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Supreme Leader's Address to Elites and Students

24/09/2008

The following is the speech delivered to a group of students and prominent scientific figures by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I would like to express my gratitude to the dear youth who have attended this meeting - which is full of youthful dynamism and which is based on rationality and thought - in this hussayniah today. When accompanied by religious thought and piety, this dynamism and rationality can solve all the problems that face all countries. I hope that dynamism and rational thought will increase among you dear youth and students on a daily basis.

Some good points were made in this gathering. I listen carefully to all the statements made by the youth, students, and other people who take part in such meetings. I listen carefully and try to make the best of the points that they raise. I was listening carefully to what was discussed and I think the statements were very pithy and useful today. This meeting can show us the average level of rationality enjoyed by our students. This is not to say that you are representative of all our students across the country. However, this meeting is indicative of the high level of logical thinking, insight, and problem-solving abilities in our universities. That is very interesting to me.

Our friends mentioned a number of points here. Of course I have made some notes and I will discuss them if I find the opportunity today. It appears that some of the things that I have in mind can be expressed through a discussion of the points that you raised. Maybe it is a good idea to go over the main points you made.

One of our dear friends said that a new generation is about to emerge. That is absolutely right. Of course this new generation is not the first to emerge after the Revolution. There was another revolutionary generation before. That generation used their capable hands and solved some of the problems. That generation was also a generation that had been raised in a revolutionary environment. Revolutions act like a mould: They shape the nature of things and individuals. Revolutions are like that. Some people may think that this is a myth, but it is not a myth. It is a reality about revolutions. They transform the nature of things. This transformation is not just limited to social norms. On the contrary, it primarily affects the inner thoughts of people. Therefore, the heart is the first to be influenced by these changes. The young generation that was 15-18 years old was put to the test during the Revolution and on the battlefields of the Sacred Defense. They were a revolutionary generation. I agree with you about the emergence of a new generation. I can clearly see the signs.

A number of questions have been raised. What is the mission of this new generation? What are the requirements? Who is going to lead them? These are all good questions. I think these are real questions. They have not been formulated to foster skepticism. There are clear answers to these questions. The Revolution was not started in order to replace one government with another. In order to form the Islamic Republic, a nationwide movement was created on the basis of an idea - that is, Islamic ideology. That is what I believe and I am ready to support it. In fact, the truth of this idea has already been established. I believe prosperity can be achieved only through the teachings of the divine prophets. Islamic teachings provide the best way to achieve prosperity. If it had not been for these teachings, man would not even have achieved the current level of material progress, let alone spiritual transcendence and peace of mind. Peace of mind can prepare the ground for spiritual transcendence. That is the way to achieve prosperity.

We were in need of a long-lasting movement in order to implement the ideas introduced by the prophets. That is the goal of our Revolution. We wanted to form an Islamic community, an Islamic country. We did not just seek to form an Islamic government. We started the Revolution in order to create a reality - that is, a group of people who live in accordance with the teachings of Islam and enjoy the positive outcomes of this lifestyle. That is still our goal. In fact, we have not yet achieved this goal. Of course, we never expected to achieve such a lofty goal in 30 years. That is a long-term goal. We must try and work hard in order to achieve this goal. That is the responsibility that lies on your shoulders. That is the mission of the new generation. You must try to help your country form a genuine Islamic community. You must consider this as your guiding principle. That is the best way to propagate this idea in the world. This is the mission that the new generation has to undertake. In theory, this goal is not very hard to achieve. Of course it is a monumental task in practice and requires youthful dynamism and motivation. That is our goal. We want an Islamic country. When an Islamic country is formed, the country will be a better place for the people to live in. Of course this goal is not the same as the goal sought by materialistic governments.

Materialistic governments try to improve the living conditions of their people. That is to say, the rate of progress in those countries is desirable only in statistical terms. However, their material progress is not balanced. As you know, the richest people live in the US which is a rich country. However, the poorest people also live in that country. The poor die from cold and heat there. They starve to death. There are some people who cannot earn enough to feed themselves unless they work day and night. That is not the kind of prosperity that man would look for. That is not the kind of prosperity that a nation would desire. If you look at their GNP, you will see that it is 10 times more than other countries. But that is not a good measure of prosperity. Not everyone lives a comfortable life. That is, there is no equality in materialistic countries even in terms of material possessions, let alone spiritual aspects of life. They lack peace of mind. They do not pay enough attention to God. There is no piety or moral purity. There are no such things as leniency, mercy, and hope. There are many other things that are lacking in materialistic countries.

That is not the kind of progress that an Islamic nation and community would look for. The prosperity that an Islamic community requires is not just limited to material progress. An Islamic community must enjoy both material and spiritual progress. I mean there should be no poverty in an Islamic community. We must have justice, piety, morality, and spirituality in our Islamic community. That is the goal that we must seek to achieve.

One of our friends touched on some reasons and concluded that the future of the student movement is going to suffer from ambiguities. I would say that there are no ambiguities. As it happened, the same young man mentioned the responsibilities of the student movement and what this movement has to do. There are no ambiguities. You should just pursue these goals.

There remains one additional question: Is it only the students who have to bear the brunt of the responsibility to achieve this great and lofty goal? Is it only the student movement that has to take on this responsibility? The answer is a definite no. The student movement implies that there are active students who want to use their physical and intellectual abilities in order to push the country towards progress. The greatest portion of this responsibility lies on the shoulders of the government officials and prominent figures. Prominent scientific and political figures as well as intellectuals have to shoulder a heavy responsibility in this regard. However, the student movement also has to take on a heavy responsibility. One of the responsibilities of the student movement is to make intellectual efforts. I mean they must engage in thinking.

I believe one of the requirements is that the students of Islamic seminaries and university students should work collaboratively and hold some discussion sessions to reflect on different issues. Promoting appropriate thinking can result in the same outcomes that we expect from our students regarding scientific and technological progress. That means 'flourishment'. That is 'innovation' promoted through the right move and the right orientation. That is one of the requirements.

Specifying the principles is another requirement. We have a number of principles that have to be observed. That is to say, our principles must not be compromised in the name of intellectualism. Principles provide us with the standards that can show us the right path. It is wrong to assume that principles are like walls that can prevent man from going astray. That is not the case. Principles are a set of standards. There is only one straight path that can lead man towards his goals. This straight path has to be discovered. No one is forced to follow the straight path. Principles do not confine anybody. On the contrary, principles act as a set of directions, reminding man that he will achieve his goals if he adheres to them. If we violate the principles, we are unlikely to achieve our goals. There are two problems with the wrong path. First, it does not lead to the goals we intend to achieve. Second, it results in a waste of time because we lose many opportunities.

During the last 100-150 years, some people have claimed to promote reforms and progress in the country. They really led our people astray. They committed a great sin. We did not achieve our goals during the past 100-150 years. Besides, our time was wasted. [When this happens] many generations have to be ruined before realizing that all the efforts have been wasted on the wrong cause. Then the new generation has to go back and start all over again.

Once they had convinced our people that the only way to achieve progress was to emulate the Western people. Research was not considered to be a good subject for imitation, only the appearances. Our women were convinced to abandon their hijab and our men were convinced that they should wear a special type of clothes. As you know, once it was obligatory to wear a special type of hat. Those who did not observe this law were prosecuted. Our traditional costumes were banned. Everyone was forced to wear the uniform clothes that had been imported from the West. They claimed it was for progress. The progress of our country was reduced to wearing a suit and a tie. Renunciation of hijab and adoption of Western customs was considered to constitute an instance of progress. Just think about the magnitude of the harmful effects of such shameful actions. But they did not feel ashamed. On the contrary, they felt proud of their actions. They presented our people with the wrong prescription for progress. They led our people astray. Principles are there to prevent these mistakes.

One of the students leveled some explicit criticisms at a number of individuals and organizations. Such criticisms are characteristic of students. Those criticisms might be valid or invalid. Of course, I am not going to judge what he said. But the fact that a student expresses his views explicitly and does not hold back his views is very pleasing. The worst problem for students would be conservatism and holding their views back out of so-called consideration for others. Students should express their views explicitly. Of course, being candid should be accompanied by truthfulness and accepting one's mistakes - if it is proven that one has made a mistake. This should be the dividing line between you - sincere and pure-hearted students - and politicians. You should express your views openly. Of course, you should be honest in what you say. And if it is proven that you made a mistake, you should be quick to take your words back. In my opinion, this is one of the best characteristics of students.

There was a criticism against the IRIB. It is sometimes said that criticizing the IRIB is equivalent to criticizing the leader. They say this is because the IRIB chief is appointed by the leader. If this is to be the criterion for criticism, no one can be criticized - because the head of the judiciary is appointed by the leader and the president is also inaugurated by the leader after he is elected by the people. If this is to be the case, no one should be criticized. This is by no means the case. Firstly, I have to say that the IRIB is not run by the leader. This is a point which I wanted to clarify. The IRIB is run by the IRIB chief. I also criticize the IRIB in many cases. I agree with most of the criticisms you expressed against the IRIB. There are probably other criticisms which can be leveled against the IRIB. I receive reports from different sources about the IRIB. Although I do not watch and listen to the programs as much as you do, I am well-informed about their performance. I also criticize the IRIB in some cases and point out their weaknesses. I even argue with the IRIB officials in certain cases. They shoulder certain responsibilities and are responsive to the criticisms that are expressed. Sometimes their answers are right and sometimes they are not acceptable. You have the right to criticize the IRIB, and criticizing the IRIB officials does not at all mean denigrating the leader. You can express your criticisms. There is nothing wrong with doing so.

One of the friends asked about the Imam's viewpoints and how we could gain access to them. I believe the answer is very clear. The Imam's viewpoints have been gathered in a collection. Fortunately the Imam's speeches have all been gathered in a collection. You can infer his viewpoints from his speeches, just like any other speech from which one can infer the speaker's viewpoints. However, this inference must be logical. The correct way to do so would be to study all his speeches and examine them carefully. One can infer the Imam's viewpoints based on the collection of his speeches. Of course, this is not going to be easy. What we need to do is clear. This requires interpretation which you - the youth - are well capable of. Qualified people should study the Imam's words and infer his viewpoints.

Let me make a point here. As some of the friends mentioned, we are entering the fourth decade of the Islamic Revolution. Of course, a social system which has only existed for thirty to thirty five years is not yet fully developed. If there are logical and timely transformations in such a system, the system will not lose its efficiency soon, not even after a hundred years. However, there is no doubt that a social system, which has existed for only 30 to 40 years, is not yet fully developed. What does this mean? This means that we still need to gain more experience. This means that we still need to work harder and make more efforts - regarding the fundamental issues - to reach a steady and fully-developed stage.

I previously said that we need to promote progress and justice in the fourth decade of the Revolution. Justice and progress constitute our goals and are among the main slogans of the fourth decade of the Revolution. By progress, I mean progress on all fronts. This includes both material and spiritual progress. I do not deny the fact that we need to make material progress. This means that promoting the standards of living, creating job opportunities for the people, and making technological and scientific progress will not go unnoticed. These are important goals which should be pursued in order to avoid poverty, unemployment, and inflation. There is no doubt about that. However, we should not limit ourselves to these sorts of progress only. We also need to promote Islamic and human morality, clear thought, faith, and an increasing sense of motivation to make progress.

As I mentioned, we should avoid treading the wrong path. Sometimes the solutions we are offered to help us make progress will only lead us astray. I previously mentioned one instance. The progress that we made during the Pahlavi era was in fact regression and brought us to a standstill in some cases. Of course, we cannot address this issue now for lack of time. That was a model for progress that led us astray. Being enchanted with appearances only and following Western models will result in what happened during the 60-year rule of the Pahlavi regime.

Treading the wrong path could happen during our time as well. We should be careful not to fall in this trap. Unlike the first case, sometimes there is no mention of a particular model for progress and the nation's Iranian and Islamic identity is not denied either. However, there is a sense of disappointment in regard to making progress among the policy makers and experts in different fields. That is to say, they think it is not possible to achieve the level of progress achieved by the West. They describe such views as realistic. They reason that Western countries have reached such an advanced level of scientific progress and have made such great achievements that make us unable to catch up with them. They keep saying: "Western countries have developed so many theories in different fields such as humanities as well as social and political sciences. They have introduced and developed so many new theories and innovations, and we can never catch up with them." They have such an attitude towards progress in the country. I have come across such people on many occasions during the past thirty years. They try to convey the message - whether directly or indirectly - that we need to make progress, but should only follow the Western model in order to succeed. They say we can never catch up with Western countries, let alone outperform them. So why should we ever bother ourselves trying to catch up with them? This is also an instance of treading the wrong path.

This means that Eastern nations - our own nation for instance - and Muslim nations must always follow the Western model and never have any hope in being able to catch up with Western countries. We should never adopt such an attitude. This is a very dangerous and harmful aberration which is nowadays being promoted by some academics, political intellectuals, and preachers. This attitude goes against human experience. Has God Almighty created a particular group of people intending them to be ahead of the others at all times? Is there any historical fact to prove such a thing? Were these advanced nations not backward nations a few centuries ago? Have you forgotten the Middle Ages in Europe? The Middle Ages were a dark period for Europe. That period was the era of ignorance in Europe. But this was not the case in Iran and other Muslim nations. The era they refer to as the era of ignorance in Europe was the era of grandeur and political power as well as philosophical and scientific progress in Iran and other Muslim countries.

Such an attitude towards progress is very dangerous. There were some people who said that our efforts were fruitless while we were trying to make progress. However, you see today that we have made great progress in many scientific fields. The Muslim and Iranian youth entered the scene with great motivation and managed to catch up with other countries. They could even outperform other nations in certain fields. Considering the time spent for making such progress, the rate of progress has been even higher in our country. Therefore, holding such attitudes is dangerous and is a sort of aberration. We should never get disappointed. According to Islamic, religious, and Quranic principles, humans should make efforts in an organized and non-stop manner in order to achieve their goals.

It is time for prayers. I hope God Almighty will bless you so that you can emerge victorious out of this challenge. You are students and your country is going through a critical period. I hope you will be able to contribute to the country's progress and emerge victorious out of this great test.

O God, bless these dear youth and save them for our country. O God, make our youth successful in all fields. Dear God, bestow Your spiritual blessings on these pure-hearted youth in the holy month of Ramadan. Dear God, make the Imam of the Age pleased with us all.

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

Supreme Leader's Address to Academics

24/09/2008

The following is the full text of the speech delivered by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution on September 24, 2008 to a group of academics and scientific elites.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

First of all, I intended this meeting to have a symbolic aspect to it. I would like my heartfelt respect for scholars to be reflected in society. We need to create a sense of respect for our scholars and scientists in society.

Respecting scholars and knowledgeable people is the best way to promote knowledge in society. Academics and prominent figures of our research centers are among the scientific elites of our country.

Therefore, this is the first reason for holding such a meeting. And this goal will be achieved through holding such meetings. You dear friends - brothers and sisters - should know that I feel great respect towards scholars and knowledgeable people. And I would like all our people - including our officials and people at various levels of management - to have the same feeling towards knowledgeable people. This feeling should be - and is - manifested in practice.

Another purpose of holding such meetings is to reflect the views of our elites about scientific and educational issues in a public gathering. This is very important and necessary. If possible, I would also like more of you to express your views in this meeting.

Unfortunately, this is not possible in this meeting. Of course, what was discussed today was very useful for me. Some of the speakers mentioned important points which have to be taken into consideration. These points are very useful for the officials in charge of scientific and research organizations. Later, when these views are broadcast, they will also be useful for the people and those who are interested in scientific issues.

A point just came across my mind which should be discussed later. I believe it is useful to hold public gatherings in the presence of academics and researchers during the year and invite some of the participants in the gathering to deliver lectures and express their views. This will facilitate the decision-making process both in the administration, the Majlis, the Expediency Council, and various executive organizations such as ministries.

There are some points that I would like to mention. However, since time is short I can only mention a few of them.

Our comments are usually based upon some assumptions, a point that has to be taken into consideration. One of the assumptions is that scientific progress in different fields is a vital need for the country. Of course, I will talk about determining the priorities later. This is a very important task.

The second assumption is that although acquisition of knowledge from other countries is an integral part of making progress in science, generation of knowledge is also an important issue which has to be taken into consideration. We should not be dependent upon Western countries in science. Of course such dependence will undoubtedly bring about some progress. However, this will be accompanied by imitation and lack of innovation, which make this dependence inadvisable.

Therefore, we must try to generate the knowledge we need. Every step we take towards that goal, will further prepare us for the next stage. We should start this movement by utilizing our own talents and cultural heritage.

The third assumption is that making progress in science should be accompanied by self-confidence, hope for success, and making great efforts. This is because we believe that science progress inside the country should be based on indigenous efforts, our Islamic culture, our national resources, and the country's needs. This should be considered in all our scientific efforts. Some people might say that this is not possible. But we should come to believe that we can. We should know that once we start making efforts, there is always hope for success.

The fourth assumption is that indolence, seeking comfort, and leaving our duties to others is not advisable. Our movement should be like a jihad. Jihad is not limited to battlefields only. Jihad is necessary in scientific areas as well, just like all other areas of life. Jihad means making non-stop efforts and accepting risks. Of course this should be done in a logical manner and be accompanied by hope and progress.

These are the assumptions. We have discussed these points several times and we have come to accept that these facts have all been agreed upon by our scholars and academics. As you noticed, some of the points our friends mentioned today were related to the demands which I have made in this regard during the recent years. This proves the fact that scientific progress and encouraging innovations in science have been internalized in our society. This is a fact that has never been doubted.

Considering these facts, what is the role of academics? This is a point that has to be taken into consideration. Academics have an important role to play in this regard. They play a significant role in universities and research centers. Similarly, executive bodies shoulder responsibilities in this regard as well. We cannot address these points to executive bodies only and ignore the role of academics who are the leading force on this front. Conversely, we cannot address the points to academics only and disregard the role of executive bodies that are in charge of this great scientific movement. A great project has been developed in the country which will result in scientific progress inside the country. Executive bodies, the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, and the Ministry of Health are in charge of completing this project.

One suggestion is that both academics and the officials in charge of universities should promote self-confidence among university students. Students should have self-confidence. There should be a sense of self-confidence among all the people as I previously mentioned. I do not mean self-confidence at an individual level only. Rather, we should have confidence in our national resources and cultural heritage. This is what I mean by national self-confidence. This should be manifested in all our youth.

I am going to have a meeting with students in a few days' time. They are going to mention some points as well. There should be no sign of despair and doubt among them about achieving our goals in the future. They should be full of hope about the future. This feeling of optimism about the future is rooted in facts. You are responsible for creating a sense of optimism about the future among students. Of course there are various contributing factors - such as political and social factors - in this regard. However, academics play an important role in classes, laboratories, and learning centers. They should instill self-confidence and optimism about the future into the students.

A second suggestion I would like to make - especially because educational officials are present here as well - is that we should determine the country's needs and scientific priorities and base our educational plans on these two factors. Research and thorough investigation may reveal a number of priorities in the humanities, fundamental sciences, and various areas of experimental sciences. The results of these investigations must be taken into account when doing large-scale planning. Due to the limited amount of resources available and the large number of needs we currently have in the country, we should not spend our time on low-priority projects. Neither should we use our human and financial resources in these cases. This is also an important matter.

Another issue is that of promoting research activities among the students. The issue of educational reform is an important and complicated matter, and of course it should be discussed in such meetings. However, we do not have enough time now to discuss all these issues.

What I intend to say regarding the educational reform in the country is that the educational system should be planned in a way that encourages research and in-depth understanding on the part of the students. Rote learning is not a good option.

Unfortunately, there are still professors at our universities who assign their students to read hundreds of pages on a single subject. Why is that? This will only involve our students in the memorization of the subject matter. We may even not know how useful they might be for the students. This would draw students' attention to what is not necessary. You should act thoughtfully in this regard. Prominent scientific figures should discuss this matter and plan an educational system which encourages research and in-depth understanding of the subject matter. Our youth are talented. To be fair, they have exceptional talent. The average level of aptitude in the country is very high.

I think time is almost up. One of the subjects I usually discuss is that of experienced and young professors. We should not let this matter turn into a source of discord among us. I believe that we are in need of experienced as well as less-experienced and young professors. I do not support the formation of cliques inside universities. Young professors should also be allowed to enter universities. We should prevent the formation of cliques among university professors. We should also provide opportunities for the young professors.

Of course, I have to mention that experienced professors in different fields are great assets for the country. We should utilize their capacities in the most suitable way. We should plan to have both experienced professors - those who have a lot of experience and have been teaching for many consecutive years in a particular field of study - as well as young and enthusiastic professors who have just finished their education and are ready to start teaching. The capacities of neither group should be ignored.

We need both experienced and young energetic professors in our universities. We need our human resources. If we plan to develop our research and educational centers, we can utilize the capacities of both groups. We can also provide employment opportunities for students who are willing to get employed. We can employ our elites and involve them in scientific activities. This is another thing we could do.

I think it is almost prayer time, and we cannot continue this meeting any longer.

I thank all the dear friends, brothers, and sisters who took part in this meeting. Hopefully, the points mentioned in this meeting will be extracted by the staff serving at my office. I follow up the issues that are in my own sphere of influence. The executive bodies will also do their own portion of the responsibility.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Friday Prayers Address

19/09/2008

The following is the abridged text of the speech delivered on September 19, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution at Tehran's Friday prayers.

First Sermon

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Fridays - especially the Fridays in the holy month of Ramadan when our religious brothers and sisters are fasting - provide us with a golden opportunity to familiarize our hearts with the source of divine grace. By Allah's favor, we will manage to use this opportunity to prepare our hearts for increased piety.

Laylat al-Qadr is the night for prayers, supplication, and attention to God Almighty. The month of Ramadan, especially Laylat al-Qadr, is the best time for attention to God, dhikr, and supplication. Laylat al-Qadr also provides us with the opportunity to familiarize our hearts with the Commander of the Faithful and learn lessons from him. He was the embodiment of all good features that are attributed to the month of Ramadan and all the duties that God's servants are supposed to fulfill in this month. So I preface my speech in the first part with the remembrance of the Commander of the Faithful so that we can gain a better understanding of his personality. That is because all we have heard about him is not enough to give us an idea of who he really was, and we cannot describe his struggle to get closer to Allah the Exalted. Nor can we describe the hardships he endured or the prominence of what he did in his time.

Today, I would like to refer to moral education as one aspect of the comprehensive activities of the Commander of the Faithful. When he came to power, the Islamic Ummah was in a very different situation compared to the day the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) passed away. 25 years had passed since the end of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) life. The events that had taken place in the previous 25 years had transformed the thoughts, morality, and behavior of the Islamic Ummah. This is what the situation was like when the Commander of the Faithful accepted the leadership of the Islamic Ummah.

The Commander of the Faithful ruled that great Islamic country for almost five years. Each and every day of his rule contains a lesson. Moral education of the people of that country was one of the things that he paid constant attention to. All the aberrations that plague societies are rooted in moral issues. It is our moral principles that guide our behavior. Any case of misbehavior in any part of the world could be traced back to low moral standards. This fact led the Commander of the Faithful to refer to a more important reality - that all wrong and harmful acts are rooted in materialistic tendencies. So he said: "The world [materialistic tendencies] is the cause of all mistakes." These materialistic tendencies adversely affect our personal and social lives. What does 'materialistic tendencies' mean? What is meant by 'the world'?

The world is the vast nature that Allah the Exalted has created for man. That is what the world is. The world is made up of all the blessings that God Almighty has created. Our lives can be a prime example of these blessings. Material possessions and achievements are other components of the world. These are all manifestations of the world. Children, wealth, knowledge, and natural resources are the manifestations of the world. These mineral resources and bodies of water are the manifestations of the world. All the things that are around us come together to form the world. That is to say, all the things that make up our material lives are the components of the world. So why is 'the world' something bad? There are a number of Islamic traditions and teachings that encourage us to make the world a better place to live. "I created for you whatever is on earth." We are ordered to prepare the ground for the people and ourselves to exploit the material blessings. There are other traditions that say, "The world is a farm for the hereafter" and "[The world is] a place for the servants of God to do business". There are a number of other such traditions that unanimously point to the positive Islamic attitude towards the world.

There are other Islamic teachings that consider the world as the prime cause of all sins and mistakes. If we put all these teachings together, we will reach a clear conclusion. Of course, this point requires the reconciliation of many different interpretations. Positive efforts have already been made. In brief, Allah the Exalted has created all these material blessings for man. Man has been advised to make the best of these blessings and prepare the ground for the others to do so. However, there are some limits. There are some red lines that man is not allowed to cross. The world in its positive sense requires that man make use of it within the limits set by God. In this sense, man is not allowed to cross the red lines. The world in its negative sense makes people appropriate the material blessings that have been created for man. It makes people covet what other people have. It makes people dependant on material possessions, which makes them "blind and deaf". As a result, they observe no limits when they decide to get what they desire. In this sense, wealth, power, popularity, material blessings, and natural pleasures of life are all manifestations of materialistic tendencies. Islam and other religions have generally allowed man to exploit the world. But they have all prohibited man from encroaching on other people's possessions, violating the rules of this world, oppressing others, indulging in the worldly blessings, and forgetting the ultimate purpose of life. This world is a means to achieve transcendence and perfection, not our goal. If these limits are not observed, the worldly tendencies become evil.

This was one of the problems that prevailed at the time when Imam Ali (a.s.) came to power. It had raised questions regarding the indisputable rights of a person like Imam Ali (a.s.). It had caused some people to disregard his spiritual status, his record, and his unparalleled qualifications. It had caused some people to challenge him. That was all due to their materialistic tendencies. The Commander of the Faithful considered materialistic tendencies to be the reason behind all corruption - and Nahj al-Balagha is full of statements concerning this corruption. If you take a brief look at the world as it is today, you will notice the same thing.

This is a natural consequence of materialistic, opportunist, and aggressive individuals ruling the world. First, they encroach on other people's rights. Second, they disregard the right of other people to exploit the natural resources and material blessings. Third, these materialistic people foment discord in the world in order to achieve their goals. They cause wars and resort to false propaganda and unfair policies to achieve their goals. These are all rooted in materialistic tendencies. When discord - I mean, needless obfuscation - is created in a community one cannot see clearly what is happening in society. In such a situation, many people make mistakes and lose their insight. It is such a situation that gives rise to ignorant prejudice. If this happens, materialists take center stage and even those who do not have materialistic tendencies move along the lines set by those who have created discord. That is what would happen to the world in such a situation, hence the maxim "the world is the cause of all mistakes." Love for the world and being dependant on the world are the prime causes of all mistakes and sins. The Commander of the Faithful has drawn our attention to this point. That was part of Imam Ali's plan for moral education.

If you take look at Nahj al-Balagha, you will see that what the Commander of the Faithful has said about lack of interest in the world and piety is far more than all his statements concerning other things. The reason is what I just discussed. Otherwise the Commander of the Faithful was not the type of person to seclude himself from the world. On the contrary, he was one of the most active people when it came to improving the conditions of material life. Both before and after he came to power, he never showed any tendency to slack off. Why was that? It is well-known that when Imam Ali (a.s.) lived in Medina - before he was assigned caliph - he had created a garden with his own hands. He had channeled water to his garden. He had planted palm trees there. Paying attention to material life, the nature that God has created for man, managing the lives of the people, managing the people's financial affairs, and preparing the means for the economy to thrive are all positive measures which are among the duties of individual Muslims and Muslim officials. That is the way the Commander of the Faithful worked. But he was not at all dependant on material possessions. That was all part of Imam Ali's (a.s.) plan for moral education.

Imam Ali (a.s.) has also suggested the cure for materialism: "The Creator gained prominence in their hearts and, therefore, all but the Creator lost their prominence." Piety is the cure for materialism and being enchanted with the world. One of the characteristics of piety is that it gives prominence to the Creator in one's heart, raising the position of God in one's heart to the extent that everything else becomes insignificant. Then social position, material possessions, attractions of material life, and various pleasures lose their significance against the significance of God's remembrance. That is one of the benefits of piety. The Commander of the Faithful was the embodiment of this piety. In his well-known sermon it is stated that he stood on a rock, wearing cheep ragged woolen clothes and a pair of shoes made of palm leaves. This poverty and this austere lifestyle was the dominant atmosphere in that great Muslim country. Imam Ali (a.s.) led such a simple life, and he provided people with these genuine pearls of wisdom.

When a man asked him some questions about the issue of Saghifa and similar things, the Commander of the Faithful answered him coarsely, "Brother of Bani Assad, can you not understand the situation? You do not pay attention to what you say". That was his attitude towards the political issues of his own time. He blamed the man for his untimely questions regarding the issue of Saghifa in the middle of a great military and political event. That was while Imam Ali (a.s.) told him that he had the right to ask questions and get answers. He said: "That was a privilege. Some people decided to disregard it, while others grabbed it." That is to say seeking power and worldly status was something that he always considered to be untenable. That was the way the Commander of the Faithful behaved and he wanted to teach us to act the same way. We must learn lessons from him. Remembrance of God and involving in dhikr are the most important cures that Imam Ali (a.s.) had to offer.

We must appreciate the value of these days and these prayers. It is very important to pay attention to the meaning of these prayers, which provide the cure for the spiritual pains that have afflicted man throughout history. We must do something to decrease these pains as much as possible. We must do something to stop ourselves from being enchanted with the world. Paying attention to Allah the Exalted and remembering the greatness of God is one of the ways to do so. Just take a look at Imam Ali's (a.s.) prayers, which are a collection of the most enthusiastic prayers. Of course, in terms of mystic enthusiasm, the prayers left from our infallible Imams (a.s.) are all full of meaning. But the prayers of Imam Ali (a.s.) are one of the best (and maybe the best) collection of prayers, exemplified by such prayers as Komeil, Sabah, and Monajat-e Sha'baniyya. Once I asked Imam Khomeini (r.a.) which prayers he liked most. He said, "Sha'baniyya and Komeil." These two prayers are both left from Imam Ali (a.s.).

I hereby ask our youth to pay close attention to the meaning of these prayers and all the words used in them. These payers, while being full of meaning, are mellifluous and beautiful. We must talk to God on these nights. We must pray to Him to give us what we need. If you know the meaning of these prayers, you will find them the best - and the most eloquently worded - demands that you can make of God on Laylat al-Qadr and on the nights of Ramadan. If you do not know the meaning of these prayers, you had better talk to God in your own language. Nothing can set us apart from Allah. He is close to us. He can hear us talk. We must talk to God. We must ask Him to grant us what we need. This close relationship with Allah the Exalted, these prayers and atonement have miraculous effects on our hearts. They can revitalize the hearts that are dead.

As today is Imam Ali's (a.s.) martyrdom anniversary, I would like to say that the parts [of Nahj al-Balagha] where he discusses his sadness are as moving as his prayers. When Imam Ali (a.s.) talks about the loss of his companions, when he remembers his companions and those of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) fighting bravely on the battlefields, when he remembers those who fought Jamal and Saffein during his own rule, and when he remembers their martyrdom, he asks where they are. He mourns the martyrdom of those who laid down their lives for the sake of Allah and the fact their heads were sent as gifts to oppressive rulers of their time. The Commander of the Faithful used to cry at the memory of his companions and the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.). The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) was always on his mind. These are some instances when Imam Ali (a.s.) discusses his sadness in Nahj al-Balagha. These prayers and expressions of sadness were ended on the night he was wounded - that is, the 19th of Ramadan. He was wounded at night when he was saying his prayers.

Dear God, place us among the companions and followers of the Commander of the Faithful. O God, make us persistent on the path of piety - which was Imam Ali's greatest lesson. Dear God, bestow virtuous behavior on our nation. Do not let reprehensible behavior befall us. Make us steadfast on the path of righteousness and whatever You have demanded of Your righteous servants. O God, make the Iranian nation successful in achieving all its goals. O God, make the immaculate souls of our martyrs and the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam pleased with all the events that take place in this country. Bestow Your grace on them and all our forefathers. Dear God, convey our greetings to the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). Place us among the people who benefit from his prayers.

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Say: He, Allah, is one. Allah is He on Whom all depend. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And none is like Him. [The Holy Quran 112].

Second sermon

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Firstly, I have to congratulate the dear teenagers who have started fasting and carrying out their religious duties this year. I especially congratulate the little girls who experience fulfilling their divine duties at an early age and fast during these hot and long days. This is one of the best tests for our nation. Our youth experience asceticism during their youth. The opportunity provided for us during this month to tolerate hunger, live without pleasures, and avoid deeds that have been forbidden by Islam is very valuable, especially for the youth. This is an opportunity to practice piety from an early age - the age of puberty. I congratulate all the youth, especially those who started fasting this year.

Thankfully, there is a spiritual atmosphere in our community, and this spiritual atmosphere is even more tangible in the holy month of Ramadan. Good habits become more common among the people during the month of Ramadan. Helping the poor and feeding those who fast are the good acts that are common during this month. Such acts will bring about sincerity, kindness, and friendliness among the people. These acts are in fact a way of appreciating this holy month. Kindness towards others as well as helping friends and other Muslim brothers are some of the ways to appreciate this holy month. These habits were common in the past as well. However, they are even more common these days. Giving sermons and attending sessions in which Quran and prayers are recited are good habits which are common in this month. These habits should be developed among the people. You should try to find ways to benefit more from these sessions. Merely taking part in these sessions is not enough. You should try to learn and benefit from these sermons and sessions.

Let me mention a couple of points. Since we are approaching Quds day, I am going to briefly discuss the issue of Palestine and the Quds day.

The Iranian nation has thankfully moved on a straight path since the victory of the Revolution - the path of adherence to the Islamic principles. The Iranian nation is not a backward nation. The Iranian nation is aware of the requirements of the time, and is also involved in research and scientific activities. Our nation has always acted in accordance with the requirements of the time.

The Sacred Defense Era was a very tough period for our nation. The people put up a unified front and unanimously entered the battlefields. The youth went to the battlefields and their parents also helped in one way or another. Teenagers as well as the different social classes also contributed to our success in one way or another. Our people helped whenever necessary during the time when we were involved in research and scientific activities as well as in the reconstruction of the country. Our people always entered the scene when the enemies increased their political attacks against us and when they tried to further the cause of those who opposed us.

Let us take a look at the events which took place during the recent years. The people remained united and proved their unanimity in different ways when those who further the cause of the enemies inside the country tried to foment discord among the people. The people entered the scene when the enemies' spy rings tried, through their propaganda, to take rioters onto the streets in Tehran and other cities. The people themselves entered the scene before any anti-riot forces did. The people reacted in the most suitable manner when the enemies increased their propaganda against us - especially in the nuclear issue. The enemies had then filled the world with their propaganda against Iran. If we are to have a fair judgment about this movement - which can be called a national movement - we have to say that the vigilant Iranian nation have always acted eagerly in accordance with the needs of the country after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. To be fair, this has always been the case after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. I hope this will continue in the future as well.

This has frustrated our enemies. They failed to achieve their goals through mounting pressure on the Iranian nation and officials. They keep threatening us, but they have been unable to obtain any results out of their attacks and propaganda against our nation. Thankfully, the Iranian nation has managed to continue on its path despite these efforts. The path that the Iranian nation is treading is the path of progress. We do not claim to have fully achieved the lofty goals of the Revolution - which are based on true Islamic teachings. However, we are moving on this path. As I mentioned, the fourth decade of the Revolution will by Allah's favor be the decade of justice and progress. This means making noticeable progress and promoting justice inside the country in a noticeable manner. Our plans should be based on these goals. Achieving these two goals will secure our country and nation against the enemies.

Of course, enemies will always be enemies. We should not expect those who have been frustrated by Islam to take a passive stance towards the Islamic Republic. The enemies will definitely oppose us. We should expect the enemies to oppose us. However, we should consciously choose the best way to stand against the enemies and defend our national interests.

Unity among the people and the conformity of elites and officials to the basic principles of the Revolution is a vital need for the country today. Avoiding political turmoil and psychological warfare is vital for the country today. We must avoid turmoil in the country. They always try to cause turmoil in our country. This is one of the basic policies of the enemies of the Islamic Republic. Of course, there are some people inside the country who inadvertently further the enemies' cause. Let me make a point in this regard. Thankfully our dear people are never involved in such actions. The people are opposed to the pointless arguments which are raised by some political elites. They are opposed to such arguments.

Let me refer to some of the minor issues which have recently been used by some people to cause turmoil in the country. This is to end any further discussions in this regard.

One of the officials said something in regard to the Israeli people. This was of course a false remark. The claim that there are friendly relations between our people and the Israeli people is false. This is a false and illogical remark. Who are the Israeli people? They are the ones who are being used as a tool by Israeli officials to encroach on the lands and properties of the Palestinian people. The Israeli people are a tool in the hands of the Israeli officials to achieve their goals. A Muslim nation - the Iranian nation - cannot adopt a passive stance towards these people who are acting as a tool in the hands of the enemies of the Muslim world. We have no problems with Jews, Christians, and followers of other religions. But we have problems with those who have invaded Palestinian lands. It is not only the Zionist regime which has occupied the Palestinian lands. This is the stance of the Islamic Republic, the Islamic Revolution, and the Iranian people. Someone made a false remark and there were some reactions against it. It should not be discussed any longer.

Making different remarks here and there and provoking different reactions is not correct. This will cause turmoil in the country. A false remark was made, but it should not be discussed any longer. The remark did not reflect the stance of the Islamic Republic towards Israel and the Israeli people. Israel is different from other countries in that its people, unlike the people of other counties, are living on occupied lands. The Jewish areas in Palestine are currently resided by the Israeli people. The Israeli people have been armed by the Zionist regime to fight against the Palestinian people. They have been armed by the Zionist regime so that the Palestinians will not dare to approach those areas. The remark that was made about the Israeli people was a false remark, but it should not be used to cause turmoil in the country. I would like to ask everyone not to make an issue out of these trivial matters. These are all trivial matters. The stance of the Islamic Republic has been clarified in regard to such issues. The matter should not be discussed any longer.

Another point I have noticed recently is that of judging the performance of the administration. I would like to ask the elites to pay attention to this point. Of course, these judgments are a natural consequence of the upcoming presidential election in the country. There are almost 9 months left before the election, but this is one of the natural consequences of all elections - political activists express their views. There is nothing wrong with expressing one's views. There are many points to be discussed in this regard which I will mention in due time. It is still too soon to talk about that issue. However, I feel some of the comments made about the performance of the administration are unfair. If there are any suggestions about the future of the country or about the country's problems, they should be mentioned. If there are any solutions to be offered in this regard - for instance about inflation - they can be proposed. However, defaming the officials and the administration is not correct and is forbidden according to Islamic principles. Of course in other countries, officials are defamed and slandered in the name of freedom and democracy. But these acts are forbidden in the Islamic culture. These are what they do in other countries.

The proposals that are made in regard to economic or non-economic issues should be discussed by expert circles in the first pace. Such matters should not be discussed by non-expert circles or in public places. Some of the comments are unfair. Unfairness, which is an unacceptable habit, must not be institutionalized in the country.

I am not worried by the fact that someone is criticized. That is not the case. Someone may criticize a person and receive a response from him or her. I am worried about the fact that unfairness may turn into a habit in our society. Various services are being rendered by the officials. It is not right to ignore all these services and pick on a single weak point. Of course, I want to address this advice to the entire nation. This advice is not aimed at a particular person, group, or party. All the people must pay attention to this point. Everyone living in this country must take care not to denigrate others. Denigration will not produce a positive atmosphere. The people do not like such behavior. I hereby tell the unfair critics that they are wrong to think that the people enjoy it when they denigrate a particular government official or a particular political current. Our people detest denigration.

The old Palestinian issue is still of paramount importance in this region. The Palestinian issue is a crucial issue. The occupying Zionist regime has mounted pressure on the Palestinians, and this is their response to their internal problems and constant failures. The Zionists failed to preserve their false grandeur. The fear that they had struck into the hearts of Arab nations was dispelled through the efforts of the selfless Lebanese and Palestinian fighters. As a result, they have decided to exert all the pressure on the Palestinian nation. The government that is currently ruling the Gaza Strip is a legitimate government. Hamas is a legitimate government. All governments must recognize the legitimacy of Hamas which has been formed on the basis of public votes. Those who claim to have civilization - while they have in fact not even heard of civilization and human values - are all witness to the suffering of the people of Gaza. They are witness to the severe blockade on Gaza, which is only an example. The West Coast is not in a better situation. Although no blockade has been imposed on the West Bank, the Israelis are no less brutal towards the people of that area. There is a great deal of pressure on the oppressed Palestinian people everywhere. The superpowers do not make any objections to such behavior. They even support the Zionist regime. The world of Islam must stand up and make its voice heard. The world of Islam must clarify its stance towards this bitter event. Quds Day provides us with a good opportunity to do so.

May Allah bestow His grace on our magnanimous Imam Khomeini (r.a.) who suggested the idea in order to support the Palestinian nation. I hope that our people and a great portion of the Islamic nations will make use of this opportunity and fulfill their responsibilities towards the Palestinian nation. By Allah's favor, the Muslim governments will fulfill their great duty - namely, offering support to Hamas and the Palestinian nation. ‏

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

By the time! Surely man is in loss, except those who believe and do good, and exhort one another to Truth, and exhort one another to patience. [The Holy Quran, 103]

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Speech to Government Officials

09/09/2008

The Following is the full text of the speech delivered on September 9, 2008 by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei, to the heads and officials of the three government branches.

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 take part in this cordial meeting and to meet the revolutionary and devoted brothers and sisters who are either serving or used to serve the country.

This meeting is in fact the manifestation of unity among those who serve the Islamic Republic and our dear country. I hope the meeting will result in greater devotion and unanimity among those who are devoted to the country and the Islamic Revolution.

The Quranic verse, "And seek assistance through patience and prayer" has been repeated twice in the Holy Quran. In one of the verses - "And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and this is hard except for the humble ones" [The Holy Quran, 2:45] - ْGod Almighty addresses the people of the Book [the followers of Zoroastrianism as well as Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faiths]. In another verse - "O you who believe, seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient" [The Holy Quran, 2:153] - God Almighty addresses faithful people. Firstly, this is indicative of the important role of patience and prayers in achieving the lofty goals of the Islamic community. Secondly, one can understand from this verse that there is a relationship between patience and prayers, and these two will result in resistance, perseverance, and spiritual connection with God. These two points can be inferred from the latter verse, especially the part in which faithful people are addressed - "O you who believe" [The Holy Quran, 2:153]. Before this verse, there is the verse: "Therefore glorify Me, I will make you eminent, and give thanks to Me and be not ungrateful to Me" [The Holy Quran, 2:152]. Gratefulness and God's remembrance are the main points in this verse. Then the issue of jihad is addressed in another verse: "And speak not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, (they are) alive, but you perceive not." [The Holy Quran, 2:154]. After this verse, there are three other well-known verses: "And We shall certainly try you with something of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits. And give good news to the patient." [The Holy Quran, 2:155] "Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah's, and to Him we shall return." [The Holy Quran, 2:156] "Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord. [The Holy Quran, 2:157]. The relationship between these two factors - patience and prayers - is clearly inferred from these Quranic verses. Both patience and prayers and the relationship between them are important. Later, I will elaborate on the issue of patience.

Let me talk about the relationship between patience and prayers. Prayer means attention to God, dhikr, and humility before God. Saying prayers without remembering God is not what is meant here. There is another Quranic verse in which God says, "Recite that which has been revealed to thee of the Book and keep up prayer. Surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil; and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest (force). And Allah knows what you do." [The Holy Quran, 29:45]. Keeping one from indecency and evil is only one of the results of saying prayers. But, the very act of remembering God which happens during prayers is more important than preventing one from indecency and evil.

Prayers from such a perspective - in which one pays attention to God, shows humility towards Him, and tries to get spiritually closer to Him - will result in more patience. The importance of patience has been clarified through traditions, Islamic teachings, and Quranic verses. Therefore, we can now better grasp the significance of prayers and God's remembrance. These two factors can internalize patience - which brings about persistence - in our hearts, souls, lives, and thoughts. There is also a Quranic verse in this regard: "And be patient and thy patience is not but by (the help of) Allah." [The Holy Quran, 16:127]. Of course, "Be patient" has been repeated in many verses in the Holy Quran, and each of these verses can impart one oceans of knowledge. The verse "And be patient and thy patience is not but by (the help of) Allah" means that seeking assistance from God will give one infinite patience. Patience in this verse means persistence and endurance. If one has infinite patience, one's progress towards the peaks of success - both in this world and the hereafter - will never stop. One can get closer to moral perfection and reach the peak of success in knowledge, wealth, political power, spirituality, and edification if one has infinite patience. The failures that we face are due to lack of patience. When two groups of solders fight each other, the one that loses patience sooner will lose, and the one that shows more endurance will come away victorious. This is because they will face a group of soldiers that have lost their patience. This is a very simple and clear example. However, this is true in all cases.

All natural obstacles that appear in one's way and prevent one from making progress will be removed if one does not lose patience. This is the reason why those who fight on the path of Islam always emerge triumphant from battles. In this regard, there is a verse in the Holy Quran: "And Our troops, surely they, will be triumphant." [The Holy Quran, 37:173]. This is because God's servants and the soldiers that fight on His path show endurance in the face of all problems. Such endurance is due to their spiritual connection with God. In the battle between two groups, endurance on the part of one group will naturally result in defeat for the other group. Of course victory is not guaranteed if there is no spiritual connection with God, and if one only claims to be fighting on the path of God. Therefore, we should try to form this spiritual connection with God. Hence prayers and God's remembrance are important. The significance of the holy month of Ramadan lies in these reasons. Ramadan provides an opportunity for self-edification, piety, and more trust in God. The notion of increasing one's trust and reliance on God is repeated in the prayers which are recited in the holy month of Ramadan. Therefore, we should appreciate this opportunity to achieve these goals. When these goals are achieved, the patience of the Islamic Ummah will grow to a level that will make it possible for them to overcome all problems. In that case, the Islamic community will make progress on political, economic, moral, and spiritual fronts. This is a fact, and we should make efforts to realize this fact.

You have probably heard different traditions in regard to patience. According to Islamic traditions, there are three kinds of patience: Patience when worshipping God, Patience in the face of sins, and patience in the face of tragic events.

Patience in worshiping God means that one must not become bored when a necessary and obligatory deed, an act of worship, is prolonged. It means that one must not fall by the wayside. Take the case of personal religious rituals. One must not become bored when saying a certain recommended prayer that is long. That is the meaning of patience in worshipping God: You must get tired of fasting, paying attention to God in obligatory prayers and religious duties, and paying attention to the teachings of the Quran.

Patience in the face of sins, again, implies resistance. What I said was about patience in worship. But patience in the face of sins requires that we avoid being allured [by material attractions], deceived, and affected by our desires. One may desire sexual pleasure, money, social position, popularity, and fame. These are all manifestations of human desires. Everyone tends to cherish a certain fancy. These fancies must not be allowed to allure man - this is true when achieving those fancies involves committing sins.

An analogy can be drawn between man and a child who decides to toddle towards sweets and knocks down the jug or the glass. The sight of sweets makes the child blind to everything else that lies in his or her way. Attracted by sins, man becomes indistinguishable from the child, paying no attention to whatever that lies in his way. That is something dangerous, especially because man is by nature heedless [of possible dangers]. In his rush towards sins, man is not aware of the dangers and he is not aware that he is unaware. That is true of the chills as well: he/she is not aware that he/she is going to break the jug of water, china, or the precious vase that lies in his/her way. The child is not aware of being unaware. That is the reason why we must be cautious. We must take extra care to guard against this unconsciousness.

Patience in the face of tragic events means that man must not feel exasperated when he is faced with shortcomings, bereavement, pains, illness, poverty, or similar unpleasant events. These events must not render man helpless. Man must not feel that it is the end of the world. These three cases of patience are all of paramount importance. "Those are the ones on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord." [The Holy Quran 2:157]. In fact, Allah the Exalted bestows His blessings and mercy on all those who are patient.

The point is that these three cases simply concern personal affairs at times. There are well-known examples that point to the same issue. At other times patience is not manifested in just personal life. Rather, it turns up in social and public arenas. In other words, patience has to do with the fate of a group of people or an entire nation. Take the case religious duty - that must be done in a perseverant manner - the accomplishment of which is related to the fate of a nation. Jihad is one such duty. For example, going to the battlefields during the Sacred Defense era was a religious duty. Determined defense of the country was something necessary, a religious duty. This defense was not something personal. Each and every soldier who went to the battlefields was in fact helping to determine the fate of the country. Religious duties come in that form sometimes. All measures that are taken by our MPs, ministers, managers, and the members of the military - or measures that are taken at a cultural center or any other organization - and that are deemed to be necessary constitute a religious duty. These are religious duties that are fulfilled in order to serve Allah the Exalted and His servants. Doing our duties in an Islamic government is another aspect of fulfilling our religious duties. The people who are serving this divine government are in fact doing their religious duties all the time. If you ever feel exhausted - no matter which part of the government you are working: the police, economic sectors, the security service, or diplomatic posts - you have been impatient. This goes against the Quranic recommendation, "and seek assistance through patience and prayer."

This is also true of something that is a sin, a sin whose consequences are not limited to personal loss. "And guard yourselves against an affliction which may not smite those of you exclusively who are unjust." [The Holy Quran 8:25]. Sometimes when we do something wrong, say something that we should not have said, take an inappropriate measure, or sign the wrong paper - and this is what keeps troubling the government officials - and the consequences befall the entire nation, a certain social class, or a certain group of people. That is a sin. 'Patience in the face of sins' takes on a more important meaning in such cases. This kind of resistance is different from resistance against an offer of bribe. This is something praiseworthy, a great deed. One type of patience requires resistance against a personal sin. But there is another type of patience that is far more valuable. This latter type of patience is displayed in the face of sins that affect other people as well. That is the magnitude of the significance that must be attached to patience in the face of sins.

This is also true of patience in the face of tragic events. Tragic events could involve individuals or an entire community. For example, our government officials are currently faced with a variety of open slanders and insults. As you know, different types of slanders and libels are being leveled at Islam and the Islamic Republic (because it follows the principles of Islam and the Revolution, because it pursues the ideals that are unpleasant to the arrogant powers, and because the people who they oppose are currently serving the Islamic Republic) by different media throughout the world. These slanders are being leveled at the Islamic Republic for each and every ideal that it seeks to realize. The Islamic Republic is subject to different types of attacks. These are all tragic events, and it is not easy to endure them. These international issues, considerations, and slanders have led some international political figures - whom I have seen in person or I have heard about - to believe, wrongly, that they have a broad perspective of their goals and their path. It is hard for our government officials to endure this. That is all I wanted to say about patience in the face of tragic events.

Therefore, all three kinds of patience are important and should be taken into consideration both in personal affairs and on social, political, public, and national fronts. Patience in the face of national issues is peculiar to those who are in charge of the country and should not concern the general public. The responsibility for such matters does not lie on the shoulders of the general public. These are matters which should be dealt with by administration officials, MPs, and judiciary officials as well as other officials in charge of the country. All three kinds of patience should be taken into consideration on these two levels. We should seek assistance from Allah the Exalted through patience. This was the main point I was going to mention.

In addition to this point, I have to say that there is sometimes a lack of patience on the part of some people in regard to pursuing the goals of the Revolution. The goals of the Islamic Republic are the most important issue and we should be persistent in defending them. Patience plays a more important role here.

Dear brothers and sisters, you are the government officials in the Islamic Republic. You are a group of political, cultural, and social elites who have gathered in this meeting. The majority of the government officials are present in this meeting. What goal did we pursue when we undertook this responsibility as government officials in the Islamic Republic? Was it just the case that we tried to form a government in order to occupy these positions? Of course, this was not the case. All the services we render are worthless and like "scattered motes" [The Holy Quran; 25:23] if we have such a purpose in mind. Our efforts are all worthless and not rewarded by God if this is the goal we have in mind. Our efforts will be forgotten after we die or even after we leave these positions should that be our primary motivation in undertaking such responsibilities. The difference between us - the officials of the Islamic Republic - and those who seize power in other countries is that our primary goal was to from an Islamic community. Our purpose was to restore the Islamic method of life to our society. If you look at the big picture, the Islamic system of government in our country could act and can still act as a model for other countries in the Muslim world. Therefore, the Islamic Republic aimed to draw the attention of the Muslim world to this fact. This is the reason why the Islamic Republic was formed. This has always been our primary goal.

The Islamic Republic is based on Islamic principles. The changes that we have been able to make in the country are in accordance with Islamic principles. These changes are something positive. But sometimes we have failed to make changes on the basis of Islamic principles. We must identify these failures and take the necessary measures. We should not violate Islamic principles. This should be our goal.

This is the reason behind the enmity of the arrogant powers towards the Islamic Republic. Their enmity is rooted in the fact that the Islamic Republic and the Islamic community are against oppression and arrogance. This is because the Islamic Republic is opposed to encroaching on people's lives and invasion of other countries. The Islamic Republic is opposed to international oppression and all arrogant systems of government. Such opposition is not just a mater of principle. It will be manifested practically whenever necessary. This is something the enemies know well about the Islamic Republic. Therefore, those who invade other countries, encroach on other's properties, and support arrogant systems of government are seriously opposed to the Islamic Republic.

A couple of days ago I mentioned in a meeting that the claim that there is a misunderstanding between Iran and the superpowers is false. There is no such thing as a misunderstanding in this case. We know them pretty well and they also know us well. We are well familiar with the nature and attitude of the arrogant powers. We are well familiar with their blood-thirsty nature that is hidden behind their attractive appearance. We will never be deceived by their attractive appearance. We are well aware of the nature of these superpowers. Even they themselves are showing their true nature these days - in Guantanamo, in Abu Ghraib, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan. They are showing their true nature by their bullying and interference in all affairs. They even encroach on the properties of their own nation. We know them well and they also know us well. They know that the Islamic Republic - that was founded by Imam Khomeini (r.a.) - is against oppression, arrogance, expansionism, invasion, and greedy accumulation of wealth. They are aware of these facts and that is why they are opposed to the Islamic Republic.

This is what the Islamic Republic is. The true manifestation of patience for us - the officials of the Islamic Republic - is showing patience in adhering to the principles of the Revolution. You should not escape your duties. You should not neglect these principles if they mounted propaganda against Islamic qisas, Islamic economy, Islamic rule, and the Islamic Republic's Constitution. Rather, you should firmly adhere to these principles. Serving God, rendering services to God's servants, and opposing God's enemies as well as the enemies of His servants constitute the principles and slogans of the Revolution. The Islamic Republic is based on these principles. It is a system that is based on rationality and knowledge. Rationality should be dominant in all sectors of the government. However, rationality does not mean compromise. Rationality does not mean fear of the enemies. Rationality should act as a factor to help us make progress and find better ways to achieve our goals.

There are some people who undermine the principles of the Revolution in the name of rationality, and avoiding international sensationalism. This is not acceptable. Such acts are indicative of tiredness and lack of patience. They sometimes attribute such tiredness to the people, while it is themselves who have actually grown tired of defending these principles. They say the people have become tired of these principles while that is not the case.

The people will become happy if they see that the government officials take pride in being Muslims. These people are Muslims. The movement of the people was rooted in the same principles. Are they not the same people who started the Revolution? What were the slogans of the Revolution? Are these not the same people who fought innocently for 8 years during the imposed war? These are the same people who were present during the war. Or were they a different group of people? Which group of people in the world could do the same great things as our people did in this country? There was a program on TV the other night in which Imam Khomeini's (r.a.) comments about the late Ayatollah Taleghani were broadcast. I could feel that all his words were full of useful and wise points. May God place him in heaven. He said something to this effect in his remarks about Ayatollah Taleghani: "See what the people said about him in his funeral." The people described him as the representative of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.). Imam Khomeini said they were mourning the demise of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) representative, who was a religious scholar. Imam Khomeini (r.a.) described him as the representative of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), and this was a point that was made on the basis of what the people had said. This is the right thing to do.

he people believe firmly in the principles of Islam. This is a sign of democracy - in addition to having a close relationship with the people, rendering services to them, taking their votes into account, and caring for their problems. It pleases the people to see that you - the officials of the Islamic Republic - are proud of being Muslims and take pride in your opposition to the arrogant and hegemonic powers. They will also be satisfied to see that you have close relations with them, ask for their opinions in different matters, and take pride in rendering services to them. The people will be satisfied with such attitudes on the part of the officials. These are our duties. We are not allowed to go back on the slogans of Islam and the Islamic Revolution. If we do, it would be indicative of lack of patience. Contrary to what the enemies say, adhering to such principles is not at odds with making progress. The enemies have always tried to infuse the people with the idea that making progress in science and promotion of living standards is at odds with being Muslims. However, this is not the case. It is reality stood on its head. We have made great progress.

I sometimes see that the great achievements of the nation are questioned by some people. They must not do so. This is something bad and an insult to the people. This is an act that would disappoint the people. Who can deny the great scientific achievements that we have made? The significance of these achievements lies in the fact that we are in some cases among the few countries that have made such achievements. Is this not an important achievement?

An exhibition was held almost a month ago in this hussainiyya and some 50 new innovations from among hundreds of scientific innovations were put on display here. The innovators reported that the innovations are in some cases unparalleled in the country, and even in the world. Two or three of the innovations were unparalleled in the world. Can anyone deny these achievements? It was almost a year ago when a great gathering was held here to discuss a particular scientific issue. They had come here from many developed countries to assess our scientific, research, and technological achievements. Interviewed after the visit, they said they would have never believed these achievements had they not seen them with their own eyes.

Such cases are not limited to one or two instances only. Advances made in nuclear technology are another instance of such achievements. I have always said that these are only some instances of the Iranian nation's progress. There are so many of such examples in our country. No one can deny the achievements that we have made in terms of reconstruction and promotion of living standards. They sometimes question these achievements without any reason. The great movement that has been started by the Iranian nation is very valuable.

Thirty years have passed since the start of the Revolution - 20 years after the demise of Imam Khomeini (r.a.) who was the founder this Revolution. Still, the people believe in and shout the slogans of the Revolution. Our youth - who have neither seen Imam Khomeini (r.a.) nor have they been present during the war days - praise this great movement by the Iranian nation in their poems and works of art. Are these achievements not important? Can anyone deny these achievements?

Since time is short, let me briefly refer to some other points. I am going to mention a few points to the administration officials - of course I would like to address these points to the officials of the legislative and judicial branches as well.

First, taking people's satisfaction into account in your decisions is something good. However, this should not prevent you from considering God's satisfaction. If you have to do something that is obligatory according to Islamic Sharia but does not please the people, you must do it. Similarly, you must not do something that goes against Islamic Sharia, although the people want you to take that particular measure. In such cases, you should fulfill your divine duties. People's satisfaction and rendering services to the people is very valuable. However, this must not be at odds with your divine duties.

The second point concerns the major decisions that are made by the administration. The honorable President referred to the plan for an overhaul in the country's economic system. This is among the major plans in the country and has been approved of by experts. The conflicting opinions that are expressed in regard to the plan are only concerned with when and how to carry out the plan. But the general outline of the plan has been agreed upon by experts. The verbal and written reports that I have received also point to this general agreement. They all believe that it is necessary to carry out the plan.

You should avoid extremism in your decisions. To avoid taking measures due to fear of failure is not correct. Also, you should avoid taking measures without taking all the consequences into account. Just because a certain measure is appropriate does not mean you should act hastily. You should consider all the aspects of the plan. I was pleased to hear the President say that the plan is being carried out in accordance with the law. These are important factors. The plan should be carried out after careful consideration of all aspects.

There should also be complete cooperation among the three government branches, both in words and in practice. Cooperation is even more important when you are dealing with important matters. I intended to mention a few other points in regard to article 44 of the constitution, but it is time for prayers.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Speech to Elites

26/08/2008

The following is the full text of the speech delivered by Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei on August 26, 2008 to a group of elites.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Being in the company of a promising group of elites and discussing one of the most essential subjects of the country that is, scientific progress and, consequently, technological progress is very enjoyable for me. All the comments that the dear young brothers and sisters make here lend credence to the idea that there is a growing trend in producing elites and promoting constructive thought among our youth. And this promises a prosperous future for the country. Apart from what has been recorded, I can, more or less, remember the comments that our elite friends made last year. Those comments had the same characteristics. The ideas, which our youth and elites come up with and which they think they should discuss with me, are of paramount importance to me. One can easily see that there is a growing interest in scientific progress and the importance of science and technology. Also the orientations are obviously more in line with the lofty ideals of the Islamic Republic.

Now let me make a point here, which may provide an answer for the question that one of our dear brothers asked shortly before my speech. Knowledge including theological and epistemological knowledge as well as the type of knowledge that helps man make better use of the natural resources which have been created for man in the wonderful form of nature is a divine blessing for all communities. Since the beginning of time man has been seeking to decode and make sense of the secrets of the enormous and complicated structure of nature. This is a fact that has been endorsed by Islam and all other religions. There is no religion and this is especially true of Islam in which you can find a single sentence implying that worldly knowledge is useless, detrimental, or not worth seeking. On the contrary, all knowledge that man has so far obtained which has provided the means for man to make better use of the nature that God has created for him as well as all knowledge that man has not so far managed to gain access to (man may obtain knowledge in the future that will be qualitatively and quantitatively better than all knowledge that he has so far acquired) are valuable from an Islamic perspective.

Knowledge has inherent value. Knowledge can act against values only when it is used to oppose the interests of man. Knowledge can facilitate the process of acquiring divine understanding. Those who have the knowledge are in a better position to understand the righteousness of the message of Islam and the prophets. Knowledge must not be contaminated with carnal desires, ulterior motives, allure of the material world, and other materialistic tendencies. Knowledge may sometimes be regarded as something evil, but it is due to the fact that it has been used against human values or that it has been used to promote materialistic and carnal tendencies. Knowledge is not inherently bad. Therefore, there is no doubt that knowledge has inherent value. All types of knowledge including epistemological and theological knowledge, natural sciences, or intellectual knowledge such as philosophy and fiqh are all extremely valuable. The type of knowledge that has been gained through exploring the world and decoding its secrets is part of this great treasury of knowledge.

The world, land, and natural resources that are at our disposal could most probably be utilized a million times better than they are now. Man will most probably make far better use of water, earth, natural resources, air, all materials that the earth holds in it, and all other things that we are currently using unappreciatively. The oil that we currently use to generate energy might in the future benefit man so much and become so valuable for him that no wise person would ever think of using a single drop of it for generating energy. Man may then replace oil with other sources of energy. As you know, garbage is currently being recycled, and valuable products are being obtained from it. Garbage is a simple example. There are many other things that may be utilized in this way. How can we obtain the necessary knowledge? How can we make our way through the secrets of nature and utilize the knowledge? That is only possible through acquiring knowledge. "Acquire knowledge even if you have to travel to China." This tradition by the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) does not imply that we must go to China in order to learn fiqh or philosophy. Rather, it advises us to seek knowledge any knowledge, including science and technology, which is a product of science, as well as other types of knowledge. These are necessary. The points that I just made were obvious ones. I cannot image that any of you elite youth should have any doubt in this regard and wonder what Islam is saying.

The 20-Year Strategic Plan is by no means rooted in the Western ideology. We have changed its direction. A point which is worthy of attention is that many of the things we do follow a good framework, but not the right direction. There were such things in Islam too.

The Hajj which you perform and which deeply affects many of our pure-hearted youth is a tradition that was established by ignorant people during Jahiliyya [the ignorance era in pre-Islamic Arabia]. The people used to circumambulate the Kaaba during Jahiliyya as you do today. During the Hajj, which was performed in haram months [the months in which wars are forbidden], people would travel from all around Arabia nobody believed in Hajj outside Saudi Arabia at that time - to Mecca in order perform the rituals. The procedures are the same as what we do today, but the concepts on which these rituals are based have totally changed. Nowadays, when we circumambulate the Kaaba, we display a manifestation of monotheism, showing that the entire world revolves around the Kaaba as the representation of monotheism. This is a symbolic act that started in Islam and resulted in Kaaba being the manifestation of monotheism in Islam. It also led to Hajj acting as the best means for creating unanimity among a large group of people in the Muslim world. This is the general direction of Hajj today.

The direction of Hajj was totally different from today during Jahiliyya. It was exactly the opposite of what it is like today. Several idols were hanging both inside and outside the Kaaba. Those days, those who circumambulate the Kaaba were in fact worshiping the idols, and did not know anything about God. Even the very act of walking around the Kaaba did not create unity among them. Rather it resulted in enmity among them. This was because they worshipped different idols. Some would come to worship a particular idol, while others were there to worship others. And all these idols were inside the Kaaba. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) did not change the rituals at all the general form of Hajj was preserved. Rather, he changed the direction of the rituals. The Hajj which was the manifestation of ignorance, blasphemy, and worshipping idols was turned into the manifestation of monotheism, purity, and worshipping God.

Form is not that important. There is nothing wrong with using nuclear energy. Rather, those who use the energy against humans are at fault. Using such technologies as nanotechnology, or complex electronic and aeronautic industries is not wrong. They are useful technologies and help humans to use the natural resources which have been made available to them by God in the best way. Those who use these divine blessings and treasures for such purposes as bullying, dominating others, and violating other people's rights are at fault. You who follow the right principles, who believe in God and human values, who are opposed to oppression, tyranny, arrogance, and governments that are based on the interests of a particular group should learn these sciences so that you can promote your own values and principles in the world. Is this something bad? Someone might board a plane and travel to a particular city or country to engage in debauchery. Conversely, another person might board the same plane and travel to Mecca to worship God. The plane is not at fault here. Rather, the purposes and directions are different. You should gain knowledge and use your special talent to reach high positions in this regard. You should use this opportunity and position to promote true values not false values, debauchery, and domination of bullying powers over humans.

Today, more than two billion people are suffering from hunger in the world. This is not a trivial matter. Today, there are nations that enjoy great resources, yet their people are suffering from hunger. Currently, oppressive, domineering, and arrogant powers rule the world. How has the US reached its current position in the world? How is it able to bully other countries in the world? This is because they had the knowledge and used their knowledge to achieve these purposes. Western countries misused their knowledge in this global competition which has always been launched throughout history.

Throughout history, different nations have been superior to others in terms of scientific achievements. You cannot find a single nation that has constantly been able to keep ahead of other countries in terms of knowledge. This is a divine law of nature. In the competition among human communities, Eastern countries were once the prominent force. Other times, it was Islamic countries Iran in particular who got ahead. Our country once enjoyed the same position as that of certain Western countries today, which have advanced scientific positions and are superior to other countries in scientific areas. Iran was once in such an advanced position, and European countries as well as Eastern and Western countries were behind Iranian scientists in regard to scientific achievements. We had great scientists who were superior to scientists of all other countries not only in science, but also in technology. This was once the situation. However, Western countries took the lead after a while.

An important point in this regard is that Western countries used their superior scientific position for political, economic, and hegemonic purposes when they reached this position. It was then that colonialism started. Colonialism did not exist prior to that time. Colonialism means that a country thousands of miles away invades another country which enjoys great resources, like the Indian subcontinent, and establishes its rule there through the use of force and advanced weapons. As you know, England is an island. Since the English people were experts in sailing, they further developed their skills in this regard, took risks, and finally managed to rule over India. They used their scientific prominence for political purposes. This was something that other scientifically advanced countries had never done before. England, Belgium, and Netherlands which first targeted Eastern states and the Indian subcontinent and established colonialism for the first time as well as other countries which invaded Africa Portugal for instance used their scientific capabilities for political purposes. This means that it was them who established colonialism for the first time. When a nation is colonized, its destiny is determined by the colonizing country. They used this opportunity to keep those states in a state of ignorance, and stopped the competition among nations as much as they could.

This is something that happened. This was a case of misusing knowledge. The world is liable to changes. Human beings never limit themselves to a certain level of progress, and you cannot prevent human beings from making progress. The blossoming of human talents will continue to have its effects. Different movements were started by different people in different parts of the world. The current situation of the world is that the powers which have made great scientific advances try to monopolize their knowledge. As you well know, certain advanced Western countries prevent other countries from gaining access to certain aspects of their knowledge. This means that their knowledge has been monopolized. This is like certain confidential documents which are only published after they are considered as old. Similarly, their knowledge is only made available to other countries when it is no longer first-hand. They would let others use their knowledge when they have progressed to a higher stage. This is how they behave. They monopolize their knowledge.

In today's world, we need to start a scientific movement to put an end to such domination. The Islamic Republic which follows the opposite values compared to what the Western domineering powers seek today and which has gained political success and made progress in different fields through resistance during the last 30 years - needs to make progress in scientific fields if it is to achieve its goals lofty human goals that are accepted by all humans. It is due to this reason that I said that making progress in scientific and technological fields must be a fundamental discourse in our country today. This is an undeniable fact. Without making progress in scientific areas and improving our scientific capabilities, and without making use of such capacities in our daily lives, we will not be able to oppose these powers. It is only in this case that the flag of the Islamic Republic will remain hoisted. Maybe I over-elaborated on the issue. This was because I thought that elites might not be fully aware of the uses of knowledge and technology. It was due to this reason that I provided more explanations in this regard.

Knowledge brings about power and wealth. The Islamic Republic should make progress in the scientific arena if it is to gain power to defend the nation and the values of the Islamic Republic this is how power should be used. Power should be used to stand up against bullying powers, and not to bully others. The Islamic Republic is also in need of scientific progress if it is to gain wealth to put an end to the various problems which the country has inherited due to several years of domination by hegemonic powers over the country. Knowledge is a means for all nations to gain national wealth and power.

Fortunately, we enjoy great resources in our country. If one is to provide an accurate account, one can say that we were kept in a state of stagnation for 150 years. The great talents which we see in the country today are not limited to the present time only. Different Iranian generations enjoyed such great talents. However, we were kept from making progress. This was mainly due to the domination of oppressive and totalitarian governments in different eras particularly in the contemporary era when there was corruption and lack of independence in the country. We are currently suffering from such stagnation. Nonetheless, the Iranian nation's talent is above average.

I have constantly mentioned this point. It was thought at times that this is only a claim. However, this is a fact that has been globally reflected on various occasions. They write about our talented people in American magazines and mention some of our universities in particular. Of course, they pursue evil goals through this. There is no doubt about the fact that the universities which they mention in Tehran and Isfahan are prominent ones. But they pursue evil goals by mentioning these universities. This is because universities are made up of human resources: students, professors, and the management. Both students and professors are among the talented generation of Iranians. Therefore, this is not limited to a particular university and is an all-encompassing matter. Wherever efforts are made, such prominence will be observed, yet they only reflect a few instances. We enjoy great human resources, that is, the level of talent is above average in our country.

This is a factor that could help us make up for this stagnation. We have made great achievements during the recent years due to the recent scientific efforts. During the past 10-12 years, great progress has been made in the country due to the new movement which has started in the country in regard to training elites as well as the production of knowledge and software. We should appreciate these accomplishments.

Of course this does not mean that I am satisfied with the current rate of progress in the country. This does not mean that I think the goals have been accomplished. It will take a long time for us to make up for these years of long-standing stagnation, particularly in the current situation in which we are alone. Other countries do not support the Islamic system and Islamic thought. The Chinese people as they are today and whose capabilities were only partly revealed in the Olympics have made great scientific achievements. But, one should also take into consideration the fact that the Chinese people had nothing in the year 1948 when the new communist china was founded. However, the Soviet Union which was a country with a more established background in terms of ideology and scientific and technological achievements provided China with whatever they needed to make progress. This was during the Stalin era. The existence of a great country like china which did not have the same population as today at that time, but was a great and highly populated country anyway next to the Soviet Union and in the heart of Asia was very valuable for the Communist Soviet Union of those days. Therefore, they provided China with whatever they needed. They even provided them with nuclear energy. But our youth achieved nuclear energy through their own efforts. This is while the Chinese people received nuclear energy as a gift from the Soviet Union. They even provided North Korea with nuclear technology both China and Russia did.

If you take a look, you will see that the achievements made by countries like China were all due to the strong support which they received from other countries. The same is true about India as well of course in other aspects. The bitter dispute that was caused between China and Russia as you know, there was bitter dispute between these two communist countries for several years after the Stalin era, like the dispute between the East and the West, and maybe a little more serious than that caused the Russians to support India which was a neighboring country to China. For their part, the Chinese also started to support Pakistan which was a rival for India. This indicates the fact that political factors played a role in the selection of allies. On the one hand, China provided Pakistan with nuclear energy technology, and on the other hand, Russia provided India with nuclear energy and helped them make other sorts of accomplishments. This proves the fact the both India and Pakistan owe their current achievements to other countries.

Today, I can see that none of the countries which have made progress in various fields are in a similar situation as our country today. While our country was the subject to enmity from several countries both the communist countries of the East and the capitalist countries of the West seriously opposed us; European countries, eager to adopt a moderate stance, not only did not help us but dealt blows to our country as well our smart and clever youth managed to make progress. Great achievements have been made in the country, which is the cause of hope about the future. Our youth can make progress in the future as well. Therefore, I am very optimistic about the future. Although I appreciate the current situation, I do not by any means consider it acceptable to limit ourselves to the current achievements. Neither the administration officials, nor you and your professors should limit yourselves to the current level of progress in the country. There is a long way ahead of us. We need to make a lot of effort. There is still a long way to go before we reach the peaks. We should try to narrow the gaps as much as possible.

Making such achievements requires money and wealth. However, we should acquire wealth through the same way. As some of you mentioned most of the points that were mentioned were correct, and are also among the notes that were given to me we should try to acquire wealth in the same way. The day when we can base the country's income on our knowledge and not on oil will be a very good day for our country. We are currently using our resources. Most of the country's budget is dependant on oil. Oil is one of our resources, and we are using up this resource because there is no other choice. We should look forward to a day when we can earn money and acquire wealth through knowledge. Then, that wealth will also contribute to the promotion of knowledge in the country. There is a relationship between knowledge and wealth: Knowledge brings about wealth, and wealth promotes knowledge. The existence of each results in an increase in the other. We should pursue this goal.

Of course, we should observe divine and moral principles in our efforts, as was mentioned by some of the dear youth in this meeting. The efforts that are being made by our youth are indeed promising and delighting. Good points were mentioned during the meeting. I also had the same points in mind, and would like to emphasize those points again. Fortunately, the officials in charge of the National Institute for Elites are making strenuous efforts. I am very delighted that this new movement has been started. However, the weaknesses should also be taken into consideration and be eliminated on a regular basis.

One of the weaknesses is lack of collaboration. There should be complete collaboration between the different sectors involved in scientific and technological activities. I previously talked about the connection between industries and universities fortunately efforts are being made in this regard and these efforts will hopefully continue. Some of the officials mentioned a few points about elites getting involved in research centers and industries. These points mentioned are promising and will be announced in due time. Nonetheless, collaboration between the different scientific centers is a vital factor. The Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology, the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, the presidential department for science and technology, the national institute for elites, the institute for scientific and industrial research, and all other sectors active in this regard should develop close collaboration among themselves so that no gaps open up and the activities of one sector do not neutralize those of others.

Another point which I have to mention here is that of appreciating elites. The IRIB and our media are responsible in this regard. The names of actors are usually mentioned in different advertisements. For instance, in the quiz shows that are usually shown on TV, there are questions about the name of a hero in a particular movie. They even give prizes to those who know the answer. What will happen if someone does not know the answer to such questions? Let's imagine millions of people have not seen the movie and do not know that particular actor. Is this a problem? Is knowing the actor an advantage? Also concerning the issue of sports, I have always said that I am a supporter of professional sports. Some people used to say that professional sports were not needed. However, I believe that professional sports are necessary. This is like training elites in sports. Professional sports are like a mountain peak. If there is no peak, there will be no mountainside. If we make the peak, the mountainside public sports will be built. Therefore, I support professional sports. I also support the athletes who win medals and raise the flag of our country in different competitions. I am thankful to these athletes. However, what I intend to say is: why should we not value the scientific elites as much we value athletes? There are so many scientific elites in our country who have reached the peaks. Other countries will immediately snatch these elites away if they have any access to them. We need to appreciate these elites.

For instance, I can mention the late Dr. Saeed Kazemi Ashtiani or the dear youth who attended this meeting last year and has now passed away. These elites should be introduces to the people and praised. We do not even introduce our past scientific elites. Many of the people in our country do not know the great scientists and ulama of our country in different fields. This is not limited to such fields as religious jurisdiction, philosophy, and religious sciences. This is also true about the scientists who were prominent figures in some of the most common fields such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, and mechanics and who made great achievements. Even the inventions which they made are now being used by our people. Yet, our youth do not know their names, and we neither introduce nor remember these elites. This is a major drawback which has to be overcome.

There are other points to be mentioned as well. Some of the points were mentioned in the meeting. One of the points concerns the practical utilization of the scientific projects for practical purposes. This is an important point. The administration officials should definitely take measures in this regard, and they have planned to do so as far as I know. Hopefully, the right measures will be taken to commercialize the outcome of the projects.

Let me make the last point here. You should appreciate the opportunity to serve the country through your knowledge. One can serve the country in different ways. However, one of the best ways to serve the country is through knowledge. Different people such as politicians, merchants, businessmen, and those active in different industries also serve the country. But one of the most prominent ways of serving the country is through knowledge. The reasons were previously mentioned. This is because knowledge brings about national power, wealth and grandeur. What you do studying and rising to high scientific ranks will count as an act of worship if you have the intention to serve the country. This means that the same thing could be counted as an act of worship or a sin depending on the intention we have in mind. If you remember God, say your prayers sincerely, and have the intention of getting closer to God when praying, then this would count as an act of worship. However, if you say prayers out of hypocrisy, then your prayers would count as a sin. Hypocrisy is a great sin, an instance of which I just mentioned. This means that the intentions we have in mind when doing something are very important. If you make scientific efforts, study, and make efforts to rise to high scientific positions in order to serve the country, the people, and the Islamic Republic, then these would all count as an act of worship.

I hope God Almighty will bestow success on you all. I hope our youth will increase their scientific efforts and research on a daily basis. I hope our faithful and pious youth will be at the vanguard in this great competition among nations. I hope God Almighty will bless you all.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Speech to Officials of the Executive Branch

23/08/2008

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I pray to God to make our behavior, speech, and actions closer to what is satisfactory to Him.

First of all, I would like to congratulate all you dear brothers and sisters as well as all those who are active in the administration at various levels of management on the occasion of government week. I would also like to pay homage to the memory of the martyrs, whose names have, by Allah's favor, blessed government week. Mentioning the names of the two great martyrs Bahonar and Rajai - these two esteemed brothers who were the true manifestation of knowledge and practice in government week - is a valuable and symbolic act. That is to say, being responsible for different sectors of the country, we must model our behavior on the same values that gave distinguished characteristics to those two dear martyrs.

I deem it necessary to express my heartfelt appreciation to all administration officials, the esteemed president, cabinet members, high-ranking officials of the executive branch, and all the managers serving in the executive branch at different levels. That is because you are making sincere efforts for the sake of the public. May Allah the Exalted bless your efforts and bestow His rewards on you both in this world and in the hereafter. Divine rewards in this world are realized in the form of the effects of your efforts being tangible in the lives of the people. And by Allah's grace, I hope that they live a happy life due to your services.

I also advise you to appreciate this opportunity to serve the public. Having the opportunity to serve the general public is an ideal opportunity. This is a great opportunity to serve the nation and its lofty goals. For many consecutive centuries, we did not have the opportunity to practice what we identified as beneficial for the nation. But you have this opportunity today, and you ought to appreciate it. You must be thankful to God and ask Him to provide you with further opportunities to use this to serve the people.

As it happens, government week has coincided with the holy Islamic months. We are in the holy month of Sha'ban. The holy month of Ramadan, which is a month full of divine blessings, is a couple of weeks away. We must make the best of these divine blessings and increase our spiritual capacities and our attention to spirituality. This will prove to be helpful.

As regards the excellent report presented by the president, I would recommend that the report be published. I would also recommend that the IRIB give full coverage to the entire speech he delivered so that the people and the elites can listen to it. There are many facts in our daily lives that the people are not appropriately informed of. It is a fact that we are working for the sake of Allah and that Allah's satisfaction must be - and by Allah's favor is - our most cherished goal. But providing the public with enough information about what we do is of paramount importance. That in itself is a separate goal. I have given some recommendations in this regard previously, and I would like to repeat the same recommendations here.

There are a number of outstanding characteristics that the current administration enjoys, and I deem it necessary to specify these characteristics. Although this has been repeatedly stated before, you dear friends must pay attention to the point that it is these characteristics that provide you with this prominence. Names and positions do not necessarily grant one honor and a distinguished status. This is not the way to achieve honor. According to a tradition, "the most noble people of my Ummah are those who are acquainted with the Quran and who engage in worshipping during the night." While nobility has a particular meaning in materialistic systems of government, it has taken on a different meaning in Islamic rule. Noble people are those who engage in worshipping during the night - namely, those who rise up at night for the sake of God and those who do difficult things at night for the good of the people - and those who are acquainted with the Quran, meaning those who are closely familiar with the Quran and move along by the light of the Quran. Those who have money and a high social position are not considered as noble in Islamic thought and in the Islamic value system.

That is the way statesmen gain prominence. There are some things that provide one with true prominence, and we must pay attention to these things. In the first place, I would advise you to pay attention to the point that your prominence and your honor depend on these characteristics. Secondly, these characteristics would help clarify the reason why a certain administration or certain group of people are supported and what this support signifies. There are three characteristics that I am going to talk about today.

The first characteristic is that the current administration is hard-working in the true sense of the word. This administration means what it says. The dynamism of this administration is a prominent reality. Thankfully, you had a good start in the first year of your term, and you have managed to keep up your efforts. Although three years of your term have passed now, one can easily feel the fresh dynamism and diligence of this administration - that is to say, the dynamism has not diminished. That is an invaluable feature.

There is enthusiasm in this administration to serve the public. Organizing trips to small towns and different parts of the country and not disregarding any part of the country is a praiseworthy measure on the part the current administration. That is the first prominent characteristic. The presence of this characteristic among the members of any group of people necessitates that one appreciate the characteristic, emphasize it, and be confident and hope that Allah the Exalted will bless and reward that group.

The second prominent characteristic of the current administration is its general mottos and discourse which correspond to the mottos and discourse of Imam Khomeini (r.a.) and the Revolution. That, too, is something invaluable. No one can disregard it. Anyone who cares about the Revolution would appreciate this feature. All those who think of progress under the Revolution must appreciate this feature. Seeking justice has been given more prominence by the current administration. Mottos of seeking justice have exerted great influence on the government officials and their plans. Fighting arrogance - which has a specific revolutionary meaning - was raised to a distinguished position. Fighting arrogant powers is not the same as hostility towards other governments in the world. Rather, it means fighting arrogance on the part of any government. Arrogance on the part of any government is like plague for humanity. Of course, the US and the Zionist regime are the embodiment of arrogance today. But generally speaking, in any part of the world any government and any group of people who show arrogance towards other people plague humanity and human life. Fighting this state of affairs is something positive from an Islamic point of view. This is another characteristic of the current administration.

Claiming national honor, abandoning a passive attitude towards dominance, belligerence, and greediness on the part of other countries, and overcoming cowardice in the face of the West and westoxication are the points that one can clearly notice in the current administration. These are the causes of national honor and of genuine spiritual independence. Independence is not the same as shouting mottos of independence, nor is it the same as achieving, say, a high economic growth rate. A nation must believe in its identity and grandeur, consider them to be important, make serious efforts to preserve them, and not feel ashamed of one's righteous remarks and position when faced with opposition and ridicule.

Unfortunately, I noticed on some occasions that some of the people who represented government officials, or some government officials themselves, seemed to be ashamed of the discourse of the Revolution. They appeared to be ashamed of talking about the realities of the Revolution, pursuing them, or giving them prominence. That is a great issue that can plague an entire community. You are not suffering from this flaw.

Defending Iran's right to nuclear energy is another manifestation of defending the country's dignity. The issue was not that we wanted to use nuclear energy technology while others were against it. This was only one side of the issue. The other side of the issue was that different obstinate, bullying, and domineering powers and their mercenaries wanted to impose their will on the Iranian nation. But the Iranian nation, the administration, and the president stood firm against these bullying and expansionist powers. Allah the Exalted also helped us, and we made progress. These are the aspects of the current administration's general policies which are very important to me.

The current administration also managed to stop the process of westoxication that was penetrating different governmental organizations. This is an important matter. In every society, there might be some people who are interested in a certain country or culture due to different reasons. However, when such phenomena penetrate different revolutionary organizations and managers, they would have dangerous consequences. This was what was happening, but it was eradicated.

Secular tendencies - which were unfortunately becoming common among some government officials - were also eradicated. An Islamic government has been formed on the basis of the Quran, and Islamic principles. And it is due to this reason that our people supported the Revolution, laid down their lives for it, and sent their youth to battlefields. Can government officials in such a country hold secular beliefs? This is like uprooting the Revolution with our own hands. This was a very dangerous phenomenon that was thankfully eradicated.

Another outstanding characteristic of the administration is its courage in bringing about transformations in the country. The current administration has a tendency to bring about transformations and take the necessary measures in this regard. Of course, I do not intend to say that all of these measures are right. There might be mistakes in some cases. But the very fact that you have the courage to deal with the problems and take measures to solve them is a valuable characteristic which is thankfully possessed by the current administration.

Showing courage in fighting corruption is another point. Fighting corruption is a very difficult task, as I once said. I do not intend to say that corruption has been uprooted. It still exists. However, the administration is courageous enough to fight corruption. When the members of a group are not corrupt themselves, they naturally show more courage in fighting corruption. Of course, many of the previous administrations were also honest - I mean they were corruption-free. But the courage to fight corruption is an advantage for the current administration.

Another point is having an aggressive attitude towards global bullying powers. Sometimes, global bullying powers say: "you have done something, and we will deal with it", but other times they adopt an aggressive stance and try to bully others. The best policy in such situations is to adopt an aggressive approach. Global bullying powers suffer from many weaknesses: they are involved in different crimes, corruption, violation of human rights and the rights of different nations and people, as well as many other nasty actions. Yet, they take a bold stance at the end. Their weaknesses should be exposed in the same aggressive manner. It is by no means the case that we would try to find answers to the international political attacks. Once, I used to be asked: "what is your answer to this claim?" And I used to say that we would provide no answers. We have our own stance. We have our own stance in regard to women's rights and basic human rights. We have our own stance in regard to these issues and would not provide counterarguments. Why should anyone ever question us and seek counterarguments? They have no right to do so, or to make any false claims. What the current administration is doing is a good policy. It follows the principles of the Revolution. This is what will clarify realities.

In brief, the following constitute the general discourse of this administration: reviving and reconstructing the essential features of the Revolution and Imam Khomeini's thought, opposing those who intended to make obsolete or destroy these values and these essential concepts or those who simply claimed that they had been destroyed or made obsolete. That is something very valuable. That is the second advantage that the current administration enjoys.

The third outstanding characteristic of the administration is its humble attitude towards the public. This is very valuable and should be appreciated. It is not the appearances that have brought respect to the administration. Rather, living an austere life, keeping in touch with the people, and listening to their concerns is the current administration's advantage. You should try to preserve this characteristic.

Austere simplicity - which is especially tangible in the president's lifestyle - is an outstanding and valuable characteristic. Thankfully, this characteristic is more or less exhibited by the administration officials as well. Maintaining a simple lifestyle is a valuable characteristic. It is not possible to eradicate luxurious and extravagant lifestyles - which are indeed a great problem - in society through words only. I mean it is not possible to do so if our words are different from our actions. We should practice what we preach. In order for our words to be effective, our actions should reflect and corroborate what we say. Thankfully, this is the case in the current administration. The administration has managed to form close bonds with the underprivileged class. And you should continue to do so and narrow the gap as much as possible. These are the three outstanding characteristics of the administration.

"Those who are not grateful to God's servants are not grateful to God either." [Speaking in Arabic]. This is a duty upon me and everybody else as well. If we do not thank the current administration for its outstanding characteristics, God will not be pleased with us. Allah the Exalted would like the outstanding characteristics of people to be appreciated. And for this reason, it is my duty to thank the administration for its outstanding characteristics. Of course, my support is not limited to the current administration only. I have always supported all our administrations. Imam Khomeini (r.a.) also used to support the different administrations and the executive and government officials. The reason is obvious. This is because the executive branch shoulders a great responsibility in the management of the country, and the government should support the president, the officials of the executive branch, and the cabinet members. Imam Khomeini (r.a.) also used to support the different administrations. I have always done so in the past as well. The outstanding characteristics of the administration which I mentioned have caused me to support the current administration more strongly.

Of course, supporting the administration does not mean that we should ignore its weaknesses. To err is human. You have some weaknesses as well. There are certain things which you intended to do, but you have so far failed to do them. There are certain things which you have not thought of yet and should pay more attention to. These are the things which I also mentioned in my private meetings with the president and other government officials, and in some public meetings - like my meetings with cabinet members. Of course, I will continue to support the administration.

Let me mention a few points here. One of the points concerns my demands of the administration, which I have always talked about in my meetings with cabinet members. I would hereby like to emphasize those points again. I also talked about these demands in the past. They are very important, and I expect the top-ranking government and executive officials to pay attention to these demands.

One of the points is obeying the law. You should seriously take the law into consideration. When a law is passed, in accordance with the constitution, it must be respected and obeyed. The Majlis, the administration, or other officials might take measures to change certain laws - through proposals in the Majlis, through bills passed by the administration, or through other decisions made in different sectors. There is nothing wrong with this. The laws must be changed if there are any shortcomings or if they are not accurate. However, they must be obeyed and respected as long as they have not been changed. This is a point which I have to emphasize again. This is true about other sectors as well. You might believe that certain laws have not gone through accurate legislation processes or that the responsibility for their implementation does not fall within the administration's realm of power. When the Majlis passes a law, in accordance with the constitution, the administration must obey that law. If there are any shortcomings in the law, other people should try to address the shortcomings. The law should be observed in the Majlis, in the Guardian Council, and in other organizations.

Supervising the performance of other subsidiary sectors is also very important. I emphasize that you dear friends - top-ranking government officials - take the issue of supervision very seriously. You should keep a watchful eye in order to guarantee accuracy and progress in what you do. If you neglect this duty, you might face disorder in the sector where you work.

Humans are not like machines which can be operated at the push of a button. Humans have wills, thoughts, opinions, and different tastes as well as good and evil sensual desires. You might have to tackle different opinions, thoughts, and tastes when implementing the decisions made in the administration, and therefore fail to fully implement those decisions. This is like a body of water hitting a rock. If a narrow stream of water hits a stone, the current will be stopped. The obstacles should be removed. However, this is not possible unless there is proper supervision. The role of supervision is very vital.

The same is true about the president as well. Of course, the president's supervision over the ministers should not undermine their independence in carrying out their duties. This is because the ministers have legal duties to fulfill, have been voted into their positions by the Majlis, and should have independence in carrying out their duties. However, this does not negate the fact that ministers should be supervised. On the one hand, their independence should be respected. On the other hand, the president should exercise close supervision. This is also a duty.

Another issue is that of implementing the decisions made by the administration - especially the proposals which are made during the president's trips to different provinces and the promises which are made during these trips. During your trips to different provinces, you might make, say, one or two hundred proposals. You should seriously follow these proposals. As you know, I have long experience in receiving reports about the performance of lower-ranking officials - both during and after my presidential term. It happens pretty often that you receive reports about certain things having been done. However, when you investigate the reports, you realize that the reports are not false but not that accurate either.

There is a point in what I just said. This does not mean that you have been given false reports. Rather, it means the reports fall short of your expectations. Therefore, you should stay vigilant so that your expectations are fulfilled. There might be discrepancies in the written reports which are presented. However, the decisions which are made - especially the promises given to the people - should be followed and implemented.

As I said, you have formed a democratic administration. This means the people have the feeling that they are very closely connected to the administration. The reason is that the administration has taken a humble stance towards people. As a consequence, the level of expectations is high. It is good to act humbly towards the public, but this would raise the level of expectations. If you do not live up to the expectations, the people's trust in the administration will be undermined. This is not permissible. You should not let this happen. You should fulfill your promises. If you cannot fulfill your promises, you should honestly let the nation know about this.

During the initial stages of Dr. Ahmadinejad's term, I told him that a certain decision - which I do not want to talk about - which had been made prior to his term, might cause him troubles. I advised him to talk honestly to the people about it and say that he could not pursue the matter. I told him that the people would accept your words this way. However, he thought it was not expedient to do so and did not do what I had told him. Of course, what I had said was only a suggestion, and I did not force the president to do it. I believe that if the administration officials are unable to fulfill their promises - for instance they might make certain promises during a trip, but later find that it would bring about inflation or cause other problems - they should honestly inform the people about it. They should tell the public that a decision has been made, but unfortunately cannot be implemented. This is better than not fulfilling the promises.

Collaborating with other branches is another suggestion I would like to make to the administration officials. Collaborating with the Majlis and the judiciary is necessary. This duty should by no means be ignored. Of course, you might face certain difficulties in this regard, but you should tolerate the difficulties.

Another issue is that of developing an organized collaboration with the elites and intellectuals - even those who hold different views. The administration should collaborate with these people. The role of elites should not be neglected. I believe that where there is a contradiction between the will of the public and that of the elites, the will of the public should be given precedence. This is the view of Imam Ali (a.s.). The Commander of the Faithful (a.s,) made this demand in his famous letter to Malek al-Ashtar. Of course, this is not the case at all times. We should sometimes make use of the reforming views of elites. This means that just as is said "we can use other's knowledge in case our knowledge is not sufficient", we can also use other's help to do certain things. This is a reality. We should utilize the opinions, and capabilities of all people.

Another issue is that of presenting reports which I have always emphasized. Of course, recently I see that some useful reports are presented prior to the president's trips to different provinces. However, you should not limit yourselves to that only. The reports should be skillfully prepared. They should not be presented like the ordinary and common reports. Of course, the president's report presented in today's meeting is an exception. In my opinion, it should be fully published. Also in other sectors, the ministers should act in an organized manner when presenting reports. It is not easy to deliver a report. Presenting a report - of what you have done - that would win the people's trust is a very difficult task. It needs expertise and should be done carefully.

Another suggestion I would like to make - and which I have always emphasized - is related to the issue of science and technology. Fortunately, the president's deputy for science - who fortunately received vote of confidence from the Majlis - would be very helpful in this regard. However, the issue still needs more careful attention. This is a basic issue and is among the fundamental matters of the country. If we can make progress in this regard, it would lead to progress in other areas as well.

Another suggestion is related to the issue of culture. Of course, certain things have been done in this regard. The issue was also mentioned in the report presented by the president. I know about many of the things that are being done in this regard. Still, I have to say that the issue of culture is of paramount importance. As I have always said, it is like the environment that we breathe in. All of us - old, young, high-ranking, and low-rankling people, those from different backgrounds, officials, and non-officials - breathe in this environment. This environment should be properly built so that everyone can breathe in healthy conditions.

You should also pay attention to the criticisms leveled against you. Of course, as I will mention later, criticism is different from denigration. Unfortunately, many people denigrate under the guise of criticism. Where you are being truly criticized, and where people pay attention to the positive points as well as the weaknesses, you should patiently listen to the criticisms. This does not mean that you should accept all criticisms - because they might make mistakes in criticizing you. You should listen to criticisms when the administration is being rightly criticized. These are the things which I have mentioned in the past as well. Still, I have to emphasize these points again. Some of the points have been taken into consideration, while others need to be paid more attention to.

There are a number of points that I would like to make about the last year of this term. First of all, you must keep working as hard as you did in the first year of your term. Of course, I feel that is the case. However, I have to emphasize this again. You must not assume that this is the last year of your term. You ought to work as if you were supposed to remain in office for five more years. You must work, plan, and take measures with this in mind.

Second, you must give priority to what has been left unfinished. That is what flourishment means. I named this year as 'the year of innovation and flourishment'. Innovation is not proposing a series of different projects one after the other. Innovation is an intellectual endeavor. Innovation means finding new ways to do things, and providing the administration with the outcomes. It could be this administration or any other administration voted into office in the next 20 years. Innovation means finding new ways. Making the outcome of your efforts visible to the public is part of the meaning of flourishment. Therefore, you must give priority to unfinished projects, started by your administration or the previous administrations. The bottom line is that the people should be able to benefit from your services in this term.

The third point that I want to make here concerns providing the public with the appropriate information. There is another important issue that I would like to raise here. The next decade is the decade of progress and justice. Justice and progress are the mottos of the next decade. This is not to say that we have not made any progress so far or that justice has been disregarded. On the contrary, we want to take a quantum leap regarding the promotion of justice and progress in the next decade. Fortunately, we have the necessary means. In the next decade, the government officials' discourse must be centered on progress and development coupled with justice.

Of course, it goes without saying that justice cannot be administered in the absence of spirituality and rationality. I have stressed this point in the past as well. In the absence of spirituality, justice turns into hypocrisy. In addition, rationality is a necessity for the administration of justice, because in the absence of rationality genuine justice may be replaced with what is only so-called justice. Therefore, rationality and spirituality are both a prerequisite for the administration of justice.

Progress would lose its meaning in the absence of justice, as would justice in the absence of progress. Justice and progress must go hand in hand. If we are to turn into a model for other Islamic countries, the promotion of justice and progress must be our lofty aspiration and it must be of central concern.

The twenty-year strategic plan would provide us with the necessary direction. The strategic plan must not be disregarded. This plan will indeed show us the way. You must re-evaluate your supervisory mechanisms. The others may supervise you, or they might fail to do so. They may or may not supervise you in an appropriate manner. You must set up supervisory bodies and supervisory mechanisms within the executive branch - which has an essential role in realizing the goals of the strategic plan - in order to check the progress of the plans and policies. I mean it must not be the case that we look back after the passage of 10 years and see that we have made no progress. You must not let that happen. You must constantly check your progress and see what percentage of the goals has been realized, and how much of the groundwork has been done.

The next point has to do with the policies regarding Article 44 of the constitution. There is a general consensus that if this article is implemented, there will be a transformation in the country's progress. It will bring about a transformation in economy, and this in turn will lead to transformations in other areas as well. That is a very important point. There have been good reports coming in, and good measures have been taken in this regard. The administration had taken good measures before this article was passed in the Majlis. Thankfully, the article has been ratified now, and you must pursue these policies.

The plan for economic transformation that has recently been proposed by the administration is a great achievement. Even the courage to take such a measure is praiseworthy. This plan had been discussed in other administrations as well, but no real action was taken. Also the problems that keep plaguing banks, taxation, insurance, customs services, and other areas addressed in different parts of the plan are all important issues and need to be remedied. I would recommend that you proceed with prudence. That is to say, you must never let this great issue be treated with haste. This is another important measure that has to be taken. If you can do this in an appropriate manner, it will constitute a giant stride towards the progress of the country. Of course, if it is not done in an appropriate manner, it will result in certain dangerous consequences. I mean you must take extra care not to treat the issue perfunctorily. It is totally unadvisable to balk at entering this arena. But I recommend that you be cautious about the prospects and the consequences. I recommend that you make plans to prevent the consequences.

Suppose a certain part of this plan is predicted to result in inflation. You must think in advance and make plans in order to deal with this consequence. You must see what measures to take in order to mitigate the effects of this unavoidable inflation or to prevent them. This is necessary for safeguarding economic activities against the consequences of this great transformation. Inflation is a great issue in our country. I mean you have rendered so many services and made so many efforts, which must show their effects in people's lives. We currently have this problem. Of course, as was discussed before my address, part of this inflation is due to the current global inflation, drought, and last year's harsh winter. But part of the problem might have been avoidable. Therefore we must identify the avoidable factors and keep clear of them.

Criticism and denigration is the last point that I want to discuss. What is the line between criticism and denigration? They sometimes denigrate under the guise of criticism. Other times, we are offered constructive criticism and we think that we are being denigrated. We must determine what constitutes criticism and what counts as denigration. Criticism may be defined as fair evaluation done by experts. A blacksmith is not qualified to say that a piece of gold is, say, 20 carat gold. This evaluation has to be done by a goldsmith.

Unfortunately, one can see that denigration is being leveled against the current administration under the guise of criticisms. I mean they deny the strengths and positive points of this administration and magnify their weaknesses. No one can deny the fact that there are some weaknesses. Any administration has its own weaknesses. No one is perfect. One must point out the weaknesses as well as the strengths. An administration can be evaluated only when its strengths and weaknesses are fairly pointed out. Constant slandering and denying all positive features do not constitute criticism. I touched upon three major strengths in the beginning of my speech. There are of course many other strong points. Those who criticize the administration must point out these three strengths as well. They must refer to the administration's high spirits and its discourse. They must also point out its performance and the general attitude of the administration officials. It is only then that they may point out the weaknesses of the administration. Such criticisms must be attended to and accepted wholeheartedly. But these criticisms must not be accompanied by complete disregard for the strong points and a tendency to present the strengths as weaknesses.

Today, our foreign policy and our discourse in the face of arrogant powers are imbued with a righteous tone, with grandeur, and with spiritual and national power. There are some people who point to the same thing and criticize this feature, saying "you have made such and such a government dissatisfied." Some governments would naturally hate us. Such governments would have been satisfied with us if we had flattered them, quoted them as an authority, or withdrawn our revolutionary remarks. Constructive criticism is something good, but denigration is not tenable. Constructive criticism constitutes service and denigration is betrayal - betrayal of not the administration but of the Islamic government and the nation. Nobody is allowed to denigrate others, but constructive criticism is welcome.

Of course, you must treat the criticisms with tolerance. That is to say, if a criticism is fair, you must welcome it. I would even recommend that you tolerate denigration. Such things happen to all administrations during the last year of their terms. Of course, this administration has had a greater proportion of denigration. There are two fronts that are acting against this administration: internal and foreign. The latter camp is the more important one. If you take a look at the reports of the world media and the comments of news agencies and political forums, you will notice that they have all joined forces in order to pressure this administration and castigate it. They do not seek to throw mud at this administration alone - namely, Dr. Ahmadinejad or the officials of the executive branch. Of course, you have to bear the brunt of this denigration, but their main target is the Revolution and the Islamic Republic. You are targeted just because you are saying what the government intends to say. That is the policy which is currently being pursued outside the country. This policy is pursued in its various forms. Some of these attacks can be seen by the public, while some others cannot be identified even by the elite. But I am aware of these attempts. According to the reports I receive and by observing their interaction and comments, I have realized how the entire administration is being targeted by the attacks. This is all due to the fact that the discourse of this administration is the same as the revolutionary discourse and follows the path of the Revolution.

There are a variety of motives behind the internal attempts at denigration. One should not tar everybody with the same brush. There are some people who are unaware of what they do - that is, they do not bear any grudges against the administration. They simply lack the necessary information and say what they say due to lack of sufficient information. Some of them bear personal and superficial grudges. There are some other people who are deeply spiteful. In other words, they are at odds with the entire government and bear grudges against Imam Khomeini (r.a.). These people are the ones who either never believed in the words of Imam Khomeini (r.a.) or do not believe in them now. There are some people among them who lost their faith in his statements and turned their backs on him. These are some of the motives. But they all amount to the current belligerence and mud-throwing.

I would also recommend that you avoid providing the opponents with pretexts. Unfortunately, I sometimes notice that you yourselves provide the opposition with pretexts. You must take extra care in this regard.

I hope that Allah the Exalted is satisfied with you and with us all. I hope He will assist us. I hope that the Imam of the Age is satisfied with us. I hope we will keep serving the Islamic Republic, Islam, and the nation. I hope we will not feel ashamed on the Judgment Day. The remaining days of our lives are going to pass quickly. As you can remember, in my first meeting with you, I pointed out that it was the first meeting and that we would soon be holding the last meeting. You can see how quickly time passes and our lives get closer to their end. I hope when we are raised on the Judgment Day, we will not feel ashamed before Allah the Exalted, His Imams, and all people.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Speech on the Occasion of Imam Mahdi's Birth Anniversary

17/08/2008

The following is the full text of the public speech delivered on August 17, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

First of all, I would like to congratulate you dear brothers and sisters on this auspicious Eid, which is full of hope and promise for all faithful people. I also congratulate all those who believe in the leadership of the Prophet's (s.w.a.) household and all those who fight oppression as well as all vigilant, knowledgeable, and freedom-seeking people.

The 15th of Sha'ban is a day that is full of promise. This promise is neither peculiar to Shia Muslims nor even the entire Islamic Ummah. To the best of my knowledge, the promise of a bright future for humanity and the arrival of a promised savior for promoting justice are universal beliefs that are shared by almost all divine religions across the world. Apart from Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, even Hindi faiths such as Buddhism - and other religions that most people have not even heard about - have informed their followers of such a future in their teachings. In fact, this has provided man with a kind of hope throughout history. It is a response to human need for this hope.

Divine religions - which often have divine and celestial roots - did not intend to give people false hopes. They all expressed a reality. There is a reality in the creation of man and in the long history of humanity, and that reality is that one day the battle between good and evil is going to result in the defeat of evil and the victory of good. After this stage, man's true and pleasant life is going to begin in which struggle will no longer imply fighting. Rather, people will struggle for equality in doing righteous deeds. This is a fact that is shared by all religions.

One outstanding characteristic of our Shia beliefs is that this denomination has transformed this aspiration and this abstract concept into a concrete reality. In fact, when the Shia are waiting for the arrival of the promised savior Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and are not lost in their fantasies, they are searching for a reality. He is alive and lives among the people. He sees people. He can feel their sufferings. Those who are lucky enough and have the capacity sometimes meet him without recognizing him. He is alive. He lives among us with his parents. He has a name. This is what characterizes our Shia beliefs.

And the followers of other faiths who do not believe in this reality have never been able to provide any logical reasons to reject this belief. There are several obvious and strong reasons, also accepted by Sunni Muslims, which are a testimony to the existence of this exalted servant of God. All these reasons provide evidence that Imam Mahdi (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) is living among us - and we are all aware of his characteristics. This is what has been cited in many non-Shia sources as well.

The birth date of the pure-hearted son of Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) is known to everyone. His miracles and those who are connected with him are also known to us. God Almighty has granted a long life to him. These are the characteristics of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) whom all the nations of the world, all ethnic groups, and people from all faiths and races are impatiently waiting for at all times. These are the beliefs of Shia Muslims about this important issue.

One important point regarding the issue of Mahdaviat is that in the Islamic and Shia belief systems, waiting for the arrival of Imam Mahdi has been interpreted as waiting for salvation. What does salvation mean? It means being saved. When do we usually yearn for salvation? We do so when we are in a difficult situation, and when there is a problem. When we face problems, we are in need of salvation - that is someone who can solve our problems and save us. This is an important point.

The true meaning of waiting for a savior is that those who believe in Islam and the religion of the Prophet's household (a.s.) identify the problems of humans in the modern world. This is what they should actually do. They are waiting for the problems of humanity to be solved. The issue is not limited to my or your problems only. The Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) will come to solve the problems of humanity. He will come to save humanity forever.

This means that those who are waiting for the arrival of Imam Mahdi are discontent about the current situation of the world - the unfair situation of the world in which many innocent people are oppressed, many are misled, and many others do not find the opportunity to worship God. Waiting for the arrival of Imam Mahdi means opposing the current situation that is prevalent in humans' life, and which has been caused due to the prevalence of ignorance and carnal desires in humans' life. This is the true meaning of waiting for the arrival of Imam Mahdi.

Look at the current situation of the world. The same situation which has been talked about in the traditions related to the arrival of Imam Mahdi (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) currently exists in the world: The world is brimful of oppression and tyranny. This has been mentioned in different traditions and prayers related to the arrival of Imam Mahdi. "God will fill the world with justice through him [Imam Mahdi] just as it was once full of oppression and tyranny". Oppression and tyranny has constantly been prevalent in humans' life. The same situation currently exists in the world. Today, oppression and tyranny are prevalent in the world. Today, the life of human beings is dominated by the oppressive and arrogant powers of the world. This is the situation that exists in all parts of the world. Today, human beings are suffering many a problem due to the prevalence of tyranny and carnal desires in their lives. The existence of two billion people suffering from hunger, the existence of millions of people who are under the influence of carnal desires in non-divine governments, and the pressure that is currently being exerted on faithful people and those who fight for justice on God's path - such as the Iranian nation who has managed to raise the flag of justice in a certain part of the world - are all indicative of the prevalence of tyranny and oppression in the world.

Today we are waiting for a savior. This means that we are waiting for a strong and powerful savior to bring justice to the world and put an end to all the oppression and tyranny which is currently prevalent in the life of humans. We are waiting for that savior to put an end to this state of oppression and tyranny and bring justice to the life of humans. This is a permanent need for a living and conscious person. It is a need for those who have not limited themselves to their personal lives only. All humans with a broad perspective on the general life of humans would naturally be waiting for that day. This is the true meaning of waiting [for the savior]. Waiting for Imam Mahdi means that we should not accept or be satisfied with the current situation in our lives, and we should make efforts towards living an ideal life. And it is evident that such an ideal situation can only be created by Imam Mahdi (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). We should prepare ourselves to fight like a soldier for such a situation.

Waiting for the arrival of Imam Mahdi does not mean that we should remain idle and not make any efforts to improve. Simply waiting for the arrival of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) is not what we should do. What does waiting for the savior mean? It means waiting for the strong, powerful and divine hand of Imam Mahdi to put an end to the domination of the oppressive powers with the help of humans, to bring justice to the world, to raise the flag of monotheism, and to lead humans to worshipping God. We should get prepared for this. The formation of the Islamic Republic prepared the ground for this great and historic movement. Everything that is done to achieve justice in the world takes us one step forward towards reaching this lofty goal. This is the meaning of waiting for Imam Mahdi. Waiting means that we should move and not remain idle. Waiting does not mean that we should leave things to others and wait for something to happen. Waiting means that we should move and get prepared for the arrival of Imam Mahdi. We should be individually and socially prepared. Taking this great step and being able to prepare the right atmosphere for the arrival of Imam Mahdi was a blessing from God Almighty on our nation. This is the meaning of waiting for Imam Mahdi. Being prepared on all fronts to achieve the purpose for which the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) will rise up is the true meaning of waiting for him. That great revolution will happen to achieve such goals as promoting justice, living a humane and moral life, and worshipping God. This is what waiting for the savior means.

Thank God, today our nation pays more attention than ever to the issue of Mahdaviat and the holy being of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). One feels that our youth and people are getting more dedicated and devoted to the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) on a daily basis. And this is a blessing from that esteemed Imam. The kind and merciful attention of that honored Imam to our nation has attracted the hearts of our people to him. This is indicative of the attention of that honored Imam to our nation. We should appreciate this.

Of course, those who pursue personal interests sometimes take advantage of this fact - like all the other facts which are misused by those who pursue personal interests. Such claims as having seen, met, or being led in prayers by Imam Mahdi are utterly false and shameful. These are the false claims that might mislead the minds of the pure-hearted people who believe in this evident fact. We should not let this happen. All the people should know that such claims as being connected with, meeting, or receiving orders from this honored Imam [Imam Mahdi] cannot be confirmed. Even prominent and great people - those who one moment of their life is as valuable as months and years of our lives - never made such claims. Of course, one may be lucky enough to have the capacity to see Imam Mahdi, but such people will never make any claims or talk about such issues. They are never after personal interests. Those who make such claims in order to promote personal interests can be said to be liars for sure. The concept of Imam Mahdi's arrival should be purged of such morally harmful notions.

Today, our meeting is fortunately attended by different groups of people: cultural attaches, managers of the Ministry of Education, expert and prominent members of the "National Organization for the Youth", as well as a group of people active in organizations dealing with the issue of Mahdaviat. What I intend to tell you dear and vigilant brothers and sisters present in this cultural gathering is that our Islamic belief system, particularly the Shia belief system, is among the most pure, logical, and compelling belief systems. The concept of monotheism and the Imams whom we believe in, the way we think of the Prophet's (s.w.a.) character, our beliefs, and our religious teachings formulated within the Shia belief system, are all logical. And every curious person who is interested in research can verify the truth of such beliefs. The Shia belief system is founded on strong arguments. This has always been the common view about Shia beliefs during the history of Islam. Other people, and those who oppose us but are in a position to involve in arguments and reasoning, have confirmed the righteousness and strong basis of the Shia belief system which is based on what the Imams (a.s.) have said. And these Imams (a.s.), following the tradition of the Holy Quran, have ordered us to use our wisdom and thought and reflect on these beliefs. Therefore, thought and reason play an important role in the Shia belief system. Besides, the teachings of the Imams (a.s.) are also instructive and prevent us from getting deviated.

First, we need to correctly understand these beliefs. Second, we need to delve into the depth of these beliefs through reflection. Third, we should correctly convey these beliefs. This should be the case in all cultural organizations. In schools, teachers and managers who are involved in educational and cultural affairs can best use this golden opportunity - the students' teenage years. Religious beliefs can be deeply ingrained in the students' minds in a clever, precise, and well-thought-out manner - not only in theology classes, but also during all educational opportunities. This way, students will find the opportunity to focus their hearts and minds on these teachings.

It is one of the most important duties of the cultural organizations active outside the country, which are in contact with the people from other countries, to expose the interested people in these countries to these realities and ask for their opinions in this regard. They should inform these people of the realities. Regarding the issue of Mahdaviat, Sunni Muslims - and even non-Muslim ulama who have studied the Shia beliefs about the issue of Mahdaviat - all confirm the fact that the promises which have been given in the Torah, Gospel, and other scriptures are based on the same Mahdaviat concept which exists in Shia Islam. Those who are not aware of the Shia beliefs, or who have been misinformed about Shia beliefs cannot naturally be expected to hold such views. These beliefs should be conveyed to other people in an accurate manner. If so, you will see that all the intellectuals of the world will agree with our beliefs, will corroborate them, and will get attracted to them.

This is a point that our youth - our elites, students, and students of Islamic seminaries - the organizations in charge of educational affairs, and those who spread our beliefs should pay attention to. Conveying the realities expressed by the followers of Imam Ali (a.s.) and the Prophet's household (a.s.) to the audiences will bring about their acceptance and will get them to confirm those beliefs. We have to convey the realities to others. We should try to get rid of false beliefs, misunderstandings, and false claims. Of course, ulama, intellectuals, and religious instructors play an important role in this regard. Our nation has proven the truth of these teachings by following the teachings of the Prophet's household (a.s.) during the Revolution, the Sacred Defence Era, and the events which happened in the country at different times. Many people in the world became aware of the truth of Shia Islam during the Sacred Defence Era and converted to Shia Islam. They accepted the Shia belief system, just as many global witnesses came to believe the truth of Islam during the Revolution and the Sacred Defense Era. This was because of the realities they witnessed in the deeds of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) and his supporters - that is, our youth who were involved in jihad and who fought for justice on God's path. Many Muslim nations who were unaware of the realities of Islam became aware of those realities. Showing the realities of religion and acting in accordance with those realities produces such miraculous effects.

I hope our dear nation will benefit from the immaculate prayers of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). I hope our nation will increase its loyalty and devotion to Imam Mahdi (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) on a daily basis. I hope our hearts will have the capacity for the arrival of Imam Mahdi (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) and the world will be ready for his great revolution.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Speech on the Occasion of Mab'ath

30/07/2008

The following is the full text of the address delivered on July 30, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution on the occasion of Mab'ath.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I congratulate all those who seek justice and freedom in the world, the great Islamic Ummah, the faithful and dear Iranian nation, and you dear brothers and sisters who have attended this meeting on the occasion of this great Eid.

Remembering mab'ath is not limited to remembering a historical event only - this is the point we should keep in mind when remembering this great event, which is a precious memory for humanity. Rather, this glorious memory is in fact like repeating and reviewing an unforgettable lesson for the Islamic Ummah - the people, as well as the prominent figures and elites of the Islamic Ummah including politicians, scientists, and intellectuals. Secondly, it is an important lesson for all humans. Remembering mab'ath is like repeating a lesson, emphasizing a model, and reviewing an instructive event.

There are many aspects to this event, and in fact one has to talk for hours and write several books if one is to eloquently - even if briefly - talk about the different aspects of mab'ath. However, even when one briefly considers this event, there are many lessons to be learnt. If you look at the event, you will see that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), with a message that included everything humans needed for perfection, started his duty and began to promote Islam in a society that was devoid of the desired ideals.

The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) carried the message of knowledge, yet there was no knowledge in that society. He carried the message of justice, yet there was no trace of justice in that society and powerful people and bullying rulers dominated people's lives and possessions. He was the messenger of morality, lenience, forgiveness, justice, and kindness, yet that society was devoid of such characteristics in the real sense of the word. The society was full of unkind, bullying, immoral, ignorant, and prejudiced people who were unjustifiably arrogant and who had their hearts set on carnal desires.

It was in such tough and fanatic conditions and in such a dry desert that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) grew up. And this 13-year period finally ended in the establishment of the Prophet's rule. He formed a community on the basis of monotheism, knowledge, justice, morality, ethics, and generosity. He transformed humility into dignity and savagery into brotherhood. He turned fanaticism into tolerance and reasoning. He transformed a state of ignorance into knowledge. He built a strong and logical foundation on the basis of which Muslims could reach the peaks of global civilizations for centuries and could rise to new heights which were unprecedented in human history.

His rule did not last any more than ten years. You just see what proportion of a nation's lifespan could those 13 years and the following ten years constitute. It is like a moment which passes very quickly. During such a short time, a great movement was started which could well be said to have divided human history into two eras: the pre-Islamic era, and the post-Islamic era. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) pushed humanity forwards, strengthened the bases of morality, and left unforgettable lessons for all humans. You should consider the greatness of mab'ath from such a perspective.

There were of course a number of interrelated factors which led to this success. But this success was mainly due to the Prophet being full of spirituality, purity, loyalty, and relying completely on God. This was a major and decisive factor in his success. Prior to his prophethood, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) was the most knowledgeable and the wisest of the people of Mecca. He was the most generous, respectable, and decent person in the area where he lived.

Among those people, this prominent person enjoyed the blessing of God and the responsibility was put on his shoulders. This was because God had put him to the test before. God knew His servant and knew who He was assigning this responsibility to. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) stood firm. His resistance and his perseverance that was accompanied by a deep knowledge of the goal he was pursuing and of the path he was treading supported all the achievements of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and led to the success of this great movement. One who is right always wins but there are some prerequisites. In order for the right to win, one must defend it. To help righteousness win, one must persevere on the path of righteousness.

After the passage of three years or more, in the first phase of be'that, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) had managed to convert 30 or 40 people to Islam through his covert call to Islam. Then a divine order was issued - "Therefore declare openly what thou art commanded, and turn away from the polytheists." [The Holy Quran 15: 94] - requiring the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) to raise flag of Islam and to openly call people to Islam. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) did so and then the events that you have heard about took place. This struck terror into the hearts of the chiefs of Quraysh and the wealthy and powerful people. The first thing that they did was to try to tempt the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.). They went to Abi Talib and told him that if his nephew wanted leadership, they were prepared to grant the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) absolute authority over their community. "If he wants wealth, we will give him so much wealth that he becomes wealthier than all of us. If he wants to be a king, we will appoint him as our king. Just tell him to stop saying these things." Being concerned about the safety of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and his enemies' plots, Abi Talib went to him and told him the message of the chiefs of Mecca. He probably gave the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) some advice and recommended that he tone down his remarks to some extent. Maybe he told the Prophet (s.w.a.) that his dogged persistence was unnecessary. "Dear uncle, even if they place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left to prevent me from achieving this goal, I swear by Allah that I will not do as they say [and I will continue with my call to Islam] until God grants us victory over them or until we all get killed," [Speaking in Arabic] the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) replied.

Then the Prophet's (s.w.a.) eyes were filled with tears, and he got up to leave. Having observed this faith and steadfastness, Abi Talib was impressed and said "dear nephew, go and say whatever you like." [Speaking in Arabic]. He told him to pursue his goal. "I swear by God that I will not give you away, no matter what I receive in return." [Speaking in Arabic]. This steadfastness bred more steadfastness. This steadfastness on the part of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) strengthened the roots of steadfastness in the heart of Abi Talib. Pursuing the goals, not fearing the enemy, not being tempted by what the enemy has to offer, and not being dependant on the privileges that the enemy offers to prevent one from treading the path one believes in give rise to resistance, peace, trust in the path, the goal, and God who this goal belongs to. There were not more than 30 or 40 of them. These 30 or 40 people tolerated all those hardships and increased in number on a daily basis. Each day they were witness to what they did to Ammar and Bilal. They were witness to the torturing and martyrdom of Sumayyah and Yasir. They were witness to these things, but they still converted to Islam. That is the way righteousness is promoted. The mere raising of the flag in peace and security will not help promote righteousness. Righteousness will be promoted only when there is steadfastness and perseverance on the part of righteous people who believe in righteousness.

There is a verse in the Quran [48: 29] that says "Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those with him are firm against the disbelievers, compassionate among themselves." The phrase "firm against the disbelievers" does not mean that Muslims are involved in a constant war with the disbelievers. Rather, it means strength and solidity. Firm means solid here. This solidity may be manifested in a particular manner on the battlefield. It may also be manifested in another way when negotiating with the enemy. Just see how the Prophet (s.w.a.) talked to his enemies when it was necessary to do so. His plans were the embodiment of solidity, without any flaws. In the battle of Ahzab, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) entered into negations with the enemy. But it was not usual negotiations. The details of these negotiations are recorded in history. Battles and negotiations were both carried out in a solid manner. Cooperation was also carried out firmly. That is the meaning of the phrase "firm against the disbelievers".

The phrase "compassionate among themselves" means that Muslims are lenient with one another. Muslims do not treat each other firmly. It is time for expressing affections when Muslims are together.

The resistance at the beginning of be'that resulted in three years of unbelievable resistance in She'b-e Abi Talib. They lived in the sizzling sun in a valley near Mecca for three years. There were no plants and no water, and this is no joke. The Prophet (s.w.a.), Abi Talib, Khadijah, and all Muslims and their families lived in this valley - in the holes of the mountains. They had blocked all the ways so that they had no access to foodstuff. Sometimes when it was time for Hajj - in which, according to the rules of the Ignorance Era, no one was allowed to start a war - they were allowed to enter the town. But Abu Jahl, Abu Lahab, and other chiefs of Mecca had told their servants and children to pay twice the price and buy whatever the early Muslims needed to buy. They had been told to prevent Muslims from buying their requirements at a shop. It is no joke living in such difficult conditions for three years.

It is such resistance and the heart that relies on Allah that gives rise to such solidity and makes people be patient. Children cried through the night out of hunger. The sound of their crying could be heard in Mecca, and some of the kind-hearted disbelievers of Quraysh felt sympathetic towards them. But no one dared to help them due to their fear of the powerful. That was while the faith of the early Muslims whose children wasted away before their eyes - there were many people who died there, many were plagued with diseases, and many suffered from starvation - was not shaken.

The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) told his dear son, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah, "...the mountains may be shaken, they may be removed, but your faith must not be shaken." That was the same piece of advice that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) gave in his testament. That is the way the Islamic Ummah must rise up. That is what the be'that of the Islamic Ummah means. That is the lesson that the Prophet (s.w.a.) taught us. That is what be'that teaches us.

It is no use sitting around and saying that Quranic verses were revealed or that Gabriel came and appointed Mohammad as the Prophet. It is no use rejoicing that a particular person converted to Islam and that another did not. The point is that we must learn lessons from this event - which gave rise to all the other events of the holy life of the Prophet (s.w.a.). All the years of his prophethood, which lasted for 23 years, are full of lessons for us.

Once I said that the life of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) must be studied "millimeter by millimeter". Every moment of his life embodied an event, a lesson, and a great manifestation of humanity. That is true of those 23 years of his prophethood. Our youth must go and read the biography of the Prophet (s.w.a.) from authoritative sources and familiarize themselves with the events. This Ummah with such grandeur - which still keeps presenting humanity with the best advice, the best solutions, the greatest lessons, and the best cure - started out, spread, and set its roots in this way. Otherwise, the mere fact that we are right will not push us forwards. Righteousness must be accompanied by steadfastness. I have said on many occasions that in the battle of Siffin the Commander of the Faithful said "one cannot bear this flag unless one is patient and has insight." Only those who have insight and know the goal and who are patient can bear this flag. Patience is the same as steadfastness and solidity. That is the lesson that be'that holds for us.

Our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) was a stream that branched off from the same bountiful spring. As a result, he was able to cause such a momentous event in the world. Our Imam's heart was similarly full of faith in his own path. "The Messenger believed in what was sent sown to him by God and all the believers believed in God, His angles, His Book, and His Messenger." [The Holy Quran 2: 285]. The Prophet (s.w.a.) himself was the first believer.

In our Revolution, the Imam was the first to believe in this path. And his heart was filled with more faith in this path and this goal than anyone else. He knew what he was doing. He was fully aware of the magnitude of the task. As a preliminary necessity, he had to stand firm by relying on Allah. He stood firm. As a result of his resistance, the youth of this nation were inspired with the power of resistance. When they saw this spring of patience and tranquility overflow and form a stream, the entire nation were also inspired by the power of resistance. They became the manifestation of the verse "He it is the one who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers that they might add faith to their faith." [The Holy Quran 48: 4]. When one's heart is inspired by this tranquility, one's faith increases. "And Allah's are the soldiers of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise" the verse continues. What are you afraid of? The soldiers of the heavens and the earth belong to Allah. If you stay with God, you will have the soldiers of the heavens and the earth at your command. These are divine laws.

Allah the Exalted created two things simultaneously: the world that is ruled by natural laws, and the laws of sharia - that is, a religion for the people serving as guidelines for their lives. These two were created at the same time, and they correspond to one another. If you act in accordance with divine laws - namely, the laws that have been specified by God in sharia - your lifestyle and behavior will correspond to the laws of nature. This is analogous to a ship that travels in the same direction as the wind, and the wind propels it forward. This is all analogous to a ship that moves in the same direction as the tides, and the flow of water helps it move forward.

The divine laws of nature will help those who act in accordance with them. However, this advantage will accrue to those who act. The Iranian people did make a move, and the divine laws of nature helped them. Otherwise, no one would have believed that the flag of Islam would be raised at the heart of the most strategic part of the world - that is, the Middle East - by a nation that had been under the rule of one of the governments that was very much dependant on the global arrogant powers, namely the Pahlavi regime. No one would have believed that the flag of Islam would be raised by a country in which the minds of intellectuals and elites had been contaminated by Western ideas, Western temptations, and carnal desires. Who would have thought that such a nation would call the Islamic Ummah to Islam? No one would have thought it was possible for such a nation to do these things, but the fact is that it did happen.

This means that when a group of people or a nation move on this path, the divine laws of nature help them move forward. This is not limited to Iran only. Today the entire world of Islam has awakened. Today the awareness of the entire Muslim world has been heightened. Once there was a common assumption that only powerful and bullying countries - represented by the US or the U.S.S.R. - had the capability to determine the course of events and that the politicians throughout the world had to follow suit. Nowadays, there is no such belief among the nations. This belief has also been seriously undermined among politicians and political elites. We must stand firm.

I assure the Iranian nation and the followers of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) that steadfastness is the right option. Following its magnanimous Imam (r.a.), the Islamic Republic of Iran has chosen to stand firm. Not only did this steadfastness not harm us, but it also proved to be beneficial to us. All the mouthpieces of the arrogant powers pooled their resources and resorted to different types of fallacies to prevent the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic from supporting Palestinians. But our nation refused to give up. We will keep supporting the Palestinian nation.

The Palestinian nation is in the right. It has been oppressed. Shame on those who claim to support freedom and human rights. They claim to support human rights, yet they turn a blind eye to all the oppression that has afflicted the Palestinian nation. I wonder why they do not feel ashamed. Where in the world would a fair person stand so much oppression that is being imposed on the Palestinian nation - not as the owners of the country, but, say, even as an immigrant minority? Their houses are being demolished. Their youth are being killed. Their men are being imprisoned. They are constantly threatened. Their houses are being bombed. They are forced to suffer from starvation. They are under an economic blockade. Their gardens are being ruined, as are their lives. Who would stand all these things? Yet President Bush shamelessly claims that his administration is committed to freedom. You call this freedom? Shame on you, Bush. You call this support for freedom?

An entire nation is pressurized like that within its own territory. Yet the world powers constantly support the bully, the aggressor, the murderer, and the terrorist. They turn a blind eye to all the oppression that the Palestinian nation is suffering from, yet they claim to support freedom.

The Iranian nation is vigilant. The Iranian nation knows the truth. If you retreat a single step, the arrogant powers will take a step forward. That is the nature of the arrogant powers. It is wrong to imagine that the arrogant powers will shy away once we tone down our rightful stance and claims. Our retreat will not cause the arrogant powers to adopt a noble attitude and retreat. That is not the case.

If you retreat a single step, the arrogant powers will take a step forward. If you leave a stronghold, they will occupy it. The Islamic Ummah must adopt such a perspective on the affairs. The politicians of the Muslim world must consider the developments from this perspective. The Iranian nation is standing firm. It has declared its rightful stance. We want monotheism and unanimity. We want to serve God only, not the US. We do not want to serve the arrogant bullying powers. We do not want to serve the modern pharaohs, Abu Jahls, and Abu Lahabs. One may wonder who the modern Abu Jahl is. One may think that Abu Jahl is dead now, but we still have an Abu Jahl in the world.

Even now we have Abu Jahls and Abu Lahabs in the world. There are still brainless, ignorant people in the world who keep fanning the flames of discord. Modern Abu Jahls are those who make atomic bombs and threaten the entire world. Yet they pick on a nation that is trying to achieve nuclear energy, although they admit that this nuclear technology is to be used for generating electricity and for peaceful purposes. They want to stop us exactly because we intend to use the nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, which, they believe, will grant us further capabilities. That is what they want. You will lose if you give up your rights against these unreasonable and ignorant bullies who are impervious to logical reasoning. The Iranian nation has had the experience. We have had to deal with these things for 30 years. But we have managed to make genuine advances.

Today, the status of the Iranian nation is not comparable with its position 20 years ago. Its knowledge, technology, experience, skills, great national, social, and economic development in all areas, and power and influence in the region are not comparable with what it had 20 or 25 years ago. All these things are the result of this steadfastness. That is the lesson that be'that holds for us. Each and every one of us must know and understand this. We must familiarize ourselves with the historical events concerning the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.). We must realize that today is the time for the be'that of the Islamic Ummah.

Today the Islamic Ummah must feel that it is appointed by God [to do something]. The Islamic Ummah must move on in a vigilant and insightful manner. It must increase its knowledge, capabilities, and national and international Islamic solidarity. Monotheism must be of central importance to the Islamic Ummah.

That is the message of the Iranian nation, the Islamic Revolution, and the Islamic Republic. There are bright prospects for us. By Allah's favor, we know what we are doing. We know where we will end up, and we are well aware that we will reach our destination through moving towards our goals and being steadfast, not through stagnation or retrogression.

I hope that Allah the Exalted will bestow the blessings of the Prophet's (s.w.a.) be'that upon our honorable nation. I hope that He will increase the glory of the Islamic Ummah on a daily basis. I hope that God will make the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) pleased with us. I also hope that God Almighty will make the immaculate souls of our martyrs and our magnanimous Imam pleased with us.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Public Address on the Occasion of Imam Ali's (a.s.) Birth Anniversary

17/07/2008

The following is the full text of the public address delivered on July 16, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I extend my congratulations to you dear brothers and sisters on the auspicious birth anniversary of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) - which is considered to be one of the most prominent days of the auspicious month of Rajab. I congratulate all Muslims living across the world who consider the Commander of the Faithful to have a high status. I also congratulate all the oppressed, broadminded people, and those who seek justice and have heard of Imam Ali (a.s.) and his justice. I pray to Allah the Exalted to make us the followers of the Commander of the Faithful in the true sense of the word.

Let me make a point about the commemoration of this great birth anniversary. There is no disagreement among Muslims, no matter which sect they follow, regarding the characteristics of Imam Ali (a.s.) - the brilliance and prominence of his pure faith, the heavy burden of jihad that he shouldered from early Islam to the end of his life, the unique justice he administered which keeps attracting Muslims and non-Muslims alike, his unique, pure worship and supplication, and the other prominent features that he enjoyed.

The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is a personality whose greatness, characteristics, and high status in Islam are not debated among Muslims. Therefore, we can confidently claim that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) can serve as the common point among all sects of Islam. In all eras and at all times, all the sects of Islam - except for a small group of Navasib who are not considered among Muslim sects - consider the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) as having a high and prominent status, as is described in the religious texts of the Shia and the Sunni. Therefore, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is the commonality among all sects of Islam, and he can serve as the point of departure for unity among Muslims.

That is exactly what the world of Islam requires today. The enemies of Islam who are in fact the proponents of no Islamic sect support one particular sect in favor of another sect one day and decide to support yet another sect the next day. They are seeking to create splits among Muslims. And in such an era which is characterized by lack of unity among Muslims, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) can serve as the symbol of this unity. He can serve as a common point which all Muslims recognize. No particular group of Muslims can claim that the commander of the Faithful (a.s.) belongs to them. In ziarat-e jame, we Shia Muslims say: "We are famous for our trust in you." We are famous for our reverence and love for the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) and the descendants of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), so we cannot claim that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) only belongs to us. All the Muslims living across the world following various sects of Islam admit the fact that this great personality and this unique man who was the embodiment of Islam did not defy the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) even for a moment. He never defied the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), and he never showed any laxity from his childhood, to his adolescence, to his youth, and to the end of his life, and he did not for a moment skimp on efforts for the sake of God, Islam, and the Quran.

Therefore, one of the points that I want to talk about is that we - regardless of whether we are Shia or Sunni or follow another sect - must set the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) as the yardstick and pivot of unity. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) belongs to all of us. And that magnanimous also adopted slogans and a lifestyle that are not peculiar to a particular group of people. I will elaborate more on this point.

The next point is that the affection for the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is very valuable. We have a tradition that says those who love a person will have that person beside them on Judgment Day. Affection is of paramount importance. However, affection is not enough by itself. We need to follow Imam Ali (a.s.) as well. We, who are known as Shias in the world, have interpreted Shia as 'those who follow Ali'. We must follow him and purse the same goals as he did. However, it goes without saying that we will not achieve the status of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.), no matter how hard we try. But we must aspire to reach the peak.

Now we must pay attention to what the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) put high on his agenda in his life which is full of lessons and meanings for us. One is justice which could probably be claimed to be one of the most prominent points in his lifestyle. Being severe with oppressors, being sympathetic towards the oppressed, and helping the oppressed to claim their rights are characteristics that are clearly observed in many parts in the biography and words of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) as well as in his sermons in Nahj al-Balagha. Just pay attention to these meaningful remarks by the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.): "I swear by God that if I spent a whole night on the thorn bushes of Sa'dan or if I was dragged with chains on the ground with my hands and legs bound, it would be easier for me to bear than the time I meet my Creator while I have oppressed some people or have appropriated some worldly possessions for myself." [Speaking in Arabic]. That is the prominent point in the government of the Commander of the Faithful. Even if I were in the hardest situation in life, I would never encroach on the rights of a single person in order to accumulate worldly possessions for myself, he said. In Imam Ali's (a.s.) opinion, the world - in the sense of worldly possessions - is to be totally rejected and abandoned. Addressing the world, he said, "Go and deceive someone else!" He meant desires and material beauties of life could not deceive him, and therefore he told them to go away and find someone else to deceive. That was the slogan shouted by the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.).

In our Islamic system of government as it is today - which has been founded on Islam - what is the most important issue? What requires more attention? The answer is justice. That is to say, if the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) were now living among our people - who express their love for him the way they do - what would be his first priority? It would undoubtedly be justice. Justice is not something that only a particular group of people or a particular nation would demand. The demand for justice has been shared throughout history by all human beings as a natural need. Justice is exactly what man has always been thirsty for. And true justice was administered nowhere except under the rule of the divine prophets - those who achieved leadership - or in the government of prominent Imams such as the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). Those who are obsessed with the desire for worldly and material possessions cannot administer justice. Administration of justice requires a pure soul, a strong will, and steadfastness. We must try our utmost to follow in Imam Ali's (a.s.) footsteps in this regard. We acknowledge that we will not be able to administer justice the way Ali Ibn Abi Talib did. We admit this reality. We are too weak to withstand the strong tides as steadily as the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) did. However, we must do our best in this regard.

The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) used to demand justice even of his own men although their authority was not comparable to that of Imam Ali (a.s.). So the responsibility to administer justice lies on our shoulders as well. We must seek justice. That is a demand that the people must make. It must become an established cultural norm among our people. Both in internal and global affairs, our people must seek justice more than anything else. Today, injustice is rife in the world and the stifling oppression on the part of global bullies is being forced on humanity and on the nations. Fighting this great evil must be considered an obligation now for all Muslims who live under the Islamic Republic and for all those who aspire to live under the rule of Islam. This must be turned into a motto in our life, both in internal and global affairs.

As the first step towards administering justice, we must trust in divine assistance and strengthen the emotional bond between our hearts and God. This is where praying, worshiping, supplication, and turning back to Allah step in. The month of Rajab is the spring of worship, supplication, and turning back to Allah. One must not underestimate the value of these days - namely, the months of Rajab, Sha'ban, and most importantly Ramadan. In different stages of life, if we are determined to steadily tread the straight path that Islam has shown us, we need to strengthen our relationship with Allah the Exalted. This relationship depends on praying and avoidance of sins. Therefore, you know that when the Commander of the Faithful - a strong, valorous, and steadfast man whose valor on battlefields is unquestionably among the most well-known things in the world - stood at the mihrab to worship God. He used to cry and put his forehead on the soil. Just take a look at Komeil and Sha'baniyya prayers that are attributed to the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) and see how this great virtuous man used to engage in supplication before Allah the Exalted. That is a lesson for us.

I notice that the hearts of our people, especially our youth, are inclined towards spirituality, God, praying, and supplication, and I am grateful to God for this. Today is the 13th of Rajab, a day for etekaaf [that is, worship in seclusion]. As you know, today thousands of our youth have gone to different mosques across the country and have engaged in etekaaf. They are now talking to God and have engaged in supplication in this hot weather while they are fasting and while their lips are parched and they are hungry. This is very valuable. Our nation must appreciate this etekaaf. Now I would like to give a piece of advice to the officials in charge of etekaaf affairs. The gathering of thousands of people in different places provides a good opportunity for group activities, and I have heard that some officials in charge of mosques have made use of this opportunity and arranged some group activities so that people can benefit more from etekaaf. However, I would say that these activities organized by the centers of etekaaf must not interfere with the solitude of any of the participants. In etekaaf, the youth have in fact decided to talk to God in private. For the most part, etekaaf is a solitary activity in which one forms a relationship with God. The group activities of these centers must not undermine the participants' state of solitude and emotional relationship with God. They must give the youth the opportunity to read the Quran, Nahj al-Balagha, and Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya.

I particularly recommend Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya for these days. This Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya is indeed marvelous. Fortunately, it has been translated into Farsi now, and there are some translated versions available. Last year, I received a good translation of Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya. I perused it: it was excellent. The youth are well-advised to read and benefit from the teachings included in the prayers by Imam Ali Ibn Hussain (a.s.) that are preserved in Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya. They must reflect upon the text. These are not just prayers. They are lessons that we can learn from. These words by Imam Sajjad (a.s.) - and all the prayers that have been handed down from the Imams (a.s.) - are full of Islamic teachings.

So it is Rajab now, the month of praying, turning back to God, and supplication. It is the month of becoming similar to the Commander of the Faithful. Let us strengthen our relationship with God so that we can go through the various stages of life with strong determination, steadfastness, and awareness. In order for a nation to gain honor and glory, it must have a strong will, know what it wants, and be confident due to remembrance of God.

Today, our nation is confronted with some global challenges for the sake of Islam. Islam has taught us that if we are to tread the straight path and achieve bliss in this world and the hereafter, we have to be independent and not give in to the coercion of oppressive and arrogant powers. This is the point that has created a conflict between the Iranian nation and its enemies. That is the origin of the conflict. The Iranian nation does not want to be under the yoke of arrogant powers. It does not want its own interests to be sacrificed for the sake of the interests of arrogant powers. What the global arrogance - led by the US today - is after is exactly the opposite of our aspirations. They seek to expropriate the resources of nations as well as their properties. This ulterior motive is disguised by their lies about their superficially humanistic slogans and alleged goals. Therefore, if a nation is determined to be truly independent, it can never see eye to eye with these superpowers. Some countries are superficially independent, but in fact their independence is just an illusion, and they are controlled by superpowers.

The Iranian nation is faced with a challenge now. If the Iranian nation is determined to emerge victorious out of this challenge and gain glory and independence, it needs to have an iron will and be steadfast. Thankfully, over the past three decades of the life of the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic, the Iranian nation has put up a spirited resistance against the belligerent, bullying, and greedy powers. This resistance - which is the source of glory for the Iranian nation and Islam - can be continued by relying on Allah the Exalted and asking Him for assistance.

It is characteristic of superpowers to frighten nations out of their way and threaten their way through. They are well aware that it is impossible to take on nations. Arrogant powers can easily topple governments that do not rely on their nations. This is evidenced by the fact that they widely use this technique, and their threats have proven to be effective in many cases. But the arrogant powers cannot confront a government that relies on its people, their will, emotions, and faith. That is because this is a matter of confronting nations and people.

Since the beginning of the Revolution up to the present, the US - which was denied access to Iran after the victory of the Revolution - has constantly tried and failed to threaten the Islamic Republic and its officials out of their way. They are not going to be successful in the future either, because the Islamic Republic relies on the votes and emotions of the people. The occasional acts of folly on the part of the superpowers and the greedy prominent politicians are astonishing. They are saying now that they have to drum up public support against the Islamic Republic. They allocate millions of dollars and spend enormous sums of money in order to pit the people against the Islamic Republic. That is sheer folly. Their efforts mean that they are trying to incite the people against themselves. How is it possible to do so? The Islamic Republic is comprised of the people of Iran. Is it possible to mobilize the Iranian nation against itself? The day a government is isolated from the people, it will be subject to threats. But the Islamic Republic relies on the votes, emotions, faith, and unswerving support of the Iranian people. It is not possible to confront such a government in this way. They keep threatening though. They come up with new pretexts. Sometimes they pick on the nuclear issue, and sometimes they find faults with other things.

As regards the nuclear issue, I have said on many occasions and I repeat now that the nuclear technology the Iranian nation gained is a great historic achievement. Moreover, the Iranian nation does not owe a single favor to anybody for this technology. Nuclear technology has been indigenized. The Iranian nation has achieved this accomplishment due to the prudence of its officials. It belongs to the Iranian nation and no power can deprive the nation of this advantage and this great right.

Fortunately, government officials are pursuing this issue seriously. We make a distinction between individuals and governments who want to deprive the Iranian nation of this advantage due to their enmity with the Islamic Republic - like the US that openly says it is opposed to the achievement of this advantage for the Iranian nation - and those who say they are prepared to sit at a negotiation table and find a solution to remove the possible causes of concern through discussing various issues, especially the nuclear issue. We have declared that we are prepared now to negotiate with the Europeans. Negotiation with Europe was not favorable to us previously. But we agreed to negotiate with them when we observed that they respect the Iranian nation, declare that they acknowledge the rights of our nation, and do not try to overstep the red lines that the government officials and the Iranian nation have set. Our government officials agreed to negotiate with them. But the Europeans - who are to negotiate with the Iranian nation - have to keep in mind that negotiations will proceed successfully only if the negotiation atmosphere is not dominated by threats. The Iranian nation is a valorous nation. It does not like being threatened. We detest threats, and our nation will not give in to any threats.

Our government officials are making prudent decisions regarding the nuclear issue. The Supreme National Security Council is the body in charge and is presided over by the esteemed president. They are the ones who make the decisions. Regarding the nuclear issue, there is consensus among all the government officials about what the president and the officials say. The efforts on the part of the enemies to create a split by using a particular person's comment are a stupid attempt. We have the heads of the three government branches as well as the Leader's representatives who are closely pursuing this issue with prudence and commitment. The Islamic Republic has a clear stance on this issue.

We have set clear red lines. If the European side enters into negotiations while respecting the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic and observing the red lines, our government officials will negotiate with them. Of course, our officials will negotiate with them provided that they do not attempt to threaten the Iranian nation. Our nation is sensitive to threats. We have clearly said before that any act of folly against the Islamic Republic of Iran will be faced with a practical, crushing response.

Both the US and the Zionists are knee-deep in internal problems. The Bush administration has many problems, especially now that have a presidential election ahead of them. The disgraceful Zionist regime also has faced problems in the occupied Palestinian lands. As a quick fix to their internal problems, the US and the Zionist regime say some things against us sometimes. They can say whatever they like. But sometimes they want to commit an act of folly in the true sense of the word. They have to know that the Iranian nation will cut off the hand that encroaches on the Islamic Republic and dear Iran. And it makes no difference whether this hand belongs to a government or not. It is not right to think that the current US president may commit an act of folly in the last months of his term in office and leave the trouble to the next administration. That cannot happen. If somebody happens to do an act of folly, the Iranian nation will prosecute him even when he is not in office, and he can be sure that he will be punished.

Allah the Exalted has enlightened our hearts due to our reliance on Him. He has filled our hearts with hope. We have not lost our hope in divine assistance for a moment, and we hope that will never lose it. "Despair not of Allah's mercy." [The Holy Quran 12:87]. Allah the Exalted has made this nation determined, enthusiastic, and hopeful. Dear brother and sister, and dear youth, if you want to keep this strong determination and this dynamic spirit, you must strengthen your relationship with God on a daily basis. You must talk to Allah the Exalted. You must ask God for your requirements. You must seek protection in Allah. You must ask Allah the Exalted for help. He will certainly help you. God willing, the youth of this country will witness days that will be far more pleasant. There are bright and brilliant prospects for the Islamic Republic. I hope that Allah the Exalted will make us successful in making the holy heart of His Holiness the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) pleased with us. I also hope that God will make us successful in making the immaculate hearts of our martyrs and the immaculate soul of our late Imam pleased with us.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Speech to Officials of the Judiciary Branch

03/07/2008

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on June 25, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to the officials of the judiciary branch.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I welcome you dear brothers and sisters, both the judiciary officials and the dear and patient families of the honorable martyrs of Tir 7 (June 28).

It is an important point that Judiciary Day or Judiciary Week is associated with the name and memory of a great case of martyrdom: the martyrdom of some great figures of the Islamic Republic including the prominent character and the dear martyr Ayatollah Beheshti and some other officials of the judiciary branch and other branches. It was a good idea to assign the occasion of commemorating this great martyrdom as the date for the judiciary to present its annual report. This martyrdom supports the movement of the nation. The Tir 7 ( June 28) event and the martyrdom of the innocent Shahid Beheshti and his companions was a turning point in the great movement of the Revolution towards its goals after they tried to divert this movement from its main course.

These cases of martyrdom support us. They support our movement. Therefore, we should always remember these great sacrifices in our movements and responsibilities, and we should know that if we have the opportunity and the ability in the judicial, executive, or the legislative branch or in other organizations of the country to serve the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation, it is all due to the blessings which come from these great cases of martyrdom. This is due to those great sacrifices. We should know that what we currently possess has not been achieved easily. Many dear lives have been sacrificed on this path. Great people have made sacrifices, and valuable blood has been offered on this path. And the Islamic Republic, backed by these sacrifices, has managed to increase its power on a daily basis. We should appreciate these responsibilities, this ability to work, and these opportunities and work hard. Therefore, I consider the coincidence of these two occasions as an auspicious coincidence, and I extend my heartfelt greetings to the immaculate souls of the Tir 7 (June 28) martyrs and also to the souls of the dear martyrs of Islam, the Islamic Revolution, and the Sacred Defense era. I pray to Allah to bestow upon us the ability to continue their path, and to act and move towards their goals. This is what we should constantly keep in mind.

I have mentioned a lot of points about the judicial branch so far. The honorable officials of the judiciary and the experts have also mentioned some points, both concerning the importance of this honorable and influential branch and the problems that exist in treading this path as well as the solutions that can be provided in this regard in order to solve the problems. What is important is that we should know what the function of the judicial branch is in the Islamic Republic and what is expected of this branch. We should always compare this to where we currently are, to our achievements, and to the innovations which are introduced - the useful and influential measures which are taken and which help us move forward. It should be compared to what is required and expected from us in this branch. We should constantly keep this in mind. I mean we should never become complacent. Fortunately, important measures have been taken in the judiciary during the previous years. Great and important measures have been taken. Some of these measures have been completely fundamental and effective and are, God willing, indicative of great progress in the future. The honorable head of the judiciary presented a report to me yesterday which consisted of several parts about the important measures taken by the judiciary during the recent years, following the announcement of the general policies of the branch and the second development plan of the judiciary. The measures are great and valuable.

One important point is that we should continue these measures to reach the final goal. One of the shortcomings that is inherent in almost all humans is that they start a new movement or a new work with great motivation and thirst for success. However, when this thirst is partly satisfied, they fail to continue and persist with the job. This should not happen. Consider the case of piling up the old files and storing current information on computers in the judiciary.

Or consider the current issues that exist in the judiciary today: the references to the judiciary, the settlement of issues, and the rules which are the bases of judgment. These should be computerized and easy to access. The start of this plan is a decent job. However, the plan will only be influential when completely implemented. If you make a fifty or sixty percent progress and not implement the plan completely, it is like a job that has not been done. You should continue to the end. Consider the measures which are taken in regard to the different issues of the branch - the issue of shortening the process of investigation and making inquiries, or the issue of dealing with the files, the accuracy of the rulings, the issue of prisons, and similar matters which are all among the important issues of the judiciary. Certain policies have been adopted in this regard, and many are already under way. But the policies should be completely pursued, and what is significant is continuity and persistence in pursuing the policies. This is an important point for the different sections of the judiciary. The various organizations which are connected to the judiciary should keep this point in mind that the plans should not be left unfinished. They should be pursued until the final goals are achieved.

Besides this, another important point is that we - the judicial branch - do all these activities so that the judiciary will reach the position it deserves in the Islamic community, in the practical life of the people, in their actual life, and in their minds - I have mentioned this point during the previous years, or maybe we discussed the issue at length during the previous years. The judiciary should bring a sense of security to the people. I once mentioned that the ultimate success for the judiciary in practical terms would be to reach a position where every individual in the country and in the Islamic community would feel that he can refer to the judiciary and solve his problems if he felt that someone wanted to oppress or had oppressed him. This feeling should be developed among the people. Everyone should feel that he can defend his rights by referring to the judiciary. Such a state should be created in the Islamic community.

If this happens in some 80 percent of the cases - even if not in all cases - for which people refer to the judiciary, and if matters are dealt with accurately and in a fair and resolute manner, this feeling will be developed among people to a large extent. In this case, the people will feel that the judiciary is their sanctuary. Such a feeling should be developed among all people. This means that the people should come to believe that the judiciary is responsible for creating peace in the country. This is a goal which should be achieved. All these actions are aimed at achieving such a status in society. If we developed policies and made efforts but failed to achieve such a status in the public opinion of our society, we should know that there is a problem somewhere. We should look to find that problem and solve it. This should be our criterion, and everyone should make efforts in this regard. Of course, to do so we need faithful, efficient, and knowledgeable elements and thankfully we have many such elements in our judiciary. We are thankfully not short of sympathetic, faithful, scholarly, hard-working, and responsible people at various levels in the judiciary.

Thankfully, the judiciary is currently presided over by Mr. Shahroudi - who is a mujtahid, scholarly, learned person who enjoys a good deal of knowledge on Islamic principles and issues. This is an ideal opportunity for you. The existence of such people and such prominent characters within the judiciary is an ideal opportunity.

If we are short of rules, we should pass the necessary legislation. If there are any organizations whose capacities have not been utilized, then those capacities should be properly utilized. Last year, a special group was formed, with the assistance and cooperation of Mr. Shahroudi, which was responsible for investigating ways to promote the judiciary. He issued the required decrees and some of our dear brothers carried out some research to find ways to promote this branch and remove the barriers lying ahead. They produced a very good report which was presented to Ayatollah Shahroudi, and a copy of the report was also given to me. Some very good solutions had been offered in this regard. I backed some of those points, and one of those points was that we should do research to see how much progress we have made in terms of realizing our overall policies. This is what should be done in the judiciary.

We developed appropriate general policies for the judicial system. These policies were mainly proposed by the judiciary officials themselves. They were later sent to the Expediency Council and announced in the country. The policies are very good ones. We should constantly look to see how much these policies have been implemented. This is the yardstick for our movement. We should know what proportion of these general policies, which are short-term goals of the judicial system, have been carried out. We should know what position we are currently in. Such an evaluation and proper estimation of progress will help us. Sometimes one may think that one has traveled 60 or 70 kilometers of a 100 kilometer route. He thinks he has enough time, so he decides to sit and rest. If we estimate accurately, we will see that we have not traveled 60 kilometers. We will see that we have traveled 15 or 20 kilometers. When we know that we have made this much progress and not more, we will naturally increase our speed and will avoid any stops on the way. Therefore, knowing where we are on the way towards carrying out those policies is very important. This is what I expect from the judicial system as one of the priorities. The issue of prolonging legal procedures, especially in important cases such as economic corruption, is one of those cases.

I do not believe in sensationalism in the cases of economic corruption. Rather, I believe that such cases have to be dealt with quickly and in a firm manner. Acting quickly is different than doing things in a hurry. The issue of prolonging legal procedures should be considered in such cases, which draw a lot of public attention - I will make a reference to the importance of this issue - and in other cases as well. Of course, in the reports which I have received there is an indication that there has been a reduction in the amount of time which is spent during the legal procedures. However, this amount should be compared to the ideal amount, not to the previous amount of time which was spent, so that we will know where we are and how much effort we should make to reach the ideal point.

Another point which is among the priorities, and which I emphasized in a note to the judiciary officials is the issue of accuracy in the rulings and constant contradictions in such rulings. I mentioned this point last year too in a similar meeting. The rulings in the primary courts should be contradicted on as few occasions as possible, whether in appellate courts or in the supreme court. I mean that the rulings should be so accurate that they can rarely be contradicted. If we saw that an unacceptable proportion of the rulings are being contradicted, then we should know that there is something wrong. This is also one of the priorities.

Another point is solving the problems of prisons. This issue should be taken very seriously. Of course the policy of reducing the amount of imprisonment - which was among the policies formulated by the honorable head of the judicial system and which was decided upon and implemented - is an appropriate measure. However, the existence of prisons and imprisonment is a reality. Our management regarding the issue of prisons should be in a way that will result in prisons being a place for teaching good deeds in the real sense of the word. This should be considered among the great plans. It should be considered as an important issue. These are matters which are directly related to the judicial system. The officials in charge should make enormous efforts in this regard. Of course I discussed the issue of reducing the number of prisoners - through granting amnesty or bail - with the honorable judiciary officials and the president. We will discuss the matter in the future as well. However, we should find real solutions to such problems. This is among the priorities which were discussed in regard to the promotion of the judicial branch.

There is also the issue of potentialities which have not been properly utilized, including those of the Ministry of Justice. Fortunately, proper capacities have been provided for the Ministry of Justice in the law. These capacities should be utilized.

What is significant is that we should utilize all the great potentialities of this branch. Fortunately, our judicial system is a logical, advanced, and accurate system in terms of its rulings and its overall structure. It is an up-to-date, strong, and logical system. We should utilize these potentialities. This is also one of the priorities.

What I deem appropriate to emphasize today, besides the points I mentioned, is the issue of pursuing the cases of economic corruption. Economic corruption should not only be considered as an offense in the country. If this matter is not pursued, if the causes and roots of the matter are not found, and if the different government branches do not cooperate to uproot this crime, this will greatly harm and endanger the country. Economic corruption will bring about cultural corruption as well. It will result in moral corruption too. One of the greatest dangers of economic corruption is that it will undermine the efficient elements of the different government departments. It will undermine their determination. Most of the cases of economic corruption which have been reported to me have happened in this way that some economically corrupt person found it necessary to penetrate some organization and get some of the elements who work there to cooperate with him. The people who work in the organizations are faithful people, but the offenders usually infuse these people with greed and love for money. And not everyone can resist such temptations. Some people will be tempted and they will commit offenses. This is one of the greatest dangers of economic corruption.

Economic corruption acts as a hindrance to proper and healthy investments in the country. I explained these points in a letter I wrote to the heads of the three branches in the year 2001 - almost 7 years ago. Economic offenses act as a hindrance to healthy economic activities in the country. They disappoint the faithful people who are after healthy economic activities. They are a great disease and a disaster. They are like a cholera outbreak in society. They are like infectious diseases which all organizations, including the judiciary, the legislative and the executive branches, try to eradicate once it has started to spread.

Of course, the judicial system plays an important role in this regard. I have constantly mentioned the necessary points to the officials of the executive branch. I have reminded them of their duties and placed the demand on them. That is a separate issue, but you dear brothers and sisters who are here and who are connected to the judicial system should know that the judiciary shoulders a heavy and important responsibility in fighting economic corruption.

Preventing economic corruption is also one of the duties of the judicial branch. Refer to the constitution and you will see that one of the duties of the judiciary is to prevent corruption. There are certain tools for this prevention. There are also certain organizations that are responsible for such prevention. Prevention can probably happen through other organizations connected to the judiciary such as security and intelligence services. There should be cooperation with all these organizations in order to prevent corruption. In an Islamic country, we should stand against abusers, corrupt and greedy people, and cunning individuals who misuse the public resources of the country, which belong to all the people, and use those resources as they wish despite the fact that there are so many poor and underprivileged people living in the country. It is natural that such a movement should more or less result in some reactions in the judicial, legislative, and executive branches. They will not stay quiet about it. There are some people who mix things up. They deviate from the main issue, like the recent incidents which happened in Afvah [northern Abadeh County]. Such incidents are examples of deviating from the desired ideal. This is one instance. Another instance happens through putting people under pressure, through forming connections, and through misusing one's power and getting people to stand on ceremony. These are the things that you should stand against. This is one of the great tasks that you should do.

This letter that I wrote - the demand that I made - dates back to the year 2001. It dates back to that year, but it is always a contemporary need. Today, if you are looking for the realities of society, I should tell you that I still place the same demands on the officials of the three government branches. This matter should not be treated negligently. In the worst-case scenario, these corrupt elements, God forbid, penetrate the responsible organizations and get some people to join and cooperate with them. This is one of the most important things which would be tragic if it happened. You should firmly stand against all forms of such events.

I hope these great tasks will be carried out - and they must be carried out. Fortunately, important measures have been taken during the recent years, and we have made some progress too. But I am not yet satisfied with what has been achieved. When we compare our achievements with the ideal situation, we see that there is still room for progress. We should try a lot, and it is only then that the ideal situation which I mentioned will be realized, that is the judicial branch will turn into a sanctuary for the oppressed people, who might exist among all classes of society, and oppressed people will feel that they can refer to the judiciary to defend their rights the moment someone oppresses or intends to oppress them. This is the ideal situation that should exist. You should look to see whether the situation currently exists in society or not. If it does not, you should try to bring about such a situation in society.

We need the assistance of God Almighty to make progress in our tasks. We are responsible for trying our best and making all possible efforts, and then we may ask God Almighty to assist us in the process. And be sure this will be the case. If you perform your duties with sincerity, purity, and complete motivation, God Almighty will facilitate your tasks, and you will hopefully make progress - just as we have made a great deal of progress so far, and God willing such achievements will increase in the future as well. I hope God the Exalted will aid you all with your services and sincere efforts. God willing, these efforts will be rewarded by Imam Mahdi (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) and you will benefit from the prayers of that esteemed Imam. May the immaculate souls of our Imam (r.a.) and martyrs - especially the martyrs of Tir 7 (June 28) be satisfied and pleased with us all.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

 
 
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