Leader's Speech in Meeting with President Ahmadinejad and Cabinet Members

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on August 26, 2007 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and cabinet members. The meeting was held on the occasion of Government Week.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

First of all, I would like to congratulate you dear brothers and sisters - who are at the service of the goals and hopes of 15th of Sha'ban - on the auspicious days of Sha'ban and the peak of Sha'baniyah Eids which is the 15th of Sha'ban. The coincidence of these days with the 15th of Sha'ban and the birthday anniversary of Hazrat Hujjat (God's greetings be upon him and may He hasten his re-appearance) is a noteworthy incident because the characteristic of the 15th of Sha'ban and the birthday anniversary of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) is hope and justice.

There are two outstanding points in our anticipation and our celebration of 15th of Sha'ban. One is the issue of raising hopes about this birthday and the future that humanity is waiting for as a result of this birthday. This is a source of hope.

Another is that in the world that will be created after the re-appearance of that great Imam (a.s.), the most prominent characteristic is justice. When you take a look at all the narrations and hadiths that have been narrated about that great Imam (a.s.) and that era, you see that the main focus is not on people's piety. Of course, people will be pious and religious in that era, but the main focus is on the fact that people will benefit from justice at that time and that justice and equality will be established. This matter exists in all duas, prayers and narrations about that great Imam (a.s.). That is to say, an outstanding point in that promising future is justice. Humanity is thirsty for justice.

And you are an administration that has placed these two characteristics among your slogans and your plans. You both give the people hope and you give them the promise of administering justice. The hope that the people have is because of the fact that you have raised the flag of justice and that you constantly speak about it.

More than anything else, the gap in today's world is really the gap of justice. In our own country and society, the thing that the people are most thirsty for is justice. When we look at the people's problems, shortcomings and expectations and at the lofty goals that exist in our own minds for the people, we see that all these things go back to the issue of administering justice. If justice is administered, all these things will be resolved. You have brought up the issue of justice. This is very good.

Of course, it is possible that on this long, dangerous and difficult path, you can only manage to take a few steps. It is possible that we do not live long enough to finish this path and it is possible that we do not have many opportunities for rendering services. But the step and the direction that you have taken is very valuable and it keeps the slogan of justice alive. Therefore, this year, the coincidence of the auspicious Government Week with the 15th of Sha'ban is a sweet coincidence and it evokes certain concepts in our minds.

Today, we consider Shahid Rajai and Shahid Bahonar to be two pillars for these lofty and valuable concepts. They were really such personalities. That is to say, what made them move forward - and we witnessed this up close - was love of justice, revolutionary values and the like. It is necessary for you to commemorate Government week in their memory and to associate yourselves with those great personalities. I hope that by Allah's favor, they are commemorated in the proper way.

Since you have assumed responsibility, this is the third time that we have been meeting with you on the occasion of Government Week. That is to say, three Government Weeks have passed. Notice how surprising this quick passage of one's life is. As if it were yesterday that the first Government Week of this new administration arrived and that we were having a meeting with you.

In that meeting too, I said that opportunities for rendering services are very fleeting. Notice how soon opportunities for rendering services come to an end. This is a lesson for us. We should not ignore any moment and we should not miss any opportunity. Thankfully, most of you are young and you benefit from youthful enthusiasm and energy. You should make maximum use of this opportunity. You should place youth, youthful patience and the spirit of innovation, courage and ambition that exists in youth at the service of lofty goals. You should not become tired.

It is almost two years now that you have been rendering services. In these two years, these are the things that I understood about the behavior of this administration and I think that fair-minded observers - almost all the people of Iran are among these observers - have the same opinions and interpretations:

First of all, there is the issue of commitment to principles and values which is a very important standard. The administration has shown both in words - which is important - and in action that it is committed to the principles and values of the Revolution. Notice that when we look at all great revolutions in the world - the great political developments that occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries and before that the French Revolution - we see that these revolutions betrayed and turned their backs on their principles and values after a short time.

Without any interpretation, this has risen and originated from the heart of history. Of course, they sometimes mentioned these principles, but everyone knew that their concepts and principles have changed. This happened both in the French Revolution and in the Soviet Revolution and it happened in a short time. Their principles changed dramatically both in words and in action. These principles have also changed in the minor revolutions that have been carried out in different corners of the world. And there is no exception. There is not even one single exception as far as I know.

Today, we chant the same slogans and we benefit from the same principles and guidelines that we announced in the beginning of the Revolution. This is a miraculous and unique phenomenon for our Revolution. In our plans and requests, these principles have not been violated at all. This is very important.

Methods change, but principles and guidelines remain unchanged. Perhaps, some dust particles settled on these principles in different eras, but today we can see that they are clearer, livelier and more prominent than ever. You speak about these principles in your statements, slogans and plans and because you are responsible, what you say will not remain in the area of words and it will create a line and a depth in society. This is the nature of responsibility.

Of course, I should say in parentheses that for this reason, you are responsible for the statements that you make. It is not the case that what we say can be removed like a line that we draw on water. This is not the case. What you say will have permanent effects on realities and on the mentality of society, whether in the short or in the long run. So, your slogans have helped the environment of commitment to principles, revolutionary values and loyalty to the principles of Imam (r.a.) and the Revolution to dominate society. This is a very valuable issue. This is the first and foremost characteristic of your administration.

The second characteristic is commitment to justice which I spoke about. It is possible that you have not managed and that you will not manage until the end to do everything that should be done about justice, but the essence of your outlook on justice is a very valuable thing. You should move forward on this path as hard as you can because "Taking a wrong path is better than sitting idle. If I do not achieve my goal, at least I have done my best" [A Collection of Saadi's Ghazals, Ghazal 405].

This is better than remaining completely silent about justice and forgetting about it. This is better than concealing justice among other concepts so that it escapes the minds and eyes of people. These are not appropriate. When justice is highlighted and when it receives attention as a standard and main criterion, it will naturally be included in plans. So, commitment to justice is another characteristic of this administration.

Commitment to rendering services is also one of the characteristics of this administration which is praiseworthy and important.

The diligence of this administration too is really an outstanding point. Even those people who are opposed to the administration cannot deny this. That is to say, no matter how many unjust statements some people make, they cannot hide the fact that your administration is really a diligent administration and that your efforts, endeavors and activities are many. This requires that we express our satisfaction.

Another characteristic is the courage and decisiveness of this administration. The great task that you carried out for rationing gasoline and other such tasks indicate the courage and decisiveness of this administration. This great task in the area of rationing gasoline is the first step to redistribute subsidies and to achieve the desired results in this area. Of course, I witness that some people in some corners of the administration are not aware of the greatness of this task. A very great task has been carried out and by Allah's favor, if I do not forget, I may say later on that this task should be carried out until the end and that there should not be any pause and halt in it.

Another characteristic that I have written down to mention is the spirit of change, innovation and reformation in this administration. As Mr. President reported in this meeting, the changes that are made in the general structure of the government and the administration are very fundamental tasks.

Reformation means these acts. It means that one takes a look at different areas and changes structures in a very fundamental and dramatic way.

Another characteristic which is necessary to be mentioned is that this administration did not remain passive in the face of the greed of arrogance. In my opinion, it is very important for us to know our place, our requests and our capabilities and to know what we should do when we want to interact with the world.

Today, the world is not a calm and quiet arena where there are no rivals for us so that we can say, "Well, we have certain interests and we can pursue them gradually and over the course of time". The world is not like this. Of course, this has always been the case, but today it has been reinforced because of the close interactions that exist among people all over the world. The world is a place for showing hostility and creating obstacles. It is a place for powerful people to bully those who do not have power or who are not powerful enough.

The law of the jungle - in the real sense of the word - has dominated the political environment of the world. There is not any cogent and sound reason - which is politically correct and which has a global appeal - behind the things that arrogant governments, headed by America, are doing in the present time. Their reason is one that is based on bullying. They say, "We do it because we can". Their reason is one that is based on bullying.

If we surrender to them in this world, if we show weakness, if we do not stand up for our positions and if we do not use our power to confront and oppose them, we will definitely suffer a loss. In such a world, no one shows mercy on others. In my opinion, resistance against the greed of arrogance and the sense of dignity that exists in this arena is one of the characteristics of this administration. Thankfully, these are the characteristics that exist in this administration.

In my opinion, the issue of provincial trips is very important for rendering services to the underprivileged people in society and for administering justice. In my opinion, the responsibility that you gentlemen have shouldered to go to every part of the country, to contact the people and to listen to their problems - which are expressed by their officials, Friday prayer leaders and outstanding personalities - is very good.

It is many years now that I myself am involved in executive and non-executive tasks, but when I travel to an area and come back, my information about that area increases several times more than when I read about that area. Going on a trip and witnessing the realities of people's lives is a very important issue. How is it possible for a person to deny or express doubts about the advantages and benefits of this? This is a very important task and you are carrying it out. Of course, it is difficult, but you have accepted its difficulties.

Thankfully, you have made these achievements. Now, what is your responsibility in the face of these achievements? Your responsibility is to thank God. No one from among you - whether Mr. President or each and every one of you officials - should think that it was you who made these achievements. This is not the case. It was Allah the Exalted who helped you make these achievements.

Whatever you did originated from divine blessings. Whatever you did was done with the power that God gave you, with the enthusiasm that God created in your hearts and with the opportunity that God offered to you for rendering services. We should not become arrogant. One of the greatest mistakes is arrogance and assumptions such as "It was I who carried out these tasks and it was I who thought of these things". When we look at our performance and see our mistakes, errors and simple-mindedness over the course of time and by gaining experience, we understand who helped us make an achievement. Otherwise, if we were supposed to act on our own, there would only be mistakes, failures and the like.

Of course, one does not learn about one's mistakes soon. Rather, one learns about them gradually. Today, when I look at my performance 10, 15 years ago, I find certain mistakes in it that I did not find at that time, but today I see these mistakes. We learn about our mistakes gradually. We do not learn about them soon. These mistakes teach us that if we make an achievement in a certain area and if we carry out a good task, this was nothing except the work of God.

Therefore, you should not fall in the abyss of arrogance because coming out of this abyss is very difficult and it requires divine assistance. Moreover, you should not be satisfied with what has been done. I have certain pieces of advice in this regard which I will discuss with you:

My first piece of advice is the strategic plan. In Mr. President's report, there was a glancing reference to the issue of the strategic plan, but this is not enough. The strategic plan is a supra-governmental issue. It does not belong to such and such an administration, policy and orientation. It is the product of compact and solid work. It is based on expert work and it is accurate. In fact, this plan is our major plan for 20 years and it is a plan in the real sense of the word. What has been mentioned in this plan is not a formality.

You should pay attention to the strategic plan in all kinds of planning - whether during passing laws which legislators are in charge of or during executing these laws which you are responsible for. You should carry out an evaluation to see which areas do not move in the direction of the strategic plan. You should revise these areas and you should not allow them to deviate. This is not only the responsibility of the president. Of course, the president has the most responsibility in this regard, but each and every one of you - who are at the top of executive organizations - is responsible as well. You should really make the strategic plan the basis of your work and you should observe it like a solemn oath. This is one point which I place great emphasis on.

My second piece of advice is the issue of strengthening expert work. I do not at all pay serious attention to the statements that your opponents and your just or unjust critics say about lack of expert opinion in the tasks that the administration carries out. My judgment is not based on their statements because I see that in some areas, very good tasks are carried out based on expert work. However, I want to stress that you should take the issue of expert work seriously, particularly in infrastructural and fundamental tasks such as the issue of planning and specifying budgets or the issue of councils and the like. These are fundamental and permanent tasks. That to say, they should become permanent.

If expert, deep and exact work is carried out, this will be permanent. Otherwise, if part of the expert work is flawed, your efforts will be wasted. First, you yourselves may become aware - in the future - of the mistakes that happen and some mistakes cannot be made up for. Second, those who succeed you and the future generations - after all, you do not carry out tasks just for your own administration and you want these tasks to have a permanent effect on the general structure of the government - will not take these tasks seriously. This is contrary to the time the task is based on expert work.

The smallest miscalculations in bases and fundamental stages create great dangers. The foundation of a building changes with the wall that is built between two rooms. Calculations in this regard should be very exact and they should be based on expert work so that the building stays intact. This is another issue.

Of course, the issue of interaction with outstanding personalities is related to this issue. I have repeatedly discussed this issue with you and I have spoken at length to Mr. President about it. You should benefit from outstanding personalities. The outstanding personalities of the country are many and they are not confined to the people present in this meeting and other such meetings. We really do not have a shortage of outstanding personalities in the country. They are present in universities and research environments. When we sometimes meet with outstanding personalities, we notice that all of them are ready and willing to help. You should ask them to help. This should be shown in practice so that outstanding personalities offer their services. This is an important issue.

Another piece of advice that I want to offer is the issue of interaction with other branches. Fortunately today, the relationship of the executive branch with the legislative and judiciary branches is a good relationship. However, this relationship should be strengthened in the body. That is to say, there should be an effort to establish reasonable and proper interactions.

Of course, I do not at all believe that the Majlis should forget about its duties when it wants to interact with the administration. The Majlis should carry out its responsibilities towards the administration in a strict but well-intentioned way. The administration too should not relinquish its authority at all and it should make maximum use of the authority that the law and the Constitution have granted it in relation with other branches. But the spirit of interaction, amicability and compatibility should dominate the three branches.

Another point that I want to raise is the issue of public awareness which I discussed in the meeting with government officials on that day [Leader's speech in meeting with government officials delivered on June 30, 2007]. You should really strengthen public awareness. You should feed good media networks. National media too should carry out active work on the issue of the administration.

Of course, the issue of raising public awareness is a delicate task. It is not the case that someone sits in front of the camera, speaks to the people about such and such a task that they have carried out and all the people completely believe them. The issue of raising public awareness is not like this at all. Raising public awareness is an artistic piece of work. You should give the main ingredients to the national media and the national media should work on it. You should give information to the people in an artistic way so that they accept it from the bottom of their hearts.

In the present time, the people do not know about many of your tasks. That is to say, they are not informed about great and national tasks, let alone departmental, provincial and structural tasks. The people do not pay any attention to the structural tasks that are among your important services and that you are rightly proud of. You should help them understand this issue by explaining it to them. This task raises the people's hopes, it is illuminating, it will lead to their help and support and it clarifies issues in the face of criticisms.

Of course, I should add that you should not become angry at criticisms at all. The goal of some of those people who criticize the administration is to make you angry, tired and impatient. They make criticisms with this purpose. They find faults with no good reason. As you have witnessed, they sometimes highlight and magnify a piece of news, but it becomes clear in a short time that it is a lie and that it is not based on the truth.

These are things that some people do. You should not become angry and nervous at all. Instead, you should welcome such criticisms even if they are not well-intentioned. This is because there are some truths even in hostile criticisms. Although those who make these hostile criticisms are not well-intentioned, their criticisms are real, let alone those people who make well-intentioned criticisms. You should not become annoyed at all and you should welcome it.

Another point that I would like to raise is that you should really help the area of culture. The area of culture is really suffering oppression. In the report that Mr. President delivered, there was no mention of culture. Besides, when the executive officials in this meeting wanted to speak about priorities, this priority was sacrificed. The result was that other issues were given priority because of lack of time. This is oppression. You should not really underestimate the issue of culture.

Many of the problems of our society are solved by developing a good culture. You should notice that today, many of our enemies are working on the cultural front. Their psychological warfare, their cultural activities and the overt and covert budgets that they allocate to poisoning minds are all related to the issue of culture.

Culture is like the air that we breathe. When you breathe air, you can take two steps forward because of the new energy that you have. All other tasks originate from the air that you have breathed. If a kind of air that is poisonous is injected somewhere, the reactions that we witness in different parts of our body is the result of the poison that exists in the air. If the environment is filled with smoke and addictive substances, when you inhale it, your behavior will be in line with what you have breathed. Culture has the same quality. You should not underestimate culture because it is very important. So, you should put time on culture and allocate a large budget to it in order to give it value.

One of the tasks to which officials in charge of cultural affairs should pay careful attention is that they should they should place value to the public culture of society and to cultural tools and means. You should not miss any moment on this task. This is because many efforts have been made to make cultural orientations and factors - art, literature, poetry, cinema and the like - move in the direction of anti-values. You should do your best to make the cultural activities of society move in the direction of values.

For this reason, I would like to attend to the issue of knowledge and research. Great significance should be attached to the issue of the scientific movement of the country. It should be taken seriously. I will tell you that no country - including ours - can achieve its great national goals except when it can achieve a high rank in the competition of knowledge.

Scientific backwardness will definitely be followed by political, economic and cultural backwardness. The savages who have dominated the world today and who know nothing about human values and spirituality have achieved this domination in the shade of knowledge. They achieved this domination because they acquired knowledge. I have said many times that they are like a thug who pulls knives on people, but who is intelligent. Such a person uses daggers and knives and he acquires some knowledge, but he does not stop pulling knives on people. These savages are such people as well.

One can see that they are really the thugs of the world. These arrogant powers are the people who use daggers and have a thuggish behavior in the world, but they are equipped with knowledge. Now, even if you are very polite, religious and even if you behave in a very dignified and noble way, these thugs have no roots and no dignity, but they are equipped with knowledge and you are not. You are illiterate, but they are literate and knowledgeable. Therefore, they come and dominate you and there is no way you can stop them.

You should become knowledgeable. You should help your country and your people to move forward on the path of knowledge. We suffer from backwardness in this arena. May God curse those people who did not understand the priority of science and research and who kept the country backward when they were ruling over our people.

After that, no lofty effort was made to make up for this backwardness. Then, a revolution was carried out in the country. This revolution turned the tables and changed the path. Now, we can make up for this backwardness. Of course, if we want to follow the same path that others did, we will remain backward forever. There are certain shortcuts to make up for this scientific backwardness. The divine creation enjoys many astonishing and surprising mazes. We should discover these mazes.

All scientific achievements have been achieved through short cuts. There are many short cuts in the world. If you find these short cuts and move forward, you will be able to take a leading role in this competition. Of course, finding short cuts is not possible without scientific prerequisites. We should equip ourselves with these prerequisites and we should make people knowledgeable. Research should be taken seriously in this regard. Therefore, the issue of scientific movement and scientific leap is important.

The budget for research is really one of our weak points. When I sometimes meet with academic personalities, university professors and officials in charge of scientific affairs, they bring up the issue of research budget. It is three, four years now that they have been saying to us, "The research budget is supposed to reach 3 percent of the overall budget, but we are working with 0.06, 0.07 percent in the present time". This is really little.

Officials always promise that the situation will be better and that such and such a measure will be adopted, but we witness nothing. You should really increase the research budget. You can pressure other sectors, but you should increase the research budget. The president's deputy in scientific and research affairs, which has thankfully been formed in the administration, is one of the important tasks. It is an infrastructural task. You should give it the opportunity to work, you should open the path for it and you should ask it for results. This deputy can move these affairs forward. This is another issue.

Another issue is the policies specified in the Article 44 of the Constitution. I would like to discuss this issue briefly. The policies specified in the Article 44 of the Constitution are very important. The bill that was presented to the Majlis in this regard had certain flaws. Some of these flaws were removed in the Majlis. This is the piece of advice that I would like to offer: you should do something to make the bill be compatible with these policies. You should right the wrong line that has been drawn on the economy since the early years of the Revolution until today and you should draw the right line.

This is not at all contradictory to the issue of justice and what we have specified in the policies on the Article 44 of the Constitution. That is to say, you should definitely pay attention to the issue of justice, but you should also do something to help the economy of the country blossom. Popular forces should enter the arena and work, but this cannot be done in words. It requires action and it should be felt.

The issue of investment is related to this issue. Once - a few years ago - an in-depth meeting was held between officials in charge of different economic sectors. One of the gentlemen in that meeting made a good statement. He said, "We ask foreigners to come here and invest. Well, foreigners take a look to see if domestic investors make any investment inside the country or not. Investment is like our shop window. If they see that some people inside the country have the power to make investments and that they do so easily, then they are encouraged to come here and invest. But when they see that domestic investors do not invest, then it is very difficult to convince them to come here and make investments so that we can benefit from it". All of these issues have received attention in the policies specified in Article 44 of the Constitution.

Another issue that I want to discuss is the issue of high prices. You should really think of a way to solve this problem. The issue of high prices - particularly on the issue of real estate and a number of goods - really exists and it is placing the people under pressure. Of course, solving the issue of high prices is a deep-rooted task. It is evident that reducing inflation is a scientific, deep-rooted and fundamental task that has certain requirements. Unless these requirements are met, it continues to exist.

However, we should adopt quick and expeditious measures. After all, we cannot sit idle until these fundamental tasks achieve results. You should really think of a way for this problem. You should do something in this regard. I do not want to give you suggestions about what you should do. I should add that both real, and false and psychological factors play a role on this issue. Sometimes, one single word and one wrong and miscalculated decision provokes this wave of high prices as a result of which inflation goes up in different areas and there will be some unreasonable expectations. I hope that by Allah's favor, officials can follow up this issue.

You should rely on God. You should ask Allah the Exalted to help you succeed. You should strengthen your relationship with spirituality and Allah the Exalted on a daily basis. Different preoccupations should not prevent you from engaging in dhikr and paying attention to spirituality.

One of the dangers is to drown ourselves in different preoccupations and to neglect our spiritual relationship with God. What is a source of support for our enthusiasm, energy, dynamism and activities, is divine assistance. We should really ask God for His help. We should both thank Allah the Exalted for divine blessings - including the blessing of this responsibility and this opportunity to render services - and ask Him to increase and continue it. Therefore, this requires attention to God.

You should appreciate the value of these days of the month of Sha'ban. You read in the holy salawat of afternoons, "The Holy Prophet (God's greetings be upon him and his household) fasted in this month. He used to keep a vigil at nights in order to show his humility and appreciate the value of this month. And he continued this until the time of his demise" [Iqbal al-A'mal, Volume 1, page 688].

This means that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) appreciated the value of Sha'ban and its days and nights until his death. All Sha'bans were like this for him. This salawat continues to say, "Oh God, help us follow his tradition and benefit from his intercession". By Allah's favor, you should continue the tradition of this great personality in this month. You should pay attention to God, engage in dua and dhikr and prepare yourselves for entering the auspicious month of Ramadan.

I hope that Allah the Exalted bestows success on you and I hope that He increases the reward of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) because of the services that you render and the efforts that you make. These services and efforts are rewarded by Allah the Exalted. I hope that He makes the pure souls of martyrs satisfied with you and us.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings