Leader’s Speech to People of Bojnourd

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on October 10, 2012 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a meeting with the people of Bojnourd, North Khorasan province.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Two Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and beloved Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Mustafa Muhammad, and upon his immaculate and pure household and chosen companions. Greetings be upon all righteous servants of God.

Dear God, Your greetings be upon Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha, the one whom You are satisfied with, the Imam of the pious and pure, Your proof to what lies above the ground and what lies beneath it, the witness and the approver [of Your signs]. Abundant, perfect, pure and continual greetings be upon him, the way You bestow Your greetings on the best of Your servants and saints.

I thank Allah the Exalted from the bottom of my heart for giving me the opportunity to meet you dear people of North Khorasan province on a day which is for commemorating Imam Ridha (a.s.), and your province is known as "Babul Ridha" [Gateway to Imam Ridha (a.s.)]. Although I have not been blessed with the opportunity to be present at the holy shrine of the eighth Imam, I express my respect for him from this region, which belongs to that Imam.

This region, which is currently called "North Khorasan", is one of the important regions of Khorasan. It is important in terms of its geographical location, in terms of the characteristics of its people and in terms of its cultures. We have been familiar with the characteristics of the people of this important and sensitive region for a long time. North Khorasan is a beautiful province with rich and varied natural resources, with cultural depth that is outstanding and exceptional, with numerous capacities for agriculture, keeping livestock and other activities, with tourist attractions which have unfortunately remained unknown. Many people in our country are not familiar with the tourist attractions of this province. One of the most outstanding characteristics of this province is that each year millions of enthusiastic pilgrims pass through this province to visit the holy shrine of Imam Musa ar-Ridha (praise and greetings be upon him). Considering these geographical characteristics, North Khorasan province enjoys a sensitive position. What is more important than these geographical characteristics is the characteristics of the people of this province. The people of this region have been famous for their enthusiasm and vibrancy in all areas. In all areas where the people can have a significant presence, the people of Bojnourd and other parts of this province have been famous for vibrancy and preparedness for work. They have shown these characteristics everywhere.

Now I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the people who were present in the streets to welcome me. The characteristic vibrancy and preparedness of the people of this province were clearly visible during the two hours that we were passing through the streets. We have been familiar with the characteristics of the people of this province from a long time ago. I would also like to apologize for the trouble I might have caused. The streets were packed with people and I really became worried about the people who were in the streets and the pressure they had to tolerate.

This vibrancy is visible in every area of the life of these people. On the 28th of Safar, when people from every part of the country leave for Imam Musa ar-Ridha's (a.s.) shrine, among them there are more pilgrims from Bojnourd than any other city in the country. The people of Mashhad know this. I am from Mashhad and I know this. This vibrancy and presence is clearly visible as far as pilgrimage is concerned.

The same things were witnessed in the arenas relating to the Sacred Defense. Fifty outstanding commanders of the armies from Khorasan and Jawad ul-A'imma Brigade were from North Khorasan. 2,772 people of this province have been martyred in the way of God. There are more than 6,000 disabled war veterans in this province. There are also many former POWs and war veterans in this province. This is a sign of the spirit of preparedness and vibrancy that I discussed before.

The people of this province show the same characteristics in all areas. For example, tens of thousands of people gather in a place to watch traditional wrestling events. These characteristics are important. The sense of responsibility to proudly protect our borders is another characteristic of the people of this province. Of course, these are only examples. This province enjoys many other outstanding characteristics.

This province enjoys outstanding capacities. According to the reports I have received, this province is among the top ten provinces in the country in terms of its capacities for scholarly activities. In different Olympiads, the students of this province are among the top students. These things show that there are capacities in this province. When I was a seminarian, I met people with outstanding talent in Mashhad as well, but there is no need to discuss this issue in this meeting and by Allah's favor, I will discuss it in the meeting with religious scholars of this province. The people of this region are proud. They are pious. They safeguard the country. They are lively, vibrant and brave. These are outstanding characteristics. Why am I saying these things? The reason is that the people in different parts of our country should know their outstanding characteristics and they should feel proud of their characteristics. Young people of Bojnourd should feel proud of living in Bojnourd. Young people of this province - no matter what their ethnic background is - should feel proud that they belong to this province. Another outstanding characteristic of this province is that different ethnic groups live together in a peaceful and brotherly way. Kurds, Persians, Azeris, Tats and Turkmen have lived together in a peaceful and brotherly way. This peaceful coexistence is clearly visible in this region and it is necessary to appreciate it.

Now I would like to discuss the next point that I have in mind. Dear people, dear brothers and sisters, I pointed out the advantages you enjoy. This vibrancy and this preparedness to work have existed in different parts of the country since the Islamic Revolution and this is a great blessing for a nation that is determined to move forward, a nation that is determined to make progress, a nation that is after spiritual life. This preparedness to work, this vibrancy and this determination are a great blessing, but they are not enough. In order to move towards the peaks, there are other requirements that have to be met. First of all, there should be a roadmap. That is to say, the goal, the outlook and the path should be specified. Second, it is necessary to constantly evaluate one's progress in an appropriate way. This is necessary for a nation. Today these things are among our main issues.

I insist that our people - particularly our dear youth and outstanding personalities - should pay attention to the main issues. We need to pay attention to these issues. The goals of this movement have been delineated since the beginning of the Revolution. The outline of the roadmap was specified in the slogans of the people and in the statements of our Imam (may Allah the Exalted bestow paradise on him). And the details were added over the next thirty years. Today the Iranian nation knows what it wants and what it is after.

Progress - as defined by Islam - is a key concept that to a large extent includes the popular demands in the country. Progress in Islamic thought is different from progress in materialistic western civilization. They view progress from one single perspective, from the materialistic perspective. They believe that progress mainly consists of financial, scientific, military and technological dimensions. This is what westerners mean by "progress".

But in Islamic thought, progress enjoys many other dimensions: progress in science, progress in ethics, progress in administration of justice, progress in public welfare, progress in economic matters, progress in achieving international honor and credibility, progress in political independence, progress in serving God and developing a closer relationship with Him. In Islamic thought, progress consists of all these dimensions. That is to say, progress includes spiritual and divine aspects as well.

Getting closer to Allah the Exalted exists in the Islamic conception of progress and it is also the ultimate goal of our Revolution. In the kind of progress that we have in mind, both worldly and otherworldly aspects have been taken into consideration. Islam teaches us: "Those who give up their worldly life for the sake of the hereafter and those who give up their life in the hereafter for the sake of their worldly life, are not one of us." It is wrong to give up one's worldly life for the sake of one's life in the hereafter, just as it is wrong to sacrifice one's life in the hereafter for the sake of one's worldly life. There is a narration which says: "As far as your worldly life is concerned, act in a way as if you will live forever." That is to say, do not limit your plans to your lifespan and make plans for the next fifty years, for example. Our government officials and those who are in charge of preparing plans for the country should pay attention to this point. We must not fail to prepare plans for the next fifty years thinking that we might not live that long. Plan in a way as if you will live forever. Make plans for future generations as carefully and seriously as when you make plans for yourself. "As far as your worldly life is concerned, act in a way as if you will live forever." On the other hand: "As far as your life in the hereafter is concerned, act in a way as if you will die tomorrow." That is to say, do your best both for your worldly life and for your life in the hereafter. This is the Islamic and revolutionary conception of progress - progress that is comprehensive.

The goal is progress, but it is also necessary to carry out evaluations at every stage, which is a responsibility that lies on the shoulders of our outstanding personalities. What are our conditions? What are the obstacles we are faced with? What are our strengths? What are our weaknesses? What are the opportunities that we have? What are the threats we are faced with? What should we do? In order to make use of the opportunities and counter the threats, we need to make plans. These are the things that our outstanding personalities should do at each stage. They should take these things into consideration when making plans. They should also report these things to the people. This is because the people want to move forward with insight and awareness. They want to know what they are doing. They want to know where they are going. If this happens, the people will step into difficult arenas with all their heart and soul.

My general evaluation of the goal that was discussed is positive. We have been making constant progress since the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Of course, there have been ups and downs. Our progress has been fast at certain points and slow at certain other points. There have been strengths and weaknesses. However, our people and country have never stopped moving towards the peaks that we have in mind. Our people, our government officials and our outstanding personalities - including outstanding political, scientific and religious personalities - should try to eliminate these weaknesses.

We need to accelerate our national progress. What are the things that can make us successful and what are the things that can create problems for us? I would like to draw an analogy: think of a group of climbers who want to reach the peak of a mountain, which will bring about advantages and glory for them. Their most important concern is to climb up the mountain in an active way. Of course, they might be faced with certain problems and dangers. Their most important concern is to make efforts, be active, remain determined and hopeful, be patient and organized, and remain vigilant and prepared to deal with the problems they are faced with. There might be problems and dangers on every path. I will discuss the problems that our honorable people have faced since the Islamic Revolution and I will explain how they have countered these problems. Therefore, the main requirements for this great movement is to be firmly determined, remain hopeful, make constant efforts, prepare plans and remain prepared and vigilant. If these essential requirements are met, the Iranian nation will be able to overcome all the problems and bring the enemies to their knees. This is the main issue. If these requirements are fulfilled, there will be no serious problems and dangers. We will be faced with a serious danger if our people lose their spirit of diligence and become lazy, if our people lose their hope and suffer from despair, if our people lose their patience and steadfastness and become frantic, if our people abandon planning and become confused and disorganized. These are the real dangers. If a nation manages to preserve its hope, determination, faith, diligence and dynamism, it will not be faced with any serious problems.

Now let us consider the case of Iran and the great Iranian nation. I believe that I must speak and think in a rational way. I do not want to reduce my statements to slogans. I am opposed to exaggeration, especially when it comes to issues relating to the Revolution. We should be rational and see what the realities are.

The Iranian nation is confronted with a group of enemies and they were the ones who started this hostility. The evil and dangerous Zionist network is our archenemy and unfortunately this evil network has influence over certain western governments - particularly the American government. These enemies have been opposed to the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic since the victory of the Revolution. They bear grudges against our people for giving rise to the Islamic Revolution. The Iranian nation is one side of this confrontation and the other side is certain global powers that bear grudges against the Iranian nation. When we take a look at our people, we realize that they are determined and hopeful, that they have outstanding capacities, that they are motivated and hardworking. Our youth have stepped into all arenas: different social arenas, the arena of technology and the arena of science, which is acknowledged by the entire world. During the Sacred Defense Era, they stepped into the arena and today they are prepared to step into different arenas. The Iranian nation enjoys these advantages today. It has a 20-year strategic plan. It has the necessary tools to move forward. It has natural resources. It has valuable mines.

Our basic natural resources are more than the global average. I have pointed out on various occasions that we make up one percent of the world population and our land mass is around one percent of the world's land mass, but our resources are far more than one percent. In terms of certain resources, we rank first in the world. For example, in terms of our combined oil and gas reserves, we are the top country in the world.

We have a diverse climate. Our country is a vast country. There is everything that we need. We have good natural resources. We have good mines. We have a good people. We have caring and populist officials in all the three branches of government. We have prepared and brave Armed Forces. We have learned and caring clergy who are interested in the fate of the country. We have universities and schools which are full of students: four million students study in our universities and millions of students study in our schools. These are our resources. These are our capacities. Our people are determined and hopeful.

Our movement has been progressive since the beginning of the Revolution. The result of this progressive movement is the advances that we have made so far. Considering the limited time we had and the enmities that we have been faced with, we have made remarkable advances. Our country has made progress in matters relating to infrastructure. Our country has made progress in rendering services to the people. Our country has made progress in spiritual matters. The same is true of science and technology. Our national stability is the most important factor relating to infrastructure. Different governments have been voted into office and in spite of the disagreements and the varying political tendencies, our country has been stable since the victory of the Revolution and it has been moving towards the goals. The conflicts and the political and partisan disputes have not destroyed our political stability. This is the most important element relating to infrastructure.

Of course, the essential economic infrastructure exists in the country, in terms of both legal and physical aspects. The policies specified in Article 44 of the Constitution are among the regulations relating to economic infrastructure. Communications, transportation, roads, highways, railways, airways, fiber optics, power plants, dams: these are the areas in which we have made achievements since the beginning of the Revolution, mostly by our youth and outstanding personalities. These are not small achievements.

One of our most important and valuable assets is our educated young generation. Our educated young generation is courageous, hopeful and dynamic. I would like to digress and say that one of the mistakes that we made is that we should have abandoned the population control policy in the mid-1370s [1990s]. I myself played a role in this mistake. Of course, it was a good policy at that time, but it should have been abandoned in the mid-1370s. We failed to do so, which was a mistake. As I said, our government officials and myself are responsible for this mistake. I hope Allah the Exalted and history forgives us. It is necessary to safeguard the young generation. As I said in a speech in the month of Ramadan, our country will grow old if we continue in this way. Our families and youth should have more children. The way it is practiced today, the policy - which limits the number of children that a family can have - is wrong. If we manage to keep our population young over the next ten, twenty years and far into the future, our youth will solve all the problems that our country is suffering from by relying on their characteristic preparedness, dynamism and talent. Therefore, we do not have essential problems in the way of progress.

Of course, there are certain problems and I will mention some of them. There are certain problems in the country and your region also suffers from the same problems. The most important problem is the rising prices and the issue of unemployment. These are among the problems that our people are suffering from. These problems are not particular to this region: they exist in all parts of the country. Before my trip, our friends did a survey and asked the people of this region about their problems and we realized that this region suffers from the same problems that exist in other places throughout the country. The problem of rising prices and the issue of unemployment are among the main concerns. These problems exist, but there are no fundamental problems that our people and government officials are incapable of resolving.

Over the past 33 years, there have been more serious threats and our country has successfully countered all these threats. They wanted to create serious problems, but they failed to achieve their goals. In the first few months after the victory of the Revolution, different ethnic groups used to be incited throughout the country. There is a wide diversity of ethnic groups in our country. They tried to turn different ethnic groups against each other. For example, in this region, a number of communists - who neither believed in religion nor did they care about the country - tried to incite our noble and pious Turkmen people to oppose the Islamic Revolution. Who stood up against them? It was our pious Turkmen people who stood up against them. It was influential Turkmen ulama - some of whom have unfortunately passed away - who stood up against them. The youth of this region and different other regions also stood up against them. The enemies used to incite different ethnic groups in our country. They used to cause serious problems and fan the flames. And they used to make efforts to spread the problems in different ways, but the fire the enemies used to cause would be extinguished by the same people whom they wanted to incite. For example, in Kurdistan it was Kurdish people themselves who were in the vanguard of opposing them. The same is true of other regions as well. This was the first problem they caused. Afterwards, they caused the imposed war. Eight years of war was imposed on us: this is no joke. They decided to bring the Revolution to its knees, but they failed. The people of Iran cleared this stage successfully.

Later on, they proposed sanctions. Today our enemies make constant efforts to magnify the sanctions and some people cooperate with them in this regard. The sanctions are not a recent development: they have existed since the beginning. Of course, they intensified the sanctions, but they have not been effective. They adopted other measures, which have also proven ineffective. We have been faced with sanctions since the beginning. Today our enemies - both the American government and certain European governments - are trying to link the sanctions to the nuclear issue. They are lying. When they first started imposing sanctions on us, there was no nuclear issue. At that time, nuclear technology was not even being discussed in the country.

What makes them furious with the Iranian nation and causes them to adopt such decisions is the pride of the Iranian nation. It is this spirit of independence, this self-respect, this spirit of resistance - which has been created in the country thanks to Islam and the Holy Quran - that makes them furious. And this is why they are opposed to Islam. This is why they insult the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.w.a.). They know that when Islam spreads into a country, the people of that country develop such a spirit of independence that they refuse to surrender to them. They put weak individuals in charge of different countries to obey their orders. When the people choose their government officials in a country like ours, when the people are actively present on the scene, what can they do? Pious people, people who have faith in Islamic principles, people who are motivated by Islam will not back down against them. For this reason, they are angry. Today they claim that the problem is the nuclear issue. They pretend that if the Iranian nation gives up nuclear energy, the sanctions will be lifted. They are lying. Out of malice and spite, they impose irrational sanctions on us, sanctions which all wise and just people throughout the world consider as irrational and savage. This is a war against a nation. Of course, by Allah's favor, they will be defeated by the Iranian nation in this war as well.

Of course, they cause certain problems. And these problems increase as a result of mismanagement. These problems exist, but they are not problems that cannot be solved by the Islamic Republic. By Allah's favor, the Iranian nation will clear all these problems. These problems are nothing: the people and government officials of Iran have managed to solve bigger problems. They express their joy whenever we are faced with the slightest trouble. Over the past few days, the changes in the value of our currency were the top story of their news agencies and they openly expressed their joy. They are not even diplomatic about it. They express their joy in a childish way and say that they have managed to create problems for the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic. They openly say this. For a few hours, a number of people set a few garbage bins on fire in a couple of streets, and on the other side of the world they happily announce that there are protests in Iran. Is our situation worse than yours? It is almost one year that people have been protesting day and night in the streets of important Europeans countries. There are protests in France. There are protests in Italy. There are protests in Spain. There are protests in England. There are protests in Greece. Your problem is far more complicated than our problem. Your economies have reached a dead end, yet you are happy that Iran's economy has been weakened? You are living in misery. You are heading towards stagnation, decline and annihilation.

Such problems will not bring the Islamic Republic to its knees. Today it is westerners themselves who have to deal with major problems. Economic problems are the main issue in America's presidential elections. The American people are helpless. They have to deal with many problems. Lower social classes in America are being trampled upon. The 99 percent movement is a reality. Of course, they try to suppress it. It is their countries that are suffering from economic problems, yet they express their joy at smaller problems that exist in our country.

They should know that by Allah's favor and grace, the Islamic Republic will overcome the existing problems and that their dream of defeating the Iranian nation will not come true. By Allah's favor and grace and thanks to the vigilance of our people and competent management by our government officials, our problems will be eliminated. Both the people and government officials have certain responsibilities to fulfill. All of us should fulfill our responsibilities. If we carry out our responsibilities, we will manage to move things forward. Vigilance of the people plays a role. Notice that in Tehran's bazaar, a number of self-proclaimed traders took to the streets to create chaos, but our honorable traders at Tehran's bazaar immediately announced that the protesters were imposters, not real traders. This is the right thing to do. It is very valuable if different groups of people show awareness of their conditions at the right time. What the traders did was very valuable. I said the same thing in the case of the fitna that happened in the year 1388. In the fitna of the year 1388, a number of people took to the streets and protested a few days after that great election. There were other people who took advantage of that situation and obtained weapons. They created disorder and turbulence. They opened fire on Basij bases. The individuals for whom they were protesting should have distanced themselves from the vandals, but they failed to do so. If they had done this, the fitna would have ended sooner and the subsequent events would not have happened. This vigilance and this ability to take action at the right time is an important and outstanding characteristic and our people should always pay attention to it. Everybody should react instantly whenever they detect the enemy's conspiracy. This is the responsibility of the people.

The responsibility of our government officials is to have unity and solidarity. They should make plans. They should have a sense of responsibility. They should not blame the problems on each other. They should observe the constitutional limits. There are no flaws or shortcomings in our Constitution. The responsibility of the Majlis is clear. The responsibility of the executive branch is clear. The responsibility of the President is clear. The responsibility of the judiciary is clear. All of them have particular responsibilities and they should carry out their responsibilities. They should have solidarity. They should cooperate.

Thankfully, we do not have any problems in this regard either. Our government officials care about the country. We are all human beings and we make mistakes, but it is possible to make up for the mistakes we make. Fortunately, our government officials care about the country. The heads and officials of the three branches of government do not lack compassion. They care about the destiny of the Islamic Republic. All of them care about the country. By Allah's favor, they will move things forward, and they are working hard.

This is my recommendation: let us not forget that labor, effort, hope, patience and planning are requirements for moving forward on these important paths. The path that we are following is an important path, a path that can revolutionize the history of the world, just as it is revolutionizing the history of the region. You can see this. Who would have thought those important events would happen in important and sensitive North Africa and West Asia - the same region which Europeans like to call "Middle East"? But these events have happened and they have not come to an end yet. The events that are happening will harm the west - particularly, America - and jeopardize the Zionist regime. Of course, the nonsensical statements by government officials of the Zionist regime are not important enough to respond to. Some of these nonsensical statements are made by officials of the Zionist regime and some others are made by certain westerners. Most of these westerners are the Americans and their followers. Europeans do not have much motivation. In this case, Europe's cooperation with America is not wise and rational. They are acting like America's soldiers. They are sacrificing themselves for America. They are acting like fools. Our people do not have bad memories of many of the European countries. We do not have bad memories of France, Italy and Spain. Yes, we have a lot of bad memories of England. We call England "wicked England", but this is not the case with other European countries. With what they are doing, with their cooperation with America - which we believe is completely unwise - they are making the Iranian nation hostile towards themselves. They are making the people of Iran hate them.

We will clear these turns and passes. Our people are too competent and too brave to become stuck. We have been following this path in spite of the problems for thirty three years: our power and preparedness have increased over the years, and we have gained more valuable experiences. We will not get stuck. It is you who will get stuck. You are creating problems for yourselves by making the Iranian nation hate you. They are making a mistake. The Iranian nation will clear these problems. Of course, there are certain requirements. Our people should remain steadfast, prepared, firm, vigilant and aware, just as they have been since the beginning of the Revolution. Also, our government officials should fulfill their responsibilities. Definitely, everything will go the way the people want, and these economic problems will be resolved.

Of course, today domestic production is the essential issue. Domestic production is the main solution, which is what I stressed in this year's slogan: "National Production and Supporting Iranian Labor and Capital." Domestic production reduces inflation, increases production, creates employment opportunities, combats unemployment, activates national resources and strengthens the Iranian nation's spirit of self-sufficiency. Government officials at different levels should pay as much attention as they can to the issue of national production. Of course, I am mainly addressing our high-ranking government officials both in the Majlis and in the executive branch, but all other government officials who serve at lower levels should also pay attention to this point.

In this province, just like in other provinces, our government officials in the legislative and executive branches should focus on resolving the problems of the people. The most important issue is the issue of production and utilizing our domestic resources. Undoubtedly, with its water resources, with its fertile soil, with its agricultural capacities, with its rich capacities for animal husbandry which has provided for the needs of the people of this province as well as other provinces and with its large industries, this province can help increase production and employment opportunities and revitalize the people. These are issues on which government officials of this province should focus their efforts.

I do not want to keep you dear brothers and sisters in the sun. Of course, there are many things to say. I did not discuss all the points that I had in mind, but over the next few days, I will meet the honorable people of this province in other places and I will discuss the points that I have in mind. In my meetings with our clergy, our government officials, our basijis and other people in different cities, I will discuss the numerous points I have in mind, which I think are beneficial. I hope Allah the Exalted bestows His blessings on you.

Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad (s.w.a.) and his household, bestow Your mercy and grace on the people of this province. Dear God, safeguard our youth. Dear God, cut off the enemies' hands. Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad (s.w.a.) and his household, make us steadfast on the path that satisfies You and Your saints. Associate the souls of our dear martyrs and the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) with Your saints.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings