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Supreme Leader's Address to Families of Martyrs in Shiraz

04/06/2008

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on May 2, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a group of families of martyrs in Shiraz, Fars 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.

Unparalleled wonders were not few and far between during the Revolution. From the beginning of the great movement of the Iranian nation which culminated in the victory of the Islamic Revolution, to the present day, a sequence of extraordinary and wonderful events caught eyes and attracted hearts one after the other. However, among these extraordinary events, martyrdom has exceptional features.

Anything that is concerned with the spiritual being of martyrs is wonderful. Their motivation to move towards jihad is itself a wonder. It is a wonder when a young man decides to disregard tempting material attractions, rise up for Allah's sake, and go to battlefields. In addition, risking their lives on battlefields, their efforts, and their outstanding and courageous deeds on battlefields are all wonders that set prominent and everlasting examples. Having extreme enthusiasm and sensing the manifestations of Allah the Exalted beyond the material world - which were manifest in all movements and comments made by the martyrs upon martyrdom, about which there are several anecdotes - are also some of these wonders.

I read an autobiography of a martyr who was from the city of Shiraz. The autobiography read something like this: "I am impatient, I am impatient. There is a fire in my heart that has made me impatient. I will not find solace unless I meet You, my dear God." These remarks were made by a youth. This status is something that even a mystic achieves after years of asceticism. However, on battlefields, a young man is granted so much divine grace that he manages to achieve everything overnight and his expression of his feeling of enthusiasm and impatience receives the appropriate response from Allah the Exalted. This enthusiasm is also a divine blessing granted by Allah the Exalted. This is a great wonder.

The blood of martyrs is another wonder. The family, parents, wife, children, brothers, sisters, acquaintances, and friends of martyrs would have been deeply traumatized if the martyrs had died an ordinary death. But they faced the news of their martyrdom with so much patience and forbearance that one could not help being astonished. The mother of two martyrs told me: "I buried my sons myself, but my hands did not shake when I was burying them." A father who had lost some of his sons in the war said: "If I had more sons, I would be prepared to offer them to God." What is the essence of all these things? What is the nature of this glowing light that Allah has placed at the heart of martyrdom which sheds so much light on this dark world? For eight years, the Iranian nation lived with this light glowing in the hearts of its men and women.

Martyrs were the vanguard on battlefields, while their families and other revolutionary devotees supported them from another trench. They advanced and removed the obstacles, and thus they managed to help turn a nation - which had for centuries been accustomed to passiveness and listlessness under bullying rulers - into a lively, grand, honorable and determined nation. This was a great deed that our martyrs, soldiers, and disabled veterans did. We owe this accomplishment to the families of martyrs and to the resistance that our POWs put up in the enemies' prisons. Iran and the Iranian nation will always owe them a debt of gratitude, and the history of Iran must consider itself indebted to the families of martyrs.

Shiraz has offered more than 14,500 martyrs, and this is no trivial matter. Shiraz was a city which the domineering powers had decided to turn into the centre of impiety and inattention to religious principles and values. They intended to turn the city into a place where nothing but the carnal and lowly aspects of life could be observed. They did not like to find any trace of religious values in the city. They set their policies based on this goal and even took measures to achieve that goal. But the people of Shiraz and Fars province reacted by dealing a death blow to the enemies, offering 14,500 martyrs, more than 34,500 war-disabled veterans, and about 2,500 POWs. Greetings be upon you. May God bestow His mercy upon you.

Shiraz was a sanctuary for the magnanimous descendants of the Imams (a.s.). Their tombs are found in no other part of the country more than they are in Shiraz. This is indicative of the fact that these descendants of the innocent Imams (a.s.) opted to go to Shiraz or other cities in Fars province whenever they were in need of the people's help or sought refuge from the caliphs' oppression. The spirituality which was embodied in the great martyr Ayatollah Dastgheib was rooted in the family of these descendants of the innocent Imams (a.s.) and in the bountiful source of spirituality which rested in the household of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a). This fact is indicative of the depth of their religious motives. Such spirituality results in such characters as the great martyr Dastgheib whose words made the hearts of the youth enchanted with spirituality - the youth who were present in the battles of Sacred Defense from the very first days.

I mentioned in the presence of the armed units yesterday that I traveled to Abadan and Khorramshahr during the first days of the Revolution and the Iraqi imposed war. Those days the battlefields were full of grief and vast areas of the city of Khorramshahr had been occupied by the invaders. There were a number of very pure-hearted, faithful, and enthusiastic youth who had come there to fight while they were equipped with some very primitive weapons only. I asked them where they had come from and their answer was "Shiraz". All through the Iraqi imposed war, the people of Shiraz who were fighting in different divisions, such as Al-Mahdi and Fajr, or army units based in the city played an influential and prominent role. Those who caused these youth to enter the battlefields to defend Islam, their national independence, their country, and the greatest event of our history - the Islamic Revolution - were great figures such as the martyr Ayatollah Dastgheib. This happened, above all, under the influence of the words of Imam Khomeini (r.a.). This is one of the greatest wonders of our Revolution.

My dear ones, several years have passed since then. Many of you dear youth were not present during the Sacred Defense era, and did not realize this event. Some of you have distant memories of that time. With the passage of time, the memory of events starts to fade. Some events are forgotten. It is like the ripples which are caused by throwing a stone into a water pool. These ripples become smaller and smaller until they finally disappear in a minute's time. But there are some events which are quite the opposite. Not only does the passage of time not make them seem less important, but they are made even more prominent. One such event is that of Ashura.

Everyone was wondering what had happened on the day of Ashura. The greatness of the event, the greatness of the jihad done by the Prophet's (s.w.a.) loved one and his companions was not known to anyone. Neither was the magnitude of the catastrophe in which the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) sons and loved ones were martyred. The majority of those who were present in that battle did not recognize the importance of this issue. And those who were fighting for the enemies were so ignorant and unaware that they did not realize what had happened. Those enchanted by arrogance, lust, and animal urges cannot understand what is happening in the human world. Of course Sayeda Zeinab (s.a.), Sukayna (s.a.), and those innocent girls and women did recognize the magnitude of the event. This is what happened on the day of Ashura.

The magnitude of this event was immediately proven after it took place. It was reflected in what happened on the 12th day in Kufa, and then in what happened a few weeks later in Sham, Medina, and the whole Islamic world. Two years had barely passed since the end of the war when that satanic rebel who had caused this event vanished off the face of the earth. And a couple of years later, the whole family vanished without a trace. Later another family from the Umayyad dynasty came to power. That family was also overthrown and annihilated after a few decades. The Muslim world got more interested in and fascinated by the ideology of the household of Prophet Muhammad (s.w.a.) on a daily basis, and this event strengthened the bases of the Islamic principles and Islamic ideology in history. If this battle had not taken place in Karbala, we would not be aware of the principles of Islam to the extent we are today, and there was probably just a nominal trace of Islam. Not only were this great event and the holy blood of the martyrs not undermined, but they also gained more prominence in history. This is an outstanding example.

Your Revolution and the martyrdom of your martyrs also fall in the same category. At first, it was like a temporary earthquake. Many people believed that such events were like an earthquake - temporary events that would be forgotten soon. But this never happened. It was quite the opposite. Today, the principles of the Islamic Revolution are penetrating deep into Muslim nations' hearts. This is not a personal opinion. Rather, it is the outcome of the interpretations of those who consider the Islamic Republic as their most bitter enemy. They confirm this fact and bear testimony to it. This interpretation is the reason behind their intimidations and threats against the Iranian nation. They are afraid of the Islamic Revolution. They see that this movement has never stopped. They see that this wave [the Islamic Revolution] never diminished and is constantly growing. Therefore, they are afraid of the Islamic Revolution.

Once they believed that the Islamic Revolution had come to an end in this country. The reason behind their assumption was the idea upheld by some ignorant and uninformed people who believed that the Revolution has come to an end. They were encouraging others not to remember the martyrs any longer. They believed that Imam Khomeini should be consigned to history and things like that. Those ignorant people who were seeking to take advantage of such words in their interpretations believed these words. They presumed that the Islamic Revolution had come to an end. When one reconsiders the issue today, there are traces of despair in their words and interpretations. They are concerned about the Iranian nation, its grandeur, and its independence. They are afraid of the talent of the Iranian youth.

Why does a certain group in the world consider the scientific achievements of our country as threatening? This is because they are monopolists. This is because they are domineering. They consider Iran as a bait. They intended to swallow up this country with all its resources and its prominent strategic position in the world. But the vigilance of the Iranian nation and the Iranian youth plus their talent and scientific achievements will stop them from doing so. And it is due to this reason that your technological advances, your nuclear energy plan, and other achievements make them annoyed.

If the Iranian nation is carefree and our youth are thoughtless - if they do not seek employment, science, production, and innovation or if they spend their time on debauchery - our enemies will be delighted. This is what they want. They do not want Shiraz to be the center of scientific achievements. I previously mentioned that Shiraz is at the vanguard of industrial progress among the different cities and provinces of the country, and also that your youth, men, and women have gained global fame in some scientific areas. This is what our enemies are opposed to. They do not want our universities, our Islamic seminaries, our laboratories, and our production centers to flourish. They want such things as unhealthy relationships among boys and girls, lust, and debauchery to prevail in our people's lives. These are the things they want. But you acted against their will, and this is the reason behind the annoyance and the propaganda of the US and the Zionist regime.

Some people say why do you provoke the Americans into enmity? The answer is that in order not to do so, we should stop working and making efforts and disregard our honors. It is only then that the US will be pleased with us. This is the nature of the US. Will the Iranian nation be satisfied with such a situation?

The reason behind their enmity is not our policies or what some of our officials say in the country. Rather, it is due to the vigilance of our nation that they are opposed to us. Wherever there is a centre of vigilance across the country, it will be the more important place for the enemies to attack. If you take a look, you will see that they are more hostile towards those places which are the centers of vigilance - those places whose youth are more prepared, conscious, and enthusiastic. They are against the families of martyrs.

Thanks God, the families of the martyrs of Shiraz are among these people. A feeling of enthusiasm and honor prevails in this atmosphere. You should be proud. One should really be proud to have offered a dear one or a youth on the path of God, knowing that this has pleased Allah the Exalted. "Be patient, and you will be rewarded." You should know that these dear ones whom you offered on the path of God were strongholds which were broken by the enemies' assault on this nation's grandeur and independence. Every one of your martyrs is like a stronghold, and so are the disabled veterans of the war. This is what you should be proud of.

War-disabled veterans are like martyrs who are alive. You dear disabled veterans of the war are like martyrs. Martyrs suffered as much as the war-disabled veterans did. However, their destiny was meeting Allah but the destiny of the war-disabled veterans was to stay alive. The families of martyrs, their parents, their wives, their children, their brothers and sisters, and their relatives should be proud of their martyrs.

One of the feelings I have always had is respect towards the wives of the war-disabled veterans. Some of these dear ladies accepted these war-disabled veterans as they are. I would say well done! Some of these ladies suddenly saw the handsome youth whom they had married turn into a war-disabled veteran. They accepted this fact and welcomed it. I have to say well-done! The wives of the disabled veterans of war are very precious.

The wives of the martyrs - who brought up these dear youth - are highly valuable. I saw in the biography of some of the martyrs of Shiraz that some of their sons had achieved high positions in science and research. How could these achievements be made? They could only be made through the efforts of their mothers - the wives of the martyrs - and those brave women who struggle on God's path. This is a form of jihad. This is "caring for one's husband". It means saving the face and the personality of their husbands. This is what "caring for one's husband" means. For example, when their husbands were martyred on the path of Allah, they brought up their children in a way that they would be proud of their fathers and would continue the path of the martyrs.

Let me make a final point here. Dear people, if the martyrs are dear to us - and they are - and if we love them - which we truly do - commemorating them means that we should continue their path and pursue their goals. Following their path means that we should consider and pursue the goals of the Islamic Republic and the principles of Islam which are the prominent criteria and the strong bases of this nation's honors both in this world and in the hereafter. Both men and women play an equal role in this regard. The sons and daughters of the martyrs, their brothers and sisters, and those who are relations to the martyrs play an equal role in this regard. The closer they are to the martyrs, the more honored they are and the heavier their responsibilities are.

The country belongs to you. The country belongs to the youth. The future belongs to you. Those who were martyred opened the path ahead of us. We should move on this path. If we do not follow the path which they opened ahead of us, we are being ungrateful. Gratitude towards the martyrs warrants that we move ahead on the paths they opened ahead of us. This is our duty today, and the Iranian nation will fulfill this duty. The government officials are hopefully committed to this responsibility, and the Islamic principles and mottos are of primary importance to them. God willing, this nation can achieve its highest and loftiest goals through its determination, spirit, youth, and the light of the martyrs' blood which has enlightened the path.

Dear God, bestow Your mercy and blessings on the martyrs. O God, bestow Your mercy and blessings on the families of the martyrs. Dear God, associate us with the martyrs. And bestow martyrdom upon us. O God, put us among those who will benefit from the prayers of the magnanimous Imam (r.a.), the martyrs - Martyr Dastgheib - and above all the prayers of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake).

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Speech on the Occasion of the 19th Demise Anniversary of Imam Khomeini

03/06/2008

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on June 3, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution on the 19th demise anniversary of Imam Khomeini (r.a.).

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.

It is 19 years now that the Iranian nation has made time and space the manifestation of its love and reverence for the magnanimous Imam. Most of our people consist of the youth who were born after Imam Khomeini's blessed life had ended. They were either born after he passed away or were young children at the time. But these faithful youth living in various parts of the country loved Imam and his memory so much that it appeared as if they had been in his company. As we say in Samaat prayers: "We rightly and sincerely put our faith in him without being able to see him." They enjoyed pure and sincere faith without having been present during Imam's lifetime and without having had the opportunity to listen to his remarks. This is not peculiar to our nation alone. In many parts of the world as well as in Muslim countries, people have the same feeling towards Imam Khomeini.

This reality is the result of two factors. One is the greatness of the Imam and the various aspects of his personality, which was unparalleled in the recent and contemporary era. The other factor is the greatness of this Revolution. It is the greatness of the deed that our magnanimous Imam accomplished in the present era by relying on his faith, acumen, and strong determination. This deed was his starting the Islamic Revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic. The greatness of this Revolution is indicative of the greatness of our magnanimous Imam. This Revolution was a divine miracle.

While the enemies of Islam and the Islamic Ummah broadcast against Islam and the clergy for about one hundred years, and while a dependent regime sacrificed the interests of the Iranian nation before the enemies and outsiders for 50 years and made the country completely dependent on outsiders - the Pahlavi regime - our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) led an uprising in this country by hoisting the flag of Islam and opposition against domineering powers, and he achieved this great goal in the country.

The Islamic Revolution is different from all other revolutions in the world. It is neither a merely cultural and moral revolution, nor a merely economic one. Nor is it just a political revolution, but rather a revolution on all fronts. It is similar to Islam. Besides its moral, ethical, and divine aspects Islam also considers the different aspects of people's lives and offers economic, political, and social perspectives as well. Similarly, the Islamic Revolution enjoyed several aspects and these different aspects which are in line with the needs of humanity are the reasons behind the continuance and rejuvenation of the Islamic Revolution in the region and the world on a daily basis.

Imam Khomeini (r.a.) left a perpetual guideline for his Ummah - our nation - with his words and deeds. This means that the words of Imam Khomeini (r.a.) guide us in all difficult stages of life, and his testament is one of the best and most influential moral legacies of Imam Khomeini (r.a.). It is advisable that the people and the different officials and youth refer to this testament at different times and reflect on it.

On the occasion of this great gathering and in the presence of you people who have vigilant and conscious hearts, let me refer to some of the points mentioned in Imam Khomeini's testament which is full of useful points. The first point is that Imam Khomeini (r.a.) insisted in his testament on the fact that the Islamic Revolution is a divine Revolution and that it is mainly based on the people. This means that the Islamic Revolution belongs to the people. This means that no individual, social class or group can and should claim to be the owner of this Revolution and consider others as subsidiary. If anyone was to claim to be the owner of this Revolution, Imam Khomeini (r.a.) was the most suitable person who was deserving of the ownership. This Revolution was caused due to his determination and personality, but Imam Khomeini (r.a.) considers his own role as very little and considers the Revolution as a blessing from God.

This is a predominant theme in Imam Khomeini's (r.a.) statements, which has also been stressed and specified in his testament. Therefore, it is the people who are the owners of this Revolution. Protecting this divine gift is a duty that lies on everybody's shoulders. The people must consider themselves as the guardians of the Revolution. The identity and significance of the Revolution is due to its slogans, orientations, values, and principles. There have always been - and there will always be - some individuals who have tried to change the revolutionary slogans under the pretext that the conditions have changed. They have tried to separate the aspects related to religion and social justice from the Revolution. They have tried to make the Revolution devoid of its tendency to fight outsiders, hegemony, and autocracy.

They may step in with various motives and under various pretexts to change the revolutionary slogans and aspirations. The people have to be on the alert. They must know that this Revolution is alive due to its slogans. Being Islamic, adhering to religious principles, opposing hegemony and arrogance, and supporting the oppressed sincerely and openly all over the world are the most essential slogans among the slogans written on the revolutionary flag.

The fact that this Revolution belongs to the general public is one of the best slogans of the Revolution. In this regard, there is no discrimination in favor of a particular social class. The youth of today are the owners of the Revolution, as were the youth of the Sacred Defense era. We are in no position to say that those who carried out the Revolution or shared part of the responsibility have more of a right to the Revolution. That is not the case, as there were some people who were not present at the time this Revolution was carried out but who laid down their lives during the Sacred Defense era and went to the battlefields. These people have the same right to the Revolution as the others.

Throughout the last twenty years, there have been some youth who have brought in their wisdom, extraordinary enthusiasm, divine motives, and social, scientific, and political endeavors to help guarantee the continuance and dynamism of this Revolution. They, too, are the children of the Revolution. They, too, are the owners of the Revolution. They are as close to the Revolution as those who were present in the early stages of the Revolution. The situation will be the same in the future. The youth as well as all generations have equal rights to the Revolution. They all have the same right to the Revolution and share the same responsibility towards protecting it.

Our youth today must realize that the path of the Revolution is one that requires determination, faith, and steadfastness. Some people enjoy this steadfastness while others fall by the wayside. Of course, the latter group act against their own interests. "So whoever breaks (his faith), he breaks it only to his soul's injury." [The Holy Quran 28:10]. Those who turn their backs on the Revolution are similar to those who fast on a hot summer day but fail to show enough endurance and break their fast only a couple of hours before sunset. These people are not different from those who have not fasted at all. Breaking one's fast any time before the sunset ruins the fast.

If there is no perseverance and steadfastness on the path of the Revolution, one loses one's connection with the Revolution. That constitutes an act of disloyalty to the Revolution. There have always been some people who have been unfaithful to the Revolution, who have lost their interest in it, and who have turned their backs on it. Our Imam recommended in his testament that we, our people, and our future generations have a realistic view of the Revolution. That is the essence of the Revolution. It is not individuals who form the essence of the Revolution. Being revolutionary depends on maintaining one's relationship with and devotion to the Revolution as well as acting in conformity with the Revolution. That is the first point.

The second point is about the prophecy in the Imam's testament that the Revolution will spread to other places and will liberate the Muslim world from the clutches of colonialists. That was a prediction that our magnanimous Imam made. When we look at the reality on the ground today, we see that the prediction has been fulfilled. In Imam Khomeini's (r.a.) opinion, the Revolution - unlike other revolutions - was not to be propagated by sowing the seeds of discord in other countries, by deploying military forces, or by spreading terrorism. Spreading the Revolution among other nations is to be realized through setting a model on the part of the Islamic Republic.

This means that the Iranian nation should help the Islamic Republic reach a point and a position that when other nations look at it, they are filled with enthusiasm and are encouraged to follow in its footsteps. This propagation is to take place through propagating Islamic teachings, through open support for the oppressed groups in the Muslim world, and through supporting the oppressed nations that have been downtrodden by the oppressive arrogant powers. That is what we mean by the spreading of Islamic rule, which has already happened.

Today, other nations throughout the world have fixed their attention on the Iranian nation. They are inspired and motivated by our nation. Today, the anti-domination slogans of the Iranian nation have spread to all parts of the Muslim world. If you travel to different Muslim countries, you will notice that their people have a high opinion of your slogans, motives, and aspirations regardless of their governments. They admire our slogans against oppression, the chameleon-like Zionist network, and hegemony. They admire our slogans shouted in support of the oppressed and the Palestinian nation. That is the way the Muslim nations think. That points to the spread of the Islamic Revolution. As you can see, even our nation's slogans regarding the nuclear energy - the fact that the Iranian nation resisted the pressures by the enemies and asked for its right - have been reflected in the Islamic world in a way that resulted in Muslim and Arab countries declaring that nuclear energy has turned into a public urge in all Arab countries.

Both the friends and foes of the Iranian nation admit that the prophecy of Imam Khomeini (r.a.) regarding the spread of the Revolution has been realized today, an instance of which is the Palestinian issue. Like the Iranian nation, all nations are sympathetic towards the Palestinian nation. Like the Iranian nation, all nations consider the Israeli regime as a fake and imposed regime in the region. Of course, the governments are not supportive of their nations, and that is exactly what has strengthened Israel. The Zionist regime has no internal power to stand on its own feet. Today, there are two factors that have helped the Zionist regime to resist. One is the unconditional and shameless support of the US for this degenerate regime, and the other is the lack of support for the Palestinian people on the part of the Arab and Muslim governments. Unfortunately, most of the Muslim governments do not carry out their responsibilities towards Palestine as they should, and they are not harmonious with their people.

The third prominent point - which is important to our nation and youth - in Imam Khomeini's (r.a.) testament and in the statements that he made during the last 10 years of his blessed life is that the Islamic Revolution helps our nation progress. The Islamic Revolution facilitates innovation on the part of the Iranian nation, which is exactly the opposite of what the enemies of Islam propagated for many consecutive years. The enemies of Islam used to pretend that being religious is in conflict with progress. They used to pretend that if a nation wanted to make progress, it had to let go of religion and be completely westernized. They tried for decades and instilled this belief into the Iranian nation. From the beginning of the Revolution to the last day of his life - and in his testament - our magnanimous Imam used to emphasize the fact that the revolutionary spirit is the spirit of progress and innovation. And that was what the Iranian nation experienced.

The Iranian nation believes in its capabilities today. It is confident enough to enter scientific and political arenas. Whenever the Iranian nation has seriously entered an arena, it has managed to take the lead. Our status in scientific innovations, political power, and international grandeur is not comparable with the pre-Revolution era. This nation has woken up. It has been revitalized. That is all due to the Revolution. The more this revolutionary spirit is revitalized and the more dynamic it is, the more revitalized the spirit of innovation and creativity will be, just as the Revolution itself which was a great innovation.

Through the Islamic Revolution and by the establishment of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini (r.a.) provided a middle ground between westoxication and backwardness. Before that, nations believed that they had to either remain backward or become westernized. But the Imam proved that there was a straight path which led to progress without being westoxified or falling victim to the West. Dear youth, in order to help your country progress, you must tread this straight path as tenaciously as you can. You can remove all obstacles in your way by relying on Allah the Exalted and your internal power.

That is one of the reasons behind the enmity of the arrogant powers and the global plots against the Iranian nation regarding the nuclear energy and similar issues. They sign nuclear contracts with other countries that are far behind the Iranian nation in terms of their scientific knowledge and industrial means. But, as you can see, the Americans are pioneers and some Europeans follow suite in opposing the Iranian nation's right to achieving nuclear energy. They keep threatening and being insolent. What could this mean? It means that when nuclear energy causes a nation to become dependant on them, they consider it legitimate for the nation. They are opposed to that sort of nuclear energy that is gained through a nation's innovation and independently of their help. Our dear youth and our great nation managed to achieve this advantage and this advanced industrial and scientific accomplishment by relying on their own capabilities. They did not bring about dependence. Rather they acted against dependence by doing so. The sort of nuclear energy that is offered to other nations by arrogant powers is itself a cause of dependence. However, for the Iranian nation that manufactures creatively, nuclear energy prevents dependence. The global arrogance and the enemies of the Iranian nation are opposed to this.

The other point that stands out in the Imam's testament is the need for attention to cold war and psychological warfare by the enemy. Whenever the enemy fails to achieve its goals in practice, it resorts to psychological warfare in order to dishearten nations and fill their hearts with despair. Through psychological warfare and intimidation, they try to make other nations stop opposing them. This means that they have not been able to resist our nation in practical arenas. This psychological warfare started in the early days after the Revolution and continued for 30 years up to the present. Sometimes they said the Revolution will not last more than two months, and sometimes they said it will last for only two years. It is 30 years now that the Revolution has continued with full strength and has made the Iranian nation increasingly unified, hopeful, and dynamic.

Today, they are doing psychological warfare in different ways. They want to convince the Iranian nation and the Iranian youth that they cannot achieve anything without being connected to the domineering powers. This is a great danger that the Imam has drawn our attention to. They deny the great advances of our nation. The Revolution has managed to overcome several obstacles during the past 30 years. When one looks at the history of revolutions, one realizes that there have rarely been as many obstacles in the way of a nation and a revolution and also that revolutions are normally thwarted by these obstacles and finally surrender to the enemy.

Our Revolution has been able to proceed and reach summits in spite of all these threats, sanctions, various kinds of antagonism, plots, and obstructionism. The Revolution is looking forwards to reaching higher summits and is proceeding vigorously. They seek to take this motivation away from the Iranian nation. I would like to tell our dear youth who are active in universities, Islamic seminaries, industries, agriculture, science, or art that they are halfway through and that they have had to face great problems so far, yet they have managed to continue. You dear youth can tread the other half of the path - and the enemy wants to prevent you from treading this essential half and reaching the summit - with strong determination. As you have already proven, you are capable of doing so.

Today, the Iranian nation is still standing up to the arrogant powers, and they have not been able to do anything. They tried their utmost and did whatever they could from the eastern and western parts of our country in the hope that they would manage to lay siege to our country. By Allah's favor and through the cleverness, faith, and solidarity displayed by the Iranian nation, the actions of the arrogant powers - and the actions by the enemies of the Iranian nation outside both eastern and western borders of our country - resulted in more and more power for the Islamic Republic. And today they themselves admit this fact.

There is another point in our magnanimous Imam's testament which is a warning to the youth against the plots that are specially designed for the youth. If the youth of a country are determined to push their country forwards, they need to be lively, dynamic, healthy, strong, and keen on working and making progress. In order to destroy this spirit in the Iranian youth, they try to dishearten them through planning various plots, spreading corruption, promoting immorality, publicizing drugs, and forming organized bands. The Iranian youth ought to be on the alert. Today, the determined fight against the use of drugs on the part of the officials of the Islamic Republic is a great jihad and a deep-rooted movement to help the Iranian nation move forwards.

They do not want the Iranian youth to be dynamic in workshops, laboratories, universities, scientific arenas, and agricultural and industrial efforts. The youth who indulge in sexual desires or in drugs are neither in the mood to work nor in the mood to think. Such youth neither have enough strength to work nor do they enjoy enough innovation or determination. Today, we should fight the organized plots which are aimed at encouraging the Iranian youth to indulge themselves in carnal desires, drugs, and various sexual entertainments. These are very dangerous plots indeed. In the first place it is up to the people themselves, especially the youth, to fight those plots. The youth must be watchful. The enemy has found out that the piety and faith of the Iranian youth will help them progress in various fields. The enemy wants to undermine this factor. The Imam issues a warning [in his testament] in this regard. He warns all the youth, universities, and Islamic seminaries to be vigilant. Deceiving and weakening the youth is synonymous with keeping the nation backwards. The entire nation must feel responsible, and the officials must make sincere and determined efforts in this regard. This is a great jihad.

Another pivotal point that is mentioned in the Imam's testament and speeches is the issue of confronting the global bullies. Of course, there have always been globally domineering and bullying powers throughout history. Scientific and industrial progress as well as modern communication means have facilitated this domination. As a result, you can see that the Americans covet the entire world. They deploy their forces in different parts of the world under the pretext of defending their endangered interests there. It is as if their interests were preferable to those of the entire world and all nations.

How should one react to this bullying, obstinacy, and transgression? There are two reactions: one is resistance, and the other is submission. Submission to global bullies encourages them to increase their bullying. Submission of nations, world politicians, and intellectuals of different communities to the bullying of the global arrogant powers encourages them to step up their bullying. Thus, there remains no other option for nations than to resist. If a nation wants to rid itself of the bullying of bullies - and today, the bullying of the US - it must stand up to the bullying of the US with full strength and determination.

Just take a look at the behavior of the American statesmen - the US president and his cabinet members - and see how they talk. The way they talk is similar to that of psychotic people. They sometimes threaten, sometimes order assassinations, sometimes slander, sometimes helplessly ask for assistance, and sometimes attack the stability and security of other nations. They horse around like lunatics. Their behavior is not characteristic of logical, wise politicians. Of course, this behavior is due in large part to the reflection of the American failure in different parts of the world: their failure in Afghanistan and Iraq. They entered Iraq and Afghanistan with the promise of freedom, democracy, and human rights. Today after the passage of several years, the situation in these two countries is so bad that no nation would want to be in the same situation. Insecurity, backwardness, poverty, increasing domination of arrogant powers, jeopardizing their national interests, disregarding the rights of the people, and the subsequent total failure in achieving the goals they had announced or the interior motives they had not announced are very prevalent there. These failures are reflected in the behavior of American politicians and their discord, disagreement, and decisions. That is the way the global bullies act.

What should one do to confront this bullying? The Imam's advice was to resist. Fortunately, today all the different political groups in the country express their loyalty to the path of the Imam. This is an auspicious phenomenon. This was not the case in some eras [after the Revolution]. There were some political movements that openly talked about turning their backs on the Imam's path. Fortunately, today political groups in our country talk about their inclination towards the thoughts and path of the Imam. One of the most prominent points of the Imam's path, which is reflected in his testament and all his remarks, is the need for determined resistance against covetous arrogant powers.

The Iranian nation and all the different political groups as well as the elites inside the country who are loyal to the Imam and his thoughts and decisions must safeguard this stance with full strength. The Imam himself had a similar attitude. He never stopped supporting the oppressed throughout the world out of his consideration for the global bullies. He used to refer to the Palestinian issue as a central issue at all times. In his testament and his remarks, he made explicit the point that he considered the oppressed nations' urge for support as important. He openly announced his support for the rights of the oppressed Palestinian nation as well as all other oppressed nations. That is the path of the Imam. That is the Imam's way and advice. Fortunately, the Iranian nation and the government officials pursued this path, and it is 30 years now that you Iranian nation has been successful and has defeated the enemies whenever it has been faced with American arrogance.

Of course, the enemy will not keep silent. It will continue its political and psychological efforts. It will keep slandering. Today, the world no longer believes the slanders of Americans and Zionists against the Iranian nation, neither do they believe the allegations leveled - by those who violated human rights most and who are most infamous for assassinating the oppressed and invading other nations - against our government regarding the violation of human rights. These people accuse the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation of violation of human rights. But that is not important. Or regarding the nuclear issue, the Iranian nation has repeatedly announced that it is not after nuclear weapons. This is something that everybody knows, and it is totally logical. Today, because the Americans know that they cannot openly disregard a nation and declare that they are opposed to its rights, when they want to say something about the nuclear issue of Iran or adopt a stance in this regard, they simply accuse our country of trying to develop nuclear weapons in order to justify their claims in global public opinion.

They themselves know that they are lying. They themselves know that their claims are just lies. No wise nation and no wise government official would seek to develop nuclear weapons today. And the Iranian nation is similarly opposed to such weapons from an Islamic, ideological, and logical standpoint. It takes a great deal of money to develop and keep nuclear weapons, and they are of no use. Nuclear weapons do not bring about power for a nation because they cannot be used. Those who possess nuclear bombs now are well aware that if they make the slightest mistake and use their nuclear weapons, they will have to bear the serious consequences - just as they had to bear the consequences when they decided to strengthen the terrorists.

If they use their nuclear weapons, it will be just a matter of time before the terrorists in the world are equipped with nuclear weapons and destroy the security of all global arrogant powers as well as all nations. They know that nuclear weapons are useless, yet they accuse the Iranian nation of trying to develop nuclear weapons. The Iranian nation is not after nuclear weapons. Our nation seeks to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and it will pursue this path and will achieve it against the enemies' will.

The memory of the Imam is reminiscent of the grandeur and awakening of the Iranian nation and its turning into a model for the entire Muslim Ummah and all the oppressed nations. His memory fills one with dynamism and hope. His memory ought to be kept alive, and his path, guidance, and the signs that he left for those who want to pursue his path must be appreciated. In particular, the youth and the government officials must consider the Imam's testament and advice as guidelines.

Today, the three government branches and all the government officials - including those in military, civil, political, and social positions as well as those in charge of providing services - must set the Imam's testament and his recommendations as their guiding principle. The grandeur of the Iranian nation, its stable security, its material growth and development, and its spiritual and moral superiority are all based on practicing these recommendations.

Dear God, make the Iranian nation successful in treading this path for the sake of the immaculate souls of the martyrs and the esteemed Imams. O God, increase the grandeur of the Iranian nation on a daily basis. O God, out of this gathering, out of the hearts of the Iranian people, and out of our hearts and speech covey spiritual gifts to the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam. Bestow Your mercy and grace upon the Imam's holy soul. O God, associate with Your saints the souls of martyrs who are the pioneers of this path. Dear God, bestow Your mercy, grace, guidance, and assistance upon all those who serve this nation, all selfless devotees, and all those who make efforts treading this path of righteousness and truth. O God, make the holy heart of the Imam of the Age pleased with us and make us his soldiers in the true sense of the word.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Speech to Armed units in Shiraz

22/05/2008

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on May 1, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to armed units in Shiraz, Fars province.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Today's meeting with you esteemed commanders and dear youth, serving in the Army, in the Islamic Republic's Guards Corps, in Basij, and the police force takes me back to the Sacred Defense Era. The memories of the armed units of the Army and the Guards Corps of Fars province and Shiraz during the tough Sacred Defense Era are not something that one can ever forget.

In the first year of the imposed war - which was a hard time for the Armed Forces - the news was spread in Ahvaz that the 37th Armored Brigade and 55th Airborne Brigade were going to be sent onto the battlefields, which cheered up the defense officials there. On a trip to Khorramshahr in those days of hardship, I saw some brave youth who were ready to selflessly lay down their lives. I asked them, "Where are you from?" They said that they were from Shiraz. Later on the gradual establishment of Fajr and al-Mahdi divisions in Shiraz and Fars province proved to be one of our strengths on the battlefield those days. Each and every one of the backup units, training units, infantry centers, armored centers, electronics industries, and the backup services of Ministry of Defense left a memory of themselves during and after the eventful era of Sacred Defense.

For me, meeting you dear youth on this parade ground - on which you are ready to proclaim that you will bravely follow in the footsteps of the pioneers of this path - is reminiscent of the past.

You dear youth must in the first place note that according to Imam Sajjad (a.s.), armed forces are like a stronghold for national security. The nation will have the feeling of peace and security if you powerfully maintain your grandeur through equipping yourselves with weapons and boosting your spirit. Even in advanced communities, life is no pleasure in the absence of security. Security brings about mental peace. If the Armed Forces bravely, selflessly, and shrewdly identify and fulfill their roles at the right time, they will be able to provide security. The mere existence of armed forces and seeking to strengthen them do not necessarily imply belligerence in any country.

With the power of the Iranian nation in international arenas, we have proved that the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic of Iran will not pose any threat to the neighboring and non-neighboring countries. We were attacked, and we powerfully defended our country. However, the thought of invasion and occupation of other countries never crossed the minds of the Iranian people and their officials.

All the same, the Armed Forces must be powerful. The world in which we live is a belligerent world. The world is doomed to suffer from domineering policies. The motives of the global domineering powers are a warning to all nations to strengthen their internal structure and make the necessary preparations in this regard. When the superpowers can and dare attack other nations, even small excuses are used to justify their full-scale invasion.

Today, the case of Iraq and Afghanistan lies before our eyes. On what grounds did they enter Iraqi territory? On what grounds did they cross Afghan borders? They promised to bring security and freedom to the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people have lived the most insecure period of their lives during the last 5 years. This is indicative of the nature of the superpowers.

The situation in Afghanistan is almost the same. When arrogant powers think they can take steps towards the invasion of other countries, they will not hesitate to do so. Of course, the Iranian nation is familiar with the nature of the superpowers. The Islamic Republic, the Iranian nation, and the Armed Forces have proved their abilities to the superpowers and the invaders during the last thirty years.

They have proved that the great, intelligent, ancient Iranian nation is not an easy game for any superpowers. All people throughout the world have come to realize this fact nowadays. There is no army in the world today that can do to the Iranian nation what they have done to the Iraqi people in the last five year. The Iranian nation is powerful.

You official Armed Forces enjoy a great support called the Iranian nation. Millions of youth, iron wills, and warm and faithful hearts from various social classes - nomads, city dwellers, villagers, people living in various parts of the country, and people working in various professions - all share the same characteristics: they all have an iron will. This is the greatest support that a nation can ever enjoy. You must be ready and powerful.

We will take no heed of the hostile language and the threats of mouthpieces of the arrogant powers. The Iranian nation will not be concerned by these words, because they are simply the enemies' psychological warfare. The Iranian nation knows well that the enemies of this nation are not daring and intrepid enough to enter a battle which would be impossible for them to get out of. We are well aware of this fact, but you should remain vigilant and powerful.

Armed Forces - the Army, the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps, Basij, and the police - must become stronger on a daily basis. That is the essence of innovation. Innovation is not just limited to manufacturing weapons. Although innovation in manufacturing armament and in new methods of preparing weapons is one of the most important instances of innovation, we are in need of innovation in training, organization, backup, and military guidelines. You must take long, steady strides and move powerfully towards pre-specified goals. You must increase your strength. You must make this stronghold and this fort more secure for the Iranian nation.

The world of global politics is filled with impiety. This has caused the global arrogant powers to betray even their own friends. You definitely witnessed what they did to the doomed Saddam Hussein. They only strengthened his forces for as long as they felt the need for his existence. The Americans backed Saddam Hussein during the Iraqi imposed war as much as they could. They provided him with aerial maps, intelligence and weapons. They even helped boost their psychological state and got their allies to support the Iraqi regime financially. They supported Saddam Hussein on all sides because they felt the need for his presence. They were hopeful that he could undermine the powerful and proud nature of the Iranian nation in the world.

The Iranian nation managed to recognize the nature of the superpowers, and it is still familiar with the nature of those powers. The strong stance of the Islamic Republic against the criminal US regime is rooted in such in-depth knowledge of their nature.

I wonder if there is a person who does not know that the presidential terms of the current US president have been the most insecure period in the recent history of mankind. The presidential terms of George Bush are the dark period in which the world became an insecure place and in which terrorism engulfed the whole world. This dark stain will be registered in history next to his name. Of course, he is going to leave in a matter of months and will leave the problems to the next president. But this is a case that will always remain open, and it will never be closed.

Our youth must learn lessons from these things. You must know who you are and recognize the greatness of the thought that established this Revolution and this sacred government. "Neither the East, nor the West" is a slogan that rejects all arrogance and all arrogant powers. It is the independence slogan of the Iranian nation, a slogan that shows our trust in the faithful youth who live in various parts of this country. This slogan is alive and immortal. The slogan poured forth from the heart that was in contact with the invisible world, God, and servitude to God. It was taught to the Iranian nation by that great wise old man, the brave scholar [Imam Khomeini].

My dear youth, the Armed Forces belong to you. The whole country belongs to you. You should equip yourselves with knowledge, practicality, piety, faithfulness, and purity to the extent you could. Remember that God is with you, and God willing the prayers of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) will protect you.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Address to the People of Larestan

08/05/2008

The following is the full text of the Speech delivered on May 8, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a group of people in Larestan County, Fars 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 thank Allah the Exalted who has bestowed upon me the blessing to meet with the dear and cordial people of Larestan and be in the company of you dear brothers and sisters living in this ancient county. During my previous trips to Fars province, I always liked to meet with the dear people of Larestan County and the city of Lar. However, I did not unfortunately find such an opportunity. I feel today - in the enthusiastic and sincere company of you dear people which is full of kindness - that every Muslim and faithful person who has such familiarity with Islamic teachings in his heart will certainly hold such sincerity and purity in his life, city, and the community where he lives. I thank you dear people for your sincere kindness, and I express my admiration of you. I deem it necessary to thank all the residents of Fars province. Today is the last day of my trip to this vast and honored province. During my 9-day stay in this province, the people of Shiraz and other cities in Fars province showed great kindness and sincerity. I should thank all these people for their kindness.

The government officials have fortunately paid due attention to the problems of Fars province. The cabinet members held a meeting in Shiraz yesterday. They held useful discussions and made important decisions about the different problems of the people of Fars province - particularly the problems of Lar and Larestan County. I hope God Almighty will bestow His blessings on the officials. I hope they will render services to you dear people who rightly deserve their services. I hope they will carry out their responsibilities towards you people who deserve such efforts.

The name of the city of Lar is inseparable form the name of the late Grand Ayatollah Abdul Hussein Lari in the Iranian history. Wherever there is a mention of Lar, or when one looks at the recent history of our country - the last 100 or 120 years - the name of this great man is prominent and shining.

I do not intend to limit myself to previous honors, but I want to help us truly know ourselves through familiarity with our history and our prominent figures in the past. Through such familiarity, I want us to understand our current status and find the right path to follow in the future.

Some hundred years ago, Larestan County recorded a very adventurous Islamic movement in our history with the help of this great man and with the help of the people of this region. The people of Lar and the great Larestan County are among the most prominent people of our vast country if we are to judge people on the basis of their awareness, their national willpower, and their wisdom and courage in taking action. In an era when seeking freedom and opposing despotism was not known to many people in the country, the issue of fighting despotism had been clarified for these people due to the spirituality of this great and conscious Islamic scholar. The people of Larestan, led by this magnanimous sayyid, opposed the English invasion. They laid down their lives to oppose the English government's despotism. In a letter to his son, the late Sayyid Abdul Hussein Lari said that he was under immense pressure, yet he said he was ready to give his life in that fight. When a leader acts like that and resists so sincerely, national willpower will naturally be summoned, and will guide nations onto the right path. After the demise of that magnanimous man, his son Sayyid Abdul Muhammad Lari, who is a prominent clergyman, also involved himself in some political activities.

We have to learn a useful lesson from the history of Larestan County that will serve us in the present and our dear and strong nation in the future. The history of this county teaches us that a nation will emerge victorious out of the most difficult battles if it is led by an effective leader who does not have his heart set on this world or worldly possessions. Under such circumstances, a nation will be able to conquer its greatest and most obstinate enemies. The Iranian nation utilized this lesson which it had learned from its experience in this region and other regions across the country during the Islamic Revolution.

The Iranian nation set up its movement by hoisting the flag of Islam and following the principles set by the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) in an era when the powers of the world assumed that they had removed all traces of religion and religiousness from people's lives. It is a very important fact that the Iranian nation's Revolution could attract the attention of the world, through adherence to the principles of Islam and religion, in an era when the powers of the world - especially the arrogant powers - assumed that they had uprooted religion and religiousness in the world, particularly in Islamic countries. These powers had comforted themselves with the thought that there will be no trace of Islam left in the world. They presumed that traces of religion would become fainter in people's lives every day. They took delight in these thoughts. It was during such an era that the Iranian nation restored religiousness to people's lives by hoisting the flag of Islam. This is a fact.

We staged our uprising for the sake of Islam. We hoisted the flag of Islam. Our Revolution and our nation guided even non-Islamic countries onto the path of religiousness, spirituality, and pure religion. This is the miracle that the Iranian nation performed. And our revolution could act as a model for many other nations by adhering to the principles of Islam and the Holy Quran.

If you take a trip to some of the Islamic countries, you will see that the situation is totally different than it was thirty years ago, that is prior to the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Those days even if some people acted or set up movements with the aim of gaining freedom and independence, they acted under the banner of atheistic schools of thought. But today when intellectuals, students, and devoted people speak of independence and freedom, they do it under the banner of Islam. They voice these mottos under the banner of Islam. This is a blessing from the Iranian nation's uprising. This is a blessing which you were given by the great Islamic Revolution which took place in contemporary history. The Islamic Revolution has its roots in the Tobacco Protest, the Iranian Constitutional Revolution led by the great ulama of the time, and the uprising of the people of Larestan which was led by this great figure. When we reflect on the past, we have such a perspective in mind. The past is like a mirror and a tool for us. It teaches us how to pave the way for the future.

What is of primary importance to the Iranian nation today is adherence to the principles of Islam. All the blessings that are longed for by a nation could be achieved through adherence to the principles of Islam. Adherence to Islamic principles is our only way to gain freedom, independence, and common welfare. It is the only way for us to make scientific advances and to be the pioneer in various fields. It is only in this way that we - the Iranian nation - could possess great dignity. Islam will bestow all these blessings on a nation through its teachings. Today, adherence to the principles of Islam is the greatest path lying ahead of the Iranian nation.

The second issue is that of unity which I have emphasized during my trip to different cities of this province and in all my addresses to our dear nation. The reason is that our enemies have resorted to fomenting schism among Muslim nations as one of the ways to deal a blow to this nation. They have also adopted the same line of policy in the world of Islam and among the Islamic Ummah. Ever since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, they have tried to make our neighboring countries - including the neighboring nations around the Persian Gulf - afraid of the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Revolution. Unfortunately, they succeeded in doing so in some cases while the Islamic Republic has always extended the hand of brotherhood towards all Muslim nations and governments.

The Islamic Republic believes firmly in Islamic unity. Islamic unity means a sense of solidarity and cooperation among all the governments. Muslim nations are thankfully united. Tribal, ethnic and religious differences cannot create gaps among nations, unless the enemies are willing to do so. But unfortunately, political issues could influence governments. We state today that we have brotherly relations with all our neighboring countries. We extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood to all these countries. We do not depend on any of these countries, and this feeling of brotherhood does not arise out of need. The Iranian nation has proved that it can overcome problems by relying on God and its self-confidence, but we consider disputes as opposed to the interests of the Islamic community. It is due to this reason that we have extended the hand of friendship towards all countries. Fortunately, we have healthy and brotherly relations with all the countries of the region - Arab or non-Arab - despite the efforts of those who oppose Islam, and despite the efforts of American and Zionist spy networks who are constantly causing revolts. And such brotherly relations should be improved on daily basis.

The same thing holds true about the situation inside the country as well. They have tried, since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, to foment discord among our people under different pretexts, including people's ethnicity, religion, and political differences. We foiled this plot hatched by the enemies, but we still believe that both ourselves and our dear brothers and sisters should exercise care in this regard. Everyone - including Shia and Sunni Muslims, people living in different parts of the country, and those with different political tastes - should know that the Iranian nation is a united nation despite the existence of various religions, ethnicities, and tastes in the country. Despite these facts, the Iranian nation is united and unified. It is through such unity that the Iranian nation can defend its identity, interests, and dignity before its most bitter enemies. And, by Allah's favor, the Iranian nation will bring the enemies to their knees.

Although there are some Sunnis living here in different regions and towns, there is thankfully an exemplary sense of brotherhood among the Shia and Sunni people in Larestan. And this sense of brotherhood is to be appreciated. This is a fact which I realized through the reports I read, and the traces of such a sense are evident in this gathering. We should all make efforts on the path of Islam and both Shia and Sunni Muslims should exercise utmost efforts to promote monotheism, pure Islamic principles, and the principles set by the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.). We should not let different opinions and interpretations, our different tastes, or even our personal grudges in certain cases to affect our lives and policies, or else this would delight our enemies.

Today, the enemies' efforts are aimed at closing down this center of the Islamic Ummah and the great Islamic movement, namely the Iranian nation, which has initiated the active movement of the Islamic world. The enemies and the arrogant powers' efforts are aimed at preventing the Muslims of the world from following this practical model. The Islamic Republic is a practical model for other nations. The Islamic Republic proved to the Islamic world through its existence, power, progress, and unity that it is possible to form an Islamic system to confront the enemies' various plots in such an unstable world. It proved that it can bring an Islamic system onto the scene. This is the experience which the Iranian nation has put before the Muslim nation's eyes.

The enemies' filthy goal is to prevent Muslim nations from using this model. And they try to do so through slander and political, military, security, and economic propaganda. When we look at some of their mercenaries active in the neighboring countries' media - in some Arab countries - we realize that they sometimes broadcast so blatantly against the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic. And this fills us with surprise. They level such accusations against the Iranian nation, the Muslim community, and the Islamic Republic that make us wonder how corrupt could these mercenaries and base people be when they serve the enemies' purposes and oppose Islam and the Holy Quran for the sake of worthless worldly possessions.

The only way to oppose these people lies in our hands. Dear brothers and sisters, we could oppose the enemies by increasing our unity and unanimity on a day to day basis and by increasing our efforts to make progress in the country. Thankfully, a lot of efforts are currently being made in this regard. I should here refer to the fact that many of the charitable people in Lar and Larestan County are making good efforts which I am aware of. There are reports of their services and assistance to the people, of the donations they give to the underprivileged, and of the contributions they make in regard to scientific issues. These charitable people are also involved in constructing mosques and such places. These are the things that the people of this region do out of interest and of their own volition. Such services are provided on a larger scale across the country by the Islamic Republic. And God willing, we should move towards these goals on a permanent basis. We should promote the level of knowledge and try to boost the economy in the country. We should also contribute to all the political, social, and moral efforts made across the country. This is the only way through which the country could foil the arrogant powers' plots.

It is through people's determination that we could have an independent country. The investments that people make in different sectors are very valuable, especially the ones that they make in production sectors. And I consider making investments in production sectors to be the best of deeds and the best charity for those who are interested in rendering services to the people. This would create employment opportunities in the country, would help the country progress, and will uproot poverty in some important parts of the country.

Today, the policies of the arrogant powers in the region have been revealed to the nations in this region. They are aware of what these powers are seeking through their policies. The presence of the Americans in the Persian Gulf is the cause of insecurity in this region. This is what the nations are aware of. The period when foreign governments and global bullying powers could dominate countries, canals, and strategic areas in the world under the pretext of bringing about security to those regions has come to an end. Today, the people of the world and the Iraqi people know why the U.S. invaded Iraq. Even the Americans themselves confessed to the fact that they invaded Iraq for the sake of its oil resources. They caused the biggest troubles for the Iraqi people under the pretext of saving them. They attacked the Iraqi people like a group of wolves, yet they claim to be trying to maintain security in that country. That is a lie. The greatest source of insecurity for the Iraqi people is the inconsiderate presence of the invaders who take no notice of the Iraqi people's lives, properties, moral principles, and national pride.

During the early stages of the Iraqi invasion, I said in an address to the invaders during the Friday prayers: "When your bullying soldiers step on the Iraqi youth's back while they are lying on the ground, you should have no doubt that the Iraqi people will not remain quiet about these acts. The Iraqi nation is a devoted one. They are a proud nation. You are provoking the Iraqi nation against yourselves with your own hands." This is what has happened today. They are looking to find the basic reason behind the Iraqi people's operations against the invading countries' soldiers. As usual, they are making some miscalculations. They accuse Iran, Syria, and other countries. They should blame themselves for that. The very presence of the American forces would suffice to provoke the Iraqi people against them. There is no need for anyone to provoke the Iraqi people from beyond the borders. Therefore, leveling accusations against others is a baseless act. You are the main culprits. The Americans are the main culprits in the Iraqi issue. This is true about other regions as well. The presence of the Americans in the Persian Gulf - in this very crucial region of the world - is a source of insecurity. The security of this region should be provided by the governments of this region. This is true as we all know that the interference of the U.S. in Palestine has made the issue even more complex.

The Palestinian conflict could not be resolved by the Americans. Their interference would make matters even worse. The more the Americans interfere in the issue, the more complex the issue will get. The Palestinian people are vigilant. They are noble and broad-minded people. They have elected their own government. They should let that government make decisions based on the nation's support. As time passes, their interference in the Palestinian issue - their unilateral interference which is aimed at supporting the interests of the invading Zionist regime - will make the issue even more complex. Of course, these issues will be resolved. Both the issue of Palestine and the Iraqi issue will be resolved. One day these issues will be resolved, and there will be no trace of the American arrogance and their identity on that day.

Dear youth, the whole country belongs to you. The future of this country belongs to you. It is you who will, God willing, fully benefit from the outcomes of this Revolution during a full prosperous life. Make efforts as much as you can. Work as hard as you can. Try to acquire knowledge. Do not stop making constant efforts. Try to remember Allah the Exalted, to pray, and to become familiar with the Holy Quran. Also pay attention to moral issues and spirituality. These will, God willing, help you reach a position which the Iranian nation deserves.

O God, I swear You to Muhammad (s.w.a.) and his household to increase our familiarity with Islam and to make us fonder of Islam on a daily basis. O God, bestow Your blessings and mercy upon these dear people. Dear God, make up with Your blessings for the deficiencies which were caused by a shortage of rain in this region and other regions across the country. O God, protect the youth of this region and bestow prosperity upon them. Dear God, guide our youth, and bestow on them a bright future that is full of honors for both themselves and the country. O God, associate with Your saints the immaculate souls of our martyrs and the Imam of the martyrs. Dear God, associate us with our dear martyrs, and make the holy heart of the Imam of the Age (May our souls be sacrifices for his sake) pleased with us.

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

 

Supreme Leader's Address to Executive Officials in Fars Province

07/05/2008

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on May 7, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to executive officials in Fars province.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Today, on the last day of my trip, in this meeting, which has been arranged with you dear executive officials serving in various parts of this province, I would like to express my gratitude to you rather than offer you advice and recommendations.

First of all, I would like to express my sincere and deep gratitude to the esteemed people of Shiraz and the other towns in this province for their kindness and hospitality - which are considered among the well-known characteristics of the people of this region.

I should also apologize to the people of the towns which I did not find the opportunity visit, and I therefore sent my representatives to these towns. This is thankfully a vast province consisting of numerous counties. I wish I could talk to all the people living in various parts of this province. "There are many aspirations that one cannot achieve." But many of the youth and our brothers and sisters took the trouble and traveled to Shiraz from other towns. On the first day and the following days, they took the trouble and participated in different meetings that I had arranged. I express my sincere gratitude to these people as well.

As the esteemed general-governor pointed out, Fars province enjoys vast potentialities, which are also mentioned in the reports regarding this province. This province enjoys vast potentialities in natural resources, differences in climatic conditions in the northern and southern parts of the province, and most importantly, the human resources, which are truly outstanding.

All those who serve the people of this province at different levels must be grateful to Allah. These understanding, affectionate, and talented people justly deserve being served. It is truly enjoyable to serve these people. Of course, you yourselves are often one of these people. When one observes the characteristics of the people of Shiraz and Fars province, one feels that it is truly a blessing to serve these people who enjoy such qualities, affections, perspicacity, and talents. This is a great opportunity, and you must appreciate it. You must be grateful to Allah and appreciate this opportunity wherever you are, no matter in what branch of the government or at what level. You must serve the people and spend time on attending to their problems. You must show reverence for the people and those who refer to you. All people deserve respect, no matter where they live. And when one observes prominent human qualities in a group of people, one is more inclined to respect them. This is the main piece of advice that I have for you dear brothers.

During this trip, a number of decisions were made regarding different issues in this province. The honorable administration has allocated sufficient funds to carry out the decisions made on this trip. Government officials are going to hold a meeting today and turn these decisions into bills. You must try your utmost to implement these bills as soon as possible. You must translate these decisions into action so that the people can reap the benefits.

I believe one of the most important things that has to be paid due attention to in Shiraz is the centrality of its holy shrines. Few cites in our country enjoy such a privilege and such a prominence. The existence of three noble descendants of the Imams (a.s.) - who are certain to be descended from the Imams (a.s.) - and many other descendants who are buried in this city raise the spiritual position of this city and help connect this city to the leadership of the Prophet's (s.w.a.) household. This aspect of the city - which shows the spirit and noble meaning of the adherence of the people of Fars province to the leadership of the Prophet's (s.w.a.) household - should be advertised and made prominent in IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting), and in various innovations that take place in service-related and economic fields, to mention but a few. After Mashhad and Qom, this city enjoys the greatest number of the descendants of the Prophet's (s.w.a.) household. Both providing service to the pilgrims to these shrines and introducing these shrines to the hearts of enthusiastic believers inside and outside the country are among the things that have to be done.

In spite of having prominent potentialities, the people of this province are modest. This is one of the things that are often noticed in this province. The people of this province are highly virtuous and educated but do not boast and show off what they have. This fact can be easily observed here. They have had many luminaries both in the past and in the present era. I enjoyed meeting the elites in scientific and literary areas, and also entrepreneurs and individuals who are useful to society - in terms of both theory and practice. However, the people of Shiraz do not shout the existence of these potentialities from the rooftops. The people of Fars province are not fond of boasting, and one can easily see that. It was said that the people of Fars province are happy-go-lucky, meaning they are not fond of working. I would say that they are just modest. Otherwise, the people are hard-working here. Their scientific, practical, industrial, and agricultural activities are praiseworthy. The people of Fars province do not boast. They do not want to be in the spotlight. One can clearly see that this is still a prevalent mood in Shiraz. The people of Shiraz are not fond of showing off and ostentation. However, this city enjoys many potentialities, and these potentialities have to be utilized.

Yesterday, one of the gentlemen brought up the subject of the art academy and strengthening the status of art. Some people assume that art is the same as immorality, debauchery, and secularism. This is a misconception. Art is one of the beautiful manifestations of creation that has been placed within man. The faults that some insightful people have constantly pointed out as criticisms against art are related to the wrong direction that art can take: using art in order to lead people astray and make them immoral. Otherwise, if art is accompanied by the spirit of religion and is in line with religion it can be one of the most prominent faculties that man enjoys, and, thankfully, this is the prevalent mood today. If you take a look at our poets, painters, and various artistic fields, you can often see that their work is accompanied by the spirit of religiousness and piety. This is by no means a drawback. It would be excellent if we could have a center for training artistic skills and strengthening the position of art here, which has the right orientation. It would be really good if this great faculty could be channeled in this way.

One of the things that is the focus of attention in this province and deserves further consideration is the issue of tourism. The tourist attractions of this place have doubled due to the fact that the immaculate shrine of Ahmad Ibn Musa (greetings be upon him, his father, and his brother) lies here. This place houses many shrines and enjoys many tourist attractions. I presume the money that we can gain out of tourism here would obviate the need for all other sources of revenue if government officials and those who serve in this province can use tourism in an appropriate way through proper advertisement and orientation. The issue of tourism is very important indeed.

Let me make a reference to the pre-Islamic historical monuments, including Persepolis and other historical monuments in this province. One may have two different perspectives on such monuments which should be separated from each other. One perspective is that such monuments belong to dictators of history. Every monument you see is somehow related to one of the dictators and evil regimes of human history.

From such a perspective, one may have a negative attitude towards such monuments. Such monuments are unattractive to the majority of those who are faithful and naturally despise autocracy and dictatorship. But there is a different perspective as well, and that is the fact such monuments are the result of the artistic skills of the Iranians. They are the product of the growing and creative minds of the Iranians during the previous years and centuries. Such a view constitutes a positive perspective on the issue. All the historical monuments that exist across the country - in Fars province, in Isfahan or in other parts of the country - fall into this category. It is true that these monuments were once used by dictators, but one should know who really erected them. They are the product of the Iranians' creative minds, their artistic skills, and their high-minded views. They are the result of the Iranians' creative minds, and these are sources of pride for a nation. When we look at these monuments from such a perspective, we come up with positive results. Persepolis and other monuments should be introduced to the world.

Things that are not really worth being considered as honors are sometimes used as historical honors in the modern world. Those who do not have historical honors create some for themselves. We have these historical honors. All these historical honors are a source of self-confidence for our nation. Why not show them to the world?

Somebody who had taken a trip to Greece told me that they usually take tourists to different tourist centers. He said that one day they took him and the other tourists to a place and told them: "This is the place where Iranian troops were defeated by the Greek." They simply take people to an empty desert and tell them that the desert is where the Iranian troops were deployed and were defeated. They try to prove historical facts by showing an empty space to the tourists. As far as I know, near Kazerun there is the statue of Valerian, the Roman emperor, who kneeled down at the feet of the Iranian king. You can simply show them this place: an eye for an eye! There are many positive points that can give them an idea about our past.

Of course, I firmly believe in the fact that what the Iranians achieved after Islam is by no means comparable to what they had achieved in the pre-Islamic era. During the Islamic era, namely in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries, Iranians were at the peak of knowledge, civilization, politics, and economy in the world. No country in the world - neither in the East, nor in the West, Asia, or Europe - had reached such high levels then, and this is a blessing from Islam. Iranians had never reached such high levels before then. This part of our history was unprecedented during the rule of different dynasties - from the Buyid dynasty to the Ghaznavid Empire, to the Seljuq dynasty and the rest. But the pre-Islamic part of history belongs to the Iranian nation as well. That era is also part of Iran's history. The fact that some evil rulers were in charge then and followed false traditions is a different issue. However, one cannot ignore the artistic skills of Iranians.

You should work a lot on the issue of tourism in this province, both in regard to the Islamic shrines which exist in this province, and in regard to the luminaries of Persian literature and art. You have some of the most prominent figures in these areas in your province, namely Hafiz and Saadi. You should also pay a lot of attention to what existed in our history in the past.

Here is an agricultural center, and I believe this is one of the things that has to taken into consideration. Of course, this issue will, by Allah's favor, be summed up by our friends and they will put the conclusions into practice. I deem it necessary that a center be established in this city for a long-term fight against drought. This requires extensive research, and there are numerous ways to do it. This is one of the centers that can be established here. As you said, you have some unique centers regarding medical sciences. You can have a unique center for fighting drought as well. Of course, there are many things that can be done in this province. By Allah's grace, the officials will find the opportunity to do it. I also hope that wherever you live you will find the opportunity to help implement these programs.

You must appreciate the opportunity to serve the public. You must appreciate this public presence on the scene. You must appreciate this attention and spiritual readiness on the part of our esteemed people. You should ask Allah the Exalted for assistance and guidance in this regard. God will hopefully assist you. You must ask Allah the Exalted to provide the means to achieve increasing progress for this country through your efforts and the efforts of the government officials. You must ask Allah the Exalted to improve the future of this province and this country.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Speech to Elites

06/05/2008

The following is the full text of the Speech delivered on May 6, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a group of elites in Fars province.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

It was very enjoyable for me to be in this gathering among you dear elites today. Thanks God, everything was as expected. The major part of the statements made by these dear elites contained some points which I benefited from. By Allah's favor, these friends' warnings, recommendations, and requests will be collected and handed in to the officials, and those issues which are directly related to me will, by Allah's favor, be investigated.

Attention to these great human resources is what the Iranian nation and I gain from such meetings. That is exactly the goal that I pursue when I arrange such meetings during my trips. On all my trips, pursue I insist on having a sincere meeting with the local elites, as I did here. The purpose behind this is to convince myself and some skeptical hearts that these great human resources are inexhaustible and extremely fruitful in our country. The reflection of this meeting on a national level will once again add a new honor to our national honors. That is the goal I pursue.

This meeting was arranged so that I could listen to your statements. I wish I had the time to listen to more comments. What I heard was beneficial and enjoyable to me. I am absolutely sure I would benefit and enjoy more if I had the opportunity to listen more.

However, what I want to say is that given the present conditions, there exist very bright prospects ahead of the Iranian nation. Our historical legacy, our invaluable talents, our efforts and motivation - which were evident in the remarks these friends made - and the religious and divine orientation behind our movement are all a great national treasure for us. All of these things promise us that, by Allah's favor, we will be able to revive the Iranian nation's Islamic civilization for the whole Islamic Ummah in the present era. By Allah's favor, we will be able to set an example for the movement of the Islamic Ummah.

As our friends said, Shiraz and the whole Fars province enjoy a great deal of resources. I must confirm what they said. Thanks God, Fars province is undoubtedly a prominent pioneer in literature, art, production - both agricultural and industrial. Production is especially important because the whole world is after it in the new industrial era. If we uphold the motto of innovation, which requires flourishment of talents and previous investments, there will be bright prospects for us. This motto which is a genuine motto indicates our current need. All the evidence that we have also points to this fact. Innovation is the current prerequisite for the progress of the country. Innovation does not mean that we should reject the past achievements. Rather, it means that we should build on the past as a foundation for the future, which requires that all our efforts be focused on the reconstruction of our country and history.

Today, the Iranian nation has to shoulder a heavy duty. Our nation has never been in control of its destiny as it is today. All those who are familiar with the history of this country would confirm this fact. In the past, the nation was only a tool in the hands of the rulers. Everything depended on the knowledge, insight, and will of the rulers. It was always the inclination of their whim that was the key factor. The nation could not exercise any initiative over the fate of the country.

All the talents that this nation enjoys and all that is left from the past are the result of the nation's great resources that originated from a source that was manifested through the ruler's will. That is to say, ordinary people, intellectuals, philosophers, men of letters, artists, and different social classes did not have any role in the policies or decisions regarding the fate of the country. Sometimes the rulers decided based on their will that a new war had to be waged and that new territories had to be occupied. And sometimes the will of the rulers determined that the nation had to retreat. In both cases, the nation could not impose its will on the rulers.

There have been some revolts, and some acts of resistance, but I cannot think of any great nationwide movement throughout the history of our country that was intended to lead the country towards its goals - goals that the nation pursued. The present era is a new phase in the history of the Iranian nation.

That is the fundamental difference today after the victory of the Islamic Revolution and under the Islamic Republic. The difference lies in the fact that the rule of an autocratic system has been turned into the rule of national and collective will. And that is the fundamental difference. Thanks God, the public will is in charge of making plans for the country based on the principles of Islam and the Holy Quran. You must appreciate this blessing. Today, whatever lies in the Iranian nation's inexhaustible treasury of talents can be utilized to help this nation progress.

Therefore, we need to promote innovation at all times, not only in our industries or agriculture, but also in the various aspects of our nation's life including the flourishment of talents and thoughts. Thankfully, we are not an unimaginative nation. Our nation is a nation whose history is indicative of its prominence, creativity, and talents. Therefore, we can promote innovation. We are 200 years adrift of the world. This is a bitter pill to swallow. What the reasons of such backwardness are is a different issue. But the reality is that we are at least 200 years adrift of other nations in terms of progress. All the achievements you heard of in this meeting and all those which you hear of in the country - which are in fact way beyond what was discussed in this meeting - can help us make up for part of this backwardness. If continued and increased persistently, and if accompanied by determination all the activities and innovations across the country can help us reach the position we deserve.

Backwardness of a nation is a great pain and a severe disease. This disease should be cured through grim determination and persistent efforts. The important fact was for us to realize and face up to this disease. We should next make efforts to treat this disease. The former has been achieved. The Iranian nation has realized this fact. It has realized the fact that it should seek the position it deserves. Our nation has accepted the fact that it has suffered several years of backwardness and negligence in the past. This is a fact that the Iranian nation has accepted. The Iranian nation did not continue daydreaming as it had been planned for it during the Pahlavi era. During that era, they had blindfolded us like a group of drunken people. By constantly describing our country as the cradle of great civilization and by constantly repeating similar words without taking a single step forward, they had confined us to the world of fantasies, and we had come to a standstill. And this means backwardness, because the world is not going to wait for us. The whole world was making rapid progress, but we were at a standstill.

This state of unawareness and intoxication is fortunately over. Our nation realized the facts. The great movement of our Revolution made us aware of the situation. Our youth have realized the fact that they should make rapid progress on this path. They know they need to move forward rapidly. They have both the potentials and the determination to do so. The path which lies ahead of them has been clarified. Therefore, we need to move forward. A heavy responsibility lies on the shoulders of universities, Islamic seminaries, research centers, and the officials in charge. Their responsibilities have been specified, and hopefully I can see that the movement has started, and God willing, we are going to make progress on a daily basis.

What you dear friends suggested, which were in most cases scientific and practical, were both correct and useful. I hope what you said will be put into practice. What I insist on as usual is that you elites and intellectuals, no matter where you are, should raise your hopes every day and should infuse the young generation with hopefulness. Instilling despair into people and painting a bleak picture of the future is a poison. This fatal poison is administered to the nation through hostile propaganda. And this is what you should oppose.

The future looks promising in all sectors, and I hope that such promising visions will be actualized in less than a generation. I hope our youth will see the day when the Islamic Republic reaches the position it deserves. I hope our youth will see the day when other nations, scientists, and scholars across the world feel that they depend on our country to take further steps in scientific areas. Such a prospect could be actualized in the foreseeable future. I hope that just as humans need to learn certain languages to acquire some of the skills they need, other nations will one day feel that they need to learn your language and know about your culture. That day will come, and such hopes could be actualized. Such a prospect is not far-fetched if we work hard and maintain the same amount of efforts, and motivation which is prevalent among our youth, intellectuals, and people. I hope these efforts will continue, and they definitely will.

Once again, I thank all you dear people who took part in this meeting. I especially thank those dear friends who mentioned some points during the meeting. I hope we will be able to appreciate the exceptional capacities which exist in this province.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's blessings.

Supreme Leader's Speech in Kazerun

05/05/2008

The following is the full text of the Speech delivered on May 5, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a group of people in Kazerun, Fars 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 who provided me with the opportunity to be here in this enthusiastic gathering of the faithful, revolutionary people of Kazerun on this trip. In fact, I felt I owed a favor to the people of Kazerun. On my trips to Fars province during my presidential term, I did not find the opportunity to visit this province. I am grateful to Allah who bestowed the blessing on me to visit this city which is one of the most prominent cities in this province and in the whole country in terms of its historical background and its deep revolutionary characteristics. I am grateful to Allah the Exalted who gave me the opportunity to be in the company of you dear brothers and sisters. Thankfully, this gathering is brimful of enthusiasm, spirituality, revolutionary zeal, and deep religious beliefs. This is one of the divine blessings that has been bestowed on you dear people, which is a reward for your long history of efforts for the sake of Allah.

Kazerun has been a memorable and prominent town in the contemporary era. The people of Kazerun played a very important role in fighting the colonialist English government during their invasion of the Persian Gulf. They also figured prominently under the late Ayatollah Kashani (may Allah place him in heaven) during the movement that led to the nationalization of the oil industry. During the uprising that took place on June 5, 1963, Kazerun was among the cities whose people played a leading role. In the last year of the movement and before the Revolution, the youth of Kazerun and the faithful people of this county displayed such steadfastness and staged such an uprising against the evil Pahlavi regime that they were considered among the top eleven revolutionary cities placed under curfew across the country. That is a very important point about this county. Kazerun also offered a number of martyrs during the same era.

Regarding science, literature, and the training of prominent individuals, the history of Kazerun is full of honors. Moreover, the fact that Salman al-Farsi - who was one of the esteemed companions of the Prophet (s.w.a.) and a prominent, immortal figure in the history of Islam - is attributed to this county is a source of honor for Kazerun. Of course, Salman al-Farsi belongs to the entire nation. All the people of Iran, all those who speak Persian, and all those who were praised by the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) in Fars province are proud of Salman. Salman belongs to our country and our nation. The people of Kazerun believe that he was born in this area. The people of Isfahan believe that he was brought up in Isfahan. These two beliefs are not contradictory. In addition to the people of Shiraz, Fars province, Kazerun, and Arzhan plain who rightly believe that the holy name of Salman al-Farsi is associated with them and besides the people of Isfahan who rightly believe that this divine individual was brought up among them, all Iranian people - living near or far from these areas - are proud of this personality.

"We must not say that Salman is from Persia, we must say that Persia belongs to Salman" [speaking in Arabic]. Faith, knowledge, struggle for Allah's sake, and perseverance in order to achieve the source of the truth raised his position so much so that the Prophet (s.w.a.) said: "Salman is a member of my household." The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) considered Salman to be a member of his household. Salman is considered to be superior to such great companions [of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.)] as Abuzar, Ammar, Meghdad, and many others. Salman sought the truth and insisted on it. That is what gave him such a character as Salman. This is an object lesson for us. This is a model for the Iranian youth.

Similarly, the selfless efforts, sincerity, and adherence to the right ideology - that have not been easy to gain - make the people of Kazerun a model and imprint on the minds of those who are interested in the fate of this country. These are what I consider to be noble. I insist on these values as a criterion to distinguish among Islamic values. From an Islamic point of view, men and women as well as the youth who live in Kazerun must insist on these values in order to be considered noble. They must insist on resistance, steadfastness, and adherence to what they have identified as right and affectionately followed. This is the source of honor. "The most noble among my Ummah are the companions of the Quran and those who spend their nights in worship." While others consider the wealthy and powerful people as noble, Islam has a different yardstick to determine nobleness. Those who exert more efforts for the sake of Allah, those who adhere more to divine principles, and those who tread this path more sincerely are considered to be nobler by the Almighty. I would like to express my heartfelt and sincere respect for you dear people of Kazerun. As you express your kindness to me and the government officials, I should tell you that my heart is also brimful of the same affection for you.

As I said, the people of Kazerun have been devotedly supportive of the Revolution. As a result, the people of Kazerun and Fars province in general were not popular with the evil Pahlavi regime. This province was considered an insufferable province. Just take a look at Shiraz and see the signs of the cultural efforts of the evil regime as well as its efforts to give birth to a radically different culture. Then compare those efforts with the efforts that a government must make for a province like Fars in terms of reconstruction. You will realize that the evil Pahlavi regime paid no attention to the development of this province and building the infrastructure necessary for its progress. There are no proper roads. The province has been suffering form the lack of water.

Building dams, roads, and major industries all across the province has been treated with laxity. Despite being at the heart of the country and enjoying such historical grandeur, this province is considered among underprivileged provinces in terms of its transportation system. That was because they did not want to do anything about these problems. There was no sympathetic attitude on the part of the Pahlavi regime to help solve the problems in this province and the country at large. There was a different attitude. There were other concerns involved.

The day railroads were introduced into this country, the first thing that occurred to everybody was that the railroads had to connect the capital city to the Persian Gulf through the central provinces - that is to say, Fars and Isfahan. That was the most natural thing that they could have done in this country. But they did not do so. An English political writer who is a politician himself - and is linked with the same colonialist government that acted against the interests of this country - has confessed in his book that the railroads in Iran had to start from Tehran and go through the central provinces - that is, Fars and Isfahan - connecting the capital city to the Persian Gulf. However, they did not do so.

First, I believe that positive things have been done regarding the roads in this province after the Revolution. Second, railroads that connect this region to water sources and to other parts of the country will, by Allah's favor, be built by the Islamic Republic. We will definitely do this. This is the right of Fars province, and it must be done. Thankfully, positive steps have been taken on all fronts - industries, building dams, major industries and so on - especially during the recent years. Like in other provinces, different administrations ought to provide such production services in this province as well. The people of this province deserve these services. And by Allah's favor, the administrations will do so.

The Iranian nation made use of its whole being in order to achieve

 

Supreme Leader's Public Address in Nurabad

04/05/2008

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on May 4, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a gathering of people in Nurabad, Fars 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.

It was a great blessing for me to find the opportunity to make a trip to Fars province and pay a visit to you dear, sincere, faithful, and revolutionary residents of Mamasani. I never had this opportunity before, and I am glad to meet this large enthusiastic gathering of brothers and sisters living in this town and this region.

Undoubtedly, the first merit of the esteemed people of Mamasani is that they embraced the Revolution - which originated from an Islamic reality - with all their hearts. Of course, faith in the household of the Prophet (s.w.a.) and his descendants is deeply-rooted in this town and region. It has always been the case here. In the era before the Revolution and during the reign of the evil Pahlavi regime, the martyr Ayatollah Madani - who was an early revolutionary martyr - had been exiled to this town. The people received this faithful and honorable descendant of the Prophet (s.w.a.) with open arms. That was indicative of their deep, sincere, and pure faith in the Revolution and in the descendants of the Prophet (s.w.a.), Imamate, and wilayat.

During the imposed war, the valorous nomads of this region were among the people who went to the battlefields and sincerely laid down their lives to defend Islam, the Revolution, the Islamic Republic, and their dear homeland. This sincere readiness to realize lofty ideals is one of the greatest honors that a nation can gain.

There is another prominent merit that is peculiar to the esteemed residents of Mamasani, which is the result of the tribal lifestyle of the people living in this region. If we take a deep and insightful look at social phenomena, we will observe many positive points in these phenomena. The tribal structure is one such phenomenon. Tribes are the manifestation of family bonds and blood relationships among people. This has been endorsed by Islam. Relationships among relatives are an admirable deed. The fact that paying regular visits to relatives has been emphasized in Islam - these kinds of relationships are among the obligatory religious duties and ending them is considered as one of the things that have been declared haraam - is all based on this consideration. These family bonds among tribe members are one of the positive aspects of nomadic lifestyle.

Of course, I have to tell you that the positive aspect of this family bond is the valuable factor that I talked about. However, the negative aspect - that is, the bias that results in confrontations among different tribes - must be eliminated. This negative aspect is not acceptable in Islam. Family relationships and tribal bonds are admirable, but we must not reject the others. Brotherhood in Islam is spread among all believers.

"You are the descendants of Adam, and Adam was made of earth." This verse was the answer the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) made to those who were biased in favor of their own tribal bonds and rejected others. That is to say, tribal bonds are very respectable, and family bonds are considered important. However, we must not turn them into a means of rejecting those who are outside a particular family or tribe. I advise you to preserve family bonds among nomads because these bonds are very valuable. But different tribes must not reject one another. We are all brothers. "You are the descendants of Adam, and Adam was made of earth." Therefore, we must be humble. As you can see, this Islamic teaching is very deep.

My dear brothers and sisters, you emerged victorious out of a great test. You proved your adherence to and your support for Islam and the Islamic Revolution. We are proud of nomads living in our country. As I said before, some countries are deeply concerned about the existence of different ethnicities in their countries. However, we are happy about the fact that we have various tribes of nomads in our country. The reason is that our nomads - regardless of where they live - have always protected their nationality and religion, and they have always been supportive of the clergy. Our nomads have always been interested in Islamic principles and our national traditions.

Thanks to our traditions which have been most common among our nomads, our nationality - which has, by Allah's grace, been accompanied by religion and faith in God - has prevailed in different eras. In particular, the nomads who live in the central part of the country - Fars and Isfahan provinces - have adhered most to the principles of wilayat, and they have been supportive of Islamic thought and the lifestyle of the Prophet's household (a.s.). Therefore, throughout the Pahlavi era, whenever there were any problems between the clergy and the arrogant and autocratic government, nomads sided with the clergy and stood up to the bullying autocratic government. In this province, nomads stood up to the domination of the English and fought them. They withstood the autocratic rule of evil kings - during the reign of the Qajar dynasty and through the movement by the great cleric, the late Ayatollah Sayyid Abdul Hossein Lari. Later on, nomads displayed their nomadic valor and their deep faith in religion during the reign of Reza Khan and throughout the cleric movement. You must preserve these attitudes.

Dear young nomads, today's world is one in which only strong faith that is based upon firm foundations can lead nations to victory. In the world in which various autocratic policies call people to profligacy, only those whose faith is based on firm foundations will be able to overcome all the waves that are made throughout the world. That is what our youth did when they overcame the waves made by the arrogant powers threatening the Islamic Revolution. First, our nation achieved a victory in the Revolution and then during the Sacred Defense and in various other arenas. Dear youth, you must preserve this faith. You must strengthen this faith by basing it on intellectual foundations. Everybody - including city dwellers, villagers, and their relatives living in towns or villages as well as those leading a nomadic life - must feel that they have to further strengthen this deep faith, which is accompanied in this region by internal sincerity, by reading books and by making use of faithful intellectual people.

The only thing that concerns me about this region is the issue of the shortcomings and limitations that exist in different parts of the region. Unfortunately, this region which has a lot of capabilities is suffering from deprivation in various areas. This warrants special attention by the officials to this region. There is of course no doubt that some of these problems have arisen from negligence in the past, which should be made up for by the current diligent and hard-working administration. What makes me happy about this issue, is the current government's trips to different provinces across the country. Traveling to different provinces across the country, the attentiveness of the country's top-ranking officials to the problems of different cities, getting in touch with the people, and facing the realities in person rather than through reports are what make me happy in this regard.

One of the objectives which I pursued and stated during my previous trips to the different provinces across the country was calling the government officials' attention to the deprived and underprivileged regions in the country. Today, these objectives have fortunately been accomplished. One of the objectives of the current diligent administration is its close investigation of the present conditions of all provinces, towns, and cities across the country, especially the problems of this region and province where below-normal rainfall has caused and will continue to cause problems for farmers, stockmen, and those who are waiting for rain.

I have been informed through reports that the government has developed plans and allocated funds to compensate for part of the problems caused by this drought. I hope the government's plans, which have been formulated according to the available resources, will be implemented in the best way possible. And I hope these plans will benefit the people. Let's pray to God and ask Him to bestow His blessings and mercy upon these faithful people and these dry lands. I hope God Almighty will bestow His blessings on us.

Providing the opportunity to boost economic growth was among the points I emphasized in my address to the Iranian nation and officials at the beginning of the year. The reason for such emphasis is that our enemies are constantly focusing on this issue. Dear people, the enemies of the Islamic Revolution have used all possible means to undermine the Iranian nation's determination and willpower for many consecutive years - nearly 30 years. They have tried to do so through political plots, coups, the 8-year imposed war, and their poisonous propaganda which is constantly broadcast against the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic through the Zionist and arrogant powers' mouthpieces. They have done everything they could. They have finally come to the conclusion that they might be able to trap the Iranian nation in an economic plot.

Of course, this is not anything new. Economic sanctions and embargoes have been imposed on us in different ways since the early days of the Islamic Revolution. They mounted pressure on us, yet our nation resisted their pressure. They are still going to continue mounting pressure on us, but our nation will resist this pressure. Our nation has overcome economic embargoes during the last 30 years and taken great strides towards progress on all fronts. Similarly, our nation will resist all plots today, especially the economic plot, despite the evil goals of the politicians of the global arrogance network.

The solution to this issue lies in our nation's unity and their efforts to help the country develop an independent economy. The Islamic Revolution saved us from political dependence. And a lot of efforts have been made in the country to reach economic independence, but this requires determination on the part of all people from different classes so that the country will be able to reach a level in its economy where threats of sanctions and embargoes will no longer be important. I am addressing this point to the whole nation, not just the residents of Mamasani County. All the people should make a joint effort to accomplish this goal.

Our country enjoys great human and financial resources. We can reach a level where our country may no longer be intimidated by economic sanctions and embargos in the world. This could be achieved by making the necessary investments, by making appropriate plans, and by working in a determined manner under a specific time-tabled plan. This is a national duty upon us. Everyone can play a role. We also have a vast land and great resources to help us in this regard.

Of course, there are limitations as well. I told the people in Shiraz that we could satisfy our country's needs if we avoid wasting our resources. One of the problems which we have not yet been able to overcome in the country is the problem of wastefulness, especially the water supplies. Our country happens to be among countries which do not enjoy great water supplies. But we can satisfy our needs with the current water supplies if we avoid wasting our supplies and if we make proper and wise plans in this regard. These are the duties of the whole Iranian nation, and the Islamic Republic government is to utilize the capacities of the Iranian nation in this regard. I hope the problems will be solved one after the other.

Of course our nation has suffered problems during the last 30 years. But one could only gain national grandeur at a price. No country can assume a strong identity or gain national grandeur and independence without paying the price. Our nation has paid this price and will continue to pay the price in the future. I should tell the superpowers and their agents who close their eyes to the realities and who open their mouths to bully and intimidate others that the Iranian nation will not be made to retreat by any threats. Threats can never stop our nation from following the path we have chosen, that is the path towards perfection, grandeur, complete independence, and full establishment of the principles of religion in the country. And I hope following the principles of Islam will help us overcome all the problems. This is the path which the Iranian nation has chosen, and we will not retreat from this path. Our enemies cannot do anything via intimidation.

These days they have started to intimidate us again. The Americans and the Zionists are intimidating us, and some of the European governments are unwisely and ignorantly following the US. Has the Iranian nation not experienced such situations before? Have you not put this great nation to the test before? We will strongly continue our path and will not let the arrogant powers of the world trample upon our nation's rights. This is our duty and our right, and we should exercise this right in accordance with our responsibilities. We should not let the enemies violate our nation's rights in different ways through their psychological warfare, and their different tricks and plots. And by Allah's favor, we will not let them do so.

You dear people should know that adherence to the principles of Islam is the only way for this nation and other Muslim nations to overcome their difficulties. Islam can save us. During the last 30 years of the Islamic Revolution's life - and now that the Islamic Republic is at the peak of prosperity - we have been more successful whenever we have adhered more to the principles of Islam. If we have not succeeded in certain cases, it is because we have not carried out our Islamic duties properly. If we properly carry out these duties, we will reach our goals. Thankfully, our nation is a ready, enthusiastic, brave, vigilant, and conscious nation that is aware of its rights and will defend its rights.

I pray to Allah the Exalted to bestow success upon our officials in carrying out their duties towards the Iranian nation, especially those living in regions which have been underprivileged for years - including the honorable people this region. I hope God Almighty will bestow success on the officials and will provide the means for them to carry out their duties towards you dear people.

Dear God, bestow Your mercy and blessings on these people. O God, enlighten the faithful and pure hearts of these people with the light of Your guidance and blessings. Dear God, strengthen the bases of the Islamic Republic on a daily basis and bestow the ability to carry out our duties towards these dear people on us. Dear God, make the heart of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrifices for his sake) pleased with us and put us among those who will benefit from his prayers.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

 

Supreme Leader's Speech to Basij Members

03/05/2008

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 Basij members in Shiraz, Fars province.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

The company of Basij members is reminiscent of the fragrance of jihad wherever they gather in the country, especially if they gather in a place where enthusiastic people have throughout history, rushed onto jihad with all their hearts and their bravery, and went down in history. The Basij organization in Shiraz is one of those places.

The issue of history is not a trivial matter. If you look at the history of this nation, you will realize that this nation has played no role in the past when such issues as seizing power were at stake. They never supported any particular groups or played an active role in such events. It was only during the Islamic Revolution that the people made a movement at the call of our exceptional leader. It was not the case of a special group of people or individuals entering the scene. It was an ocean of people entering the scene. Even during the Sacred Defense Era, it was not only the Armed Forces who sensed the responsibility. All the people were involved. They entered the scene wherever there was a willing heart, or a group of people filled with enthusiasm and genuine faith.

Amidst this great nation and land, what remained was Basij which I would like to liken to an immaculate tree. The most devoted, enthusiastic, and motivated people present on the scene were Basij members who never gave up.

The establishment of Basij was one of the innovations of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.). Turning Basij, which first meant a combination of sacred motives, commitment and devotion, into an organization was one of the major innovations of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.). This was indeed a great movement by Imam Khomeini (r.a.).

It was Basij - that is to say, a group of enthusiastic volunteers - that helped establish the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps. Although Basij is affiliated to the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps, the early members of Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps were the former Basij members. Basij members stepped in and helped form this organization. This is an immaculate tree.

Therefore, our nation did not feel enervated at any point during the great event that took place within our country - namely, the Sacred Defense. In spite of the fact that we were incomparable to our enemies in terms of our military might, weapons, and ordinary military capabilities - in fact, all we had was not even a fraction of what our enemies possessed - we never felt inadequate. Despite the hardships during the Sacred Defense, enthusiastic presence of our youth filled hearts with hope, and it proved to be very effective indeed.

Most of you were probably not present during the Sacred Defense Era. You probably did not realize the importance of that era. You were too young to enter the battle. Firstly, it is upon everyone to familiarize themselves with the situation of volunteers and faithful youth of that time. This is not limited to you only. It is upon everyone to know what miraculous deeds were performed through the active and faithful presence of Basij members on battlefields. This is a fact everyone should be aware of.

There are certain books and records in this regard. I suggest that you read the biography of some of these major generals or their accounts of what was going on during the war, especially the first years which were very tough. I advise the youth to read these books and gain knowledge on what went on during the past and the history of the Islamic Revolution. Here is where the value of Basij lies. They were the first people to attract elites, both scientific and academic elites as well as prominent political figures. They also magnetized prominent social figures as well as faithful and sincere hearts. It was a scene where students, teenagers, and even old people whose days of struggle had come to an end were magnetized. Everyone felt his thirst for spirituality would be satisfied by joining Basij and entering those difficult scenes. The Sacred Defense Era and the presence of Basij happened in such a manner.

Therefore, this event will remain alive in the history of this nation - that is, the establishment of Basij and the role that it played during the Sacred Defense Era. However, I would like to say that the role of Basij is not limited to the battlefield, although fighting is undoubtedly one of the manifestations of the presence of the people and Basij on the scene. Our best manpower, the purest intentions of our youth, and the most virtuous youth can join Basij. And this has been the reality. Basij forces can go wherever Islam and the Islamic Republic feel the need for their presence. Fortunately, we see that this can be verified by the accomplishments that young Basij members have achieved in the arena of science and knowledge. Wherever there is a need for the presence of the people and active motivated manpower, Basij can be there.

You dear youth who are now in Basij and who are organized by this resistance force, must have the following conception of the responsibility of a person towards Islam: you should feel that you can be effective, you can accelerate this great movement, you can solve some problems, and you can withstand various types of invasion including political aggression, propaganda, psychological warfare, and military attacks. The Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic as well as our nation need this motivated and faithful public presence. That is because our government relies on God and divine powers, and the most important divine powers are the faith of the people. Allah told His Messenger (s.w.a.): "Allah is the One who assisted you thorough His assistance and through believers." That is to say, the assistance of believers is one of the manifestations of divine support and power.

The Islamic Republic relies on Allah and not on any power or allies. We are considered among the most active countries in the world in the political arena. According to the enemies' estimates - in terms of our diplomatic system, and the activities of our different administrations regarding international relations as well as our conventional political activities - our activities are considered to be successful. We rely on our internal power, which is the result of being connected to God, relying on Him, and being focused on divine blessings bestowed on human beings in order to increase the efficiency of our administration and policies. This is a duty that currently rests on the shoulders of the Islamic Republic. Therefore, there is always a need for Basij both when there is a threat - whether political or economic or military - and when there is not. And fortunately, people from various backgrounds have responded favorably to fulfill this need. People living in various parts of this country as well as people from various backgrounds - city dwellers, villagers, nomads, students, white-color workers, people in various other sectors, laborers, and farmers - answered this call to join Basij organizations. Our esteemed nomads are a case in point, and your province is one of the provinces that are populated by a large number of nomads. The nomadic members of Basij living in this province are considered among the most active members in the country.

In most other countries, the number of different ethnicities is usually a cause for concern. It is the other way round in our country. As far as I know, our nomads have always actively and vehemently supported the religion, religious people as well as religious movements, and scholars of religious studies. It has been like this in the past, and it is the same now. During the Pahlavi era the nomads of Fars province stood against the bullying of the Pahlavi regime. They tried to deploy them against religious people, but they failed to do so. The nomads supported the revolutionary activists. They supported the activists spiritually when they could not do so physically. That is what our nomads are like. The situation must be the same in other portions of our society, and they must maintain this state of readiness.

As I have constantly said, the Islamic Republic has definitely made some enemies for itself by declaring its determination to seek international justice as its ideal. All those who believe in the efficacy of hegemony, coercion, and aggression in international relations are opposed to and enraged by the Islamic Republic's shout for justice. Similarly, our shout for national independence makes some enemies deploy their forces against us. Faced with a nation that declares independence and tries to stop the foreign agents from plundering the country, all monopolists, all those who seek to dominate the world, and all those who used to plunder the resources of this country naturally want to deploy their forces against our nation. It is wrong to assume that the enemies are hostile to us just because of a particular stance on the part of the Islamic Republic or a government official. They are opposed to the very existence of our government and its structure. They are opposed to the slogans shouted by our government and our Imam.

Unlike the domineering powers, the nations are on our side. They praise our young Basij members. Their acts and the memory of what they have done have captured many hearts within and even outside the world of Islam. These threats will be there forever, and therefore the people and Basij members will continue to be present on the scene.

Every now and then the domineering powers start propaganda waves against the Islamic Republic. They keep broadcasting such propaganda. They shamelessly broadcast propaganda about the nuclear issue at one point and human rights and other issues at another. But who are the people who broadcast this propaganda? The name of those who broadcast propaganda against us is enough to cast doubt on this propaganda. They themselves have violated human rights more than others. They have organized the highest number of attacks against nations. They have plundered national resources more than all others. It is these people who are at the forefront of this propaganda. But the Iranian nation is watchful and alive.

The youth must always be vigilant. They must broaden their religious and revolutionary knowledge as much as they can. They must be indomitable against the enemy.

If you are determined to fully avail yourselves of this identity, preserve it, and by Allah's favor, pass on this immaculate tree and this sacred movement to future generations and to those who will join you, you must strengthen the foundations of your knowledge. I strongly recommend that the youth avail themselves of lofty religious knowledge. Martyr Ayatollah Motahhari's works are exemplary in this regard. Slogans and orientations can be very beneficial, but we must give these slogans and orientations a sense of depth. The youth must read martyr Ayatollah Motahhari's books. They must not treat the autobiographies of our wartime commanders with indifference. They must familiarize themselves with these martyrs who laid down their lives for Allah's sake. Reading the autobiographies of commanders must be a first priority, but it must not be the only concern.

The other day I was reading a book that provided an account of the operation that a squad of a Basij company carried out during the Sacred Defense. The presence of a group of people on the battlefield, their extremely effective activities, their enthusiasm, their faith, the blow that they dealt to the enemy, and finally the spirituality that they gained during the battle are all reflected in the speech of our veterans and in the biographies of those who were martyred. I myself greatly benefit from these accounts. Whenever I read such works I find them very useful. You must benefit from these works. You dear youth are the future hopes of this country, and among our youth those who are most motivated and most faithful will give the nation most hope - Basij organizations are definitely one of those who will bring hope for the country. I pray to Allah the Exalted to bestow increasing dynamism this bright path, this immaculate tree, and this spiritual identity.

Dear God, enlighten the young hearts of these dear youth with the light of Your knowledge and the light of reliance on You. O God, make our dear youth more steadfast in advancing the goals of the Islamic Revolution. O God, associate our martyrs with Your saints in the hereafter. Dear God, let us be martyred for Your sake. O God, let our acts, speech, hearts, and beings be at the service of a divine cause. O God, make the sacred heart of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) satisfied with us.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Address to Teachers in Shiraz

01/05/2008

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on May 1, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a group of teachers in Shiraz, Fars province.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Teacher's Day and Teacher's Week have always been very significant for me and ones in which there are many responsibilities to be fulfilled.

This year I happened to be here in Shiraz with you honorable teachers to hold my annual meeting with teachers among you dear brothers and sisters. This is a happy coincidence, and to be honest, I should say that your province and city has acted as an instructing model on many occasions. There are few prominent scholars who have not at one point or another, availed themselves of the knowledge of the scholars and teachers of Shiraz on Islamic jurisprudence, philosophy, literature, poetry, art, and other fields and sciences.

Teacher's Day belongs to you, and in a sense, it belongs to the whole Iranian nation. That is because teachers have an individual identity as well as a collective teaching identity. The latter belongs to all those who can learn from the teachers. The value of teachers is due to their collective identity, and I must confess that we have not worked enough in this regard. We have practically given in to the cultural atmosphere that considers teachers to be of no value except in material terms - that is, teaching ability that could be utilized to make money. This is the dominant culture in materialistic civilizations. The capacity for earning money is the criterion to judge the value of anything. In this cultural milieu, teachers are treated with respect to the extent that they can directly or indirectly serve as a means to make money. We - namely, the whole teaching portion of our nation - have given in to this misguided culture.

That is while, in Islamic thought, education goes far beyond such issues. Education is concerned with giving birth to a human being. Islam looks at the issue from this perspective. This is like trying to dig out water from a land that looks arid. Education is like planting a seed in fertile soil and irrigating it so that a fresh sapling comes out of the soil. That is the real issue, and it may or may not make money for you. Islam looks at teachers and the issue of education from this point of view. I do not intend to downplay the past and present material demands of our teachers. There are undoubtedly a number of demands and expectations, most of which are reasonable. And there are some officials who are responsible for these affairs. We must tell them to consider these issues.

The honorable Minister of Education, whose speech you just listened to, is as I realized a very committed, persistent and devoted person. I hope he will manage to fulfill his duties properly in regard to the teachers. But the scope of my words goes even beyond this. I am not addressing you teachers only. I am addressing the whole Iranian nation - those who enter the educational arena led by you teachers.

The issue is to understand the value of a job, an act, and a character which in my opinion is not duly appreciated in our time. Of course this was not the case in the past. Before some aspects of the Western culture had influenced our country, going back to almost 1,200 years after Islam, there were more or less opportunities for education in our country based on the requirements of the time. Those days, teachers were highly respected. The method of education at the time, which was based on Islamic principles, was in a way that required students to act very politely towards their teachers.

We also behaved in the same way. Our students also had the same attitude towards us when we used to teach. Students thought very highly of their teachers. Of course, there are traces of such traditions in the Islamic seminaries, and this is because Islamic seminaries have been under less influence from the Western culture. Therefore, some aspects of that tradition are still followed in Islamic seminaries, and teachers are valued highly by their students. Students stand in awe of their teachers which is of course not because of their fear. Students sometimes challenge ideas in class. In Islamic seminaries, students challenge ideas in class more than they do at universities. They do not even have to ask for the teacher's permission to do so. They even ask questions or challenge ideas when the teacher is busy talking. When this is the case, teachers listen very patiently, yet they might get cross with them at times.

This means that students sometimes adopt a bold attitude towards their teachers when it comes to scientific issues, but the same learner is very modest and humble towards his teacher outside the scope of those cases. They never address or behave towards their teachers in an informal manner. For almost 1,200 to 1,300 years, this was the dominant culture in our country. Later on, Western culture penetrated our country. Just look how many times teachers have been beaten, offended, or humiliated by their students in class, or just take a look at the number of teachers who have been killed by their students because of a low mark. Such cases have of course been very rare in our country due to our great historical background. These cases are much more severe in other places where western cultures are dominant.

I want the value judgments about teachers to be based on Islamic principles. Our society needs to respect teachers. If a student's parents respect his or her teachers in the true sense of the word, the students will also have the same feeling towards the teacher both in and outside the classroom. We are in need of this. That is superior for you to all other material privileges. Our magnanimous Imam was a sage in the Quranic sense of the word. A sage is a person who has the insight to see something that is hidden to the eyes of the others. The words of a sage may seem simple, but the more you think about them, the more layers of meaning you discover. The Imam was like that. Just take a look at the Holy Quran and try to understand the depth of the parts in which the word "wisdom" has been used: "This is of the wisdom which thy Lord has revealed to thee" [The holy Quran 17:39]. A superficial look may give you the impression that they are ordinary pieces of advice. That is what we normally keep telling each other. However, when you delve into them, you see that their depth increases as you go on. Take 'respect for one's parents' as one of the instances of this wisdom. It is not possible to find materialistic justification for this respect in terms of the benefits that it brings about. The more one reflects upon this issue, the more one realizes that the depth of the issue. That is what wisdom means. Being a sage himself, Imam Khomeini said: "Teaching is a prophetic vocation." This is a great remark.

Apart from Quranic verses - and the Quranic verse: "Who recites to them His messages and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom" which has been repeated several times in the Holy Quran- there is a tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) that ascribes the act of educating to the Prophet (s.w.a.). The tradition is: "Allah did not assign me to be strict with others and with myself. Rather, He assigned me to be a facilitating teacher." [Speaking in Arabic]. The Prophet (s.w.a.) says that he makes life easier and facilitates things for his students with his instruction. The facilitation referred to in this tradition is different from leniency, and it must not be confused with laxity. By "...strict with others and with myself" he meant that he would involve neither himself nor the people in the confusing complexities of life. Rather, he meant he was to lead people onto the right and straight path. That is what facilitation means. Sometimes you cannot find the right path when you want to achieve a particular goal, like climbing breathlessly up and down rough hills without being certain whether you will achieve your goal or not. That is what is meant by "...strict with others and with myself". But there are other times when you are accompanied by an experienced guide who advises you to take a particular path which he assures will be shorter and smoother and which is sure to lead you to your final destination. "... a teacher who facilitates things" refers to this point. This indicates the high status of teachers, which is the main point I wanted to raise.

I would like to tell both the people and teachers that they must appreciate the position of being teachers. Of course, I would like to address this point more to the people than teachers. That is because teachers are normally aware of their value. Wise teachers who have a great deal of knowledge and transfer it to other people are totally aware of what they are doing. This is all analogous to a lock that could be opened with a key. Teachers give the key to their students and tell them how to use it. That is what instruction is. This is similar to a mathematical problem that could be solved in no other way. The teacher provides the solution. That is what teachers do in all situations. Therefore, teachers - serving at various levels - know well what they are doing. All the same, I want to address these remarks mainly to the people. I want instruction and education in our society to enjoy the same status that Islam has intended for them. I am not sure of the validity of the tradition "if someone teaches me something, he has made me his servant". However, the whole concept is right. That is because after learning something from somebody, you enter a new phase for which you need to be grateful to the person who provided you with the guidance, and you need to consider yourself to be his or her servant. That is the main point.

There is another point that has to do with values. I should tell you - and I mean to address this to teachers - that from an Islamic point of view students too ought to be treated with respect just as teachers are. Students have to be respected. They must not be insulted. This has a very deep educational aspect to it. There is a tradition in this regard that says "be humble to those whom you teach and learn from." [Speaking in Arabic]. "And do not oppress scholars." [Speaking in Arabic]. Oppressors are of two kinds: political and intellectual. You must not be an intellectual oppressor. You must not be like the pharaoh who oppressed scholars. About 40 or 45 years ago, I myself knew one such teacher whose behavior, teaching, and speaking were like those of a pharaoh, nothing like the way a father treats his child. A teacher may sometimes be rough, but this is different from humiliation. Being rough is not the same as being insulting. Students have to be respected. Definitely each of you has had many experiences of treating your students with respect which has proved to be effective and has smoothed the way for his or her education. Using abusive language, insulting, and beating are not appropriate ways. "Beating is education" is among the maxims that have been common for many years but has been shown to be ineffective. And that is what I believe in. students have to be strictly controlled and shaped, but this has to be done gently. That is what the art of teaching is. That is about all I wanted to say about the valuable aspects regarding teachers.

Education is a great issue. Over the past years in my meetings with teachers and sometimes with members of the High Council of Cultural Revolution as well as ministers of education, I have raised some points which are not simply my personal opinions. Without any exceptions, the points I have raised are all based on expert views. Those who are involved in education have endorsed these views. I have demanded them to do what I talked about. Fortunately, I noticed that the minister pointed out in his report that some of these views are already being practiced or that there has been some progress in this regard, while they have made some preliminary measures regarding others. That is fine but not enough. We need a far-reaching change in the educational system.

Last year in a similar meeting with teachers in Tehran, I put forth the idea of a comprehensive reform in the education system. What does this comprehensive reform mean? I have said on numerous occasions that I do not feel shy when I want to learn from Western or non-Western people or foreigners. I do not try to avoid learning from them. We do not shy away from learning an administrative, educational, scientific, or innovative method from other countries. We do not feel shy. We will pursue this goal and never back away. We will even learn at their knees. However, in addition to this act of learning, there are two other points that have to taken into consideration. Unfortunately, these two points were disregarded during the era of the imposed cultural revolution - that is to say, the Pahlavi era which was a period for cultural transformation in our country. They closed their eyes and opened their arms. They simply accepted whatever they were given. One of the points is that we must evaluate whatever is offered to us and see if they are good for us or not. If they are a hundred percent good for us we must totally accept them. And if they are a hundred percent useless and detrimental, we must totally reject them. If the offers are somewhere between these two extreme points, we must accept the ones that are useful for us and reject the rest of them. That is all for the first point.

I gave you an example and said that there is a difference between the person who sees something - such as fruit, food, or medicine - recognizes it, voluntarily puts it in his mouth, and swallows it and the person whose hands and feet are held tightly and who is injected with nourishment. These two are different. It is the former case that is the right one. The latter is wrong. They must not inject us [with whatever they want]. We must make our own choices. This is one point that was disregarded. We must not accept whatever we are offered like inert and unconscious people who simply receive nourishment through their mouths or through injection. During the era of cultural transformation, we just waited for others to put things in our mouths.

The second point is that the false dichotomy of student-teacher must not be maintained forever. Yes, we are prepared to learn - something that we do not know - from those who know. But it is not right to remain an apprentice for ever. We must become masters. They did not pay enough attention to these two points.

Education is one of the things that we learnt. They had a good education system, and we learnt from them. We learnt that primary schools are better than our traditional schools. Classification of schools into primary and secondary was something good. It was useful, and we did not reject it. But we did not ask "how much of it?", "what type of it?", and "what approach?". We did not pay attention to these points and adopted whatever they offered. First, they said there had to be six grades at each level, and we learnt from them and adopted their system. Then they changed their system and said that there had to be three grades, five grades, and so on. We learned from them and adopted their new system. That would simply not do. They had their own books with different lessons and prescribed the same things to us, which we adopted. The structure of our education system is a total emulation, both in terms of form and in terms of content. That is not the right way. We must see what we need and determine the shortcomings of the present method. The present method has some shortcomings, one of which is its reliance on memorization rather than on creative thought processes. Our education system is based on rote learning. Young students have to constantly involve themselves in memorization.

Let me tell you in parentheses that memorization is not something bad. There is nothing bad about children getting involved in memorizing and extensive reading. That is something good. That is because the information gained from memorization is stable. Of course, students may not understand some of what they read. I used to go to a primary school whose curriculum was different from the ordinary curriculum enforced by the educational system. In that school, they used to teach us Saadi's Golestan ("The Rose Garden"). I still remember some of the poems. I did not understand the poems when I read them back then. Later on, I gradually learnt the meaning of the verses. That is something positive. There are some things that you may not understand, but memorization helps build a point of reference for mental processes. Memorization is something positive, but rote learning is not. And it is not right to base our endeavors on memorization. Rather, we must base them on thinking, even if it involves memorization. That is a great shortcoming, and it must be remedied.

If we do not remedy these shortcomings, who will? The era of cultural transformation - which the late Ale Ahmad called westoxication - and the era of being awestruck by the dazzling features of the Western civilization are over now. Today, the glowing, heavily made-up face of their civilization has revealed its true colors to us and to many people throughout the world. Its ugliness and hollowness have been revealed now. Today, we know many things which we were not familiar with 50 years ago. The Iranian nation is familiar with many of these facts today.

Today, we must set this system right. Who should do this? The education system is the main body in charge of this issue. Of course, I must tell you that although there is a headquarters in the education system, and it is necessary for the education system to seriously pursue this issue, those who are in charge of the education system must remember that the guiding principle is to let experts use their expertise. You must by no means deprive yourselves of the expert views of the pundits at the High Council of Cultural Revolution. You must consult them and present the Iranian nation and the future generations with a well-thought-out outcome, one that will remain as an everlasting righteous deed. That is one more point which I think is very important.

Teacher education is another issue that is of paramount importance. I believe that academic potentialities have to be utilized in this regard. Of course, the education system fortunately enjoys good potentialities in teacher education and teacher training today, and we must make the best of these potentialities. You must not shut the door on other sources. You must make the best of all potentialities.

Some people may not have an academic degree, but they may be experts in a particular field or area of activity. There were a number of such people in Mashhad who were men of letters without having had any academic education - some of them did not even have non-academic education - but they were experts. Other such cases are probably to be found in other fields as well, and we must not deprive ourselves of their knowledge and skill.

To put it another way, I would like to tell you that the education system is responsible for training well-educated and efficient individuals at all levels. It is a mistake to think that school education is simply a prerequisite for academic studies. That is not the case. There are some people who have pinned all their hopes and aspirations on entering university. You have heard about such cases: the case of a youth who has not managed to pass the entrance examination and has hurt himself, has been depressed, or has been stigmatized by his parents. That is not the way it should be. It is true that university is a route to scientific growth and a route to making progress in research. That is necessary for the progress of the country. You are well aware that I am a proponent of broadening knowledge and that I insist on it. But this does not mean that we do not need good salespersons, drivers, businessmen, and technicians. Not all men and women that fulfill different functions in the country are required to go to university. However, everybody is in need of literacy and the education offered at primary and secondary levels. Therefore, this education is not just a preliminary course for the sake of entering university. Academic education is very good indeed, and it is needed, but the scope of school education is far wider. You must try to train some people in schools who have the necessary level of knowledge required by all those who function in different positions. Some people enjoy the gift and enthusiasm to enter university, but some others do not have either the talent or the enthusiasm, and therefore they do not manage to go to university.

Of course, this has nothing to do with administering justice. We must try to create equal conditions for all. That is to say, if someone has the necessary enthusiasm and talent but lacks financial means, we must help him go to university. That is what justice means. That is to say, we must provide the opportunity for everybody. Once I met a young man who had not continued his education. As is my habit, I asked him why he had dropped out and started working. He had a good job. He did not give a clear answer, but when I insisted he said: "That runs in my blood." The job was part of his being. If somebody has a natural tendency towards a particular job like salesmanship, we must simply let him do whatever he has a gift for. There is no need to force him to go to university. There was no need then to insist that the young man should go to university. That is the right attitude towards this issue.

The issue of educational activities is the next point that I would like to talk about. Establishing a separate office for moral education was one of the best innovations after the Revolution, an idea that was put forth by the late Shahid Bahonar (may Allah bestow His mercy on him and place him in paradise). They closed it down under some pretexts. Of course, I do not want to make this issue look suspicious, but it was indicative of lack of perspicacity. They closed down this special center for education under the pretext that its function is to be fulfilled collectively by all teachers and that it was not to be carried out by a separate educational body. I also believe that it must be fulfilled collectively. I also believe that as teachers of physics, mathematics, geometry, literature, civics, or any other subject, you can function as an instructor of religion and morality and help build up the morality of your students. Sometimes a mathematics teacher says something when solving a mathematical problem that makes a lasting effect on the hearts of her students. All teachers must consider this as their responsibility. I would like to tell all of you who are present in this meeting and all teachers - regardless of what they teach - that you must not turn a blind eye to this issue because moral education is part of your responsibility. And it would be much better if you could make use of your spiritual influence as a teacher and create a beam of light in the hearts of your students. As a teacher of mathematics or literature in the first or second grade in primary school, sometimes you may say a word about spirituality, about treading the path of Allah, or about affection towards Him that may properly shape the personality of your young or adolescent student, something that may be more effective than 100 hours of different forms of moral lecturing. That is a separate issue and is certainly a duty.

But it does not deny the fact that we need to have a separate department in the education system that is assigned to deal with all concerns related to moral education. That is because I am certain that education will not go a long way without a moral component. Being devoid of its moral component, education is sure to lead to the same disastrous consequences that Western societies are now suffering from after the passage of over 100-150 years. These are issues the effects of which are not to be revealed in a matter of 10 or 20 years. You just wake up and are shocked into the reality that a generation has been helplessly ruined - a whole generation: that is totally disappointing. I have a great deal of information and moving figures in this regard, but there is not enough time to mention them now. Of course, I have talked about these figures [regarding moral issues in the West] on other occasions - full, honest confessions indeed. It must not be assumed that this is just a claim, being made from a long distance away. That is not the case. That is what they themselves say. That is the warning that they themselves give. This disaster has already happened in the West. It is like a flood that sweeps all houses away. That is what happens if knowledge is not accompanied by moral education. When science progresses in a society but there is no moral education, generations of humanity are ruined. And this is an additional problem apart from atomic bombs, political dishonesty, different types of lies, and profit-seeking trusts and cartels, which are a separate issue and are a natural byproduct of the generation issue. Therefore, moral education is of paramount importance, and it must be an organized endeavor in the form of an office with appropriate, efficient organization. We must not just go through the motions of moral education.

Literacy is another issue, and we must somehow deal with it in our country. First, it is sometimes observed that in some parts of the country school-age children cannot go to school, and this is an extremely dangerous and inauspicious phenomenon. Primary school education must be made obligatory for everybody. As a minimum requirement, the certificate of elementary education must be considered something as necessary as a national ID card or driver's license, something that everybody must have. This is a very important point that is often neglected, preparing the grounds at times in some parts of the country for some individuals to take advantage of it.

It is really necessary for the education system and the literacy movement to decide on a certain minimum level of education. For instance, they should decide what obligatory education must be provided for those who are under 50, 55, or 60 years of age. They must determine an educational threshold level - 5 years, for example - for all people across the country. Those who are older than that must be dealt with more leniently, but they must not be left to their own devices. All men and women who are under 50 or 55 must absolutely be literate so that we do not have illiterate people - in the strict sense of the word - in the country.

That is almost all I intended to tell you. And I believe that our country's present generation, some of whom were present during the Revolution and the Sacred Defense era, enjoy inexhaustible capacities. Some of them were to some extent in contact with the prevalent mood of the Revolution and the Sacred Defense era, and we are not far away from that era. This generation can do many things. We can still benefit from the support of our Imam. His wise divine outlook on the social and national affairs is still alive among us. Therefore, the Imam is in a sense alive. We must safeguard our allegiance to the Imam and the Revolution. Those who broke their allegiance to the Imam, the Revolution, and the Islamic Republic are certainly doing harm to themselves. "Those who shift their allegiance do harm to themselves, and those who keep their allegiance to Allah will receive a great reward from Him." We must safeguard this allegiance, and relying on this allegiance of the present generation - our country is fortunately full of young and dynamic people - we can accomplish great deeds. Nuclear energy is a case in point, and you can see that the Iranian nation has attracted international attention in this regard. In spite of the fact that propagandists and politicians are shouting insults at us, I can assure you that nations admire you. Even those politicians admire Iran deep in their hearts. Whenever I see the course of negotiations - whether in IAEA or other political gatherings - I can see that they are astonished at and praise the Iranian nation for its perseverance, enthusiasm for knowledge, and insistence on preserving this scientific and national honor. All the reports that I have received point to the same fact. That is only one instance.

Twenty years ago, not even one out of a thousand people would have believed it if we had said that one day the Iranian youth would be able to manufacture centrifuges, would manage to enrich uranium, and would generate electricity out of uranium without having received any instruction from outside and by just relying on their general instruction and their innovative thought processes and endeavors. Well-educated specialists would have been the first to reject the claim. They would have said "it is impossible", "is it really possible to do such a thing?", "what a naïve idea!" The Iranian nation proved that it can do it. It is the same in all other fields, but nuclear energy has appeared as a manifestation. It has attracted global admiration. This nation has the talent and enthusiasm to do the same thing in all other fields. Our nation also has the courage to step in and do the same thing in other fields. That is something obvious, a self-evident reality. You have many other undeniable rights as well.

That is what I meant by innovation. Our youth, our nation, and our intellectuals, especially you teachers, must innovatively tread the path of innovation determined to foster innovation. God will assist you in this regard.

Dear God, bestow Your grace and assistance on this nation. O God, make our behavior, intentions, and actions favorable to the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). O God, increase the dynamism of the Iranian nation on a daily basis.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

 

Supreme Leader's Speech to the Clergy in Shiraz

30/04/2008

The following is an excerpt of the Speech delivered on April 30, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a group of clerics in Shiraz, Fars 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.

The two factors which Ayatollah Haeri Shirazi mentioned in regard to security are indeed true: "Power should be accompanied by faithfulness and spirituality." Although the primary purpose of faithfulness and spirituality is self-edification, the importance of faithfulness in the protection of society is no less than power, which is considered as the other element of security. People can be ensured of security according to Mr. Haeri's words - which are indeed true - when these two factors go hand in hand, that is when spirituality is accompanied by material power which is influential, which could set the limits, and which could lead the people in society in an influential way. People can endure hunger, and the inability to satisfy sensual desires .But lack of security is not something they can endure.

Living in a society which is affluent and prosperous but not secure is very bitter. Therefore, security is of paramount importance, and it needs to be complemented by spirituality and spiritual guidance along with material power. Today we can say that material power boils down to political power. This is a reality which should deeply concern us - both me as well as you dear brothers and sisters. Why should we be concerned? This is because the Islamic Republic is a model which could have both factors at the same time. The Islamic Republic means the political power of the household of Islam and religion. This is the essence of the Islamic Republic. There existed a time when spirituality and spiritual guidance dominated our country. There were a lot of prominent intellectuals, scholars and philosophers in our country. But they were only concerned with delivering speeches to different groups of people or to a specific audience in order to have an influence on them. This was what they mainly did.

Today the Islamic Republic is flourishing. Allah the Exalted has put us to the test as the standard-bearers of spiritual guidance. This is indeed a great scene on which we have been put to the test by God. We should be concerned with what I previously mentioned, and this is because it is upon us to feel what a great duty we are shouldering. There was a time when being a cleric or student at an Islamic seminary - studying lessons on religion - would bring about limited responsibility for us as clerics. But today studying at an Islamic Seminary and becoming a cleric who is to raise the flag of guidance and be the standard-bearer of propagating religion lays upon us a responsibility which is as great as the Islamic Republic itself. Of course the responsibility has been shared. It is not limited to a specific person or official. We are all responsible in this regard. My responsibility may be greater than that of yours, yet we are all responsible towards this issue.

Such a perspective should draw our attention towards what the Islamic seminaries and clerics in general should be most vigilant about. And I should tell you that self-edification tops the list of the responsibilities which have been placed on us as clerics. And today we even see some honorable women who have entered this scene.

In the first place, we must focus our attention on ourselves. We must strengthen ourselves spiritually. Those who are spiritually strong can shoulder heavy duties, but those who have problems within themselves cannot do so. Piety and self-edification is our primary duty.

The youth and the young students of Islamic seminaries must appreciate their youth. Your pure and immaculate hearts can build a personality for you today that will help keep alive the light of spirituality in your hearts forever so that no one can ever extinguish this light. This is the first thing that we must take into account.

We must pay attention to Allah and remember that we will one day have to go to Him. This is an easy task for the youth. Therefore, you must not take your youth for granted. Avoiding sins and avoiding deeds that are of a suspicious nature as well as admonition are some of the manifestations of this appreciation. Allah has provided us with the means of admonition, the example of which is praying. The obligatory prayers that we say five times a day are one of Allah's greatest blessings for us. We would be engulfed in negligence if it were not for the sake of prayers. These prayers drag us out of negligence. Saying prayers properly and attentively is one of the means of self-edification. Reciting the Holy Quran and reading it regularly are the means of self-edification.

Fortunately, I can see today that recitation of the Holy Quran is an increasingly common phenomenon everywhere among the students of Islamic seminaries. The fact that we encourage people to recite the Quran well and consider it as an honorable act is because good recitation increases the attraction of the Quran, makes hearts get closer to it, and makes people remember it. The same thing could be observed among the advice and recommendations of the late Ayatollah Qazi. He used to advise his students to recite the Quran whenever they got up in the morning. This was the advice by such spiritual a man as Hajj Mirza Ali Agha Qazi. He used to advise people to regularly pray and read Sahife Sajjadiye, which is a world of understanding.

Certainly theology is one of the things that should top our list. We must understand religion. Today, your audiences need you. They need to become aware of religion and theology. These days the great Martyr Motahhari is increasingly remembered due to his martyrdom anniversary. Motahhari was an example of those who are familiar with theology and religious understanding. Keeping in mind that his life did not last long, if you just take a look at his works, you will see the extent of the grace that God had bestowed upon him.

I advise the youth to read his books. He has new things to say. Religious realities, religious knowledge and analyzing religious understanding and beliefs are needed today as much as they were the day he talked about them. Students of theology must be familiar with Islamic jurisprudence as well as intellectual sciences. Intellectual sciences provide us with the means to access the minds of our addressees. Today, there are some people who shape the mentality of others through the use of some shallow philosophies are only similar to philosophy in form. Some of these philosophies even serve political purposes.

Both now and in the past, there were some so-called philosophers in the West who served capitalist causes. Of course, they did not make a mention of economy or capitalism, but what they produced as philosophy is now being used to promote capitalism. This means that those who consider the world as the bait for their policies will not stop at anything. And this is one of the ways in which they try to train the minds of their audience so that they will have the same mentality as other nations. They use such things to manipulate the way people think.

It is not possible to fight them through causing uproar, excommunicating, insulting, and losing temper. It is like a knot that has to be untied. Stomping on the knot will not help undo it. We must think. Today, our Islamic seminaries are in need of intellectual sciences. They have to know logic and philosophy. Of course, Islamic jurisprudence is undoubtedly the backbone of Islamic seminaries, but logic and philosophy as well as theology are also necessary.

When our magnanimous Imam Khomeini (r.a.) issued his earnest command regarding hijab in the years after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, some of his supporters asked why he had said so. When the subject of velayat faghih was brought up in the Assembly of Experts, some people objected, saying that there was no need for bringing up such an issue. They were wrong. Imam Khomeini (r.a.) was right, and he made the right move.

The essential criterion is that we must insightfully and wisely be inspired by Islam, express our inspiration courageously, and move towards that goal in a foresightful manner. Foresight is necessary, but it has to be accompanied by identification of our goals. We must not confuse foresight with losing sight of our goals and frameworks. Some people imagine that foresight means that one should move away from the main principles, frameworks, and standards. This is exactly what lack of foresight means. This is complete conformity with the demands of our greedy enemies. The goal must be set, and then we must pursue the goal in a determined and foresightful manner. We must be cautious, and caution is a manifestation of piety. Piety requires that we be cautious and not fall into the trap of the enemies or be caught off guard. This is wisdom, which is the third factor that the clergy and students of Islamic seminaries must observe today.

We must strengthen piety within ourselves. Through the use of knowledge, we must help our minds grow. Regarding the obtaining of knowledge, we must not be satisfied with mere education. We must use our initiative and generate knowledge. From the very beginning, the students of Islamic seminaries must learn to listen critically and only keep the result of their active reasoning in their minds. This is a firmly established concept in Islamic seminaries.

Today, our Islamic seminaries must train clerics, thereby seeking to shoulder part of the responsibility. The Islamic Republic is capable of being expanded. Of course, this does not mean territorial expansion, rather it means qualitative expansion. We can proceed towards justice, spirituality, morality, and practicing Islamic laws only if we have knowledgeable, pious, courageous and wise clerics. Students of Islamic seminaries must be trained with this goal in mind. And you dear brothers and sisters must pay attention to the fact that this goal makes the training job a spiritually valuable task. This is something that goes beyond individual matters. You must take care not to be diverted from the path to this great goal by trivial issues. You must take care not to be separated from one another due to assumptions and fancies. The clergy are a unified front. We must not let trivial disagreements destroy the unity of the clergy or let our energy be spent on arguing...

 

Supreme Leader's Speech on His Arrival in Shiraz

30/04/2008

The Following is the full text of the speech made on April 30, 2008 by Ayatollah ‎Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a large group of the people of ‎Shiraz.

‎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 who gave me the opportunity- belatedly- to meet you ‎dear people of Shiraz. My dear brothers and friends in Shiraz and Fars province have ‎been continually complaining about the delay.

‎I would like to tell you that I was no less enthusiastic than you were to meet you dear ‎people and your beautiful, blessed, and honorable city. This is a city for scholars. It is the ‎city for science, talents, and wisdom, and a place where historical and international ‎figures were born. Shiraz and Fars province enjoy a high status among other cities and ‎provinces across the country.

As is my custom, I usually point out some of the prominent characteristics - historical and ‎other characteristics - of the places that I travel to and the people I meet. The reason is ‎that I want the local people, especially the youth - no matter in which part of this vast and ‎honorable country they live - to have a clear understanding of their historical background. ‎However, this explanation appears to be unnecessary for the city of Shiraz and Fars ‎province. That is because the luminaries of this city and province are so numerous and ‎your city is so famous throughout the world that it is not necessary for anybody to say ‎anything in order to introduce Shiraz and its past. But I would like to mention a couple of ‎points for a particular reason.

‎Throughout the past centuries, Shiraz has proven to have vast human potentialities in ‎almost all scientific areas. Moreover, the city of Shiraz and Fars province have a ‎prominent and bright record regarding social and religious issues and whatever is related ‎to the fate of nations in general - that is to say, national resolve. The more one thinks ‎about your history, the more one realizes the extent of the wisdom of the people of this ‎area. ‎

rom a religious point of view - which I am going to emphasize more - the shrines of ‎Ahmad Ibn Musa and his esteemed brothers and other descendants of the Prophet's ‎‎(s.w.a.) household are another important sign. That fact that the esteemed descendants of ‎prophets addressed the people of Fars and chose their province as their sanctuary is very ‎significant. This is especially true about the prominent character of Ahmad Ibn Musa who ‎is considered to be one of the most prominent descendants of the Prophet's (s.w.a.) ‎household. He has been described as a generous, glorious, and modest person and his ‎father - that is, Musa Ibn Ja'far - considered this honorable man as superior to his other ‎children and relatives and treated him with special kindness. Shiraz attracted the attention ‎of this esteemed descendant of the Prophet's (s.w.a.) household as well as other ‎descendants. They came to this region, and they were supported by the local people. Until ‎this day, the blessings of this esteemed man keep benefiting the entire Fars province and ‎an important portion of this country. ‎

Regarding literature and art, Saadi and Hafiz are like two glittering pearls on the body of ‎the Persian language and literature. This is not something that requires further ‎introduction. In other areas of knowledge, there have been great figures in this province, ‎each being unparalleled in their own time in philosophy, Islamic jurisprudence, literature, ‎grammar, art, exegesis, philology, astronomy, physics, and medicine. It would not be ‎appropriate to mention the names of all the figures who were among the most prominent ‎people in their time and who managed to reach the peaks of perfection. Introducing all ‎these figures requires another meeting, and that is enough for now. There are very ‎important and valuable pages in history regarding social issues and the tendency of you ‎dear people towards religious courage and taking action.

‎The activists among the ulama living in this province who were offered to the theological ‎history of this country are scarcely found in other parts of Iran. These activists were ‎supported by the people.

Later on after the Revolution and in the present era - both during and after the Sacred ‎Defense - you dear people, youth, scholars, and faithful men and women managed to ‎achieve a prominent position and demonstrate the identity of the people of Fars province ‎and Shiraz in action without pretension. ‎

Today, this province is famous in various areas for scientific and technological endeavors ‎as well as in-depth research and scientific innovation. There have been some scientists in ‎your city and province who are considered as prominent international figures in science. ‎This province is a pioneer in medicine, electronics, industries, petrochemistry, science, ‎and engineering. Shiraz University has been a pioneer in establishing various fields of ‎study. The presence of you people and youth in various arenas has been outstanding. ‎Your armed units - both the army units and the armed units of the Islamic Revolution's ‎Guards Corps serving in this province - played a leading role during the Sacred Defense ‎era. ‎

Therefore, throughout history this province and this city have proved to have a ‎praiseworthy potentiality in religious matters, depth of religious faith, scientific ‎endeavors, anti-autocracy movements, defending the great achievements of the Iranian ‎nation, and many other arenas. This fact has to be considered by government officials, ‎and they have to know that this place is a great source of human talents. This fact must ‎also be considered by the people themselves - especially the youth and young teachers - ‎and they have to know that each and every one of them can serve as a spring and help ‎quench the thirst of this land and the whole country. ‎

I would tell you that the faith of the people of Fars province, and Shiraz in particular, is ‎not just a claim. I am giving you these facts after carefully studying and considering all ‎aspects of the issue. There were efforts to confront such faith due to the great historical ‎background of this city, due to the presence of great scholars and clerics in the history of ‎the city, and due to the movement that was led by these scholars and clerics. But the ‎people of Shiraz and the youth of this city made great contributions during the Islamic ‎and clerical movements of 1961 and 1962. Across the country, cities such as Qom, ‎Tehran, Shiraz, Tabriz, and Mashhad played an important role during those movements. ‎And Shiraz was among the most important cities in this regard. It was due to this fact that ‎some of their scholars were arrested and transferred to Tehran.

‎This movement was started by the evil Pahlavi court in the early 30s (solar Hijri) and ‎continued for more than 20 years up to the victory of the Islamic Revolution. They tried ‎their utmost to present Shiraz to the world as having a totally westernized identity. In the ‎latter part of that decade - probably around the years 39 and 40 (solar Hijri) - I myself ‎was witness to instances and manifestations of the corruption that was intentionally ‎spread on Zand street and many other centers those days. They purposefully tried to ‎encourage the youth to involve themselves in immoral activities and neglect of the ‎religious duties. This trend continued up to the fifties when there was the feast in Shiraz ‎and the things that probably all of you know about. Maybe, some of the youth have not ‎heard about the feast. This was one of the movements. ‎

Another movement that promoted anti-religion beliefs in this city more than most other ‎cities was the heresy by the Tudeh party that had its roots in this region, and they had ‎numerous activities here. When they realized that the ground was prepared for the ‎influence of the clergy and religion in this city, especially during the years in which the ‎late Sayyid Nureddin - the brave, charismatic, active clergyman who was aware of the ‎requirements of time - had stepped in, probably they even tried to encourage the Tudeh ‎party to challenge this clergyman. ‎

The organized movement by the Pahlavi court on the one hand and the widespread ‎movement by the then Marxists - that is the movement started by the Tudeh Party - on the ‎other hand acted like the two blades of a pair of scissors against this the people and the ‎youth and their faith. But these people and these youth were the ones who gave rise to ‎one of the most prominent events in this city in 1962 and 1963 - during the rise of the ‎Islamic and clerical movement. I mean Qom, Tehran, Shiraz, Tabriz, and Mashhad were ‎pioneers across the country, and Shiraz was one of the pioneers. As a result, a number of ‎prominent ulama of Shiraz were arrested and taken to Tehran. ‎

Despite all their efforts to put the people off religion, they did not get the favorable ‎response from the people. Acting and resisting the way they did, the people nullified their ‎investment. Later on in the last years of the reign of the evil Pahlavi regime - namely ‎during the years 1977 and 1978 - the people of Shiraz and Fars province were also ‎considered as a model for many cities across the country. ‎

You should not think of what I said simply as a preface to my speech here. What I said ‎were not words of welcome, nor did I intend to make any compliments. I wanted to come ‎to a conclusion. Now I would like to discuss a point regarding the general issues related ‎to the Revolution, which is also related to the things that I talked about.

‎Throughout the history of our country, we find only one model of seizing power. Let me ‎clarify the issue to some extent. In our country, seizing power has always been done ‎through military power and what we called coup d'état. This has always been ‎accompanied by the confrontation of powers. And people have never been involved in the ‎process. Different dynasties seized power in this country without the people having a ‎role. Take the case of your own city - Shiraz. First there was the Zand dynasty, and later ‎the Qajar dynasty gained power. They seized power from the Zand dynasty. The war was ‎between two armies who were seeking power - two military powers in fact. People played ‎no role in this regard. During the history of our country - before and after Islam and up to ‎the present - seizing power has always been done in that way. There exists only one ‎exception which I will later talk about. Besides this exception, seizing power has always ‎been accompanied by military invasion and without the people being involved in the ‎process. This was because people lacked the necessary motivation to get involved.

‎Both when power was passed on from one dynasty to the next and when there was some ‎power struggle within a dynasty, people had no role at all. To give a local example from ‎Shiraz, I would say that during the Qajar dynasty and for some time after the death of ‎Fath Ali Shah, one of the sons of Fath Ali Shah called Hossein Ali Mirza ruled this city. ‎Hosssein Ali Mirza wanted the throne. But Mohammad Shah - who was Fath Ali Shah's ‎grandson - had been enthroned in Tehran. A war took place. There was a war between the ‎two parties outside the gates of Shiraz. Of course, the people were downtrodden in the ‎course of this war. The people suffered losses, and their farms, possessions, property, and ‎lives were threatened. But they did not at all get involved in the war. That is a recurrent ‎theme in the history of this country.

‎Of course, I have to say that there was one exception - the historical validity of which is ‎under question and which is mixed up with myths. This exception is the allegedly popular ‎uprising of Kaveh the Blacksmith who managed to overthrow Zahhak. If the story is true, ‎it is the only exception in the history of this land. Of course, there is no mention of ‎Fereydun, Zahhak, and Kaveh the Blacksmith in the history of this land written by ‎Europeans from the Pahlavi era onwards. They have recorded the events in another way, ‎which is a separate issue, and I do not want to discuss it now. ‎

As the greatest revolution in the history of our country, the Islamic Revolution put an end ‎to all monopolies and turned them into a democratic rule. This was indeed the greatest ‎change in our history. This was achieved by the power of the people. There was no ‎confrontation of powers. People entered the arena, and were led by the clergy as the ‎pioneers of the movement. It was the people who could, by the great power bestowed on ‎them by God, seize power from the hands of autocrats and tyrants. They returned people ‎to power, and established a democratic rule. As far as I know, this is the only event in the ‎history of this land which happened in such a manner.

‎This event deserves consideration from various aspects. I should say that today, after the ‎passage of almost 30 years, since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, we should still ‎have an all-encompassing and comprehensive outlook on this event. The minor details ‎and the ups and downs are not very informative. We must highlight and revive the ‎adoption of a comprehensive perspective - which has of course been done by a great ‎number of our people and prominent compatriots as well as some foreigners - in public ‎opinion. ‎

In all events that take place throughout the world, there are a number of elements that ‎have to be considered together and not separately. The first element is the primary causes ‎of the event in question. Motives, goals, historical factors as well as geographical and ‎geopolitical factors all affect our knowledge of the event. The second element is ‎considering the role of those who started the event. In our country, the first element ‎consisted of the people's faith and freedom-seeking campaigns, the repercussions of ‎which were manifested in various incidents in our history - such as Mirza-e Shirazi's ‎hukm against the use of tobacco and the nationalization of the oil industry. The clergy ‎and our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) made the best of these factors and started the ‎revolutionary movement. This is the background I was talking about. ‎

The second element was the people, who entered the unparalleled Islamic Revolution into ‎the annals of history. Unfortunately, we see that some quasi-intellectual perspectives ‎deny the importance of the role of the people and their participation. Such perspectives ‎are misguided. When the people develop a general tendency and when some consider this ‎tendency as against their interests, they label it as 'populist', a movement started by the ‎laymen. This is the wrong reaction. It was the will of the public and their faith-based ‎participation that started the Revolution and led it to its final victory. Relying on its faith, ‎sentiments, and national pride, and by taking pride in its historical background and ‎cultural heritage, the Iranian nation managed to create this great movement.

‎The goal of the Iranian nation - which was attested to in different languages whenever I ‎asked this question of people from different countries - was to gain freedom and ‎independence by relying on Islam. The slogan "independence, freedom, Islamic ‎Republic" - which was a common slogan during the Revolution - was shouted by our ‎people from the bottom of their hearts, and it was exactly what the people wanted. People ‎could see that the country, great as it was, did not have rulers who could independently ‎make their own decisions, who were the followers of outsiders and arrogant powers and ‎who were under their yoke and weak against the outsiders and dependant on them. But ‎these rulers were tough and oppressive towards their own people. They treated their own ‎people cruelly and harshly and did not let them make free choices. Throughout the ‎Constitutionalist movement up to the Islamic Revolution, the people never went to the ‎ballot boxes enthusiastically and voluntarily to elect a particular candidate. Electing was ‎meaningless because the government was hereditary, the government officials were ‎installed by foreign powers, and the Majlis that had been formed as a result of the ‎constitutionalist movement was also installed by others and the MPs were not elected by ‎the people. The people fell victim to the decisions that were made by this irresponsible ‎system. The people decided to gain independence, freedom, national grandeur, and ‎material prosperity and well-being in this world as well as spiritual honor in the hereafter. ‎That was the ambition the people cherished, and they stepped in to realize it. That was the ‎second factor.

‎The third element is the factors that act against the event or the movement, which bring ‎about some consequences. This was true of our Revolution as well. In the beginning there ‎was a hindrance. It means that the Iranian nation had to gain freedom and independence ‎by exerting efforts and also that it had to bear the consequences and pay the price. ‎Anybody who wants to achieve something without making any efforts or paying the price ‎for it will never be successful. No one will ever realize his or her ambitions by avoiding ‎risks or by sitting around and waiting idly for the right opportunity to arise. This is true of ‎nations as well. Only nations that courageously steps into the arena and pays the price ‎will achieve grandeur.

‎The eight-year imposed war was the price that the Iranian nation paid. That was the price ‎for seeking independence, freedom, and grandeur. The Iranian nation paid this price ‎without turning a hair. Our nation endured 8 years of war because it knew that it was the ‎price for gaining national independence, power, and glory. The victims of the ‎indiscriminate assassinations of the 60s [solar Hijri] were another price that our nation ‎paid. Economic sanctions which have been imposed on us since the beginning of the ‎Revolution are yet another price that our nation has been paying. Right now as I speak to ‎you, the arrogant powers have been threatening us for two years with sanctions and ‎economic blockades. They pretend as if they have never imposed an economic blockade ‎on us before.

‎The capitalist and colonialist camp is using all its economic power and media networks to ‎exert pressure on our nation in the hope that it will force the Iranian nation to retreat and ‎to surrender. Not only do they want us to give up our nuclear rights - the nuclear energy ‎is one of the rights of the Iranian nation - but also they want our nation to give up its right ‎to grandeur, independence, free decisions, and scientific progress. The Iranian nation is ‎now on the right path towards scientific and technological progress and is determined to ‎make up for two centuries of backwardness under evil despotic governments. Our ‎enemies are alarmed and do not want our nation - which is located in a strategic part of ‎the world - to achieve these accomplishments. ‎

They do not want the Iranian nation to be known as the standard-bearer of Islam. That is ‎the reason why they exert pressure on us, but the Iranian nation is standing firm. They ‎threaten us with economic sanctions. They have imposed various types of sanctions, but ‎the Iranian nation has not suffered any losses. We used sanctions to make further ‎progress. Once we were in need of weapons, but they refused to sell even the most ‎primitive weapons to us. We took advantage of these sanctions, and the same people who ‎imposed sanctions on us are now seriously worried that the Iranian nation is turning into a ‎regional power. All this progress was caused by their sanctions. Those sanctions did not ‎harm us. We managed to turn these sanctions into opportunities. The situation is the same ‎today. We are not afraid of the sanctions imposed by the West. By Allah's favor, the ‎Iranian nation will make very serious efforts in the face of all sanctions and economic ‎blockades and will increase its progress by several times.

‎Such a comprehensive perspective on the Revolution - that is to say, taking into account ‎all motives and major causes of the Revolution and the formation of the Islamic Republic ‎as well as the pivotal role of the people and their religious faith as the main cause of the ‎Revolution and considering the costs - causes us to disregard trivial issues no matter ‎where we are or what position we have. This perspective causes us to focus on the ‎greatness of the Revolution and its general development, which has thankfully been ‎continuing with full strength during the past 30 years. Although they have been making ‎more and more plots against us, the Iranian nation has made increasing progress on a ‎daily basis. ‎

The enemies of the nation are constantly waiting for the opportunity to make the best of ‎every small or big issue in order to undermine the determination of our nation. They even ‎take advantage of natural disasters such as earthquakes and droughts or such issues as ‎inflation that are rampant in the whole world. If you take a look at the commentaries ‎broadcast by foreign radios, you will realize that economic issues form one of the pivots ‎on which our enemies' propaganda revolves. They are doing these things in the vain hope ‎that they will manage to undermine the determination of the Iranian nation. ‎

The Iranian people are now familiar with their officials. It is a mistake to pretend that the ‎current economic conditions and inflation are the result of laxity on the part of our ‎officials in various sectors. The government officials are fully aware of what is happening ‎in society. Today, the West has more economic problems than other regions in the world. ‎According to their own reports, the US economic crisis - which started in the US and ‎which is gradually spreading to Europe and other countries - has been unprecedented in ‎the last 60 years.

‎The United Nations declared that a food crisis has engulfed the entire world. By Allah's ‎grace, the Iranian nation suffers from fewer problems than do most of these conceited ‎countries, and it must solve the existing problems through the efforts made by the people ‎and the government officials. This requires efforts on the part of all those who live in this ‎country.

‎Government officials, including those serving in the executive, legislative, and judiciary ‎branches, all have responsibilities to fulfill. The people also have some responsibilities to ‎fulfill. What I told you about the human capacities of your city and your province means ‎that these human capacities must be useful for the future of this country and the ‎Revolution and that the people must feel responsible towards utilizing these capacities. ‎Wherever we live, we must feel responsible towards the destiny of the country and its ‎future, and we must realize that we can play an effective role in this regard. University ‎students, academics, teachers, students, farmers, those who are active in industries, and ‎those who invest in different industrial and agricultural sectors must all feel responsible. ‎Through a sense of responsibility on the part of all our people and through guidelines ‎provided by our government departments - government departments, the Islamic ‎Consultative Assembly, and the judiciary branch - the Iranian nation will be able to ‎overcome all the problems and obstacles that its enemies throughout the world want to ‎create for it, and we will be able to form the exemplary community that Islam indented to ‎create for Muslims.

‎‎ I designated this year as the year of innovation. This innovation is not peculiar to a ‎particular arena. In laboratories, research centers, classrooms, Islamic seminaries, ‎universities, industrial workshops, clerical environments, agricultural regions, and other ‎places, the innovations of creative people can help push any task a step forward and help ‎the country go though an important phase.

I also warned the people and the government officials about the economic issues both in ‎the beginning of this year and the beginning of last year. As I said then, the enemies have ‎focused their attention on sensitive economic issues in order to create problems for the ‎economy of this country. They intend to create as many problems as they can or at least ‎use their propaganda means and pretend that there are problems when they cannot create ‎problems. This is a policy that is vehemently pursued in various forms by our enemies in ‎their propaganda today. Financial discipline, frugality, and avoidance of extravagance are ‎the ways in which we can confront these problems. I would like to stress that our nation ‎must know that extravagance is one of the most dangerous maladies that can afflict a ‎nation. We are to some extent suffering from this extravagance. Let me refer to one of the ‎instances which is related to water shortage - which has affected your province and ‎several other provinces, and I hope that Allah the Exalted will send down His blessings in ‎the form of rain for you. Being uneconomical with water is one of the instances of ‎extravagance. This extravagance is not just limited to drinking water. We are also ‎uneconomical with the water that is used for irrigation. It is the duty of the officials in ‎charge of supplying water to pay special attention to this issue. Therefore, we must treat ‎the issue of extravagance - regarding both water and other things - as important.

‎Fortunately, the Iranian nation paid a heavy price - and it did so willingly and bravely - ‎and managed to pass through various phases, tread difficult paths, and achieve the ‎position it has now. But there is still a long way to go. With its strong determination, with ‎the efforts of its youth, and with the talents that are embodied in our manpower, our ‎nation will, by Allah's favor, find practical solutions and manage to tread this path with ‎prefect grandeur. In different meetings, I will talk about different aspects of these issues ‎and discuss various points in this regard during my stay in this province.

‎I would like to express my gratitude to you dear, talented, kind, faithful, hospitable, and ‎good-humored people. Thankfully, most of the good qualities of the Iranian people are to ‎be found in you dear people of Shiraz and Fars province. I thank Allah the Exalted who ‎has bestowed dynamism on you. I hope this dynamism will increase day by day. I pray to ‎Allah the Exalted to bestow success on you.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

 

Supreme Leader Interviewed After Voting

25/04/2008

The following is the full text of an interview with the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei conducted on April 25, 2008.

Interviewer: As usual, you are among the first to cast your ballot. The Iranian nation is ready to hear your advice and recommendations regarding the importance of this round of the election and the people's role in it.

Supreme Leader: In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

The importance of this round of the election is the same as the previous round. In terms of its importance, the second round of the election is no different from the first round. The same sentiments and the same sense of responsibility that caused us to go to polling stations are calling on us now to go to the ballot boxes and cast our votes. There is an old Persian adage in this regard that is well known: "'Who did the job?' 'The one who finished it.'"

By Allah's Favor, our esteemed nation will go to polling stations in constituencies where the election has gone into the second round so that a good number of ballots are collected and, by Allah's grace, a good parliament is formed.

Interviewer: Thank you very much indeed.

Supreme Leader: Thank you.

May Allah accept these efforts from all of you and bestow success on you. I hope that you will find many more opportunities to do this responsibility.[1]

***

[1] In response to a prayer by one of the officials in charge of the polling station in which the Supreme Leader voted.

 

Supreme Leader's Speech to Model Workers

23/04/2008

The following is the full text of the speech made on April 23, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution. The speech was delivered to a group of Iranian model workers.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Dear brothers and sisters, model workers, representatives of working classes, and government officials in charge of labor, welcome. Undoubtedly, the meetings that comprise of men and women who make efforts and chant labor as their slogan are the most favorite meetings before Allah the Exalted. Work and labor have a high status in our Quranic and Islamic literature. Of course, labor is not limited to working in factories, on farms or other such sectors. However, the scope of righteous deeds, which have been stressed so much in the Holy Quran, includes this aspect of labor as well. That is to say, it is a righteous deed when you do something which is accompanied by conscientiousness, sense of responsibility, diligence, and innovation and which is in line with financially supporting a family. "Except for believers and those who do righteous deeds" [Quranic verse]. The scope of righteous deeds also includes these aspects. What else could one desire? What else is better than being busy doing something out of which one makes a living? At the same time, what they do constitutes a righteous deed, which has been placed next to faith in Quranic verses: "Believers and those who do righteous deeds." That is what we mean when we talk about the value of labor.

It is not idle talk or a ceremonial act when the officials of an Islamic community express their appreciation and praise for labor and laborers. It is a fact that there are some people in the world who may pay lip service to laborers. But there is a difference between a person who shouts a slogan in order to drum up the support of a social class and the person who genuinely considers labor - that is, labor as a righteous deed - to be of divine and spiritual value. The Islamic thought supports the ideology of the latter person. This means that, according to Islamic thought, laborers are involved in an act of worship. Laborers' work constitutes an act of worship.

In addition to this divine, Islamic and spiritual value, there is another critical secret behind the value of laborers in society: The autonomy of a country is dependant upon labor. No nation will ever get anywhere by indulging itself in laziness and in disregard for labor. Relying on a divine or non-divine resource - such as oil or other such resources - a nation may earn a living and lead a superficially good life by making excessive use of foreign products. But such a nation will never achieve independence. An independent nation will not attain grandeur except through working. That is what makes labor so valuable. This is the way we look on workers. Considering things from this perspective, we think of kissing the hands of workers as an act rewarded by God. The person who kisses the hand of a laborer has done something appropriate. This is because he or she has expressed his or her appreciation for one of the means of achieving independence for the nation and the country. That points to the extent of the value of labor.

The working classes of our country enjoy one more merit that does not exist in most other counties - maybe this merit is present in some other countries as well which I may be unaware of, but I have seen it in our country with my own eyes. The merit is that our working classes, in the great test of the Revolution and during the Sacred Defense Era, showed that they were brimful of the national and religious sense of responsibility. They showed that other portions of society were not ahead of them - and that they were most probably even ahead of the others in this regard. At least they were in the vanguard. Laborers assumed an influential role during the Revolution. Particularly during the Sacred Defense Era, laborers from all over the country supported the Iranian nation during this great test. They proved their sincerity by offering their lives, bodies, and jobs to the Sacred Defense. This is the merit that our working classes enjoy.

These are realities. Idle talk is done by those who do not believe in these realities. The Iranian nation must appreciate its working classes. In the realm of our religious and social concepts, we must hold the word 'laborer' sacred. The laborer is sacred. The laborer is one who works so that his country and his nation achieve the grandeur of independence. This must turn into a firm belief for us all. We must all know how important laborers are. The word laborer applies to all those work for the country's progress, the improvement of working conditions, and an increase in the production capacity of the country. These are one of the things that have to be taken into account regarding laborers and the respect they deserve.

There is something else that has to be taken into account. As the honorable Minister of Labor and Social Affairs said, government officials have some responsibilities towards the laborers. There are various responsibilities in this regard. Fortunately, one could see and feel that the Administration is hard-working. The fundamental elements of the present Administration are, in the true sense of the word, working like laborers. They are active, and they work tirelessly. They are doing important and valuable work. Detecting the problems of the working classes of the country and trying to solve them is one of these responsibilities. Unemployment is definitely one of these problems. Improving employment, encouraging the entrepreneurs, and establishing labor agencies are the necessary things that have to be done. This shows that, in the ideology of the Islamic Republic, there is an entailment relationship among these elements.

This is not the case in the mentality of materialistic governments. Their mentality holds that in capitalist countries the laborer is just a tool in the hands of his or her employer. According to the mentality of those extinct schools of thought, which claim to support laborers, there is a war between laborers and their employers. They wanted to make a living out of this war while calling themselves the supporters of laborers. The same capitalism, extravagance, and various types of financial corruption, which existed in the name of supporting the working classes, also plagued the so-called socialist government of the U.S.S.R. Their school of thought was the school of contradictions and inconsistencies.

Islam and the Islamic Republic do not believe in either of these two schools. We believe that these two factors - that is entrepreneurship and the establishment of employment and entrepreneurship agencies - form one arm, while the existence of a workforce forms the other arm. These two arms must both be there, and they must cooperate with one another. The government's duty is to strike a fair balance between the two in order to facilitate their cooperation and to prevent injustice. The government must be there to ensure that neither of the two transgresses on the rights of the other or avoids doing its reciprocal obligations.

Fortunately, we are not suffering from a lack of efforts and endeavors today. All those working in the production sectors have made efforts and have progressed. But there is still a long way to go. There is a lot of room for progress. We must work hard. We need both conscientiousness on the part of the production sectors - that is, laborers and those who work - and attention and carefulness on the part of government officials so that this movement remains an appropriate and unbiased process. As I said in the beginning of my speech, appreciation of labor and reverence for laborers must be the top of the agenda, and everybody must know that laborers are to be respected. Using their hands, minds, and spiritual and physical energy, laborers lead the country towards independence.

Dear brothers and sisters, independence is the main issue facing our country today. The Revolution brought autonomy to us. It gave our nation the courage to stand up to the unjust system of global domination. However, if this nation is to retain its autonomy and its cultural influence in the face the global domineering powers, it must strengthen its economic foundations. This will cause our independence to set its roots in the country, which is itself dependant upon production, labor, flourishment of labor, and innovation in various labor sectors. This innovation must be everywhere, from research centers and laboratories to workshops and farms. If we do these things, then all our bloodthirsty enemies who want to take away our national independence will shut their mouths in despair and will retreat into a corner.

As it was mentioned, the problems of the working classes - their insurance, their housing, their relationship with employers, and the reciprocal rights and obligations of workers and employers - must constantly be followed, and the importance of conscientiousness and sense of responsibility must be underlined. There are good prospects in this regard, and these are all aimed at a certain goal. This nation is a hard-working nation.

Our nation has proven that hard work for Allah's sake will not exhaust it, and this is the factor that makes the enemies disappointed. Today the hopes of our enemies - that is, the arrogant Americans and the evil and dangerous global Zionist network - and their greed to conquer the Iranian nation are far less than they were 20 years ago. That is because they can observe the dynamism with which the Iranian nation is moving ahead. Of course, they have their propaganda machines. In spite of the crimes that they are currently committing in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine, and in spite of America's crimes and disgraceful practices - such as torture and similar acts - they claim to support human rights and democracy with utmost impudence. They level fanciful allegations against the Islamic Republic. This is propaganda. When they fail to defeat us in practice, they use their tongues and broadcast propaganda against us. These are all because of the Iranian nation's progress. You must make more progress. This nation must keep moving ahead. By the favor of Allah the Exalted, the enemies will shut their mouths. Allah the Exalted has promised to grant success on the nation that is determined to achieve its ideals.

I would like to tell you a couple of things about the election that is going to be held two or three days later. This election is very important. In the first round of the election, the Iranian nation did an undeniably magnificent job. They broadcast negative propaganda against our nation, and they caused uproar throughout the world in the hope that they would somehow manage to make the election dull and prevent the Iranian nation from going to ballot boxes. However, their efforts backfired, and the Iranian nation took part in the election with more motivation and more enthusiasm. The presence of the public at polling stations will have a great contribution to increasing the international reputation of the brave Iranian nation.

But the task is unfinished. I wish the elections never went into second rounds so that neither the costs nor the troubles of the public were doubled. However, the competition was tight. As a result, the election went into the second round. A number of the representatives have not been elected yet. The parliament is not complete.

In my opinion, there are two critical points that the Iranian people must take into account. The first point is their mere presence in the arena. The Iranian nation must act in a way that its inexhaustible motivation is revealed to the enemies. This is what makes the enemies disappointed. If the enemies think their uproar and propaganda may undermine the nation's motivation, their hopes will be boosted, and they will step up their aggression. The enemies must be made to feel that the nation's motivation is inexhaustible, and this must be demonstrated in the second round of the election. This will be actualized by Allah's favor, grace and might and through the influence that He exerts on the people's hearts. The Iranian nation will emerge victorious out of this challenge as well.

The second point is the election of qualified representatives, or rather "most qualified representatives". People must vote for those who are sympathetic towards the public and those who are ready to join forces with other officials in the Administration, in the Judiciary Branch and in various government departments to do a great job in a unified effort. The country will not progress unless we are unified. It will not progress if there are splits and quarrels among us. As you saw, when there is a slight problem among our government officials, foreign radios cheer up and start interpreting the problem and causing uproar, while the problem itself is not important. Suppose that there is a difference of opinion or interpretation between two government officials or between two groups of government officials, which is not important for the normal course of events. But the enemies want to take advantage of these small disagreements as well. They cheer up and start causing uproar. They talk and write about it, and foreign radios start churning out various interpretations on it. Those who are well-informed hear and see how they cheer up when they find out that there has been a slight problem among our officials. All these things point to the importance of the role of solidarity and unanimity in the country.

This country will progress if the officials are unified, if the nation and the officials are unanimous, and if the nation is unified. During the last ten years of his blessed life when our magnanimous Imam was in charge of the Islamic Republic, all his efforts were aimed at this goal - that is, unity and unanimity among the people. We are pursuing the same goal today. We and the Iranian nation must try to create unanimity among our officials. We must try to prevent splits, confrontations and needless fault-finding.

Everybody must move on the same path. Thankfully, the Iranian nation is a unified and vigilant nation. The Iranian nation is truly vigilant. I have observed cases in which for the sake of unity our people have refrained from expressing their genuine feelings, thereby rendering the enemies' provocations ineffective.

I have heard that our working classes were constantly provoked in some eras with the aim of distressing the society. But the working classes were vigilant and knew what was happening. They did not give in. The enemies could not provoke them. This bears testimony to the Iranian nation's vigilance, which is one of Allah's greatest blessings.

I hope that you and the entire Iranian nation will enjoy the prayers of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) and his attention. I hope that Allah the Exalted will increase the grandeur of the Iranian nation and this country's independence on a daily basis. I hope that Allah the Exalted will bestow increased blessings on the working classes and all those who work for this country.

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

 

 
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