and hatred in the people of the world and in nations who are suffering their atrocities. Those who give their assent to torture, to the military invasion of countries, and to the bombardment of nations, and those who clearly practice discriminations against people inside and outside the U.S. claim to advocate democracy and human rights! These very facts acquaint the nations with the nature of these arrogant powers, which are the real embodiment of corruption. Their acts make nations aware of what they pursue by their policies.

The Iranian nation should know that it is not alone in the world. The slogans of the Iranian nation are shared by many other Muslim and even non-Muslim nations. They shout these slogans from the very bottom of their hearts. This could not have happened without your assistance, resistance, and bravery. The people of the world have realized the facts. The veil of hypocrisy that covers the face of these arrogant powers has been lifted. Even they themselves are aware of this fact. They know that the Iranian nation is the standard-bearer of this great movement by the Islamic Ummah, and it is due to this very fact that they express hostility towards Iran.

They are opposed to anything that would provide the means for the Iranian nations' dignity, power, and comfort. One of the manifestations is the election that is a great experience for our nation, and in which our people are going to take part in a few days' time. They are opposed to your elections. They are opposed to the very act of staging elections, and to the vast and enthusiastic presence of people in the elections. They are opposed to the election of the most qualified candidates and those who defend people's rights. They go up against the election of those who are pious and believe in the principles of Islam and the Islamic values. Why is that? Their opposition is rooted in the fact that people's participation in the elections and the presence of qualified and appropriate MPs in the Parliament would not be suitable for them, therefore they stand against the elections. They oppose in whatever ways they can. They spread propaganda, they establish radio broadcasts, and they try to make people disappointed in the elections - which is only a dream, and the result will, by Allah's favor, be quite the opposite of what they desire.

Just a week ago, the U.S. government issued a statement indicating that they were trying to get the UN Security Council to pass a resolution against Iran so that this would lead to stopping people from taking part in the elections. Just think about their acts.

Despite such acts, they claim to advocate human rights and democracy. People's participation in the elections is an indication of democracy in all parts of the world. What else could possibly constitute democracy? Because they know that the Iranian nation's participation in the elections would provide the bases of the Iranian nation's dignity and power, they stand against the staging of elections. The result of their efforts is already known to us, and so has it been during the last 30 years. Whenever our enemies tried, through their propaganda, to stop our people from taking part in the elections our nation took part in the elections even more enthusiastically against their will. By Allah's favor, this will be the case this time round too.

Our People know that their participation in the elections will bring about international weight and power for them. This is what our enemies are opposed to. They do not want our nation to take part in the elections. They want this lack of participation to act as a sign of people's opposition to the Islamic system. They want the Islamic system to be weakened in that way so that they can mount pressures on the government and the nation as well as everyone else.

They know that people's participation in the elections will empower them, thereby leading to their inability to implement their plans against Iran. They are against the staging of elections. They are using all their propaganda machines to stop people from taking part in the elections. Of course, they unfortunately have their own agents here and there. Besides their radio broadcasts and propaganda machines, their agents are involved in that sort of activity in some corners of the country as well. All their activities are aimed at infusing people with a sense of disappointment towards the elections. They try to instill into our people a sense of doubtfulness towards the great services rendered in this country. Who could possibly deny the great services that the government and the parliament have provided our nation with? These great services will, by Allah's favor, bear fruit in the course of time.

They do whatever they can and spread propaganda against our government, our parliament, and our officials as much as they can in order to disappoint our people. They also try to create a sense of doubtfulness towards the staging of free elections in our country. "Are the elections not rigged?", "Don't they cheat in the elections?" they keep saying. I can fully assure you that both the election that is, by Allah's favor, to be held in the next few days and previous elections have all been accurate. It is due to those acts that I have constantly mentioned and still mention that participation in the elections is both a political and a religious duty. It is like strengthening one's body by taking vitamins and having nutritious food. When your body is strengthened, microbes can no longer penetrate it. Even if your body happens to be attacked, it can properly defend itself. Public participation is the most important issue about the elections.

The Iranian nation has always been present in the arena when national power has been put to the test, as it has proven within the last 30 years. They have always been courageously and vigilantly present on the scene whenever their participation was to be considered as a manifestation of national authority - in demonstrations, in elections, and in Sacred Defense battlefields. That is why our country and nation have been strengthened on a daily basis during the last 30 years after the Islamic Revolution. The goals, principles, and values of our Revolution have been rejuvenated in the hearts of our nation on a daily basis.

What are the values of the Islamic Revolution? The power of faithfulness and piety in the hearts of people constitute the primary values of the Islamic Revolution. They are the source of all efforts and sacrifices. Social justice, fighting corruption, freedom of choice in the elections, and not imposing individual, party, governmental and personal opinions on people are among other values of the Islamic Revolution. Within the framework provided by the values of the Islamic Revolution, people should be able to think and act freely. This is the essence of religion-based democracy within the framework of Islamic principles. These constitute the values and the principles of the Islamic Revolution. Therefore, those who are going to vote should try to help form a parliament based on the same values and principles. Members of the parliament should be pious and trustworthy. They should believe in social justice and try to provide that across the country. They should provide the means for the dignity of the Islamic Republic, and should revile corruption at all levels and in all sectors. Our parliament should be based on these values.

We have had seven parliaments so far. Certain MPs have at times been opposed to an Islamic label for our parliament. During the first parliamentary term, we were holding discussions over the selection of a proper name for the parliament. We finally named our parliament an Islamic Consultative Assembly, but some MPs opposed and said that the name must not include the word "Islamic". Such individuals would not be proper MPs for the parliament. The Iranian nation has made many sacrifices to protect Islam. The Iranian nation is seeking grandeur, power, and welfare in Islam. There were a number of MPs who stood against that Islamic label for the parliament, and that was not acceptable for us. There were also a number of other MPs during a different term who decided to pass a law that would force the government to quit its nuclear plans, which was exactly what our enemies desired. These are not what our nation wanted. The current parliament passed a law that made the government pursue nuclear energy and remove the obstacles that lie ahead. We have observed different courses of action during different parliaments.

We should stay vigilant. Our nation should stay vigilant. Our people should elect candidates who are pious and trustworthy, who defend justice and oppose corruption. They should elect candidates who would defend the rights of the underprivileged as well as Islamic principles and values, candidates who follow the values set by our magnanimous Imam. It is only then that our parliament would be a powerful and dignified one. Of course, identifying the most qualified candidates is not an easy task. To do so, one should inquire and refer to experts and those who are well-informed and trustworthy.

It is upon me to tell you that taking part in the elections is an act that is rewarded by God, even if one makes mistakes in one's choice. Of course, making the right choice will be rewarded doubly by God. The very act of taking part in the elections, which is a great test for the people, is itself rewarded by God. God Almighty is witness to all our deeds. "And say, Work; so Allah will see your work and (so will) His Messenger and the believers" [The Holy Quran 9:105]. Muslims in other nations will also be delighted by your participation in the elections. The sensitivity displayed by our ignorant and stupid enemies, namely the American officials and politicians, has given rise to a feeling of sensitivity towards our elections among Muslim nations as well. Everyone is waiting impatiently to see how elections are going to be held in our country.

They are waiting to see how our nation will enter the election arena and whom they will ultimately elect. Americans have expressed their approval of certain nominees and their disapproval of certain others. Muslim nations are curious to know whether what they preached will be put into practice, or whether our nation will adhere to its own Islamic principles. What the American officials desire is against our national interests.

May God bless our magnanimous Imam who used to teach us not to be intimidated by our enemies and their offensive language. He used to tell us that when enemies use offensive language against you, when they frown and slander you, it is an indication of a great achievement which has upset the enemies. You should be afraid of the enemies' praise which would mean that you have acted in their favor. Those MPs and government officials whom our enemies disapprove of and whom they consider to be inappropriate for governmental and parliamentary positions must be supported by our nation and must occupy the positions. Those who are supported by our enemies to occupy positions in the government and the legislative branch should not be voted for. If elected, they will work to pursue the enemies' goals.

The most qualified candidates are those who believe in Islamic principles, justice, and our national interests. They should set themselves clear borders with the enemies. Those who do not meet these qualities will not be appropriate members in the parliament. In fact, they would not be the representatives of our nation. Fortunately, except for a small minority, there is a general consensus among the different political groups in our country on the principles of Islam and the Islamic Revolution. The borders must be clearly set. Some stand on ceremony with the enemies, while others treat them with care. We should care about our nation and God Almighty, not the enemies. The more you care about them, and the more you retreat, the more the enemies will advance. If you fail to maintain a powerful stronghold before the enemies, they will encroach on your territory. This is what they are looking for. This is one of the criteria that our people must notice all across the country.

Those who have not set clear borders with the enemies and their mercenaries are not qualified to enter the parliament. Our MPs should be those who have set clear borders with the enemy. This is what I have already mentioned as well. I repeat myself. You should try to find the most qualified candidates. Ask for Allah's help to reach that goal. You may also refer to honest, trustworthy, and well-informed persons for help to see which nominees would be the most qualified to enter the parliament. If you put this into practice, our parliament will in the real sense of the word be able to achieve the ideals pursued by our nation. By Allah's favor, we have observed parliaments in which the overwhelming majority or all of the MPs acted in that way. They passed suitable laws and made the administration work hard. God willing, the 8th parliament will be one that will contribute to the accomplishment of righteous deeds in the country, and will put in efforts to attain the goals set by our officials, our executive branch, and our government. I hope, By Allah's favor, they will manage to help this country remove the obstacles in its way, pass suitable laws, and succeed in supervising the enforcement of law.

Legislation and supervision are the duties of the parliament. On the one hand, members of the parliament must pass suitable laws that would enable the administration to freely work and serve the nation. Thank God, our administrations have always served the nation well. The current administration has put in a great deal of efforts. On the other hand, they must supervise the enforcement of the law. All administrations should be kept under supervision. One should always be supervised by his/her conscience and legal observers. We must be aware of the fact that we are constantly watched by Allah the Exalted. If these points are observed, the parliament will manage to serve well.

I hope Allah the Exalted will help our esteemed people - whether in Tehran or in different cities and provinces across the country, or in villages and remote areas - to enthusiastically take part in the elections aiming to get spiritually closer to God. I hope, by Allah's favor, this general participation will lead to the Iranian nation's power and dignity before the eyes of its enemies. I also hope this participation will foil the enemies' plots, and will result in a parliament which will benefit the whole nation and contribute to Islamic values and ideals. By Allah's favor, the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) will bestow his blessings upon all of us. I pray to the Almighty to associate with His saints the immaculate souls of our dear martyrs and our magnanimous Imam, who opened up this path ahead of our nation.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

 

Supreme Leader's Address to Students and Academics in Shiraz

05/03/2008

The following is the full text of the Speech delivered on May 3, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a group of students in Shiraz, Fars province.

It is a very interesting and cordial meeting which is being held in Shiraz in an academic atmosphere. Shiraz has been a center for science throughout history. A university in Shiraz means a scientific center located inside another scientific center. The different groups of students and academics who are present here have turned this meeting into a scientific, social, and political stage in the real sense of the word. I feel rejuvenated in my meeting with the youth - especially students - in such atmospheres. All elderly people have the same feeling. When in the company of the youth, they feel young and full of enthusiasm. Therefore, I never get tired of listening to students' words, whether they are elites or the representatives of different groups. I never get tired of talking to you. The only problem with this meeting is that it is being held outdoors, and the hot sun is a bit difficult to tolerate in the month of May in Shiraz. Although I am sitting in shade, I feel it is hot. But you are sitting in the sun - particularly the dear ladies who are wearing chador - and this makes me feel uncomfortable.

First of all, let's take a look at the points that these esteemed friends and students and the honorable dean said. I deem it necessary to talk about some of the points. Most of the things that they said are same as what I intend to discuss with the academics, students, and administrative university officials. However, it is necessary that we discuss some of the comments that these friends made. It was mentioned that elites are not supported sufficiently and that the officials do not treat this issue seriously. You must note that in this issue, like all other issues, official mechanisms play a major role. This is not to say that we should be lost in the labyrinth of bureaucracy. Rather, it means that there is a need for a decision-making organization or center. In the past two years, I believe this has been done in the best possible way. That is to say, a very prominent academic is currently serving as the vice-president. As far as I know and according to the reports I have received, positive things are being done in this regard. I sometimes hear you say - as I did when I was young - that something has to be done immediately. It is not right to use the word "immediately" in all situations. There are some things that are by nature time-consuming, and if they are done quickly, we will encounter difficulties. We must let things be done at the rate their nature requires.

The representative of the Students' Basij raised a point, and I myself also want to make the same demand. They ask me "to what extent has the indigenous Islamic development plan been put into practice?" I proposed this plan a couple of years ago. I believe that designating a research center for students is a good suggestion. It behooves the officials in charge of higher education to consider this suggestion. It is a good idea. We ought to provide the students who have the capabilities and the required time with a chance to work in a research centre. This is an idea that is worthy of consideration, and it could be pursued.

You talked about the issue of decision-making. Let me clarify this issue here. Being able to present proposals for decisions to be made is very good. But making decisions is a problem that will undermine many of the principles if it penetrates academic atmospheres. We know this from experience. We should let students, who do not shoulder heavy responsibilities, prepare the ground for decision-making with their thoughts, words, and actions. And we should leave decision-making to those who can be held responsible. We should not be after turning academic settings into a center that will make decisions to be enforced later on. This is neither to the students' benefit, nor contributes towards the decision that is to be made. We should seek to create opportunities for academic centers to prepare the ground for decision-making. This means that you should provide opportunities for negotiation in this process.

When I intended to raise the issue of a new software movement, I talked to the students at universities before anybody else. This goes back to almost ten years ago. At that time, I had neither talked to the ministers nor to the then president. I had not even talked to academics at that time. I raised the issue at Amirkabir University for the first time. Today, it is a subject for discussion and a public demand. This is a demand by all universities in the country. Wherever I go, there is a demand for this movement by students, academics, and deans. I also hear people talk about the implementation of this demand, and it is being implemented.

The various scientific innovations are partly inspired by these mottos: "Present proposals " and "Create opportunities for negotiation". This will cause the executive officials to pursue the proposals. Then they will make decisions which will later be implemented. The point that seemed interesting to me in the speech by one of the PhD students was that a medical student was supporting the students of basic sciences. This is indeed right. Paying attention to basic sciences is among the points which I have constantly emphasized in my addresses to the officials in the recent years. I have always said that basic sciences are like a treasury. Applied sciences are like the money that we take out of this treasury and put in our pockets and spend. If had not been for basic sciences, there would have been no support for such spending. The point this medical student made is completely relevant, and I think the words of this medical student can be a lesson for other students. It tells them not to look at the issues with a bias towards their field, university, or subject matter. They should really have a view on what the country needs. The fact that this medical student supported the students of basic sciences was in my opinion a good lesson.

There were a couple of good points mentioned in the speech by the representative of the Islamic Associations of Shiraz. I support these views form the bottom of my heart. Let me clarify the issue to some extent. There are some people who say "you" claim to support justice, yet you arrest students but not those who really trample upon justice. They say the judiciary or the officials have done this, that and the other. The point here is that you have to act shrewdly in such cases. You should not stop seeking justice. This is what you deserve. Students, the youth, and faithful people rightly deserve to seek justice, and I support this notion with all my heart. Thank God, the Islamic system supports this notion too. Of course the law might be violated in some cases by some people. However, you should be vigilant. Shout for justice, but do not criticize individuals or focus on certain cases. When you do so, the very first possibility is that you might have made a mistake. I have seen such cases before. I sometimes see certain cases - of course not at universities, but among different social groups - that they focus on a particular instance. The case could be one of corruption, political violations, or adopting the wrong policies. Sometimes I happen to be informed of the issue, but later find out that what they say is not true and the person who says such things has been mistaken. Probably he has not been well informed about the issue. Therefore, when you focus on certain individuals or cases, there is on the one hand the possibility of being mistaken, and on the other hand the possibility of providing some law violators who are well familiar with the law with a chance to sue you. I have always told you that law violators who are familiar with the law are dangerous.

What complaints can you make to the magistrate? It is not the responsibility of a judge to inspect the nature of the issue if people go to a court of law and accuse others of slander, saying that they have made false claims against them. If someone is accused of slander, the law forces the judge to take some action. Therefore, we cannot make any complaints to him. You should be prudent in such cases and not mention names. You should not focus on any particular cases. You should just bring up the case. When you do so, those who are responsible for administration will be cautious. And this in turn will hearten those who shout for that principle, and everything will go on successfully. Therefore, I do not think there is anything wrong with what you do. You are a group of faithful youth, and this is what we expect from you. Whenever a good slogan is shouted, we first rely on God - who has control over all hearts, tongues, and wills - and then on the youth. This is what you should know.

‏ Your fellow citizen whose poem you read says you should not easily get upset. You should pursue your goals. I also repeat the same thing for that dear brother who mentioned a number of points very eloquently. These words were exactly what I wanted to say, but the difference between me and you is that I have learned through experience that one should be a little patient when dealing with problems. You are young and still at the beginning of the way. You are full of enthusiasm and little impatient. They are all good characteristics, except for impatience. Of course there is no cure for it. I do not intend to say that there are a lot of ways to cure this impatience. I have also gone through the same stage and know what it is like. But I intend to tell you that all of what you said and every slogan that is shouted in this country will, by Allah's favor, be actualized in this country.

One of the female students made a complaint regarding the Payame Noor University. The officials in charge should pay attention to the points mentioned. If there really are areas that need to be improved, then they must be improved.

There was also a point mentioned by one of our dear brothers who was an elite student at the Islamic Azad University. It was a correct remark. Talking about the government's plans, before going through a trial and error process, at universities and research centers is very good. Of course, I should tell you that the government officials and the honorable president often claim that they do so. You cannot say that they never do so. I have constantly mentioned this point to the officials, especially to the diligent and sincere president. He says that they talk about the issues at universities. He says they have done so at universities or that a particular research group has taken measures in this regard. Anyway, this is a good idea. That student also talked about the issue of inequality and such matters at the Islamic Azad University. There was also another student who had not found the opportunity to speak at the meeting. He came here and told me something in a loud voice. I could hear that he was saying the opposite thing. This means that two students at Azad University have two different opinions regarding the different issues at Azad University. He made a couple of complaints about the cultural status of Azad University.

What I intend to tell you dear people now is an elaboration on what I said in my address to the people on the first day of my trip. It was about a comprehensive view on the Revolution. This is because we are on the verge of entering the fourth decade of the Islamic Revolution's life. Almost 30 years have passed. At such times, the different views on a particular event - like the great event of the Islamic Revolution - are accompanied by an evaluation of performance. After thirty years the Islamic evolution is still going through its early stages. There is no doubt about that. Every revolution enjoys a lot of power, especially the Islamic Revolution. But when you look at the thirty-year period, you usually tend to judge the performance and success of the Revolution.

We should not make any mistakes in this judgment. And we cannot deal with such a detailed task through an overall perspective. Let me make a few points in this regard. Of course, I would like to elaborate on the issue more, but the weather and the sun bother me a little and I cannot deal with the issue in detail. What I am going to talk about is what you dear youth already know. You know me well. I have said on several occasions that it is not the case that what I say cannot be changed. You should not think that what I say cannot be changed. I express my personal opinion and I would like these opinions to be discussed in academic settings. This was my main point of view which will be discussed. I might not draw a comprehensive conclusion at the end of this meeting with the purpose of letting you draw the conclusions - in your gatherings, in academic groups, or among yourselves.

If we look at the Islamic Revolution and its emergence from a broad perspective, the minor details will not mislead us. Sometimes being obsessed with the details and losing sight of the whole picture is misleading. Sometimes one even gets lost and loses sight of one's goals. This is not to say that we should not be meticulous because attention to details is the same as planning, and I am not opposed to this. Making plans and considering all aspects means that we are being meticulous. All I want to say is that this attention to different aspects must not prevent us from having a holistic view of things. That is because such a view can teach us a great deal.

I have considered a few aspects for this issue, and let me discuss these aspects. The first aspect is the purpose of the Revolution. The purpose of the Revolution was to build a country with the following characteristics: Independent, free, wealthy, secure, faithful, observing moral and ethical values, and at the vanguard of scientific or other sorts of achievement in the competitions in the great human community. And there has always been a competition among humans in their achievements, in science, and in their other desires and achievements. The Revolution intended to build a country that was free. Freedom is not only limited to social freedom - of course social freedom is one of the important manifestations of freedom. By freedom, we mean both social freedom and freedom of the country from outsiders and their domination. The country is at times apparently independent, but it is under the influence of others. We also mean moral freedom which means the faithfulness of humans and moral perfection which is the primary goal. Everything that is done is a base for humans' perfection. This should be manifested in the Islamic community.

A country with such characteristics was what the Revolution desired. You may ask how the Revolution intended to achieve these characteristics, or on what bases these characteristics were defined. I should tell you that they were based on Islam. These are the main characteristics of Islam. Whoever has a different view about Islam has not properly understood Islam. Those who think that Islam only deals with moral issues - with a specific point of view regarding moral aspects of life such as worship, piety, remembering God, and the like - and does not care for the worldly needs, desires, and pleasures of people have not properly understood Islam. Such a view about Islam is not correct. Everything I said - both what is concerned with the worldly issues of society including justice, security, welfare, wealth, freedom, and independence and what is concerned with issues in the hereafter including faithfulness, piety, ethical growth, and moral perfection - lie in the word of Islam.

The Holy Quran says: "And if the people of the towns had believed and kept their duty, We would certainly have opened for them blessings from the heavens and the earth. But they rejected, so We seized them for what they earned." [Holy Quran, 7:96]. When there is faith and piety, there will be blessings from the heavens and the earth. The blessings from heavens are in fact moral blessings - blessings from God. They mean getting closer to God. Those blessings also include the angels asking God to forgive His servants on earth. The blessings from earth mean everything that is related to humans' life on earth. They mean freedom, welfare, independence, security, God's bountifulness, health, and the like. If there is faithfulness and piety, there will be both kinds of blessings for humans. This is what Islam means. Therefore, when I talk about the Islamic Revolution, I mean the points I just mentioned.

This was part of the Revolution. We intended to build a country which had such characteristics. There is another point about this issue, and that is the fact that the issue was not only limited to Iran. What we had in mind was that Iran would act as a model for Muslim communities in the first place, and then for all communities in the world. We wanted to build such a community based on these characteristics and present it as a model to the Islamic community and all humans. By 'we', I mean the Iranian nation, the Islamic Revolution, and the revolutionary people in Iran. I do not mean myself and some other people only. We wanted them to come to believe that this model is both desirable and practical for the people. We did not want them to think that this model is desirable but not practical. They used to say so during the Islamic campaigns.

Some people who had good intentions used to say: "Why do you make futile efforts?" They used to say: "Your words are right, but they are not practical." The Revolution aimed to prove to all the people in various corners of the Islamic world that this model is practical. And this [the Revolution] is a case in point. This was the goal of the Revolution. This goal existed since the beginning of the Revolution, and I should tell you that it is still our goal today, and will be our goal in the future as well. This is a constant goal. This was the first aspect of the issue.

The second aspect of the issue is that the Islamic Republic had this goal. We are not living in a vacuum. We are living with the realities. The issue is how much the realities contributed to or hindered our progress towards these goals. Certainly, it would not take a long time to reach this goal if the obstructions, which I am going to talk about, did not exist. A strong and unified group would have probably been able to actualize these goals during 5 to 10 years. But there are always barriers in humans' ways. It is basically the existence of such barriers that makes one's efforts meaningful and morally true. This is what we call jihad. If there were no barriers, jihad would be meaningless. Jihad means making efforts in a serious manner together with overcoming the barriers.

What were the barriers? We faced two kinds of barriers - internal and external. What were the internal barriers? The internal barriers are those things that exist among ourselves - decision makers, the people, and the supervisors who were not part of the Revolution and its challenges. This is what I mean by internal barriers. The internal barriers are in fact the weaknesses - weakness of thought and wisdom, being laid-back and carefree, and not taking matters seriously. These sometimes present obstacles to the achievement of our goals. Our estimations and calculations about the problems and what we are going to do should be realistic or at least close to the realities. Not taking matters seriously is the same as being laid-back and carefree. This is also one of the problems. Escaping challenges is also one of our internal weaknesses.

One of the other internal weaknesses is the social attitudes and the historical habits which existed among us [the Iranian nation] at the beginning of the Islamic Revolution. The youth of today might not have a correct picture of our psychological status or historical attitudes at the time of the Islamic Revolution's victory. Today, we see that the idea of being capable [of making achievements] is prevalent among everyone. Even if they ask you whether you can outperform the pioneers of the most delicate and accurate industries in the world, you are going to say you can. If we make efforts, we can. The young Muslim scientists of the Islamic Republic believe they are capable of doing anything. However, this was not the case at the beginning of the Islamic Revolution. Previous attitudes were exactly opposite to this. Whenever there was talk of a new challenge, they said they were unable to handle them. They were asked to make something, but they said that they could not. We said we had to oppose the false mottos which were spread in the world, but they said they did not have the power to do so. Those days, the belief that "we can" was replaced by "we cannot". This is the historical attitude that has been left from the previous era.

Being oppressed, getting bullied, and witnessing debauchery in those from whom the society expected justice, decency, and purity had turned into a habit. This means that prior to the Islamic Revolution people would not be surprised if they were informed that some high-ranking government official - the highest ranked official was the Pahlavi Shah - or minister had been involved in debauchery and immoral behavior. They would say this is something evident! I mean they were used to the indecency and corruption of the officials who were supposed to act morally and ethically.

I was surprised to know that some intoxicated caliph had led the morning prayers of a group of people. Such stories exist both about this caliph and a king who had been appointed by one of the caliphs. This story exists in the history of Islam, and it is a famous and true story. The morning prayers consist of two rikaats, but since he was intoxicated he had prayed six rikaats. They had told the king that you prayed extra rikaats, and he had said: "I am happy, and I can do even more if you want." This story exists in history. Those days, people saw that the caliph was involved in such immoral behavior, but they just tolerated and acted indifferently towards such behavior. This was the case during the Pahlavi era as well. During the Pahlavi era - which we went through prior to the victory of the Islamic Revolution - things were all the same. People would not be surprised to see that the ruler of an Islamic country was involved in debauchery, drinking, and libertinism.

I may have told you before that one of the great ulama of Tabriz who was very knowledgeable and whom I had seen before - he was my father's teacher - was a very scholarly but naive person. I had once travelled to Tabriz and I heard his students and friends who were interested in him narrate a story about him. They said once Muhammad Reza Pahlavi had come to Tabriz during his youth and had gone to see this great scholar. He had gone to see him in the school where he taught as a sign of respect for him. This scholar, who was very knowledgeable and faithful but nave, had been attracted to the Shah and had started to praise him. His friends had told him that the person whom you praise does immoral acts - the sort of acts which would be very obscene in his opinion. For instance, they told him that the Shah drinks alcohol. He had said: "Well, he is the king. Do you not expect him to drink? ". They had told him that he does gambling, and he had said: "He is the king. What other games do you expect him to play?" The common belief was that because someone was the king, or because someone was a minister, he could get involved in debauchery and libertinism or exhibit immoral behavior. This was one of the habits that were common in our society. These are the internal barriers. These are the things that place obstacles in the way of achieving a lofty goal. Wrath, untrained and uncontrolled desires, being attracted to superstitious habits and beliefs inherited from the past, and misunderstanding the principles of religion are among the internal barriers.

There were some people who did not understand many of the issues. We were leading a campaign, but some people were against such campaigns based on the belief that every flag that is raised before the flag of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) is to be burnt. They said: "Do you want to start a campaign before that of Imam Mahdi?" They said that the flag of such a campaign is to be lowered. They had not properly understood the meaning of this hadith. A group of people who had heard at the beginning of Islam, at the time of the Imams (a.s.), that Imam Mahdi will come and fill the world with justice claimed to be Imam Mahdi. There were even some people who were not sure about the issue themselves. You should note that such claims existed both at the time of the Umayyad Dynasty and at the time of the Abbasid Dynasty. Such beliefs were also common among other people who were present at the time of the Abbasid Dynasty and the following eras, up to the present moment. If someone raises such a flag, it is to be burnt. This does not mean that people should not oppose tyranny, or that people should not fight or rise up to form a divine and Islamic community based on the principles set by Imam Ali (a.s.). This represents a misunderstanding of religion. As you see, these were all the internal barriers which existed after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. We wanted to direct the country towards those goals despite those barriers. Every one of those problems was a hindrance to our progress towards those goals.

Of course, the problems were solvable. Many of the problems were solved through enlightenment. Therefore, in Islamic campaigns, enlightenment plays an important role. Let me tell the youth who feel responsible in this regard that enlightenment plays a very important role. In Islamic movements, enlightenment - that is the expression of facts, propagation, and the way the message is conveyed - are very important and one should not ignore this fact. This is contrary to the Marxist ideology which was common at that time and which was opposed to propagation. They believed that campaigns were phenomena that occur naturally whether you want it or not, or whether you propagate or not.

This means that according to their dialectic, they believed that there was no need for enlightenment in our campaign. In the year 1970, a youth from Mashhad who was familiar with me and who was connected to one of these groups which were newly formed those days, met with me somewhere. They were a group of communists - the Jungle group and the like. He explained to me what they intended to do. I told him that what they wanted to do was not possible in that social context. I told him to talk to people a little, clarify their goals, and explain to the people what they wanted to do. But he said with total inattention, "that is the Islamic method". Yes, this is the Islamic method. The Islamic method is rooted in enlightenment, and it was due to such enlightenment that the Islamic Revolution overcame many false historical traditions and backgrounds. Of course, we have not been able to overcome some of those traditions yet - like consumerism, being profligate, and the things which some of you talked about - and this has its own reasons. This is among the things which we have inherited from the past, and we have unfortunately kept this inheritance. We - the Iranian nation - should quit this nasty irritating habit. We are a very consumerist nation, and we should solve this problem. Everyone should cooperate to solve this problem. Of course, undoubtedly the IRIB plays a role in this regard. These were the internal factors.

Then, there are the external factors which were many. All those who were disadvantaged in one way or another by the Revolution or its goals rose up against the Revolution. Some people are disadvantaged by security. Some are disadvantaged by justice, and some by the rejection of non-divine governments. Others are disadvantaged because outsiders' domination is rejected. Some people are also disadvantaged due to the rejection of despotism. These are clear facts and need not be explained. Who is disadvantaged by justice, independence, freedom or the like? All these people have risen up against the Revolution, and their opposition still continues.

You might not remember the beginning of the Revolution. During the first year of the Revolution, there were clashes and conflicts in all corners of the country due to ethnic reasons. In Baluchestan, in Kurdistan, in Turkmen Sahra, and in different parts of the country, there were clashes due to ethnic reasons. When they investigated the matter, it was found out that none of these ethnic groups had any problems with Islam or the Islamic Revolution. I had previously lived in Baluchestan. I had been banished there, and I knew the Balochi people. I knew that they did not have the slightest problem with the Revolution. But some people, under the name of Balochi people opposed the Revolution through a plot. The same thing is true about Kurdistan and Turkmen Sahra as well. Later, their plots were foiled, and we discovered where they were being provoked from. These were the barriers which lay ahead of the Islamic Revolution. It was not the case that we were continuing our path without any barriers.

After the issue of ethnicities, there was the issue of our internal battles. It has a really bitter story, a very saddening one. Then there was the imposed war. The great power which our nation used against the enemies, and which brought the enemies to their knees - not only Saddam, but also those who supported him were brought to their knees by the Islamic Revolution - would have helped us make a great deal of progress if it had been used for construction purposes in the Islamic Republic. Of course, we benefited from the imposed war. We used this threat as one of the best opportunities. The Iranian nation turned all threats into a great opportunity and a great test in the real sense of the word. It was a great stage for gaining experience, and we gained many benefits from that.

But there was also the reality that imposing war on a country causes great problems for that country. The world's monopolistic powers, the internal rebels, the plots of the superpowers, and the tempting political and economic propaganda of the superpower that had been denied any rights to Iran by the Islamic Revolution - namely the U.S. whose policies still continue - acted all as barriers to this great movement of the Iranian nation. Now you evaluate the movement of the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic towards those goals despite the existence of these barriers. If I were to evaluate this movement, I would say the performance of the Islamic Republic has been so good. The performance of the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Revolution has been very good and successful. Can anyone tolerate all these problems? At that time, such government changes had taken place in Africa, Asia, and many other places. None of the governments could tolerate the difficulties. Also during the pre-Revolution era, many great revolutions in the world - such as the French Revolution, and the Russian Revolution of 1917 - could not resist these different events. I mean they were deviated from their course from the very first day.

Being democratic, Islamic, and moving towards the ideals - the fact that a youth comes here after thirty years and says in a loud voice that the ideals of the Revolution are his wishes and demands - is a great achievement for the Revolution. It was never the same in other revolutions.

Take a look at the literary works of the 19th century in France which go back to the end of the 18th century when the French Revolution took place. Early in the 19th century, Napoleon started his rule. Then, look at the literary works of mid 18th century - 1830 to 1840 - which are many. Take a look at their poetry and novels, and you will see what a situation they were in 30 years after the victory of their revolution. There was total despotism, corruption, and a dreadful state of class discrimination at that time although there were mottos of justice, equality and anti-despotism. This achievement of the Islamic Revolution is a great achievement. Worse than that was the Russian Revolution of 1917. And the events which took place in the contemporary era were mainly revolutions in name only. They were mainly coups, or an armed group seizing power in a country, like Cuba and other places. Most of these movements happened in the same way I mentioned. They could not overcome the difficulties or remove the barriers.

Consider the barriers. All these barriers are among God's laws. The existence of these barriers is not accidental. These are among God's laws. It means that all efforts and movements are accompanied by hindrances. Otherwise, jihad would be meaningless. "And thus did We make for every prophet an enemy, the devils from among men and jinn, some of them inspiring others with gilded speech to deceive (them)."[Holy Quran, 6:112]. In all invitations made by the prophets, enemies - hindrances - such as man and jinn were present. There is also another Quranic verse: "And thus have We made in every town the leaders of its guilty ones, that they may make plans therein. And they plan not but against themselves, and they perceive not." [Holy Quran, 6:123]. There have always been groups of people in every community whose presence is the cause of evil and deception. These are all among God's laws. This means that the prophets never said that they would only enter the scene if there were no barriers. They entered the scene while the atmosphere and the scene were really tough and full of battles, just like the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic.

But it is also God's law that if the prophets' movements or divine movements, an instance of which is the Islamic Revolution, were persistent and continued all barriers would be removed. This is also one of God's laws. There are two verses in Fath surah which read: "And others which you have not yet been able to achieve -- Allah has surely encompassed them. And Allah is ever Powerful over all things. And if those who disbelieve fight with you, they will certainly turn (their) backs, then they will find no protector nor helper." [Holy Quran, 48:21, 22]. This means that if you stand up and resist, if you do not lose track of your goal, and if you do not stop making efforts, you will undoubtedly emerge victorious out of all battles. This is the essence of what I was trying to tell you dear youth.

Today, the barriers which existed from the very first day against the Islamic Revolution still exist. Some exist in different forms while some new barriers have been created too. Unfortunately as these youth said, consumerism and competition in gaining wealth and making money has formed a new class in society. The Islamic system is not opposed to acquiring or producing wealth. Rather, it encourages such actions. If there is no production, and if wealth is not produced, the life and continuity of society will be in danger and the required power will not be gained in society. This is an Islamic principle. But that people have a craving for an aristocratic life or wealth is very undesirable. This is what unfortunately exists among us. As I previously mentioned, consumerism and profligacy are two undesirable traits.

And there are external barriers as well. As you see today, the US has stood against the Iranian nation with all its power. This is all their power - propagandistic, political, economic, and international power. Some people believe that the different US administrations need to have external enemies. And that is why they pay a lot of attention to the Islamic Republic and speak of the Islamic Republic as a great danger. Of course, this is true.

One of the policies of the American leaders is that they always try to have an external enemy in order to overshadow their internal problems, the discrimination that is practiced in their society, the strange class distinctions that exist, and several problems that the US people have. This is what we have understood and are aware of. But the issue of paying too much attention to the Islamic Republic is a basic issue in the minds of American domineering politicians. This is truly the case. Their existence depends on invasion, domination, and attacking different parts of the world. They have satisfied the governments and made the nations silent. The only government that has stood against them is the Islamic Republic. The Islamic Republic, the people, the government, the president, and the government officials all deny oppression unequivocally. This is a great danger for the enemy who does not limit itself to its national borders. This is because the cries and the uprising of this nation are awakening other nations. They are a warning for other nations, as they have always been. This has caused other nations to become vigilant. Naturally, they feel threatened. They are making all possible efforts, but despite all these efforts, the Iranian nation, and you Iranian youth and students can stand against all these efforts and overcome the enemies. But there are some conditions before you can do so. Today, we are in a better position compared to twenty or thirty years ago. We have more experience. Our management is more effective. We have made progress in scientific arenas, and we enjoy more economic power compared to those days. We also have a broader perspective on making progress compared to that time.

During the first decade of the Revolution, many interpreted progress in terms of following the leftist model - the leftist model of the sixties which was rooted in socialism. And anybody who was opposed to this model was either vilified or insulted. A number of the officials, and those who were active in the Islamic Republic believed in government domination and ownership. Such a perspective was wrong. Their perspective on the country's progress was mainly rooted in the leftist socialist views of the East. This was a wrong perspective. Of course they soon understood that this was a wrong perspective. Even those who used to broadcast such views suddenly changed their stance. They went from one extreme to the other.

During a certain period, the view on the country's progress was rooted in Western views. They thought that we had to do what the Western people had done. This is what they believed. They did not even think the country was on a par with England, France, or Germany. They viewed the country as equal to countries like South Korea. This view was rejected too. Today, the view of the country's progress which was based on the Western model has been rejected in the minds and thoughts of the officials, and it has been rejected by the country's elites and intellectuals as well. Such a plan has turned out to be wrong. The reason is that such criticism of a Western model for progress is not peculiar to Eastern nations only. Even Western intellectuals and experts have criticized this model, both in economic areas as well as in political and ethical fields. The liberal democracy of the West which they were once proud of is now being criticized. So this is not a good model for progress. This is what we are aware of today. What is an Islamic and Iranian model for progress? This is a model that has to be developed and clarified and its different aspects and dimensions need to be specified. This has not yet been completely achieved and has to be done in the future. But the fact that we have understood that we need to go back to the Islamic and Iranian model is by itself a great achievement. This is an achievement we have made.

This is the way towards progress. The way towards progress is not the one based on the Western model. It is not the obsolete and rejected model of the Eastern camp either. The crises which happened in the West are all before us. We know that such crises will happen in every country that follows the same path. So we need to follow our own Islamic and Iranian path and move on this path at the appropriate pace.

You should find the solution based on the points I told you. You should come up with the solution, but what I can offer as guidance and as the overall policy is that you should make constant efforts. You students who are at universities and who are involved in academic activities should study, do research, and think of new proposals. Following unconditionally the models proposed by the Western theoreticians and translating their ideas should be considered as dangerous. We need to propose new theories in the field of humanities. Many of the world events are influenced by the views of experts in the field of human sciences. It is them who provide others with the yardsticks in sociology, psychology, and philosophy. We should develop our own views in these fields, and we need to make efforts in this regard. Students should make efforts to do so. Students and universities should have a large-scale view on the goals of the Revolution. They should follow these goals. Stay vigilant against the enemies' efforts to take advantage of academic atmospheres, students, and academics. This is what I always emphasize. As you see, with the smallest event happening, like in your university - maybe there are some people who are dissatisfied with certain things - they start interpreting these events in the world. Of course, their interpretations are not based on the reasons for which the students' movements take place. Rather, they base their interpretations on exactly the opposite issues. That is, they question the officials, the government, and Islam with such tools. You should stay vigilant. Such vigilance is needed even more in academic atmospheres.

Another issue that has to be discussed with the youth is the issue of faithfulness. Dear youth, being faithful and religious - as much as you are able to - will bring about Allah's attention. They will help one succeed and make progress. This is a point which you should not undervalue. In fact, I mean it will be helpful for you if you pay attention to God while you find or use a particular chemical or mathematical formula or when you make a new discovery. In that case, God Almighty will help you. It is Him who determines your destinies.

One can carry out many difficult tasks through attention to and getting close to God. One can complete the most difficult tasks by relying on God and by benefiting from the attention of God. You are young and a little different from us. Let me make a point here. You are much ahead of us in this regard. Your hearts are pure and bright. Your hearts are pure and independent of worldly desires. Your hearts reflect light like a mirror. You have not sinned yet, and this is something you should appreciate. Try to get closer to God though prayers, through reciting the Holy Quran and reading the Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya. The Sahifah al-Sajjadiyya is full of religious teachings. By doing so, you will also strengthen your religious and revolutionary beliefs. If our youth have got strong religious beliefs, many of those who are trying in your city, Shiraz, in Fars province, and across the country - I have received the relevant news here - to mislead you will give up their efforts because they will see that our youth have strong beliefs. Today, many so-called religious organizations that are political organizations in nature, and proponents of baseless materialistic mysticism or rejected religions, are trying to diminish the power of this great Islamic group as much as they can. If our youth are ideologically strong and have strong beliefs, the enemies will understand that they should not go after our youth. Such strong beliefs can be achieved through attention to God, supplication, relying on God, and paying attention to the prayers in the Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya. These prayers are not only to mention God's name. Rather, they are full of Islamic teachings that will strengthen one's beliefs. The same thing is true about reciting the Holy Quran and saying prayers as well. After all, this is what I recommend to all you dear youth.

And you should maintain your unity. Unity is a major means for the Iranian nation. It is also a major means for students across the country as well as for students in a particular city or province. Do not let differences of opinion foment discord among you. During a certain period, some people deemed it necessary to involve universities in political games and campaigns in order to support their own interests. Thankfully, such activities happen less often these days. Do not let student groups and members of student movements turn into enemies. Competition is good but only positive competition.

One of our brothers said that he was ready to work in some field - for instance solar energy projects. He said either give us a research center or let us build one ourselves. This was a very good offer. If another student group also come and say that they will compete with this group in another field, then this will constitute some fruitful competition.. " Vie one with another for forgiveness from your Lord". [The Holy Quran, 57:21]. It means competing with one another in good deeds, in production, in learning, in using the acquired knowledge outside universities, and in helping people in their lives. Such competitions are very good. Competing with one another is very good. But arguing over trivial issues is something I will never admire - whether in academic settings, in the whole country, or among the clergymen. I do not like this to happen in any atmospheres.

Therefore, science is one of the main axes. Unity is also among the major aspects. Faithfulness is among the major aspects too. The country's economy is also among the major aspects. These aspects will bring the enemies to their knees at this stage if we actualize and follow all these aspects with the slogan of innovation, which will definitely result in flourishment.

Of course, justice should be used as the yardstick in all economic activities and efforts. Without justice, all economic efforts will turn out to be harmful. Justice does not mean that we should not invest or that we should not let investors make any investments. These are some wrong assumptions made by those who claimed to support justice one day. Production of employment is also a good deed, and constitutes an act of worship. It is a great task that has to be carried out. The main issue is to efficiently manage this group. The country's administrators and government officials in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches should prevent the violation of rights through their management. I hope this whole group will make progress with all its elements.

Dear God, make what we said and heard serve Your path. Dear God, help us achieve what will bring about Your satisfaction. O God, Help our country make progress on a daily basis. Dear God, bestow success on these dear and pure-hearted youth so that they will contribute to the future of the country in the desired and ideal way. O God, protect these youth for this country and nation. Dear God, make the sacred heart of the Imam of the Age pleased with us.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

 

Supreme Leader's Speech to Air Force Staff

08/02/2008

This is the text of the speech made by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution on Feb 8, 2008.

First of all, it behooves me to congratulate all the Air Force staff of the Islamic Republic of Iran's army and also the Iranian nation on this great day.

What happened on February 8, 1979 was undoubtedly a turning point. A number of the Air Force staff, in a self-motivated movement which was the result of all sentiments and mentalities in that force, took an action which was the last stroke on the weakening body of the Pahlavi regime. The action was to a large extent both daring and wise. Such events, happening in a timely manner and in the required course of time, could sometimes change the destiny of a nation or hasten their progress on the road towards their destiny. The Air Force performed this action on that day. It was a great movement, and it opened up new gates to many people. As mentioned in this beautiful chant performed by these dears of mine in the army, "I'm the first to have devoted my heart to my Leader," That was truly the case. The movement was such a deeply rooted one. It was not the case of thinking today and setting out on the way the following day. As I previously mentioned, this was the result of an amalgamation of what was going on at the Air Force: "Emotions and mentalities" which emerged in due time in that way. Therefore, this is a great day, a very blessed one.

Reviewing historical events is basically aimed at leaving lessons and serving as examples for future generations. The lesson from this event is a living one for the Iranian nation at all times. The move was an intrepid and powerful one with reliance on self-confidence and rooted in true rationality and enthusiastic faith. It would have never happened in the absence of faith. The whole revolution, from the beginning to the end, is the manifestation of such a reality: a true and intelligent thought accompanied by enthusiastic faith, bravery, taking actions, and not being afraid of what might happen on that way. These are the very basic elements that help a nation progress; lack of such elements would indeed lead the nation to humiliation.

The Iranian nation underwent difficult times under the Pahlavi regime. Our nation, with all its glorious historical background, was getting despised by outsiders. The army was getting humiliated. Our nation was getting humiliated. Government officials at all levels and even at the highest echelons were being humiliated. The genius people in our community used to get humiliated. Our nation was being humiliated by those elements who considered themselves superior to us and those who looked upon our country as a field they could harvest, trample upon, graze on and rob of all its properties. Our nation opposed these actions.

The Islamic Revolution replaced the humiliation outsiders used to impose upon this nation with self-esteem. It replaced that bitter and abject dependence with self-reliance. It replaced that total capitulation against the outsiders with resistance and authority. On that day, the government officials of this great country were submissive to outsiders. At different levels and in the most fundamental issues in the country they capitulated. Whatever those outsiders wished - the British for a short term an then the Americans for the next few decades could be actualized within this country, so far as it was within those government officials` realm of power. And our nation had to endure complete submissiveness. The Revolution changed this state of capitulation to a state of resistance and authority. It turned that state of dependence into self-reliance. It turned that inherited, baseless and illogical monarchy to populistic and democratic rule. The Islamic Revolution completely uprooted those human devastating foundations, established by the Pahlavi regime inside the country during several consecutive years, which were destroying human values. New foundations were established that earned the country a new identity.

The army gained a new identity as well. The identity of the army today is totally different than the identity of the army during the Pahlavi regime. Today, you are guardians of people's rights. Those days the army had to protect the interests of the monarchy as well as those of the Pahlavi regime and the filthy and dependent governors that were ruling our country. Today, you have a sense of dignity against the enemy. You do the constructions yourselves. You acquire the knowledge yourself. You do research yourselves. Those days you were forced to accept whatever you were offered with closed eyes. These are the achievements that promote a nation to the summits of achievement and grandeur. Therefore, the Iranian nation found the way to achievement and set out on the way. We paid the costs for this as well. Our nation knew and still knows that it has to pay the costs on its way towards its goals. Without paying the costs, it's impossible to reach pinnacles. We paid this cost, but we progressed with the help of God.

Today the Iranian nation is honored. It is inspirational. The government of the Islamic Republic has been recognized as a powerful system and different countries, different powers, whether inter-regional or intra-regional, have no way but to admit to the Iranian nation and they do admit the greatness of this nation. The Iranian nation has revealed its capabilities and powers in all fields. We should appreciate this.

And you dear youths currently serving in the Islamic Republic Air Force, should consider these elements in pursuing your career and follow the same policies. The Air Force should progress. It should multiply the authority and the dignity it has acquired. During the holy period of resistance, the Air Force proved itself. Great tasks have been carried out in the Force after the holy period of resistance as well. You should continue this way; the road towards perfection will never end and this will depend upon the determination of the youth at different levels in the army. The future belongs to you. The country belongs to you. The army and the Air Force belong to you as the personnel of the Islamic Republic Army and the Air Force, and your progress is the progress of the whole nation. It is the progress of the whole country. Make yourself mighty and powerful. Such power is not limited to material implements; the power of faith, determination, and a firm purpose and intention for progress are the qualities you have to strengthen in yourselves. You should make progress on a daily basis.

The Iranian nation is fortunately determined on this way. They tried a lot in different ways to break our nation's determination apart, but they couldn't. What is significant and really promising is the fact that within the last twenty eight or nine years, we have been constantly moving forward. There has been no halt. All political maneuvers, the different movements, different responsibilities at different times, and the result of all these means a regular progressive movement for the Iranian nation, and this will continue. Our enemies are trying a lot to stop this movement, but they have not been able to do so and will not be able to do that in the future either. And they admit this fact today. If you follow the world news, you will realize that today all tones in political circles, in policy and decision making centers in the world as well as in global centers of power, are tones of admiration towards the Iranian nation. Of course some are contemptuous and accompanied by revengefulness or envy, while others from some corners are accompanied by infatuation and delightfulness. The former is usually the case of government officials and politicians, but as for nations the latter is generally or most often true. Nations are infatuated by the Iranian nation. Our country officials observe such infatuation wherever they appear before the Muslim nations or in some cases when they appear before non-Muslim nations. This is due to the resistance of the Iranian nation and will continue.

Our nation holds dear the memories of the Revolution due to these facts. This is to show that the motivating and dignifying factor that set our nation on this glorious path is still alive in the hearts of our people. We are awaiting the demonstrations on February 11, marking the victory of Islamic Revolution. You will see that our dear nation will in a similar fashion as the previous years or even in a more enthusiastic mood - as our nation has always been more enthusiastic than before will be globally witnessed. This presence of people in the Demonstrations on the February 11 should not be underestimated. It is indeed a great event. Compare the anniversaries of revolutions and national days of other countries to this great movement by the people in our dear country. The anniversary of our Revolution is not a dull and formal occasion. It is a hundred percent populist celebration. Our people take part in such occasions in cold winter, in burning heat, and under all conditions when they have to be on the scene. On the February 11 every year, our nation appreciates the occasion and enters the scene, and demonstrates its presence in the eye of all its enemies and opposes. This could be observed in the whole world. This might be interpreted differently in different tones. The size of the population might be reported as small. For instance, populations as large as millions might be reflected as only a few thousands in their propaganda. These things are common in propaganda, but those who should realize the Iranian nation's status will do so. They will observe the realities. They will sense the presence of the people, their determination, their affinity with the revolution, and the people's attachment to the great content of the revolution.

The February 11 and the demonstrations on this day are the manifestations of national power. They are the manifestations of the Iranian nation's power. That men and women, young and old, take to the streets under all conditions and show their presence across the country before the eyes of the witnesses is the manifestation of the presence of the public and the determination and willpower of the Iranian nation. This is truly glorious.

Let me speak briefly about the issues in our country, and of course in brief about important issues that the Islamic world is dealing with today too. Concerning issues in the country, the most important issue is that of the election. Elections are one of those most crucial and determining scenes. If you observe any of these periods of elections and analyze them, you will see that during any of our elections - whether parliamentary, presidential, or others - the efforts of those spreading the hostile propaganda of the global hegemony are aimed at blurring people's presence. They are aimed at reducing people's motives, putting an end to their determination and hopes for the elections or to blur them. Of course, with the help of God they have not been able to do so. This is indicative of the importance of the elections.

Those who claim to advocate democracy, populism, human rights and populist systems and invade countries with such pretexts, kill people there and create catastrophes have been rendered helpless by the Iranian nation's democracy. To them, this is an unsolvable problem. They wonder what to do or say about this great event. They advocate the coup de ta regime. They support hereditary regimes. They support countries in which people's votes have never been the criterion on the basis of which the government is formed. Conversely, the Iranian nation enters the scene so democratically and chooses the legislators, the executive officials, and those who are to occupy fundamental positions. What could the enemies say? What can they do before the eyes of people in the world? They have no choice but to claim that there is no freedom or that people did not take part in the elections, or if they can they will close the elections, as were they striving for a term along with some deluded people to totally eradicate the elections. They were trying to do something so that elections would never be held, but with the help of God, they could not do so although this was their aspiration. This shows the importance of the elections.

What is really significant about this election is the presence of the general public. Every one must take part in the elections. This is a national duty. This is not some thing that will change under different governments, different political parties or systems. Taking part in the elections is a religious duty. Every one must take part in the elections. Every one must consider it a duty to take part in the elections. They should seek no pretexts. Some remarks are unfair criticisms. Criticisms are sometimes logical. Other times they are aimed at disappointing people. The elections in our country compared to the ones that are held in the world and whose news we have received, are among the strongest ones. We hold strong elections.

Of course I have advised the election administrators and I still advise that they should strongly adhere to the law. The limit is the law. It is upon every one to accept legal obligations and to capitulate to those obligations. The law is the border line between right and wrong in the movements and the policies of both the nation and its officials. The law should not be avoided. These rules should be observed and fortunately they are. I constantly advise people to observe the rules with more care and caution. No one should be oppressed. No one's rights should be violated. The people's rights on the other hand should not be trampled upon. The unsuitable and impious should not be presented as pious. Also pious people should not be deprived of their rights. They should not be depicted as impious. These are the facts every one should observe, but what is of primary concern is taking part in the elections. Every one must take part in the elections. This is a public duty.

Of course there is some time left before the elections and I will give speeches to our dear nation before then. I made these remarks so that those who think about the elections, those who talk and make policies about the elections as well as those who take actions about and administer the elections would do their job while keeping the importance of the issue in mind.

Concerning the importance of issues in the Islamic World, the issues of Palestine and the Gaza tragedy are general issues. They are not limited to the people living there. The issue concerns the whole World of Islam. It has to do with the whole Middle East. In a sense, it concerns all nations.

The United States is practicing a set of totally mistaken and criminal policies in the Middle East. Their policy in the Middle East is totally concerned with serving the benefits of the US in the region. No matter what might happen to the nations in this region. This means the benefits of tens or hundreds of millions of nations or people living in the region are not important and are being trampled upon. Whether they are humiliated, killed, bereaved or broken under the pressures of life is not important to the Americans just because their benefits are to be protected in the region. This is the basis of the American policies in the Middle East. Of course, this is not anything new, and all nations are aware of that. Governments know that too. But we sometimes observe negligence in the sort of action that is to be taken against such policies.

The people of Gaza, the people of Palestine are forcefully resisting today. This is to be appreciated. These nations should be truly appreciated. They are on the one side under such great economic pressure, while on the other side they are undergoing attacks, slaughters, catastrophes, destructions, various assaults and artillery attacks on their women and children. Still, their nation is resisting. The enemies are trying to separate this nation from their elected government, and then do whatever they wish and practice their policies. They held a meeting and staged that historical conference - which was a very disgraceful one for the region - and this is what resulted. This is the very result of holding meetings with the US and the usurping Zionists to negotiate and to make decisions about the region. The US president took a trip to the region and then went away. The result was such heavy fire on the lives of people and the children and women in Gaza. The siege and the slaughter resulted.

What is the use of holding negotiations with them while their goals are evident in the region? Islamic governments must make a decision. They must lift the siege of Gaza. There lies great responsibility upon the shoulders of the Egyptian government as well as the Egyptian nation in this regard. All Islamic nations must also aid the Egyptian government and the Egyptian nation to fulfill its responsibility in this regard. They have created a large prison for some one million and a half people, tormenting women and children in hunger, starvation, thirst, lack of fuel and heating in the winter. They are devastating their farms and destroying their gardens and their trades. They do not even stop at these cruelties. They are conducting Air raids and ground attacks. Is this endurable? The occupiers and their advocates must not be allowed to use other Palestinians against these innocent people. Should such an event take place, it will be an eternal disgrace to them. They must not make use of Arab governments in this regard. This is an issue of great consequence.The path the Palestinians have chosen is the right path. That is, the path of resistance and withstanding. And these will ultimately save the Palestinian nation.

We hope that God Almighty acquaints us all with our duties. We hope that God Almighty helps and guides all Islamic nations on the right path. We hope He will set all Islamic nations on the right path. God willing, we Muslims will solve all problems of the Islamic world ourselves. God willing, we will foil the enemies` plots with unanimity, solidarity and cooperation. We hope God Almighty will associate the souls of our dear Martyrs with those of the martyrs of early Islam Martyrs, our Holy Prophet and Imam Hussein, and we hope He will associate the soul of our magnanimous Imam with the souls of His Saints.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.

 

Leader's Speech to Residents of Qom on the Anniversary of the Jan. 9th Uprising

09/01/2008

What follows is the full text of the speech made on January 9, 2008 by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei to a group of the people of Qom.

Leader's Speech to Residents of Qom on the Anniversary of the Jan. 9th Uprising

In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Dear brothers and sisters, welcome! Having traveled vast distances on this cold and snowy day, you once again commemorated the historic day of January 9, 1978 with your presence, which is an appropriate action.

These momentous historical events are indeed the causes of progress in any nation's history. Ashura lasted only half a day. However, it shocked and revolutionized history. Sometimes an event that takes place during the life of a nation is so deep-rooted and is planned so wisely and so aptly that it leaves its effects for many consecutive years and at times for many successive centuries. January 9th was definitely among such events for the Iranian nation. As a result of years of oppression by the evil Pahlavi regime and the gross foreign interference, people overflowed with holy and revolutionary wrath, and all was needed was a wise and appropriate move. And you, the people of Qom, made this move on January 9th and this move set the ball rolling. What the evil Pahlavi regime inflicted on this country and this nation during its dark and humiliating reign in fact forms one of the bitter eras in our history.

One of the catastrophic activities was the issue of January 8th in 1936 which took place during Reza Shah's reign. According to a plan, the enemies of Islam and Iran enjoying the assistance of the intellectuals affiliated to Pahlavi dynasty decided to separate the Iranian women from their decency and hijab and eradicate the tremendous power of faith which existed in Muslim societies owing to the decency of women.

One of the gravest crimes of the evil Pahlavi regime was the issue of January 8th in 1936. Banning hijab was removing the screen and the distance set by Islam between the two sexes. Hijab is a wholesome practice that benefits men and women as well as society. It renders the society healthy and safe. They had plans to inflict all the malicious abuse suffered by women in Western societies on Muslim Iranian women. Using strong-arm tactics, Reza Khan carried out this plan inside the country.

What the Western women achieved by plummeting into the quagmire of corruption and perversion was the destruction of the family. That women could only advance in science and politics or in social activities by merely removing hijab was an absolute falsity. Women could do so by holding onto their hijab and decency and we have experienced the fact in our Islamic country. Banning hijab was a prelude to striping women of their dignity and decency. It was meant to keep people busy with powerful sexual desires. They wanted to prevent people from doing other things and they were successful for some time.

But the strong faith of the Iranian nation did not let this happen. In spite of all the strictures on hijab in the past, our Muslim women resisted suppression in various ways during and after Reza Khan's reign, and during the rest of the rule of the evil Pahlavi regime. Consequently, on January 7, 1978 in Mashhad, a great procession of Muslim women sparked off a demonstration calling for "keeping hijab". I was in exile when we heard the news of the brave faithful Muslim women who had provoked the demonstration.

What I said was only a tiny fraction of all the disasters that the Pahlavi regime had caused. They destroyed religious ideals, moral values, economic growth, our international honor, and in short, all the assets of a nation were among the acts that the dictatorial and tyrannical regime committed.

The Iranian nation rose and responded on time to the call of their magnanimous leader and entered the battlefield. January 9th is such a sensitive historical stage. These must be kept alive. Efforts have been made and will be made to erase these sentiments and sensitive stages from people's collective memory.

The people of Qom proved their loyalty and commitment. There have also been some people who - as the Holy Quran puts it "then anyone who violates his oath, does so to the harm of his own soul" - abandoned their oath of allegiance to the Revolution, to Islam and to Imam Khomeini. But abandoning their allegiance was to their own disadvantage. However, the majority of our nation remained loyal displayed their commitment and loyalty: according to Quran, "and any one who fulfils what he has covenanted with Allah, Allah will soon grant him a great reward." They fulfilled their promise and God granted them a great reward. God granted them victory against the enemy in the war. God granted them victory over the superpowers in all battlefields. God also granted the nation national growth and development in various arenas.

To conclude my statements regarding January 9th, the Iranian nation moved toward its goals, and made some major strides. It is still moving and making great leaps forward.

I would like to make some statements regarding Muharram and Ashura. Muharram is one of the historical stages that I talked about. The Shia have made every effort to keep Ashura alive. As you see, for many years and centuries in succession never have the people following the Prophet's (SWA) household and believing in the Prophet's (SWA) household forgotten Imam Hussein's memory, Imam Hussein's name, Imam Hussein's burial place and Imam Hussein's mourning. Many efforts have been made to encourage people to forget the events of Ashura, but people never did so. You have heard the story of Motavakel and his blocking the way [to Karbala]. They have committed foolish acts and raised foolish objections. Throughout history, they have raised numerous seemingly scientific, emotional and experiential objections. Nevertheless, Shiites have kept them alive and must do so.

"Why are you disseminating sadness, crying and tears among people?" They complain. This is not sadness and tears for the sake of sadness and tears. This is for the sake of the values. The things that lie behind the lamentation, beating the chest and the head, and shedding tears are the dearest things that one might find in the treasure trove of humanity, and they are the divine spiritual values. The Shia are trying to uphold the fact that Hussein ibn Ali (AS) is the epitome of all these values. The Shia are trying to keep their memories alive.

And if the Muslim Ummah keeps Imam Hussein's (AS) name and memory alive and follows him, it will overcome all the obstacles and the hardships. And that is why all of us in the Islamic Revolution, in the Islamic Republic, from the highest to the lowest echelons including the people, the authorities, the senior officials and our honorable Imam have relied on the issue of Imam Hussein and the issue of Ashura and people's mourning. The morning has a symbolic as well as a realistic aspect. It binds hearts together and it broadens knowledge.

Of course, the speakers, preachers, panegyrists and poets must take into consideration the fact that this is the esteemed truth. It must not be trifled with. The facts of the events of Ashura must not be abused. No one must add anything to them. No one must mix them with superstitions or do irrational actions in the name of mourning. These things must not be allowed. These acts do not mean favoring Imam Hussein. Once I made a statement regarding the machete demonstration, some people voiced their objection saying "this is Imam Hussein's mourning and Imam Hussein's mourning must not be ruined."

Husseini dais and Husseini gatherings are where religious facts - that is, facts about Imam Hussein must be stated. Poetry, elegy and laudation must be in this direction. As you saw in Muharram 1978, our mourning processions began in some cities including Yazd and Shiraz and some other places and they spread throughout the country. They beat their chests and they stated the facts of the day in their elegies relating them to Ashura, which is the appropriate thing to do.

Martyr Motahhari would shout years before the Revolution in Husseinia Irshad, and as far as I can remember he would say: "I swear to God that today's Shimr is the Israeli (Zionist) prime minister." In effect, this is the truth. We condemn Shimr since we want to root out the causes of being like Shimr and acting like Shimr in this world. We condemn Yazid and Obeidollah because we are opposed to tyrannical rules, to rulers such as Yazid, to the rule of indulgence and hedonism, and to the rule of oppression over the believers in the world. Hussein ibn Ali rose in order to defeat and eradicate the governments opposing the Islamic, human and divine values, and he did so by his uprising.

Our gatherings must be Husseini gatherings, gatherings against oppression, gatherings against monarchy, gatherings against Shimrs, Yazids and Ibn Ziads of the present time, the current age. And this is the continuation of Imam Hussein's story.

Today the world is filled with oppression and tyranny. See what they are doing. See what they are doing in Palestine, what they are doing in Iraq, what they are doing in various countries, what they are doing with the nations of the world, what they are doing to the poor, what they are doing with the national wealth of the countries. Hussein ibn Ali's (AS) movement covers all these extensive areas. Imam Hussein taught a lesson not only to the Shia and the Muslims but also to all the freemen of the world.

The leader of the Indian Nationalist Movement mentioned Hussein ibn Ali sixty or seventy years ago and said: "I have learned from him." That was while he was a Hindu, he was not a Muslim at all. It is the same among the Muslims. This is the story of Imam Hussein. And you are the treasurer of such invaluable treasure from which all humans can benefit.

Mourning for Imam Hussein must be directed toward such aims: disseminating, elucidating, expressing, informing, strengthening people' faith, promoting the spirit of religiousness among people, increasing religious valor and zeal among people, stripping people of indifference and sloth. These are what Hussein's uprising and commemoration of his mourning mean in our era. Therefore, they are alive and will remain alive forever.

Its emotional aspect affects the feelings and sentiments of all people. Its logical and spiritual aspect informs and enlightens insightful thinkers. In all these years, I have repeatedly alluded to Amir al-Muminin's statement (peace and greetings be upon him) which reads: "Never are people able to carry this flag unless they are people of understanding and patience." Only those who are imbued with these two characteristics namely understanding and perseverance can hold and raise this flag, the flag of humanity, Islam and monotheism. And Imam Hussein (greetings be upon him) was the embodiment of understanding and perseverance.

The followers of Imam Hussein have shown the same. And after the passage of centuries, when a competent leader rose among them, they started this great movement. The great Islamic Revolution is a momentous event. It is an extraordinary story. We are in the middle of this event. The remarkable aspects of this event are not very evident for us. Future generations and all the ones observing our revolution from the outside see the remarkable aspects and the magnitude of this movement better than us.

In a world in which money, wealth, power and politics and all things are completely against the human and religious values, all of a sudden a regime comes to power in a sensitive region, in a geographically sensitive region of the world, a nation rises to raise the flag of values, and promotes human values, and calls for monotheism. This is a miracle. This is the miracle of our age. And then it comes under attack from all sides. The big evil regimes and the small ones invade it and surprisingly it is not defeated. On the contrary, it defeats many of them and forces them back. And today you witness the signs of the domineering powers' retreat. Iranian nation won this war.

The election lies ahead. The issue of the election is also of paramount importance. One of the reasons for the eminence of this government is the elections. And that is the reason why they repudiate Iranian nation's elections which is an undeniable phenomenon. The belligerent and willful enemies deny democracy in Iran. Democracy is something that is clearly on general elections which have been held once a year on average in the last twenty eight years. Why? Since they know that this is one of the factors contributing to the Iranian nation's victory.

In different revolutions, at various stages in history, the ones who were seemingly the leaders of the nations ultimately gave up and said: "We want absolute power and authority." Dr. Mossadegh, who ruled the country for over two years, dissolved two parliaments and took on the jurisdiction of the parliament. He said "I cannot". Even though Mossadegh's government was a democratic government, he could not survive. Now a democratic revolution is founded, a revolution including the whole country's population which is today three times the population of that day.

Considering all the conspiracies being organized against this nation and all the propaganda, our Revolution courageously relies on people's votes. And under any circumstances, it surely wants to keep these elections which mean people's involvement, people's presence and people's decision-making, and it insists on this. In the previous elections, four years ago, they created an issue. In fact, they staged a show and a charade, and they were aiming to call off the election. The Almighty God and the perseverance of the believers did not let them call off the election.

We have the election ahead of us. This election is of great significance. Not only this election but all elections are important. This coming election is important as well. People have duties to perform. The officials and the elites have duties to meet too. Firstly, you must preserve and manifest the importance, the value and the magnitude of the election. People should go to the polls with hope and trust. Unfortunately I hear some people repeatedly emphasize in their statements "do not let anyone cheat, do not let anyone defraud." But I hope they are not making these statements purposefully. What cheating? For almost thirty years, the executive organizations of this country have been holding the elections with no problems.

Even some were impudent enough to ask for international observers to supervise the election. Asking foreigners and our enemies - who basically oppose the election and the Iranian nation and stand against whatever might benefit Iran to judge our elections - is the biggest insult to the Iranian nation. They must not magnify the issue on no grounds. Of course, I have urged all the ones in charge, and I will repeatedly urge all including the Interior Ministry, the Council of Guardians, and the observers and the executives to be vigilant and perform their duties properly and well. They are entrusted with people's votes and they must not permit anyone to interfere and influence the results. I have always urged them to do so. They have abided by my orders, and by God's favor, they will continue to do so. So firstly, they must not cast aspersions on this great election and this great deed of our people by casting doubt and spreading rumors about cheating.

And secondly, I would like to repeat what I stated repeatedly in Yazd. A few days ago, everyone must act respectfully in the election; both the ones standing as candidates and the ones supporting them as well as the ones opposing certain candidates. Political parties in the country must by no means tolerate disrespect, slandering, insult, allegations and acts of that ilk. The enemies will get glad if these acts take place.

And thirdly, they must beware of the enemy's activities. Bush, the American president, promised to support some party in Iran two days ago. America's promise of support is a disgrace to anyone living in our country. First the ones whom the brutal enemy seeks to support and second the people must ponder why America wants to support them. What fault do they have in them which has caused the enemy to support them? Two brothers or a brother and a sister in a family might have some disagreements. If an enemy, a thief or a traitor from the outside wants to develop a relationship with one of them and favors him or her, he or she must think twice and try to discover the mistake he or she has made which has caused the enemy to support him or her. People must be careful. They must not allow the foreigners to toy with the elections.

The elections belong to the Iranian nation, to the Islamic Republic and to Islam. They must clearly mark their border with the enemy. I have warned some of the political figures, who have some political activities and who occasionally voice some objections. I have advised them; I have told them not to allow the line to fade out or to be erased. When the line is not well-drawn, some are highly likely to cross the border. Either the enemy might slip across the border or a friend might slip across it by mistake and fall into the enemy's clutches. The borders must be well-formed and well-marked.

This nation has been faced with America's conspiracy, America's enmity and all the America's acts of sabotage for twenty eight years. They did whatever they could to oppose this nation. Make sure your borders with the enemy are well-marked. There are ones who are the enemies' mercenaries, who are their servants. There are ones who are at their service. Form and mark your borders with these people too. It is time for understanding and perseverance. At the time of the election, the Iranian nation requires understanding. The nation must find out the stance that the enemy has adopted against this great democratic movement. The nation must take care and make the right decision. And this is our duty as people and we must take care of it.

Of course, I assure you and I am sure myself that the Almighty God will bestow his favors upon you due to your self-sacrifice and faith. And the Almighty God has bestowed his mercy, his assistance, and his guidance and support upon the people and will continue to do so. And the final victory belongs to the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic.

I hope God confers success on you, and satisfies the purified souls of the martyrs. May God join the purified soul of our Imam with the prophets in the hereafter. I pray to God to bestow goodness and reward upon you. I also hope that the sacred heart of His Holiness the Imam of the Age - may our souls be sacrificed for his sake - be happy and pleased with us.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.

 

Supreme Leader's Address to the Elites of Yazd Province

05/01/2008

The following is an extract of a speech delivered by Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a meeting with a group of elites in Yazd province on January 5, 2008.

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Before I start, I would like to mention two points:

One of these honorable friends of mine - whose name I am waiting impatiently to hear so that we get to know each other - made a point which, as it happens, has preoccupied my mind for the past few days. It was about the large amount of clouds and the disproportionate amount of rain in Yazd.

Although it is very cloudy in Yazd, there is too little rain in this province. We were thinking about a solution to this problem. How can we save Yazd from its everlasting thirst? We intended to get a scientific center to investigate this issue so that we could find a way out of this situation.

Of course, some measures have already been taken in this regard. It is a pity that this fertile land has remained intact and these talented people, who are highly motivated to work, are deprived of what they deserve. Therefore, I would like to express my appreciation for your comment and also ask you to write what you said in this regard, sign it, and send me a copy so that I can take the necessary measures.

The second point is about Mr. Azar-Yazdi [an author whose books are very popular among Iranian children], who was kind enough to attend this meeting in spite of his illness. Some time ago, I heard that his efforts were appreciated in a TV program.

Although I am usually pressed for time, I followed that program and listened to his remarks. He said that nobody gave him a word of gratitude before the Islamic Revolution. Having seen that TV program, I made a mental note to tell him something upon seeing him. I thought I would not have the opportunity to meet him in person. As it happens, Mr. Azar-Yazdi is here tonight. The point that I would like to mention is that I feel indebted to this great man for his book. I particularly owe him a lot for edifying my children with his book.

I had a look at his book when it was first published - I think it was initially published in two or three volumes - "Good stories for Good Children". My children were in their early adolescence then. That was the time of dictatorship, and all the means were prepared to demoralize our youth. I felt the need for something moral, and at the same time interesting, to get our youth on the right track. There were many good books. I used to make a list of them and distribute it among university students and the students in secondary school. But we had nothing to offer to young children, until I found this book. I realized that, from several perspectives, it was exactly what I was looking for. I think two or three volumes of the book had been published until then. I bought them.

Then I waited until he published the fifth or sixth volume - I do not exactly remember. I recommended this book, not only to my own children, but also to any other children I knew in my family, for whom I thought it will be useful. That was a token of my gratitude to the author. He bridged a wide gap in our cultural history, and this is so valuable. This verbal appreciation cannot be a good reward for your sincere efforts. May God bless you and reward you for your services.

Tonight's gathering was so enjoyable to me, as it has always been. I always get spiritual satisfaction from the trips in this part of my annual schedule - which is allocated to meeting elites. I enjoy these meetings and feel refreshed. Different trips make me tired, but these act as a break for me.

Tonight is a special occasion. Firstly, compared to other cities in our country, Yazd has donated many elites to our society. Secondly, I remember from my youth that the people of Yazd are really affable and friendly, which was the prevalent mood in this meeting as well. Among the things you mentioned, there were some points that I enjoyed and learnt from. There were also some points I must pursue. I wrote down the main points.

Of course, your remarks have been written down and recorded, and they will be submitted to my office. We will investigate them and, we hope to pursue the important ones.

We have been talking for 3 hours now, and I had better draw a conclusion. Thus, I will mention only 2 or 3 more points. This meeting has an actual facet, an official facet, and a symbolic facet. The actual and official facet is that we must value the elites. I know that not all of the elites of Yazd province are present here, and that you are a selected representative group. I want to give you my word of gratitude and express my gratitude for your efforts in various fields: scientific, artistic, Quranic activities. And activities related to sports, religion, and academic sciences as well as activities related to laborers and other unions, Islamic Revolution, jihad, martyrdom, captivity, and so on. We appreciate your genius in all fields. This is the actual side of the issue. We feel duty-bound to prove this both in words and in practice. And this is the practical side.

The symbolic facet is intended to teach our nation in general, and the government officials in particular, that if they want to achieve their ambitions, they must know the elites and appreciate them. This is the content of our symbolic message. Every symbolic activity should have a content, and that is the content of our activities.

As for you, I should say that being an elite, a scholar, or a poet is an advantage, but the advantage is increased by a thousand times when it is accepted by God. As Sa'di says, "It is acceptable when it is accepted by God". And being accepted by God is not that difficult. Do what you think is beneficial to your country, and the future of your country. Utilize your genius and try your best to serve your people. That is something that is truly for Allah's sake.

There is no need to put your intentions into words and utter them verbally. "God, I am doing this for your sake." Sometime human beings say something in which they do not believe. As God Himself requires us, we must live in a way that brings about God's satisfaction. "The best people among you are those who are beneficial to others." This is the value system of Islam. If you serve people, you can get closer to God. Pious and faithful men know what God wants them to do, and they do it, just for His sake. Therefore, they accomplish their divine mission. This is an important and essential point.

The second point is that, art should preserve its identity, independence, and dignity. You should resolve to preserve those qualities. I do not intend to deny the positive effect of the encouragement and assistance that elites receive from government officials. I have many years of administrative experience in our country, and I know how effective those aids can be. These words are not to free the officials from caring about you. These remarks are to make you independent of their help. You ought to ask them for help, but you must not fully depend on their help.

Developing an original idea, or manufacturing a new product, is a kind of spiritual growth of an elite. The fact that the officials do not appreciate your work must not discourage you. Your criterion should be something beyond their encouragement or discouragement. That is my advice for you. However, it is self-evident that sometimes officials' help becomes vital.

Whether our enemies like it or not, our country is progressing. Whether they accept this fact or deny it, the fact of the situation is that we are progressing. Our enemies cannot deny our advances by their perfectionist criticisms. Our advances are undeniable. Some people are happy with our progress, they deserve to be happier. But there are some others who cannot tolerate our progress, let them die with envy.

You elites must make your own contribution to this progress, a contribution that is proportionate to your genius. We should progress in every field. I am not one of those philistine people who sacrifice poetry or art for the sake of science. As I mentioned before, science is high on our agenda, but we should strike a balance. We must not forget about religion, art, originality, industry, agriculture, foreign affairs, and so on. This is a whole and must not be dismantled. All of these fields ought to progress but in their own separate ways.

Ok, I do not want to keep you any longer. I appreciate those who told us about their views, and apologize to those who did not find the opportunity to talk. I am grateful to all of you, especially those who come from other cities. They were kind enough to come and added warmth to this session. I wish you all good luck and success.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Speech in Abarkooh

05/01/2008

What follows is the speech made on January 5, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Abarkooh, Yazd province.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all sentient beings, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Al-Mustafa Muhammad, and upon his immaculate and infallible household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.

I am grateful to Allah the Exalted for bestowing on me the blessing of being in the company of you faithful, loyal and revolutionary brothers and sisters in the ancient city of Abarkooh. Although the city itself is very old, the people of this city have novel and modern thoughts, a reality that is attested to by the fact that - in conformity with the system of the Islamic Republic - the light of noble Islamic thoughts and divine motives are alive in all hearts. Any nation whose people have enthusiastic and dynamic motives in their hearts, will stay young and alive, and by Allah's favor and thanks to the Islamic Revolution, our nation already enjoys this blessing. Apart from that, according to official figures, the majority of our population - whether in Abarkooh or in the whole country - are young. A city, a community, or a country that enjoys a young population can be optimistic about the future. Youthful efforts will help build a better future. Youthful energy will help the community progress.

The esteemed Friday prayer leader of this city briefly said something about the issue of water shortage in Abarkooh. Before my trip, I read some reports about the whole province and this city. I was especially inclined to take a trip to this city. The same issue of water shortage had been mentioned in those reports as well. This city and this part of the province is dependant on agriculture, which requires water. But this province does not enjoy enough rainfall. As a result, this city has to deal with the shortage of water. There is no doubt that this problem, like all other problems, can be solved through government efforts and the assistance of the people and the officials. The important point is that the nation must be determined to do something and the government officials, as the individuals who are supposed to serve the nation, must make determined efforts to meet the people's needs.

During the decades before the Revolution and even before that time, there were two factors that plagued our nation. First, there was a lack of responsibility among the statesmen. The statesmen did not feel responsible towards the people. The top officials of the country considered the country as their own property. In order to further exploit this property, they only wanted to know where and on what they should invest the resources. They did not care about national interests. The current terms "remote" and "close" have their roots in that era. What does it mean when we say a town is remote? They used this term to suggest that the town was far from the capital city, Tehran. The fact a town was far from Tehran was enough to justify its deprivation. That was because they were only concerned about their surrounding areas. And they looked for places that could serve their personal interests. They did not care about public interests.

The Revolution put an end to this common practice. The Revolution removed the logic of "remote" and "close" from the mentality of the statesmen and government officials. They no longer think in terms of remoteness and closeness. Thus, you can see that government officials, cabinet members and the president take trips to all parts of the country. This means that the officials' attention, emotions and endeavors must be divided equally among all towns and cities across the country. A town or a place that is remote must not fall outside the scope of their efforts and decisions. This logic is no longer valid. Today, people living in remote towns and places could have government officials - that is, the president and his cabinet members - in their towns, and they can personally hand them their letters. They can talk to government officials in person. In the past and throughout the history, our people could never hope to see even a junior manager pay them a visit. Therefore, the first factor - that is responsible top officials and managers - is something that we currently have in our country.

Diligence and self-confidence on the part of the public is the second factor. The people, the nation, and the residents of a city who do not consider themselves to be valuable and important are invariably doomed to backwardness and to falling behind in all races among various communities. During the time of the domination of colonialism over this region and over our country, colonialists managed to spread one of the most dangerous types of propaganda among our people and among our men and women. They infused our people with the belief that they were inferior to Western and European nations. Different parts of the country were not equal in terms of this inferiority. Some areas considered themselves to be more popular with the colonialists, and thus they had more expectations. Some other areas had fewer expectations. The Islamic Revolution came like a storm and expelled this contaminated and dirty air.

Today, relying on its rich history, on its talents, on Islam and on faith, our nation - which now has something new to present to humanity - no longer considers itself a backward nation and believes in its capabilities. This is what provokes national endeavors and encourages and prepares the nation to reach the summits of progress. My advice is that you brothers and sisters, especially the youth, must not let this sweet feeling of hopefulness about the future be shattered in your hearts.

This country has unjustly been kept backward. We have had many advances so far, but these advances are less than what the Iranian nation deserves. Thanks to Islam, the Iranian nation was once at the peak of scientific, material and spiritual power. We have revived Islam today. We have received Islam with open arms and have presented it to the world in conformity with the requirements of the time. Today, the political, social and spiritual ideas of Islam as well as its ideas about the internal pattern of social relationships can be proposed to the world as a guideline and a model. This is not something that we alone say or something that I claim. This is what fair-minded intellectuals say across the world. The Iranian nation did not achieve this easily. Many of our men and women were martyred. Abarkooh has offered honorable martyrs, it has been full of selfless devotees and mothers and fathers who sent their sons to defend the Revolution in its early stages and to defend the borders of the country during the Sacred Defense era. These were the factors that kept the Revolution alive, helped its flag stay flying, and bestowed grandeur on the Iranian nation.

If you see that the Iranian nation has nowadays a proud and splendid presence on international fronts, it is because all people from all parts of the country have contributed to the creation of this magnificent international reputation. All of you made efforts. Thus, the two factors that I discussed must be observed. The government officials must strengthen their sense of responsibility towards the needs of the people on a daily basis. I can tell you that fortunately our government officials, our ministers, our president and our senior managers strongly feel this sense of responsibility. To give them their due, they do not at all lack this sense of responsibility. They work hard and exert tireless efforts. In addition to the material construction services they do as well as their consideration of the people's affairs, one of their greatest services is that they hold up the revolutionary slogans and values and pride themselves on these slogans and values. This is a very important point. There were and there are some individuals among our people who failed to appreciate these slogans. They should have prided themselves on these slogans, but they failed to do so.

Fortunately, our senior officials have always prided themselves on these revolutionary slogans and values. Therefore, the nation can be - and is - sure about this first factor, that is, efforts on the part of the officials and managers in order to improve the conditions all over the country.

You may put forth the issue of water, agriculture, roads, or employment. We have many issues all over the country that our officials must attend to. They must solve these issues, plan for them, evaluate them and assess the countries resources. Fortunately, we are not short of resources or efficient manpower. They must plan for these resources and help us progress. We have already made some progress. The progress that the Iranian nation has made in terms of construction of the country in the last 28 years is several times more than the progress that was made during 50 years in the pre-Revolution era under the oppressive Pahlavi regime that did not care about the people's rights. They felt no sense of responsibility towards the needs of the public. Whatever they did was either to meet a requirement, to save their face, to meet an obligation, or to fulfill a demand made by the public. They had to do what they did, otherwise they would have done nothing. Compared to other places in which there was a fear of an uprising, they paid less attention to Yazd province whose people are noble and less demanding. They were like that. They had no sense of responsibility.

Thankfully, this sense of responsibility is at its highest. I can assure the people that government officials do not want anything for themselves. Their work and nonstop efforts are all for the people's sake.

I have constantly advised people to observe the second factor as well. Our youth must not spare serious efforts. The efforts we make must be serious. Those who are busy studying, those who are busy working in industries, those who are busy farming, and those who are busy doing various services must all feel that they ought to take on some responsibility in order for the country to progress, and everybody must do his or her share of the work. Fortunately, our nation has this feeling as well. The first outcome of this dynamism and this livelihood is that the enemies' plots, which are aimed at defeating the people, are foiled. Displaying one's readiness is the best way to make the enemy retreat.

The nation that displays its readiness, its presence, and its strong determination in all arenas will disappoint the enemy's hopes of penetrating the country and of dominating it. Being the focus of global attention, the Iranian nation must not back down or express it weakness in any issue. The reason the government officials persist on continuing our nuclear activities is that it is a necessity. As I explained the day before yesterday in a meeting with the youth and students of Yazd province, nuclear energy is a national requirement, and if we do not start today, the nation will suffer the consequences 10 or 15 years later. If we start today, we will reap the results of our national endeavors, but if we do not, we will fall behind. This is the first point. The second point is that in such cases taking a passive role against the enemy will encourage it to make more demands and take a step forward. That is the reason why the Iranian nation is resisting, and resistance is the right way. As it has been said constantly by government officials and has been repeated by the people across the country, it is truly our nation's legal right to achieve this scientific power and this energy source.

Nuclear energy is only an example, and it does not embody all the aspirations of the Iranian nation. We have a long way to go. There are many things that we have to do about the construction of the country, achieving the position we deserve in international relations, and in terms of moral and spiritual values. These things necessitate efforts on the part of the officials and cooperation and endeavors on the part of the esteemed people. Government officials are doing their duty. And wherever I go and whenever I talk to our esteemed people living in different cities, I get the feeling that they are ready and lively. Here in this town, which is located in an arid climate and is one of the well-known places in our country, one can also observe the presence of the same feeling among the people and you dear youth.

We have the issue of elections in the near future. The people's presence in the elections is one of the arenas in which the Iranian nation can display its strong determination and its power. Our enemies have always tried to make our elections dull and thus they have encouraged people to leave the election arena and to pay no attention to ballot boxes. This has always been a goal for the enemies. However, when I look at the history of the parliamentary elections, I see that our honorable nation has always done exactly the opposite of what the enemies wanted them to do.

In each election our people's turnout, concern, and sense of responsibility have always been more than the previous elections. The manifestation of this is something to be observed in almost all elections, and we hope that the situation will be the same in the upcoming elections. All people from all walks of life are advised to take part in this great responsibility and this contest, which is a positive competition - election campaigns are one of the positive competitions that benefit the people. I would like to repeat what I said in the city of Yazd: improper conduct must be avoided in the elections. Slandering, insulting, and humiliating other candidates in order to make one or one's candidate popular are not appropriate ways from an Islamic point of view. There must be positive and enthusiastic competition but within moral limits.

I hope that in this election, too, Allah the Exalted will bestow on the Iranian nation the blessing of accomplishing this great duty. I hope that Allah the Exalted will increase the grandeur of the Iranian nation on a daily basis, and I hope that He will bestow His blessings and grace on you dear people.

I should like to thank you all for your presence, your gathering, and the warm and sincere emotions you expressed. I should also apologize for the delay. We arrived at Abarkooh one hour later than we were scheduled to. There was snow coming and it was foggy. Therefore, we had to move slowly, and thus we arrived here late. We left Yazd on time so that we could reach here in time, but the roads were covered with snow and it was foggy.

Dear God, I pray to You to bestow Your grace and blessings on our nation out of Your grandeur and generosity. O God, make the life of this nation more prosperous than ever both in this world and in the hereafter. Associate with Your saints the souls of the martyrs of this town and this region. O God, associate the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam Khomeini with Your saints and prophets.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

 

Leader's Speech to a Group of University Students from Yazd Province

03/01/2008

The following is the text of the speech delivered by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei

on January 3, 2008 to a group of university students from Yazd province in central Iran.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I am very delighted to be in the enjoyable, friendly and lively company of you dear youth. You are young and the youth are the embodiment of vitality, sincerity, endeavor and enthusiasm for ideals. Every part of what our dear youth stated today was pleasing to me. This is not to say that whatever these friends suggested must be put into practice, or will be high on our agenda, or is practicable. The implementation of these suggestions depends on research results, and it is necessary for us to test them. However, the mere fact that a young elite student, who is the member of a [political, scientific etc] formation, stands up, and addressing an academic gathering, states his opinion about current issues with courage and self-confidence is very thought-provoking and enjoyable to me. My speech today is essentially about this issue.

National Self-Confidence: An Accomplishment of the Islamic Revolution

Yesterday, I talked about national self-confidence at a public gathering. You were the main and the preferred audience for those statements. What we desperately need is national self-confidence of the youth, especially the learned and scientifically active youth who are the prospective managers of the scientific, political or scientific and executive future of this country. This segment of society must pay careful attention to the advice concerning national self-confidence - which I mentioned in passing yesterday and which I an going to discuss in more detail today - take it wholeheartedly, and use it as the pivot of and a yardstick for all their activities.

Why do I keep bringing up the issue of national self-confidence? Has anything happened in the country that makes me insist on the self-confidence of our nation and our youth? There is an explanation. Thanks to the Revolution, the Sacred Defense, Imam Khomeini's unparalleled personality - if I do not forget, I will later on explain that Imam's personality and its elements were one of the most influential contributory factors - and various advances, our nation has achieved a reasonable level of self-confidence. There is a fear that in the arenas of psychological warfare and propaganda - or "soft war," to coin a phrase - between our nation and the enemies who insist on continuing this battle, this national self-confidence may be dented, undermined, shaken or at least is not boosted to the extent that our nation requires. We are halfway there. Observing the mind, language and practice of a large number of our prominent figures, I can clearly see that this national self-confidence has not yet reached the required levels.

Diffidence: A Dangerous Disease

Diffidence is the polar opposite of self-confidence, namely diffidence when faced with the ideas of a particular group of knowledgeable nations - which is represented today by the West - against their philosophy and knowledge, or even against the paradigms of national development that they put forth, whereas we know that there are different paradigms of development for different nations. Diffidence is an extremely dangerous disease, which was infused into the body of our nation for many consecutive decades. Adopting Western words and mentalities is what we have frequently done. I listen and unfortunately see that besides the existing Western words - that have for the past decades been used and continue to be used by people - another Western word is every now and then introduced on TV or on the radio, which leaves people wondering what its meaning could be. And then they are forced to refer somebody to help them understand its meaning. Well, why bother ourselves? If there is a concept for which you do not have a word, you should coin one. The Farsi language is rich enough to allow that.

These are the manifestations of the diffidence that is the legacy of the past. Why did I mention this [you may ask]? Because I wanted to make it clear that in the domain of national self-confidence, there is a long way to go. I fear that the spirit of national self-confidence may be stunted. Yesterday, I brought it up for this reason, and today, I will discuss it with you in more detail for the same reason.

Constant Efforts to Move Forwards

We are like the runner who must cross the finish line; we must cross the victory line. We must run non-stop. You have written on the placard that by the year 1404 Iran will be a developed country. The perspective holds that it must outrun the other regional counties in technology and so on. You assume that the other countries will stand still and watch us outrun them? They are also progressing. It is a race for runners. If you and I lose our motivation half way through, if our hopes wane, if we come to think that it is no use, well, we will not cross the finish line. I fear this and, thus, I want to talk about self-confidence.

Enemy Is the Global Domineering Power

Today, we have reached a certain level of self-confidence, which is the auspicious outcome of the factors I mentioned. Our enemy is the global domineering arrogant system. That is what we mean when we talk about the enemy, which is now represented by, you may assume, the US or any other government. Our problem with countries and governments is not of local, racial, national and nominal nature. The problem is that a domineering group has formed in global politics and power relationships. They have become accustomed to domination and not being faced with a serious obstacle. Now there is a serious obstacle here called the Islamic government, the Islamic Republic. They seriously try to remove this formidable obstacle; this is what we want to say. The enemy is the global expansionist and the politically domineering camp, whatever it is called. Of course, I believe its present-day manifestation is the government of the USA which is the greatest devil personified. This is the enemy no matter what it is called or who it is. And the reason behind its enmity towards us is that we have presented them with an obstacle. It was like a bird that flew on freely without facing any obstacles, and now it has suddenly come up against a firm steel net that stops it from going further. The pressure [that the enemy is exerting on us] is because of this. Our problem with the West stems from this.

Iranian Nation Determined Not to Give In

Some people sit around and like a philosopher, a wise old man and a back seat driver complain that we are fighting everybody. That is not the case. The problem is not our tendency to fight or not to fight others. The problem is our standing against domination. We are a nation that has been kept in ignorance, stupor and confusion for many centuries or, at least, for several consecutive decades. They did whatever they wanted with us. We have just woken up. We no longer want to give in. That is what they charge us with "And they punished them for nothing but that they believed in Allah, the Mighty, the Praised" [The Holy Quran 85:8]. This is where the source of conflict lies.

The Enemy's Defeat Against Hezbollah's Spirit of Self-Confidence

The enemy that is standing against our nation will fight the self-confidence that you have so far achieved, especially because the US has failed in its Middle East policies. America's policies in the Middle East were mainly aimed at the Islamic Republic. They had besieged Iran on two sides: Iraq and Afghanistan. They thought they had placed the Islamic Republic in a vise and it would be forced to put its hands up. America's Middle East policies were based on bolstering the Zionist regime. One of their greatest measures and decisions was to destroy Hezbollah, the resistance force which is a faithful, efficient and influential driving force in Lebanon - a neighboring country of the occupied Palestinian lands. After that ignominious defeat last year, they were denied this opportunity. And they have been struggling desperately since then to do something about it in Lebanon and create a pro-American government or army there. And the current Lebanese issue stems from this. Americans are not prepared to spit out what they thought was an easy prey. They are planning to bring into power a puppet president - who is the army chief as well - and subsequently a puppet government in order to put Hezbollah under pressure. But they have failed in their attempts so far. These are great failures for a superpower like the US. With all those boasts, with all their power, money and extraordinarily efficient diplomatic system, and with their various technological devices and human resources, they could not confront Hezbollah. They think that Hezbollah is linked with Iran and consider its victory a victory for the Islamic Republic. They were defeated in this respect as well.

The Enemy's Defeat Against the Nation's Spirit of Self-Confidence

In the nuclear conflict, Americans were firmly insisting until a few months ago that Iran stop all its nuclear activities. That was what they did to Libya. They wanted us to wrap it up and offer it to them on a silver platter and declare that we will not continue our nuclear activities. Recently - a few weeks ago - they found themselves in such a [desperate] situation that they were forced to say that Iran must immediately stop its nuclear activities. You must note that there is a great deal of difference between the two. There was a day when they were not prepared to tolerate the existence of even five centrifuges in Iran. The Iranian negotiators who went to Europe were prepared to agree on twenty centrifuges, but the parties disagreed. The Iranian negotiators had then tried to persuade them to let us have at least five but the Europeans disagreed again. Even if they had suggested one centrifuge, they would have refused. Today, there are 3,000 operational centrifuges in Iran and many more are ready to be installed. They say we must stop it as it is. This is another failure for the US.

After the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Americans tried to portray the regional situation as bipolar involving a fight between democracy and terrorism. They broadcast various propaganda, spent a great deal of energy, launched numerous military attacks, incurred heavy expenses and did whatever they could so that they could claim that they were spreading democracy, that the region was trying to spread terrorism and that they were here to save the region. Just take a look at the situation in Iraq which was the focus of their concern. If you ask the ordinary people in Iraq they will say that Americans themselves are the cause of terrorism. Nobody believes that the US brought democracy for Iraq. The government and the parliament were formed against the Americans' will. They did not want this to happen, it was imposed on them. Everybody knows this. Therefore, they failed in different arenas.

The Enemy Must Not Be Underestimated

Could a domineering power stay calm when it fails to keep a nation spiritually and psychologically backward and to dent its self-confidence? The answer is no. They will look for new ways. Because the enemy is seeking new methods we must think of new ways as well. We must examine their new ways and means and understand the fact that they are not short of the necessary resources. I have said frequently that "the enemy is not to be underestimated." The propagandistic means of the enemy cannot be compared with those of ours. Moreover, I should tell you that the enemy is very rich in terms of cultural, propagandistic and communicative means. They are working relentlessly and spending a great deal of money. The fact that they declared they would give 80 or 100 million dollars to the opponents of the Iranian government - "the opposition forces" as they term it - is only the outward appearance of things. The amount that they are spending on this is much more than that. You and I, the youth, university students, officials, and the academics of this country must identify and predict the methods the enemy wants to use. If you can predict that, you will be able to understand the phenomena that occur in the country. If, for example, you know that there is going to be a storm or a flood, you will be able to recognize the signs that precede them and thus you will be able to identify their causes. But if you are unaware, these causes will be mysterious to you. Sometimes we reinforce those unknown causes. That is what makes this issue extremely serious.

The Importance of Self-Reliance

Before I get onto the subject of self-reliance, first let me tell you a couple of things about the importance of self-confidence. The most important merit of national self-confidence, which must be manifested by the elites of a country, is that it obviates the need to wait for assistance from others. The nation that is lacking in self-confidence will always be waiting for others to provide it with its requirements. When you are waiting to be served a dish that has already been prepared, you will not attempt to prepare it yourself, nor will you learn to cook. This is one of the main dangers and a very obvious one at that. It is not a philosophically complex issue. But we sometimes tend to ignore this obvious point and this simple mechanism that contributes to the country's staying backward.

The Poison of Diffidence

I will never forget this memory: once I went to a friend's house in Mashhad before the victory of the Islamic Revolution. As it happened, a member of the then Assembly Council - who was the representative of one of the towns in the northern part of the country - was also in Mashhad. He was there to pay a visit to our mutual friend. I happened to get the opportunity to talk to one of the parliamentary members for about an hour. I was young then and just as you say whatever you want, I also did not fully consider the consequences of what I did. I started to criticize the regime and let him know what I thought of it. He was a member of Shah's Assembly Council and my remarks offended him. Therefore, he embarked on an argument with me. These were some of the things that I told him: "You have kept the country in a state of stagnancy. It is all imports and what others produce. Why don't we ourselves do something?" The answer that he gave me was an interesting one and may help you to understand the mentality of the people in those days. He said, "So much the better, let the Europeans work for us like slaves and we will use the outcome of their efforts!" See how they sometimes manage to infuse this poison into the core of the nation's being and its elites and make them talk like that.

Self-Confidence Prepares the Ground for the Flourishing of Talents

When self-confidence is lacking, one remains in the state of waiting for assistance from the others. One sits in a corner like wretched and bedridden people and waits for somebody to pass by and spare a penny. The state of being self-sufficient works in the opposite direction which means that one does not wait for the others to fulfill one's needs. When people do not wait for others' assistance and think about fulfilling their own needs, they start tapping their talents - the hidden talents of a nation. When this happens and the hidden talents are utilized, they lead to achievements. That is the nature of things: one achievement leads to a set of other achievements. One accomplishment tends to bring about a set of other accomplishments.

The Sacred Defense Era: The Epitome of Self-Reliance

In the Sacred Defense era, the army and Voluntary Basij Movement did not initially have many arms. They did not have the necessary weapons. The Kalashnikov - which is a simple gun - was their main weapon. It was impossible to fight with that weapon. Therefore, they started to think. The mere fact that they started to think opened up new vistas for them. I recommend that the dear youth read the autobiographies of our martyred commanders. Some of their writings are devoted to emotional and spiritual matters and similar subjects - which are beneficial in their own way. But there are some other parts that are concerned with their practical experiences on the battle field. I have said on numerous occasions that during the war we had to take great pains and pay several times more to smuggle RPG-7s into the country. We had to pay several times more than the usual price to buy such a primitive weapon. The outcome of those experiences and self-confidence was that the Iranian nation has now reached a point that it can manufacture its own weapons some of which are unique or rare in the region. These were all the result of our need for weapons because they refused to sell them to us. We felt that we had to rely on ourselves. Our youth relied on themselves. This self-reliance made the talents flourish which bore fruit and this in turn led to several other outcomes. This fact is to be seen everywhere. This self-confidence is to be observed in discoveries, science, production and the paradigm of development.

An Indigenous Development Paradigm Is What We Seek

In a couple of my trips to Mashhad and Semnan last year, I talked about the issue of development paradigm in the meetings that I had arranged with university students. We must set a native Iranian development paradigm as our goal so that we are not forced to go for the ideas presented by European scholars. This is not to say that we should not use their knowledge. The paradigm they prescribe, however, is designed for their own purposes. We should learn what they know, but at the same time, we must write out our own prescription so that we can trust it and rely on it. Now if there is a lack of self-confidence, we will throw up our hands and say "is it possible for us to do it? Others tried it so many times before, what else could we possibly do?" This bears testimony to a lack of self-confidence, and unfortunately some people keep saying it. Some of our well-educated people also say it. We suggested that they formulate an indigenous development paradigm. "What indigenous development paradigm are you talking about? How is it possible?" look, this points to a lack of self-confidence which is a legacy of the past. If a nation wants to progress, it is impossible for it to wait for the others to help.

Infusion of Diffidence by Elites

One of the feats that the West and Europeans accomplished - which proved to be beneficial for them - was to take the elites of other countries in their hands and instilled their own ideology into them and sent them back to their own countries. Instead of spending money on the promotion of their own ideologies in the target country, Western countries - namely England, France and other such countries - decided to assign this task to their trainees who went and worked for them without any payment or any expectations whatsoever. Their disciples consecutively took up where they left off which proved to be a domino effect and an affliction for underdeveloped and backward countries. This chain of events must be broken. The importance of self-confidence lies in the fact that with the achievement of national self-confidence talents start flourishing. If we achieve self-confidence, we will see that we can do it. We will be convinced that we can do it.

Three Obstacles to the Achievement of Self-Confidence

There are three main obstacles to the process of achieving self-confidence to which we must pay full attention. These three can disrupt the process of achieving national self-confidence and its resultant accomplishments and of realizing ideals.

1) Hopelessness and Portraying Bleak Prospects

Engendering despair, portraying bleak prospects and bringing scientific differences into focus constitute the first obstacle. There is no disputing the fact that we are lagging behind the modern developed world which has been working on science for 200 years. They highlight this difference and say, "How do you want to catch up with them? Is it really possible?" And thus they disappoint our young researcher and scholar. I would say "Why not? It is possible." We only have to use the knowledge that others have accumulated and go one better, which is what we have already done. We have used the knowledge of others and sometimes managed to build things which did not exist in the world - as evidenced by some of our medical and pharmaceutical advances. We used Western knowledge as a stepping-stone and produced something that required more sophisticated knowledge. We must not let these differences dishearten us. We can step up our scientific progress and decrease these differences day by day. We can strive and move forward, especially because the West is now grappling with serious issues that it did not have to deal with some 50 or 100 years ago. Currently, moral and sexual issues and psychological instability in the West are much more serious than they used to be. Nowadays, these constitute a predicament there. Of course, these long-term issues do not reveal themselves easily, but one can realize their concern by reading between the lines of what their intellectuals say. Their younger generation is heading for decadence, crime and violence are on the rise, the figures showing the breakup of families are soaring and the situation has got out of their hands. They are in deep trouble. Why should a nation that is determined, a nation that can protect itself against these afflictions to some extent, a nation that relies on God, a nation that has self-confidence, and a nation that has specific ideals, not follow the scientific route they took? There was a day when we were ahead of the West, but we were plagued with problems and they worked hard and outran us. Catching up is not absolutely impossible for a nation whose youth try and move ahead and whose officials diligently involve themselves in planning. Therefore, there are three obstacles that the enemy may pose: spreading hopelessness, squandering talents, and taking strong and harsh measures, namely military aggression or similar measures.

Regarding the first issue - spreading despair - I insist that the youth reflect more and detect the signs. They are doing it right now and there are some other people who act as their mouthpiece.

A Few Examples of Inducing Hopelessness

Now pay attention to these instances [of inducing hopelessness]: the issue of nuclear energy is a case in point. They set off an uproar in the country to promote the idea that nuclear energy was an investment without any returns. Why are you doing this? Besides the global propaganda that has been pursuing this issue, they posed another problem that we had to deal with. They have continually been saying and repeating these things inside the country ever since the emergence of this issue - five or six years ago. Some people even wrote a letter saying "as physicists we categorically reject the claim that we have succeeded in building centrifuges." They said that so confidently that we had to send some investigators there in order to discover the truth. We were concerned that they were telling the truth. That was five years ago. Our investigators reported that everything was going on well in a scientific and steady manner. First they said it was impossible for us to pursue nuclear programs, but when they saw our success, they shifted their ground and said that it was an investment without any returns or profits.

Last year, I talked about it in detail in the New Year's public address and I do not want to repeat what I said then. What makes you think it is useless? In the next 20 years, we need to produce at least 20,000 megawatts of electricity from nuclear energy. According to the estimate which was conducted to assess the country's energy requirements, we need at least 20,000 megawatts generated by our nuclear power plants, otherwise we will have to beg for electricity. And if we fail to do so, consider it beneath our dignity or they refuse to give it to us, we must dispense with whatever that is powered by electricity: factories and many of the means necessary for production and development.

When should we start so that we can generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity in twenty years? It is by no means early now, if not late. It may even be too late already. What a big lie is the remark "we do not need it" or the remark "you cannot build nuclear power plants, so why do you need four percent uranium?" It is again the same old argument: "You cannot..." Why not? Why is it impossible for a nation that managed to build such an enormous enrichment centre, to build a nuclear power plant? We must be able to do it. Why not? There was a day when they said "you cannot even build steam power plants." I remember that in my own term of presidency, there was an unfinished power plant near Tehran that had been built during the reign of the Pahlavi regime. They tried to get international brokers to finish it. There were some others who believed we could finish the project single-handedly. We invited some of the officials who were directly related to these affairs. We summoned the prime minister - and some of the top officials of the country - and some others to the presidential office to discuss the issue. They came and said that it was impossible for us to finish the project and start using the power plant. This was their judgment. They said it was totally impossible. They said we had to ask foreigners for help. We did not invite foreigners, however. Instead, our own experts went there and finished it. And now it has been generating electricity for years and the country has been using its output.

In the beginning of the revolution, the Reconstruction Movement (Jahad-e Sazandegi) wanted to build a silo. As you know, our silos were built by the Russians during the reign of the Pahlavi regime. The evil regime used to buy wheat from the US and had Russia build its silos. There is more to a silo than meets the eye. The technology required to build it is relatively complex. The Reconstruction Movement declared that it wanted to build a silo. They were criticized from right and left that they could not possibly do it and that it was only a total waste of time: "Do not waste the country's resources." They built a small prototypical silo in Khuzestan Province, which I inspected at that time. Nowadays, the silos built by your Islamic Republic are considered among the top silos in the world. The Islamic Republic is considered among the world's leading manufacturers of silos.

One of the dams near Tehran was leaking. Some experts were ordered to go and fix it, but they said that the company that had built the dam had to do it. They invited the foreign constructors. This also dates back to the early part of my term of presidency. The prophets of doom and gloom kept saying "is it possible for us to build a dam?" These ideas were induced by the past. Our youth decided to make an attempt at the dam. Today, the Islamic Republic is, by Allah's favor, the best dam constructor in the region. In this region, there is no other country that has mastered the technology of constructing colossal dams as well as we have - whether concrete dams or earth dams. The dams that we built were better, had a larger capacity and of course were far less expensive than the ones that had been built by foreign companies during the reign of the evil Pahlavi regime. We ourselves built these dams.

We can do it. Why not? We can also build nuclear power plants. In fact, we have to. If we start now, we will be reaping the benefit a few years later, and if we start a few years later, we will have to wait a few years before we can reap the benefit. But unless we start now, we will fall behind. If we had not started uranium enrichment, we would anyway have had to start it ten or twenty years later. They complain that since we are obtaining our uranium requirements from Russia, it is a useless effort to enrich uranium ourselves. These are the statements that were also uttered by this honorable but ill-informed US president recently. He said that Russians are providing Iran with its uranium and therefore, it is unnecessary for us to do it ourselves. Here in Iran, some people, who are neither as honorable nor as ill-informed, regurgitate the same argument saying "you received the first shipment and then the second shipment. So why do you want to involve yourselves in the process of uranium enrichment?" This argument is analogous to telling a country that is rich in its underground resources not to dig oil wells and import its oil requirements. This means that a country that has oil resources must turn into an oil importer: how funny it is! If one day they refuse to sell this nuclear fuel or refuse to sell it at the agreed price or set strict conditions for it, the Iranian nation will be forced to give in.

Nuclear Energy: A Stable Prop to National Self-Confidence

If you pay attention, you will notice that these are the same plans that the enemy is following to engender despair. Now that such a great deed has been carried out - namely nuclear energy - and people are so happy about it, they turn around and say "why do you put the country through such needless conflicts? Is that just for as worthless a thing as nuclear energy?" Look, this is another instance of engendering despair. This is the same thing that you must be cautious about. This is one of the same tools that may potentially deal a blow to national self-confidence as it unfortunately happened in the past few years. That is to say, they took nuclear energy - which should have served as a stable prop to our national self-confidence - and turned it into a tool with which they tried to undermine our national self-confidence. They constantly pressurized us to shut down this and that company, but the last straw came when they asked us to shut down the U.C.F facility in Isfahan as well. They had prepared the ground with their previous requests. At that time, I told the officials that if we agreed to that request, they would later on ask us to wrap up and offer all uranium mines to them so that they were assured that we did not intend to make an atomic bomb!

Of course, this process of withdrawal brought us an advantage - it was not totally useless. The advantage was that both we ourselves and the global public opinion got a taste of the statements and promises of European and Western rivals. Today, whenever somebody asks us to temporarily suspend our nuclear activities, we tell them that we did it once - for two whole years! We suspended our activities for two years. And what was the result? First they asked us to suspend our activities temporarily. They told us to suspend our nuclear activities voluntarily. We suspended our activities thinking that it was voluntary and temporary. Later on whenever we tried to appeal against this suspension, they shamelessly set off a worldwide uproar against us in the press, the media and political assemblies claiming that Iran wanted to break the suspension agreement. Suspension turned into a sacred cow which Iran had no right to approach. We went through this experience. It is no longer a new experience. They finally told us that this temporary suspension was not enough and that we had to forget about nuclear activities altogether. Europeans who had told us to suspend our activities for six months - when they saw that we agreed to their request - said that we had to do away with nuclear energy altogether. This process of continual withdrawal brought us this advantage - it was a valuable experience for us and the world's public opinion. But it was anyhow a withdrawal. We withdrew.

At that time, in a televised meeting with the officials, I declared that if they kept up the process of their continual requests, I would personally intervene, which I finally did. I said that we had to put an end to this process of withdrawal and turn it into a process of progress and that the first step had to be taken by the administration that had made the withdrawal, which they finally did. The first step towards progress was taken by the previous administration: they decided to resume the activities at the U.C.F facility in Isfahan, which was thankfully followed by the subsequent advances, and the process continued up to the present time.

They take the source of national self-confidence and turn it into a source of despair by alarming people that the enemy may launch an attack and deal a blow. There are numerous instances of these issues. They try to attain their goals by tempting people. For example, one of our fundamental policies is to break off relations with the US, but we have never said that these relations will remain so for ever. There is no reason to permanently break off our relations with America or any other government.

The problem is that the conditions of this government are such that it is harmful for us to establish relations with it. Any relations with any country are formed on the basis of a calculation that predicts a benefit. When there is no benefit for us, we do not try to establish relations. But if there are any losses, we will certainly not pursue the establishment of relations.

Resuming Relations with America Is Detrimental to Us

Political relations are detrimental to us. First of all, it does not diminish the possibility of an American military attack. The US attacked Iraq while it had diplomatic and political relations with it. Both governments had ambassadors in one another's countries. [Diplomatic] Relations do not protect a country against the expansionist and lunatic danger of any power. Second, the establishment of relations has always served as a tool for the US to infiltrate the groups who are liable to mercenary tendencies. The English also acted similarly. For many years, English embassies have been the centre of establishing relationships with stupid people of the nation: those who were prepared to betray their own country. Embassies are there to perform this function among many other functions.

In the course of the events that took place in China about 17 or 18 years ago and developed into an extraordinary conflict, the US embassy was the centre of directing the disturbances. They are faced with this vacuum in Iran. They need a base, but they lack it. That is what they want. They need to have their secret agents and the members of intelligence services circulate freely in the country so that they can establish their unlawful relations with those mercenary and stupid elements. But they lack this. Relations provide this for them. But there are some gentlemen who sit around and prattle on about the harm that the lack of relations may bring us. I would disagree: lack of these relations is beneficial to us. The day these relations are perceived to be beneficial, I will be the first person to encourage their establishment.

"Why do you provoke America's hostility?" they complain. Now, imagine that the president makes a strongly worded statement. Suddenly these "intellectual" gentlemen say that this comment was too strong. They reason that it is what provokes the Americans' hostility. I would disagree: America's hostility does not stem from such statements. This hostility has always been there. It has been there since the beginning of the Revolution - I will shortly elaborate on the issue of military threat. This treat has been there for at least the past 18 years - more precisely, since the end of the eight-year Iraqi imposed war up to the present time. The Iranian nation has constantly been threatened with a military attack. It is not something new. Show of power, and not show of weakness, is what you can use to diminish the risk of the enemy's attacks. Your show of weakness emboldens the enemy. The enemy's feeling that you are strong is what may prevent their tyranny. If they feel that you are weak, they will do whatever they want without having to face any difficulties.

2) Unfair Criticism

Unfair criticism is one instance of the attempts to engender despair, and I think it is necessary - or I should say fair - to address it here. Now, take a look at the present situation: unfortunately, a number of people who are always dissatisfied have been finding fault with most of the decisions made by the incumbent administration. Whether the decision is about political, economical, cultural or international issues, they feel totally free and talk insultingly about the administration - of course, when the criticisms are to be leveled at me, they observe some limits. It is not ethically right to do these things.

Those who are doing these things may not be aware of the negative consequences. This is an instance of engendering despair, which is the opposite of building up self-confidence. This is an instance of promoting diffidence and passiveness. Most of the people who are striving in that direction do not, unfortunately, understand or pay attention to the consequences of their actions. These people are not malevolent. They are just unaware. They cannot properly assess the consequences. As soon as the administration makes economic decisions, they start protesting against them with an insulting tone. They make the same scathing reaction whenever the administration makes political and international decisions or it decides to go or not to go on a certain [provincial] trip. When we trust a driver and get onto the bus, we must not tell him to be careful at every turn on the road. He is the driver and he knows how to drive. This is while this administration has been truly active and it has displayed unique qualities in some areas. The fact that they go to all towns and cities is very important and interesting to me. The president, ministers and high ranking officials of the country go to different cities and towns, which is a very effective measure to take. Some people may object that they can do so by reading the reports. I disagree: reading reports is very different from taking a trip there. Perhaps I receive more reports than most of the officials, but when I go to a town or province and sit and discuss things with the residents or a group of the local youth, I come to realize that the reports are different from the reality I observe. What you hear [from local residents] and see for yourself is far more valuable than reading reports. That is what the administration is doing now. The officials are taking trips to all parts of the country. The opponents pick one of these trips and turn it into a weak point and start finding fault with it. "Why did you have 100 bills ratified, while not more than fifty of them are practicable?" OK, suppose that only fifty of these bills are put into practice. Is it not better than doing nothing? These criticisms are an instance of engendering despair. "Why did you make that trip? Why did you not make that trip?" These are unreasonable criticisms that help engender despair.

As I said, most of the people who do this are not aware of the negative consequences of their actions. After all, any administration has its own weak points, and I am not suggesting that this administration does not have a single chink in its armor. Like all other administrations, this administration, too, has its own shortcomings and mistakes. When we want to criticize, we must pay attention to the fact that we ourselves have made so many mistakes. These mistakes are innumerable. They did not happen just once or twice. Man is fallible, but he must try to make fewer or no mistakes. Those who observe the mistakes must compassionately point these mistakes out to them. However, it is not permissible to shout them from the rooftops and thus make people disappointed, dent their self-confidence and make them hopeless about the future.

I intend this to be addressed to everybody: the press, the media, the officials and all those who have the opportunity to stand at a podium and talk to people in the parliament, Friday prayers, universities or other places. This is something that has to do with the country's well-being. We must pay careful attention to the country's well-being. That is one of the ways in which we can prevent national self-confidence from being undermined.

3) Slander in the Press

The third method - this method has been pursued vehemently by the West during the past few years - is spreading slanders in the press. One may think that slandering is something that is limited to some specific places and groups of people. That is not the case; on the contrary, slandering through the use of media is a common phenomenon at an international level, especially with the abundance of the media facilities that are currently available.

Examples of American Human Rights

One of these slanders is about the issue of human rights. The Guantanamo Bay detention camp, which leaves every honorable man blushing with embarrassment, belongs to those who currently claim to be promoting human rights. The fact that their president signed the torture warrant makes one blush. They are the people who burnt the incriminating documents of the Guantanamo interrogations at the order of their high-ranking statesmen. They are so careless about human rights, and they humiliate nations. If you go and interview the people of Iraq, the first thing that they are going to mention is that they are being humiliated and that they are not treated respectfully. Unemployment and hunger are not the first things they are going to mention. The Arab youth have a pride. Before the eyes of their wives, they go and put handcuffs on them and make them lie on the ground on their faces and stomp on them with their boots. They make them embarrassed.

They are, as you see, woefully ignorant of the meaning of human rights. In Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, they did those things to the prisoners, the memory of which makes one blush. I blush when I sometimes think about it. But at the same time, they moralize about human rights and accuse the Islamic Republic or any other governments that oppose them throughout the world of the violation of human rights. Well, is this not ridiculous? Now the same ridiculous thing that is done by the enemy outside the country is sometimes modeled by the people inside the country. They repeat the same thing.

Examples of American Type of Democracy

As for democracy, those who supported coups - you know as well as I do that there are some governments now that have come into power through a coup, but I do not want to mention any names - and who strongly supported the hereditary despotic governments could not or did not want to establish democracy whenever they entered a country with their military forces in the name of democracy. In Iraq, they first installed a military backed governor. But when they saw that things did not proceed well, they appointed a political governor. Later on they objected to the holding of elections, but the elections took place against their will. And currently they are constantly threatening the government, the parliament and the administration that have been elected by the Iraqi people. Now it is these Americans say that we do not have democracy! And I am really astonished to see that there are some people who repeat the same accusations. These are instances of engendering despair and use of slanders, which act against the national self-confidence of our nation.

Elections: True Manifestation of Democracy

On the whole, we have been holding an election each year. Is it not the case? Do our people not take part in the elections? Is there anything else that is being done by the countries that claim to adhere to [the principles of] democracy? People are so enthusiastically taking part in different elections in which various parties compete with one another. Those who are doing that are, you may argue, our enemies. All the same, it is surprising that there are some people inside the country who explicitly or implicitly say that there is no democracy in the country. For example, they say that we must try to establish democracy in the country. "Establish" something that is already there? These statements act against the self-confidence that our people need to have.

The West Must Be Held Accountable for the Violation of Women's Rights

As for the issue of women's rights, I have told you my dear sisters, my dear daughters, dear young female students many times before and I firmly repeat now that it is the West, not Islam or the Islamic Republic, that must answer for the violation of women's rights. Those who eliminated the boundary between sexes, those who promoted sexual freedom in their action, speech, advertisements and even their philosophy must be held accountable. The result was that - given the strong natural attraction that men have for women - women were downtrodden and their rights were violated. Women were used as a tool for publicizing and selling their products - just like an object. If you pay attention to Western magazines, you will see that they show a woman in the nude just to sell a particular product. Is it really possible to do something that is more insulting to a woman than this? They have to be held accountable.

Hijab Helps Protect Women's Honor

Hijab is an honor for the person who observes it. A woman's hijab is an honor for her. In the past, in most countries - I say most countries because I do not know about all counties - even in Europe until two or three hundred years ago, aristocratic women used to wear hijab (veil) on their faces. Perhaps you have noticed this in some historical movies. They used to wear a kind of hijab on their faces so as to stop others from seeing them. This is an honor for women. In ancient Persia, the wives of aristocrats and senior officials used to wear hijab. But the wives of ordinary people did not all wear hijab, and there was no obligation to do so. Then Islam stepped in and abolished all these discriminations and said that women must wear hijab. It meant that the right to wear hijab was for all women. That was an Islamic view [that brought about this change]. Now they accuse us of violating women's rights. They are the ones who have to be condemned. They are the ones who must justify why they have used women as an object of promiscuity. Yesterday, I was given the figures of domestic violence - these figures were reported a week earlier - which said that two-thirds of the women throughout the world are beaten up by their husbands! I believe this is pitiful. It moves one to tears. This violence occurs mostly in developed Western countries, and result from sexual harassment and sexual demand that men have of women. This slandering is about the issue of women. They talk about women's rights and complain that we have imposed hijab on women. They themselves have turned the lack of hijab into a law and imposed it on women. They prevent female students from entering the university just because they are wearing a head scarf. Still, they condemn us for having made hijab obligatory. Our laws are all attempts that we have made to preserve women's honor, but their laws are there to disrespect women. And there are some other slanders similar to this that the West is leveling against us.

Slanders Are Aimed at Self-Confidence

I am worried about the negative effects of these slanders and that is one of the reasons why I am talking about self-confidence. I am worried that these slanders may affect a small number of our "elites", that our nation is made to feel embarrassed before the Western slanderers, and that they are emboldened to attack us and dent our self-confidence. You must note that slandering is one of the three methods that they use to shake the self-confidence of nations.

The Possibility of Tough Measures

The possibility of being faced with tough measures is another issue, which is of course less likely now than in the past. Here too, I must say, we are being treated somewhat unfairly. They talk as if it were we who attracted the domineering US government's threats towards ourselves. That is not the case. As I said, since the victory of the Islamic Revolution not a day has gone by without being faced with the threats of a US military attack. This possibility is of course lower than before. When the previous administration took office, it initially said that the American artilleries were aiming at our country before and that these threats were withdrawn after it took office. So you say these threats were there only before you stepped in? [I disagree because] It was during the term of the previous administration that someone who is the personification of evil himself labeled the Iranian nation as "axis of evil". President Bush, whose whole being is infested with iniquity, described our nation as one of the three axes of evil countries. This happened when they [previous administration] treated Americans with kid gloves. At that time, some people inside the country occasionally said some things to please them. Of course you have to note that top government officials, our presidents and high-ranking officials at all times were all upright individuals who were interested in the foundations and fundamental principles of the government. They were revolutionary. This criticism is not leveled at these people. Rather, it is leveled at those who are around them. Hangers-on always do some things that their masters do not agree with. However, these are facts.

Of course, as a nation, as a country and as a government we must always be vigilant against military threats. We are threatened now by America as we were in the past by Russia or an evil neighbor like Saddam Hussein. We are and we must always be vigilant. Today, although everybody says that America has put aside the military option - which some people believe has never been an option - I believe that we must be vigilant and I act accordingly. Our officials and our nation must be cautious.

I will go over the main points now. National self-confidence is a constant necessity for our nation at all times, especially now. The reason is that the enemy has failed in a variety of his confrontations with our nation. They are now looking for new methods, new strategies and new machinations. "They deceived and Allah deceived them" [Quranic verse]. As Allah's servants, you must show your own vigilance when faced with their machinations.

The Necessity of Reflecting on the Issue of Self-Confidence

We must avoid anything that undermines this self-confidence - some instances of which I mentioned before. This is especially true of the elites. They must think, study and grow in their own right. They must highlight whatever that bolsters this self-confidence - elites could do so in student periodicals, professors in classrooms, and students in student gatherings or wherever they can prove to be effective.

Effective Students

One of these brothers said that although students have proved very effective they do not consult them about all issues. Well, how is it possible to consult thousands of students? Currently, there are some fifty or sixty thousand students in Yazd. Consulting should be done in an appropriate manner. Decisions are not made without any consultation. All I am trying to say is that the influence of university students is exercised less through discussing things with the authority than through channeling human resources. You can be influential in your own families. You can influence your brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. With your speech and behavior you can influence the people around you, your relatives, your friends and your peers. This is the best achievement and victory for students - that is, exerting influence where they can do so. Of course, the opportunities for this influence are sometimes greater. This is especially true because you are young and you should appreciate this youth. You should not take the youthful patience and vitality for granted. When I was your age - of course I should perhaps not talk too much about my own youth because you are far better than we were at that time, but there is no harm in knowing the point I am going to tell you - and I was young, the situation was such that we could not gather somewhere mostly for security reasons. We had to stand somewhere and discuss things and exchange views for three or four hours. The youth have energy, vitality and capabilities. They can exert their influence by relying on this very youthful energy. Thus, we must eliminate as many of factors that undermine self-confidence as possible and strengthen as far as we can the factors that bolster it.

O God, enlighten these dear youth and their pure hearts, which are capable of being close to You. Make them attain more nearness to You than ever before. Bless them.

O God, make the future of this country, which is going to be shaped by these youth, far better than it is and it was.

O God, place the souls of the great teachers of this school, especially our magnanimous Imam Khomeini and our dear martyrs, among the souls of saints.

O God, place the souls of the eminent martyrs of this city and province - the honorable martyr Ayatollah Sadooghi and other dear martyrs of this province - among the souls of saints.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

 

 
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