Leader's Speech in Meeting with Laborers of MAPNA Group

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on April 30, 2014 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the laborers of Power Plant Projects Management Company [MAPNA ] in Fardis, Karaj. The meeting was held on the occasion of Labor Day.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I thank Allah the Exalted for giving me the opportunity today to be present among this large and enthusiastic gathering of you dear ones in this very important business, economic and industrial center and to have a meeting with you dear ones on the occasion of Labor Day which has always been an important occasion for us. Today, I have more reasons to be happy. Let me put it this way: one of the programs which is usually interesting to me throughout the year is the program of meeting with laborers on the occasion of Labor Day.

Today, this occasion has been accompanied by paying a visit to this active and leading center - MAPNA Group - which thankfully enjoys many characteristics of positive work in the country. These two factors are a source of happiness and delight for us. Well, today's visit was a very valuable visit for me. Meeting with you dear workers and activists is another valuable opportunity.

We are very close to the month of Rajab. The month of Rajab is the month of serving God. It is the month of attention and vigilance. And we people of the country and lovers of the fate of the country and the people believe - almost everyone in the country believes this - that we can carry out many tasks and take giant steps with divine assistance, help and guidance.

Today, I would like to discuss two issues briefly. One is about the issues of labor and laborers. What we have always stressed and emphasized is respecting and appreciating the value of labor and laborers. This is what we firmly believe is a necessity for the general culture of the country. The word laborer has a general meaning. Imam (may God bestow paradise on him) used to say, "Prophets were laborers as well". This is true.

In your group too, laborers range from your managers, your economic activists, your decision-makers and the entrepreneurs who prepare the ground for developing and improving the quality of work as well as all laborers including educated, skilled, experienced and simple laborers. The essence of labor is respectable. The essence of dynamism and effort in the right direction is respectable. This is the viewpoint of Islam.

Everything should be shaped on the basis of this respect and appreciation. If we define what is called the rights and positions of laborers, this should be based on this respect for labor and laborers. The truth of the issue is that human and material achievements in all eras and the spiritual, psychological and intrinsic progress of every individual are not possible except with labor. So, labor and diligence are necessary.

The holy ayah that our reciter recited with his beautiful voice - "And that man shall have nothing but what he strives for" [The Holy Quran, 53: 39] - means that your achievements are made only in the shade of your effort, your diligence and your hard work. Wherever we are, we should think and work like this.

The outlook which is based on hostility between laborers and employers is a wrong interpretation of a truth. Everyone should cooperate with one another. The outlook which is based on hostility, opposition and harassment and which has dominated western thoughts is a rejected and unacceptable outlook from the viewpoint of Islam. Of course, this outlook is not particular to Marxists. Even before Marxists, this hostile outlook was common and prevalent in western thought. Islam invites to alliance, unity, cooperation, compassion and collaboration. This is the basis of Islamic thought in all activities.

Of course, cooperation has certain limits and regulations. Everyone has certain rights and they should be respected. But this is possible in the shade of the Islamic government. An outlook which is based on hostility is wrong and an outlook which is based on cooperation and interaction is correct from the viewpoint of Islam. This is a thought which should exist in all areas and on all issues related to life.

We have to defend ourselves in the face of those individuals who damage the psychological, spiritual, intellectual and existential reputation and dignity of the people and society, but the main essence is cooperation, interaction, collaboration and alliance. This is the main outlook of Islam.

We believe that our society of laborers should be respected and appreciated. We believe that anyone who works and anyone who does it in the right way benefits from divine mercy. There is a narration which says, "God's mercy be upon those who carry out a task in a proper way". A person who does something in the right way benefits from God's mercy. This is the first issue and one of the two issues which I deemed necessary to discuss.

The second issue is about a reality, one of the beautiful aspects of which can be seen in this work group - MAPNA Group. This reality is the reality of competence - one that results from knowledge, intelligence, diligence, innovation and firm determination - which we can fortunately see in this group. This is our outlook towards the general movement of the country.

National determination and jihadi management is the slogan of the year 1393, but this is not something which is particular to the year 1393. This is our identity, our dignity and our future. This slogan illustrates our fate. If there is national determination and jihadi management, then economy and culture will make progress. A people who enjoy an advanced economy and culture will reach peaks and they will not be humiliated.

Before the Revolution, they humiliated us for tens of years. Despite their background, old civilization, deep cultural heritage and the many scholars and scientists who existed in different fields throughout the history of the country, the people of Iran reached a point where their rulers had to send some agents to American and English embassies in order to ask for their permission on fundamental issues. Is there a greater humiliation for a people? The day when there was no trace of knowledge in Europe and the day ignorance in the real sense of the word was dominant in these countries, Iran offered to the world Farabis, Ibn Sinas, Mohammad ibn Zakariya Razis, Sheikh Tusis and other such personalities.

This is our legacy. This is our past. We should not have been humiliated. We should not have allowed global plundering powers to take our economy in their hands, to take our oil, to have access to our resources and to humiliate our people in political and social areas. But this happened anyway.

If the people of Iran want to achieve a position which befits them, this position has been defined. I have repeatedly said that our people should reach a point where seekers of knowledge throughout the world have to learn Farsi in order to reach peaks of knowledge. This position has already been defined. We may reach this point in 50 years, but this is alright. If we want to reach this already defined position, the way to do this is to benefit from knowledge, intelligence, the power to be highly dynamic and to innovate, and firm determination in all areas.

The economy should improve and without cultural growth, improving the economy is neither possible nor valuable. Culture too should achieve transcendence and it should improve. Therefore, this year's slogan is the slogan of our life and it will be our slogan forever. Fortunately today, one can see this in different sectors of the active economic and industrial society of the country including MAPNA Group.

I have received certain reports in this regard. Today, I witnessed up close some of the things that I had read and seen in these reports. This shows that the slogan which was chanted by our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) - that is to say, the slogan of "we can" - is a real slogan, not an empty one. This is really the case. The tasks which were considered by some of our outstanding personalities and managers to be impossible are easily and smoothly being carried out today in your group.

I do not forget that in the early years of 1360s, when I was the president, we had an unfinished gas power plant in an area of the country - I do not want to say where it was. We used to insist that we should finish this power plant on our own. A number of officials - some of them are alive and some of them have passed away [God's mercy be upon them] - came to me and said, "It is not possible to do this. Do not bother yourselves and do not try in vain". They had come to me to persuade me that we cannot do this. They insisted that we ask such and such a company to come and finish it for us. This happened amid the war which was an era of numerous pressures and difficult sanctions.

Today, you youth, activists and jihadi and valuable managers of the country have managed to achieve a high rank - sixth - in the area of building gas power plants. You are the sixth company after the American, German, French, Italian and Japanese companies. You are building gas power plants and this is very important. In those years, they used to say to us that this is not possible. But this happened with diligence, with hard work, with reliance on Allah the Exalted, with support of talented forces and with the firm determination that our managers showed.

I want to say to you my dear ones that you should improve your level by 10 times. This can happen as well and it will happen. The people who are weak and who adopt short-sighted outlooks cannot understand certain things because they do not know human nature, because they do not understand divine assistance, because they do not appreciate the value of firm determination and because they deny our innate talents.

This is one of the disasters that happened to our people. The many years of cultural, political and economic domination of foreigners over the country had instilled the idea in the minds of the people that Iranians do not have any talent. Notice what great treachery this is. The Iranians' intelligence is higher than the global average. Iranian youth and Iranian talents are among the most intelligent people in the world. This is while they used to pretend that there is no talent in the country. This is related to the pre-revolutionary era and unfortunately until the first years of the Revolution, there were some people into whose minds these thoughts had rooted themselves.

I would like to recount another memory for your dear brothers and sisters. Someone came to me to prove that we should not follow up the road and highway projects that we had. He used to say, "We do not have any managers for these projects" and he used to give some examples. Well, these are the thoughts that keep a people backward.

Thankfully, your laborers, your managers, your officials, your designers and all of you have worked well in this group. Today, MAPNA Group is a glorious group. It is a source of pride for the country and for you yourselves who have managed to develop this capability and show it off to friends and enemies. You should be proud of this capability. Wherever you are, all of you laborers, managers, officials, designers and decision-makers in different areas should be proud that you have participated in developing this beautiful and glorious product.

Of course, the activities of this group and similar groups should be supported. One of the supports is that governmental organizations should consider themselves responsible to avoid preparing the ground for foreign rivals to compete with the products of such groups. This is one of the areas of the economy of resistance which we have promoted. Domestic production is the spinal cord of the economy of resistance. If we want domestic production to develop, then we should inject help into it. Besides, we should prevent the things which stunt its growth. We should do something to create a market for our products and to control - I do not want to use the word prevent - the importation of similar foreign products by making an exact calculation. The administration should provide help in the contracts that this group and similar groups have with foreign countries.

We said before that our economy grows from the inside and that it interacts with the outside world. We should grow, blossom and improve from the inside. But we should pay attention to the outside world as well. Global markets belong to us. So, we should be able to show our presence in these markets with our determination and innovation. And this presence is not possible without the administration's support. Different governmental sectors can participate in this area.

An important factor in jihadi management is self-assurance, self-confidence and trust in divine assistance. This is the reason why I mention the auspicious names of Imam Baqir (a.s.) and the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) and this is the reason why I expressed - in the beginning of my speech - my congratulations on the occasion of the month of Rajab. We should rely on Allah the Exalted and ask for His help in all tasks. We should trust divine assistance.

When you ask Allah the Exalted to help you, all paths will open to you: "And for those who fear Allah, He always prepares a way out. And He provides for him from sources he could never imagine" [The Holy Quran, 65: 2-3]. The provision which has been referred to in this ayah and in other ayahs becomes available to us in different forms. Sometimes, an idea flashes through your mind and as a result, a path will open. This is divine provision. And during difficult times, a great hope is suddenly engendered into your heart. This is divine provision as well.

Therefore, it is necessary to have trust in divine assistance and to utilize our intelligence and knowledge which is one of the bases of the economy of resistance and which was explained in this meeting. It is also necessary to pay attention to knowledge-based groups. Fortunately, your group is one of the outstanding examples of knowledge-based groups.

Another thing which is necessary is to work hard. The significance of work should not be underestimated. You should not be satisfied with the achievements that you have already made. Rather, you should be interested in making more achievements. Being satisfied with the level that we have reached will make us suffer from stagnation and inactivity. Therefore, it is necessary to innovate and to take unknown paths and shortcuts.

One of the things which I have written down to discuss is the issue of research and development. This issue is very important. Fortunately, when I was visiting this center today, I saw that this issue has received attention. Fortunately, I saw that an important area has been specified for research and development. Another issue is cooperation and connecting capacities to one another in different sectors so that they can be aware of the latest developments. Have other active economic and industrial sectors been informed of the resources which exist in MAPNA? Are they aware of these resources? Are the universities of the country completely aware of the capacities of MAPNA? And are you aware of the capacities of universities?

Of course, the report that our friends delivered to me shows that the officials of this group are active in this regard. However, I would like to stress this issue - the issue of cooperation and utilization of one another's capacities. This is like interlaced objects. Everyone should benefit from others because this overlap and cooperation will lead to more achievements.

The honorable manager - Mr. Aliabadi - raised a point in his speech which I agree with and which I have always paid attention to. He said that sanctions are lifted in any area where we gain a capability. He is right. Sanctions are imposed whenever your hands are tied. If you can show dynamism and progress in any area, the other side feels that imposing sanctions is wrong, absurd and foolish.

A clear example of this is the twenty-percent enriched uranium that we seriously needed for Tehran research reactor. The country was running out of its supplies. If we had not been able to provide the twenty-percent enriched uranium, this research reactor would have been closed and the people would not have had access to the radiopharmaceuticals that they needed and that were being produced in the country. Therefore, officials tried to provide the twenty-percent enriched uranium.

The story of the game that global powers - headed by America and some other powers - played on the issue of the twenty-percent enriched uranium is a long, sweet and interesting story. It is interesting to know what they did. We were ready to buy it, but they used all kinds of tricks to create obstacles. Finally, the Islamic Republic came to the conclusion that it should produce the twenty-percent enriched uranium on its own. However, they did not believe that this would happen. They did not believe that after producing it, it would be possible for us to produce fuel out of it. That is to say, they did not believe that we could produce fuel rods and fuel plates. But like you, the youth of the Islamic Republic and the young scientists of the country managed to carry out this task with their intelligence, innovation and good management.

Now that the entire world knows the Islamic Republic has achieved this technology and product and is able to use it, they say that we should buy it from them. Different countries ask us to buy it from them. They say, "We are prepared to sell it to you. So, do not produce it on your own". Global pressures and the wrong behavior of small and big powers towards the Islamic Republic and towards any independent system correlate with their weakness and their power. In any area you show weakness, they behave in a worse way. In any area you show strength and manage to stand on your own feet, they will have to behave towards you in a more polite and reasonable way.

This is the key to solving all the problems of the country. The country should blossom from the inside. You should manufacture your products on your own and you should build your economy and your future from the inside. And the people of Iran are a talented people and they can do this. Our human resources are infinite and our natural resources are thankfully many.

I hope that Allah the Exalted bestows success on all of you. I hope that He bestows success on us, officials and all the people so that we can carry out our responsibilities.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings