The following is the full text of the speech delivered on March 20, 2016 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with a large gathering of pilgrims at Imam Ridha's (peace be upon him) holy shrine in the city of Mashhad. The meeting was held on the first day of the year 1395.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Muhammad and upon his immaculate, pure, chosen and infallible household and upon those who guide the guided, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth
Allah send Your greetings to Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad, Allah send Your greetings to Fatimah, the daughter of Your Prophet, the wife of Your wali. She is pure, infallible, modest, pious, immaculate and flawless. She is the mistress of all women in paradise.
Allah, bestow Your blessing upon Your wali – Ali ibn Musa - one that is as permanent as Your dominions and Your authority. Send Your greeting to Your wali – Ali ibn Musa - one that is as permanent as Your glory, Your greatness and Your magnificence.
I thank Allah the Exalted for bestowing on me another opportunity – in the beginning of this solar Hijri year – to meet with you dear people of Mashhad and with the honorable and dear pilgrims who have come to this holy shrine from throughout the country. First of all, I would like to congratulate, once more, all the dear brothers and sisters on the arrival of the new year.
This year enjoys a special characteristic: on the basis of the lunar months, the beginning of this year is marked by the birthday anniversary of Fatimah Zahra (God’s greetings be upon her). The end of the year is also marked by this noble and dear birthday anniversary. I ask Allah the Exalted to make this year a blessed year for the people of Iran, all Muslims in the world and the lovers of Ahlul Bayt by the blessedness of Fatimah Zahra (pbuh) who is the mistress of the Two Worlds and the mistress of all women in the world. I hope that by Allah’s favor, everyone will benefit from this noble birthday anniversary.
The only shortcoming that we feel on this trip and in this meeting is the loss of our dear brother, Mr. Tabasi, who was a mujahid and revolutionary scholar and who was the sincere servant of this holy shrine. His existence was a valuable existence. He was considered as one of the veterans of the Revolution and his loss is great damage in the real sense of the word, to all those who knew him. I ask Allah the Exalted to make his pure soul enjoy the blessings of Hazrat Abul-Hassan al-Ridha (God’s greetings be upon him) and benefit from His own mercy and forgiveness.
I begin today’s discussion with the name of this year and later on I will, by Allah’s favor, provide more explanations for you dear brothers and sisters who are present here and for those who will hear these statements later on. I would like the following discussion to be a reasonable and rational discussion. Today, slogan-imbued discussions do not have a place in the minds of our people. Our people, our youth and all the individuals in our society are wise and they adopt a reason-based and logical outlook towards matters. I would like the statements that I will make to be presented to the people as a reasonable and rational discussion.
The reason why I chose an economic slogan for this year is because of a specific analysis and outlook towards the issues of the country. Perhaps, some people were thinking that the slogan of this year should be a cultural or a moral slogan. However, considering all the issues of the country, we deemed it necessary- as in recent years- to choose an economic slogan for this year so that it will turn into a discourse among the people and public opinion in the country. I will present this analysis and I like our dear youth to analyze, dissect and think about it for themselves.
At this point in time, the policies of arrogance – specifically and in particular, the policies of America – deem it necessary to inject a specific thought into the minds of our people: first among the outstanding personalities of society and later on and gradually among public opinion in the country. They want a specific thought to be injected into public opinion. The policy that they have in mind is that they want to pretend that the people of Iran are in a dilemma and that they have no option other than choosing one out of two options. This dilemma is that they either have to get along with America or they have to tolerate the pressures exerted by America and the problems that follow it. The people of Iran have to choose one of these two options. This is what they want.
Getting along with America is not like getting along with any other government. This is because the American government enjoys wealth, large propaganda apparatuses, dangerous weapons and many resources. So naturally, getting along with America means accepting the impositions of that government. This is the nature of reaching an agreement with America.
Getting along with America means accepting the impositions of that government. This is the nature of reaching an agreement with America.
This is the case everywhere in the world. When other countries reach an agreement with America over any matter, this means that they retreat from their positions to the advantage of the other side while the other side does not make any noteworthy retreat to their advantage. In the case of the recent nuclear agreement too, the same situation existed although we approved of it and although we believed in and continue to believe in those who conducted the negotiations.
In certain cases, our honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs said to us that they failed to keep certain red lines. This is what it means: when a government like the U.S. government has propaganda means, resources, money, active diplomacy and different agents throughout the world, the governments that it pressures are at its disposal. Getting along with him means compromising and forgetting about some of the things that one insists on. This is a dilemma that they want to inject into the minds of our people on the basis of American policies. It is a forced dilemma and an unavoidable duality: either we have to get along with America and her demands or we have to endure her pressures, her threats and the losses that we will suffer as a result of opposing America.
This is a dilemma that they want to inject into the minds of our people on the basis of American policies: either we have to get along with America and her demands or we have to endure her pressures, her threats and the losses that we will suffer as a result of opposing America.
They want to promote this thought among the outstanding personalities of society in the form of a discourse and to spread it among the people and public opinion in the country in a gradual manner. They are promoting this thought inside and outside the country and they are expanding it in global media with different forms and with different statements. They appoint some people so that they can promote this thought among our people. Of course, as I said, there are some individuals inside the country who believe in and who have accepted this thought and who are trying to make others accept it as well.
Pay careful attention to this explanation. I will mention what the other side says and then I will say what the correct thought and opinion is, based on the truth and on reality. The other side – that it to say, that propaganda, thought-generating and orientation-breeding apparatus – says that Iran has many economic capacities and the goal of the nuclear agreement was to help Iran benefit from these capacities. Well, this agreement was reached, but it is not enough. There are also other issues about which the people, the administration and the officials of Iran should make a decision and take action.
For example, there are many tumultuous and chaotic situations in the region of West Asia – the same region that westerners refer to as the Middle East– in the present time. This is a problem for the whole region and if you want your country to be freed from these problems, you should try to act in a way that these upheavals will be settled. What should we do to that end? [They say] we should cooperate, hold meetings and negotiate with America, we should think in the same way that the Americans do and should we choose a model according to the wishes of the Americans or according to America’s agreement. This is an issue.
Another issue is that we have many problems and differences of opinion with America. We should resolve these differences. They should come to an end. Now, if in the process of resolving these differences, the people of Iran have to abandon, for example, their principles and their red lines, they should do it. The other side will not abandon its principles and values but if it is necessary, we should abandon our principles so that we can resolve the existing problems and so that the country can consequently benefit from its capacities and turn into, for example, an outstanding economy. This is what they say.
An agreement was made on the nuclear issue and we called it theJCPOA. However [they say], there should be another JCPOA in the case of regional events and yet another on the issue of the Constitution of the country. There should be JCPOA 2, 3, 4 and other JCPOAs as well so that we can “live comfortably”. This is a logic that they are trying to promote among the outstanding personalities of society and among public opinion in society through outstanding personalities.
What is the meaning of this? It means that the Islamic Republic should forget about those fundamental issues that it is committed to based on the edict of Islam and its own outstanding guidelines: it should forget about the issue of Palestine, it should forget about supporting the Resistance in the region, and it should stop providing political assistance and support to the oppressed peoples in the region – for example, the people of Palestine, the people of Gaza, the people of Yemen and the people of Bahrain. And the Islamic Republic should get close to what the other side – that is to say, America – wants to achieve and it should do so by bringing about a balance in its own demands.
This means that the Islamic Republic should act in the same way that some regional countries and governments are acting today. Such countries have gotten along with the Zionist regime contrary to the edict of Islam and contrary to the wishes of their own peoples. And they have allowed other issues to overshadow the issue of Palestine. This means that the Islamic Republic should get along and be reconciled with the Zionist enemy in the same way that some Arab governments have done so. They have extended the hand of friendship towards this Zionist enemy with complete shamelessness.
Of course, things do not end here. What this political analysis of the enemy means is that if America wishes, the Islamic Republic should even forget about its own defense mechanisms. You see what uproar they have created in the world on the issue of our missiles. They say, “Why does the Islamic Republic have missiles? Why does it have long-range missiles? Why do the Islamic Republic’s missiles aim at and hit the target in a very precise manner?” They say, “Why have you carried out a military maneuver? Why do you have military exercises and why and why and why!
This is while the Americans themselves carry out maneuvers from time to time in the Persian Gulf – which is several thousand kilometers away from their country - and they do so along with some regional countries. They do this while they have no responsibility in the region. However, when the Islamic Republic carries out a military maneuver in its own home, in its own territory and in its own security zone, they create uproar about why we have carried out a military operation, why we have adopted such and such measures and why our Navy and our Air Force have adopted such and such courses of action.
This analysis of the enemy means that we should forget about all these things. The issue is even beyond this. They will gradually draw the issue towards the reason why the Quds Force and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps have been formed and why the domestic policies of the Islamic Republic should be coordinated with Islam. The matter will come to this!
When you retreat in the face of the enemy while you can resist him – later on, I will enlarge on this issue – the enemy will advance. He does not stop. Gradually, he will find the courage to say that our belief that the Islamic Republic’s administration, the Islamic Consultative Majlis and the judiciary branch should work on the basis of Islam and Islamic sharia is against freedom and that liberalism does not believe in this. The matter will gradually come to this.
When you retreat in the face of the enemy while you can resist him, the enemy will advance. He does not stop.
If we retreat, this will encourage them to question the Guardian Council’s role in society. It will encourage them to question the Guardian Council’s power to repeal certain laws because of their opposition to sharia. This is the main point. This is what I have said many times: this is changing the inner behavior of the Islamic Republic. The outward appearance of the Islamic Republic might survive, but it will completely be empty of its content. The enemy wants this. On the basis of this analysis of the enemy and on the basis of the analysis that is being injected into the minds of outstanding personalities and public opinion, if the Islamic Republic and the people of Iran want to get rid of America, they should abandon the Islamic Republic’s content, Islam, Islamic concepts and their security.
What is missing in this analysis and what has been ignored in it are a few issues one of which I would like to refer to: in the agreement that we have made with the Americans on the issue of 5+1 and nuclear energy, the Americans have not honored their promises and have not done what they should have. Of course, as our honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs said, they have done certain things on paper, but they have prevented the Islamic Republic from achieving its goals through many detours and short cuts.
Notice that today, in all western countries and in all those countries that are under their influence, our banking transactions have been blocked. We have a problem bringing our wealth - which has been kept in their banks – back to the country. We have a problem conducting different financial transactions which require the assistance of banks. And when we pursue the matter, follow it up and ask about it, it becomes clear that they are afraid of the Americans. The Americans have said that they would lift sanctions and they have actually done so on paper, but through other ways and methods, they are acting in a way that the result of sanctions repeal will not be witnessed at all.
So, those who hope that we will sit and talk to America on such and such an issue with the purpose of reaching an agreement – which means that both we and the other side make certain promises – ignore the fact that we will have to fulfill all of our commitments- the other side will refuse to do so through different means and methods and that he will not fulfill the promises that he has made. This is what we are witnessing in front of our eyes! This means a complete loss!
But the issue is even beyond this. I deem it necessary to discuss a few points with our dear youth who have not witnessed the era of the Shah regime and who do not know what happened in the aftermath of the victory of the Revolution in our country. Notice that in the region where we are living - West Asia -your dear country, Iran, is the flower of the region. It is a peerless country in terms of its strategic position and – as is commonly said today – its strategic location. It has a privilege over the whole region – and in one sense – over the whole world in terms of its abundant oil and gas supplies. And there are many other resources apart from oil and gas. It is a large country with a talented and resourceful population and with a rich history. Our country is the flower of the region.
However, this flower was once wholly and completely in America’s hands. They used to do whatever they wanted to. In this country they used to loot and take away its wealth and they used to do whatever a colonialist and arrogant government does to a weak country. They had the whole country in the claws of their power. But the Revolution has come and has liberated this country from their claws. This is why the grudge against the Revolution does not leave the heart of American politics. Their enmity will end only when they manage to restore the same domination over our country! This is the goal and they are after this. Of course, they are politicians and diplomats. They know politics and they know that there is a way for every goal and every purpose. They know that they should move slowly and use the right way. And they are acting in that manner. Our eyes should be open and our minds should be focused!
Not only did the Islamic Republic free Iran from their hands, but it also encouraged other countries with the spirit of resistance and the courage that it showed – I will expand on this issue later on. Notice that today, the people in many regional and even non-regional countries chant “Death to America” and they burn the American flag. The people of Iran have shown that they can resist. Other nations too have learned this and therefore, America does not have any control over this situation anymore. The Americans announced once that they want to create the “Greater Middle East” – once, they spoke about a “New Middle East” and once, they spoke about a “Greater Middle East”. Their goal was to help the Zionist regime dominate all economic, political and cultural affairs in West Asia and in the heart of Islamic countries. This was their goal.
Now, take a look and see that those who chanted the slogan of the “Greater Middle East” have become desperate on the issue of Syria, on the issue of Yemen, on the issue of Iraq and on the issue Palestine and they pin all the blame on Iran and the Islamic Republic. Such is their enmity towards the Islamic Republic! Their problem with the Islamic Republic is not about bits and pieces- the problem is fundamental! They are moving towards this direction so that they can re-establish their old domination.
Our dear youth have not seen the Shah era. I will tell you dear youth that throughout the past 50, 60 years – during the time of the Pahlavi rule and a little before that – first the English and later on, the Americans had all the affairs of the country in their hands and they used to do whatever they wanted. For example, they brought the Pahlavi regime and Reza Khan to power. Later on, they became angry at him because of some reasons. So, they ousted him and replaced him with Mohammad Reza. In a country with this greatness and magnificence, the Americans and the English used to easily oust the head of our country and replace him with another, based on their own wishes and whims and contrary to the wishes of the people. This was their condition in Iran.
Well, how had they managed to achieve this domination? They had built some trenches in the country. First the English regime and after that – years and decades after the English domination - the American regime used to use these trenches in order to continue their domination over our country. However, the Revolution appeared and destroyed and annihilated these trenches with its own youth and in place of these trenches, it built other trenches to protect the Revolution, the Islamic Republic and national interests. They want to come and repair those ruined trenches again and to destroy the trenches that have been created by the Revolution, revolutionary individuals and the youth. This is the goal.
The Revolution appeared and destroyed and annihilated the enemies' trenches with its own youth and in place of these trenches, it built other trenches to protect the Revolution, the Islamic Republic and national interests
I will refer to some of these trenches for you. The most important trench for arrogant regimes – first England and later on, America – in our country was the installed Shah regime itself. The installed Shah regime was their trench. It was through this regime that they used to do whatever they wanted in this country. They used to do whatever economic, cultural and political activity that they wanted and they used to conduct any transfer of power and adopt any position that they liked. They swayed our country and the government of our country towards any direction that they liked. So, the Shah regime was the most important trench for America and England in our country. This was one trench.
Well, the Revolution came and destroyed this trench. It annihilated and uprooted it. It uprooted the monarchic system in the country and it created a people-based system in place of that monarchic government and tyrannical regime. There was one day in our country when they used to say, “The country has an owner. Who is this owner? His Royal Highness!” This was the case.
They used to say repeatedly that the country has an owner. Who was that owner? It was the Shah – that is to say, a corrupt, incompetent, and dependent element. Most of those Shahs were empty of national zeal. It was such individuals that owned the country. Well, the Islamic Republic came and put aside this fake and usurping owner and it gave the country to its real owners who are the people! In the present time, the people show their presence, choose, prove and reject. This was the first trench of the enemy which was destroyed by the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Revolution.
But this was not the only trench for the enemy. There were other trenches as well: psychological and physical factors. There were certain trenches, two, three of which I will refer to for you. One was fear: the trench of fear, fear of powers. They had acted in a way in the country that fear of America was dominant over the hearts of everyone. As I said, in the last decades before the victory of the Revolution, there was fear of America and before that, there was fear of England. They used to ascribe whatever event that took place in the country to the English. In other words, they used to consider the English as the absolute power.
This fear was not particular to the people. The leaders of the regime themselves were afraid of America as well. The memoirs that were written by the agents of the regime and that were published later on – after the Revolution – show that in certain cases, Mohammad Reza and elements close to him were angry at the Americans because of their derogatory behavior and their indifferent outlook, but they had no other option and they had to obey. They had to obey them out of fear. They were afraid of them!
However, the Islamic Revolution came and destroyed this trench of fear. Today, you cannot find one single well-informed individual in the Islamic Republic who is reliant on religious values, but who is afraid of America. The people threw away fear! Not only did the people throw away fear of America, but they also threw away fear of the whole front of arrogance!
During the eight-year imposed war – unfortunately, our youth did not see that golden and enlightened era – America, NATO and the Soviet Union of those days used to help Saddam. Arab reactionaries too used to help Saddam despite all their incompetence and weaknesses. Everyone was helping Saddam. The east and the west had become one united front in favor of Saddam and against the Islamic Republic, but the Islamic Republic did not even frown and by Allah’s favor, it overcame and defeated all of them! After eight years of war, they could not separate even one inch of Iran’s soil!
This was how they shattered fear. As I said, today, self-reliant and well-informed individuals and those who are attached to Islamic values are not afraid of America. Of course, it is possible that some people are afraid of America today, but this fear is an unreasonable one. If Mohammad Reza’s fear of America was justifiable and reasonable, the fear of such people today is unreasonable. This is because that regime did not have supporters like the people, but today the Islamic Republic has supporters like these great people.
One of the trenches of the enemy for dominating our country was injecting disbelief in oneself and lack of confidence about oneself and one’s nation. The people used to witness the luster of western countries in front of themselves. They used to witness the scientific and technological appearance and the civilizational and material luster of westerners, but such things did not exist in their own country. Such things did not exist in the country: there was only backwardness and a feeling of disbelief and distrust in oneself. At that time – during the Pahlavi era – a government official said, “The Iranians should go and make ‘lulahangs’.” You do not know what a lulahang is. Lulahang is a mud ewer [for use in bathrooms], not even a metal one. In the distant past, it was common to make mud ewers. He said, “Iranians deserve to make lulahangs. How can Iranians even think of inventing things?” In those days, they used to say such things.
Another outstanding personality in those days said, “If Iranians want to progress, they should become western and European from head to toe. They should copy all aspects of westerners. If they do so, they might move forward.” This means that they did not believe in themselves. Well, the Revolution came and completely turned this lack of trust in oneself into self-confidence and national self-confidence.
Today, the Iranian youth say that they can. In many cases, when it comes to scientific achievements – apart from the achievements that have thankfully been made in the present time and that are available to us – our youth sometimes put forward such new ideas that organizations in charge cannot deal with them. In the present time, the Iranian youth have self-confidence. When self-confidence does not exist, progress will not exist either. However, when self-confidence and the slogan of “we can” exist, capability will follow as well and the country and the people become competent. Today, we are witnessing this.
When self-confidence and the slogan of “we can” exist, capability will follow as well and the country and the people become competent. Today, we are witnessing this.
In the era of Shah and in the pre-revolutionary era, the country had a 50-year history of having universities. And there were committed and good professors in those universities. There were talented students as well although their number was smaller compared to the present time. Compared to today, the number of students was much smaller, but those who existed were Iranian youth in any case. So, they were talented, but no single scientific breakthrough was witnessed throughout those 50 years. Why? Because they did not believe that they had the capability to do so. They did not believe in themselves and they had injected this lack of self-confidence into the minds of the people.
However in the present time, we have new innovations – including scientific and technological innovations - every day! When our enemies see these innovations, they become angry. Today, our country is among the first ten countries in the world in many fields of advanced sciences despite the existence of sanctions. What the people visibly see are only the military tools and weapons that are available to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, the Army and others. The achievements that they have made in different areas – in the area of nanotechnology and in the area of nuclear energy – originate from belief in oneself. One of the trenches of the enemy in Iran was the people’s lack of belief in themselves and one of the greatest trenches of the people’s and the youth’s victory is belief in oneself and the spirit of “we can”. This was another trench of the enemy.
Another trench of the enemy was the separation of religion from politics. They had injected the belief into everyone that religion should not interfere in the environment of politics, social life and social system. They had injected this belief into them. Even the pious and some scholars did not believe that Islam could be involved in political affairs, let alone those who had nothing to do with religion. This is while the essence of Islam’s birth was interconnected with political outlook. The first thing that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) did in Madina was to form a government! However, they had injected this belief into the minds of the people and they were using this trench against the Islamic Republic, the country and the people. The Islamic Republic came, and destroyed and annihilated this trench. Today, in the universities of the country, our youth and our students are working in a diligent manner on the issues of the country from an Islamic and Quranic perspective let alone scholars, Islamic seminaries and the like.
Well, when I speak about “the enemy”, I mean the government of America and I have no qualms about saying this. Of course, they say that they are not our enemy and that they are our friends. They have issued a message to our people on the occasion of Norouz and they have supposedly shown sympathy for our youth. And they have spread a haft-seen table in the White House! Well these are things that one says when one wants to deceive a child! No one believes such things.
On the one hand, they preserve sanctions and on the other hand, the U.S. Department of the Treasury acts in a way – with certain methods which have been acknowledged by the Americans themselves – that big companies, agencies and banks do not dare to approach the Islamic Republic and have business transactions with it. On the one hand, they adopt such measures – they impose sanctions and issue threats: there are clear cases of enmity – and on the other hand they spread a haft-seen table in the White House or they say in a Norouz message that they are after creating employment for the Iranian youth! Well, no one believes such things.
They still do not know our people. They do not know the people of Iran! The people of Iran are a wise and well-informed people. They know their enemies and they know the methods of enmity. We have no problems with the people of America. We have no problems with any nation and any people. Our problem is with policies. Our problem is with politicians. They are the enemies.
We have no problems with the people of America. We have no problems with any nation and any people. Our problem is with policies. Our problem is with politicians. They are the enemies.
Let us summarize the discussion so that the main points are not lost. There are certain realities: one reality is the many capacities and the numerous resources that exist in our country. We have both natural and human resources, and international opportunities. Today, our country has an extraordinary capacity for progress inside itself thanks to these resources. This is one reality. Today, the Islamic Republic has turned into an influential power on a regional and – in certain cases – international level. This is a reality that exists. We should appreciate our value. We should know our own value and significance. We should know the greatness of our people.
The second reality is that America is our enemy because of some clear reasons. As I said, by “enemy” we mean American politicians and policies. They broke their promises on the issue of the JCPOA and they threatened to impose more sanctions on us. As I said, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury is seriously busy day and night so that they do not allow the Islamic Republic to benefit from the results of the JCPOA. Well, these are acts of enmity.
They continuously threaten to impose more sanctions. The U.S. presidential elections will take place in a few months – in seven, eight months – and in nine months, the current American administration will completely change and there will be no guarantee that the future administration will honor the few promises that the current administration has made.
At present, when they deliver speeches, the U.S. presidential candidates compete with each other in vilifying Iran. Well, this is enmity. Enmity does not necessarily appear in a strange form so much so that we can easily distinguish it. This is another reality [audience chant referring to the current Rohani administration: “Administration of acumen and hope! Have insight! Have insight!”].
Please pay attention. You should not forget that we have said that the people and the administration should have harmony and unanimity. You should not forget this. Everyone should work and help the administration. If anyone has a word of advice, they can offer it to the administration. Everyone should help the administration!
The third reality is that the instruments that this seemingly powerful enemy uses are not infinite. He has some basic instruments which constitute his active tools: one is propaganda – Iranophobia – another is infiltration and another is sanctions. I have repeatedly spoken about infiltration in the recent months and therefore, I do not want to speak about it here. As for propaganda, this has been discussed in detail. I want to speak about sanctions for a moment.
One of the three efficient instruments that the enemy uses is sanctions. The enemy has felt that our country and our people are harmed by sanctions. Unfortunately, we ourselves have strengthened this feeling in him. In certain cases and at some points in time, we constantly magnified the effect of sanctions by saying that there are sanctions, there are sanctions and that they should lift them. We said that if sanctions exist, we will be harmed in such and such ways and other such statements. And on the other hand, we exaggerated and magnified the effect of lifting sanctions by saying that if sanctions are lifted, such and such things will happen. But the things that we expected to happen did not happen and if we move forward like this, they will not happen in the future either! However, the enemy has felt that he can pressure the people of Iran with the instrument of sanctions. The enemy has felt this. Therefore, what exists ahead of us in the present time is sanctions.
What should we do in order to confront sanctions? In the beginning of my speech, I said that the enemy has suggested one fake dilemma to us: he says that we should either give in to America and listen to whatever he says, or pressures and sanctions will continue. This is a dilemma that we said is wrong and false. However, there is another dilemma: we should either endure the problems resulting from sanctions or we should show resistance through the economy of resistance [audience chant “Oh liberated Leader! We are prepared! We are prepared!”]. Very well, your preparedness is very good. However, mere preparedness is not enough for the economy of resistance. We have spoken about “action and implementation”. Of course, the honorable administration has carried out certain tasks in the area of the economy of resistance. We said that they should form a command center for the economy of resistance and they did so, appointing the First Vice President as the head of that command center.
And they adopted some measures. They also gave me a report and I explained it for the people today in the new year message. However, these are only some preliminary tasks. They have reported to me that as a result of certain activities, our balance of trade has become positive. This means that our non-oil exports are more than our imports. Well, this is very good news. Another issue is that our imports are less than the previous year. These are very good pieces of news, but they are not enough and the task will not be completed with such measures. A number of fundamental tasks should be carried out. I have written down some tasks that should be carried out in the area of “action and implementation”.
The first task is that the honorable executive officials should identify and focus on those economic chains of activities that have priority. Some economic tasks in the country have a priority over others in the country and they are more significant. They are like mother tasks out of which many economic and productive windows will open. They should focus on such tasks. They should identify them, determine the roadmap and make it clear what should be done about all these tasks.
The second task that should receive attention on the issue of the “action and implementation” that we spoke about is reviving domestic production. According to the reports that I have received, today, about 60 percent of our productive capacity is untapped and unused. Some [of our industries] work less than their capacity and some do not work at all. We should revive production. We should breathe life into it. There are certain ways for this. Many committed economists know these ways. I have repeatedly said to the honorable executive officials that they should call for these critics so that they listen to them because they sometimes have very good suggestions. It is possible to revive production and get it moving in the country.
The third issue is that we have foreign trade and that we import. We need certain things that should be imported from abroad. We have to buy them and there is nothing wrong with this. However, we should pay attention that our purchases should not weaken our power to engage in domestic production. Imagine that we want to import and buy airplanes. It is said to me – executive officials themselves say this to me – that if we invest such and such a percentage of the price that we pay to buy airplanes in our domestic airplane industries, we will reap more benefits and the domestic production will be boosted as well. If we buy everything from abroad and if we do not pay attention to the disasters that imports will bring to domestic production, this is a mistake! Therefore, when buying products, we should act in a way that domestic production will not be weakened.
The fourth task is that we have a certain amount of money outside the country. We have sold, for example oil, but they have not given us the money. On the issue of the JCPOA, it was decided that this amount of money will return to the country. Of course, a large portion of it has not returned. A large portion of it has not returned because of certain problems. We can see the Americans’ hands behind this matter. Of course, there are other motives as well, but the malevolence of some American organizations is the main factor behind failure to bring back this money.
But it will in the end return. When these sums of money return from outside the country – no matter how many billions it is – it should not be used in areas that actually waste it. This is the money that enters the country and the country needs it. Primarily, it should be used in the area of, for example, domestic production. They should take care not to let the money that enters the country be wasted, ruined and spent on unnecessary purchases and measures. It should not be spent in an extravagant manner. This means managing the financial resources that enter the country through foreign banks and centers.
The fifth issue is that there are certain areas in our economy that are important and fundamental such as the area of oil and gas or the area of engine production for automobiles, airplanes, trains and ships. These sensitive and important areas should become knowledge-based. When we speak about knowledge-based economy, this is what we mean. Our youth and our scientists have shown that they can innovate and that they can help us improve our technological level. Well, is it a minor achievement to adjust long-range missiles in a way that they hit the target from a two-thousand-kilometer distance and with a two-to-five-meter margin of error? Well, the brain that can accomplish this feat can accomplish other feats as well!
Another example is that they can improve the level of car engines so that they consume less fuel or build train engines with such and such features. They can do that! Right now, there are some economic and productive agencies in our country whose works and products are either better than or equal to their foreign counterparts. At this very moment, we have such agencies. Well, these areas should be strengthened. So, making the important areas of our domestic economy knowledge-based is one of the tasks that is a prerequisite for the economy of resistance and that should definitely be accomplished.
Making the important areas of our domestic economy knowledge-based is one of the tasks that is a prerequisite for the economy of resistance and that should definitely be accomplished.
The sixth issue is that we have invested in some areas in the past. These areas should be utilized and benefited from. We have made good investments in the area of building power plants in the country. We have made good investments in the area of petrochemicals. Today, the country needs power plants. Other countries too need the power plants that we build at a lost cost. We should not buy and import power plants from outside the country anymore or we should not hire some individuals from outside the country so that they build power plants for us. Those areas that have been invested in and for which great efforts have been made should be revived and benefited from.
The seventh issue is that we should set strict terms for the transfer of technology in all foreign transactions that we carry out. Of course, our brothers in the administration have said to us that they have done and continue to do so. However, I would like to stress and repeat this so that it will not be neglected. For example, if they want to buy a new product, they should not buy those that have already been produced in the country, rather they should buy and bring those products with their specific technology. They should bring technology to the country. They should pay serious attention to this matter when signing contracts.
The eighth issue is combating corruption, economic rents and smuggling in a serious manner. These phenomena are damaging the economy of the country. It is the people who are suffering from this. If we show negligence in the face of those groups that, for example, win special concessions and have particular privileges on economic matters through collusion with others, that reap special benefits for themselves, and that engage in monetary, financial and economic corruption, the country will certainly sustain a loss. Therefore, no negligence should be shown in this regard. Of course, when it comes to talking and creating uproar – in particular, with certain political orientations and positions - beautiful things are said in newspapers, but they are of no avail! If we arrest an economic criminal and if newspapers write about him in detail and publish photos of him and the like with partisan and political motives, these courses of action are of no avail: “Two hundred words are not like half an action” [from a poem by Ferdowsi]. They should block the way of the corruption that might occur in the present time and they should prevent it. The same is true of smuggling. They should prevent smuggling. They should combat smuggling in the real sense of the word!
Another issue is energy optimization. Once, I said in one of my new year speeches – that was delivered a few years ago [Leader’s speech delivered on March 21, 2009 at the holy shrine of Imam Ridha (pbuh)] – that it is claimed and said that if we optimize energy, improve the way it is used and economize it, a hundred billion dollars will be saved. This is not a small amount of money. It is huge. Therefore, they should take this seriously. So many different tasks are being carried out in this country some of which are unnecessary and some of which are harmful. Well, they should centralize and concentrate tasks in such areas. This is action and implementation. Action means such things. Of course, I have heard that the Majlis has passed a bill in this regard. Optimizing energy utilization is one of the bills of the Islamic Consultative Majlis. They should really follow it up. If there is such a thing, they should focus and work on it.
And the tenth issue is that they should take a particular outlook towards medium-sized and small industries. In the present time, there are several thousand medium-sized and small workshops and factories in the country. If the figures that they have given to me – showing that sixty percent of these factories are not working – are true, this is a massive loss. It is these small and medium-sized industries that create employment in the center of society, that engender dynamism and that help lower classes of people. They should strengthen and improve them.
Well, these are the ten tasks that can be carried out if “action and implementation” is applied to the economy of resistance. Of course, we can carry out other tasks as well. Officials will look into and investigate this. I have suggested these ten tasks. This is a revolutionary orientation, a revolutionary movement in the country. This is the kind of economy of resistance that will save the country. If we accomplish these tasks, we will be able to stand up against America. Under such circumstances, his sanctions will not have any impact on us.
We do not need to forget about our values, our red lines and our principles so that America will not be able to impose sanctions on us. By pursuing the policies on the economy of resistance in a practical and pragmatic way, we can immunize the country. We can immunize the country so that we will no longer tremble in the face of sanctions and the possibility of sanctions. Well, they can impose sanctions on us. If the economy becomes resistant, the enemy sanctions will not exert a noticeable impact.
By pursuing the policies on the economy of resistance in a practical and pragmatic way, we can immunize the country. We can immunize the country so that we will no longer tremble in the face of sanctions and the possibility of sanctions.
This means a revolutionary and religious movement. If we carry out such tasks, the honorable executive officials can deliver a report to us at the end of the year 1395 saying that they have revived these several thousand workshops, factories, farms, ranches and the like. They can come and say these things and they can report it to the people so that they both see and feel it. When the people feel this, then they will begin to trust.
And of course, the people should help as well. I will tell you that the people – whether political and economic personalities or the masses of the people – should help the administration and the officials of the country. Of course, this task [the economy of resistance] is not only the responsibility of the administration. All the three branches should cooperate with one another so that the task moves forward. And the people should help them as well. This assistance is necessary. The seriousness of officials – particularly the officials in the executive branch – is necessary as well. If we can launch this movement, it will be accompanied by both speed and success because as I said, this is a revolutionary movement.
Whenever we carried out a revolutionary task, we achieved these things. Notice that the task that our nuclear martyrs pioneered in the nuclear area – which is very sensitive – the task that Shahid Tehrani Moqadam pioneered and the task that Shahid Kazemi pioneered in the area of stem cells are very great feats.
In cultural areas too, the task that Shahid Avini pioneered, which was continued by the late Salahshoor in recent years – these personalities were the pioneers of revolutionary work in our country – should be promoted. The value of these personalities should be appreciated and their names should be commemorated. This is revolutionary work. The reason why I repeatedly say that revolutionary and hezbollahi forces should be commemorated and preserved is this. When the task is accompanied by a revolutionary spirit, it will move forward!
When the task is accompanied by a revolutionary spirit, it will move forward.
I discussed the issue of the economy of resistance. Now, I want to say a few words about cultural issues as well. As you know, cultural issues are very important from my viewpoint. I attach great significance to cultural issues. What I want to say today is the same thing that I think I said last year or the year before that in the meeting that is held in the beginning of the year [Leader’s speech delivered on March 21, 2014]. At that time, I said that those popular groups that do cultural work voluntarily – in the present time, there are thousands of popular groups that are doing cultural work voluntarily and that are working, thinking and making efforts on their own – should be developed on a daily basis.
Executive organizations should help them. Executive organizations – those that are in charge of cultural work – should open their arms to religious, pious, revolutionary and hezbollahi youth instead of opening their arms to those who do not at all believe in Islam, in the Revolution, in the Islamic Republic and in Islamic values. These hezbollahi youth can work, as they are working right now. Valuable cultural tasks are being carried out in the present time. In all areas, our revolutionary youth can work hard.
Dear youth! The country belongs to you! The future belongs to you! The present time belongs to you as well! You should know that if you are in the middle of the arena, if you move forward with faith in God and with reliance on Him and if you believe in yourselves, America and those greater than America will not be able to do a damn thing against you!
Dear God, make what we said and what we heard serve You and Your cause. Accept it from us by the blessedness of Your generosity.
Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad (s.w.a.) and his household (a.s.), make the souls of our dear martyrs satisfied with us. Make the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) satisfied with us.
Dear God, bestow on this nation dignity, glory, power and capability on a daily basis and in all arenas.
Dear God, do not make us stop serving these people, Islam, Muslims and this country.
Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad (s.w.a.) and his household (a.s.), bestow on us what we wanted and what You know that we need although we did not express it in words.
Dear God, associate the pure soul of our dear brother- the late Mr. Tabasi (may Allah the Exalted bestow paradise on him)- with Your saints.
Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings