The following is the full text of the speech delivered on April 27, 2016 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with a group of laborers on the occasion of Labor Day.
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 al-Mustafa Muhammad and upon his immaculate, pure and chosen household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth
I hope that Labor Day will be blessed for you. For me, the meeting that I have every year with laborers is an very agreeable meeting. There are interesting things to say in this meeting, the most important of which is a word of thanks and an expression of respect to the laborers of the country. Today too, I would like to show my respect to all you and all laborers of the country and I sincerely ask Allah the Exalted to bestow on us the opportunity to carry out our responsibilities towards laborers. We have difficult and heavy responsibilities in this regard.
First of all, it is the month of Rajab now. We are in between the auspicious birthday anniversary of the Commander of the Faithful (peace and greetings be upon him) and the Holy Prophet’s (God’s greetings be upon him and his household) be’that. This month is the month of supplication, dua and dhikr. The holy ayahs that this dear qaari of ours recited here - “Oh you who believe, celebrate the praises of Allah, and do this often and glorify Him morning and evening. He it is Who sends blessings on you, as do His angels” [The Holy Quran, 33: 41-43] - mean that we should engage in divine dhikr and in return, Allah the Exalted will send His greetings to you. Both His Holy Existence and His angels will send greetings to believers.
And we should know that God’s dhikr and remembrance is a guide that solves our problems and that enables us to untie knots. We have many knots. It is our own hand of power and capability that should untie these knots, but it is God that gives us this power. God’s dhikr helps us to break dead ends and to open paths.
Today, I have written down some issues and points to discuss with you. One issue is about the general and common concept of labor. Another issue is about the society of laborers in its common sense. As for the first issue – the general concept of labor – anyone who has an occupation in society is a laborer. Those who do productive, managerial and scientific work and those who are engaged in public services are all laborers. A manager too is a laborer in his managerial work. In this sense, a university or seminary professor, a student, a cleric and those who do such work – religious and promotional work – are laborers all.
Well, labor in this sense enjoys a blessing that does not exist in anything else. Labor – in this general sense that was referred to – is constructive. It both builds oneself and society – it builds others. Therefore, it is a value. Idleness, laziness, spending one’s time in a wasteful and unreasonable manner and wasting one’s youthful, mental and physical energy are heinous acts. They are anti-values. This is the logic of Islam. Anyone who is doing some work somewhere is creating a value. And if they are doing it for the sake of God, it is an act of worship which involves thawab [divine reward].
As for this sense of labor, our general advice is to expand labor. We should advise everyone – no matter where they are - to engage in labor, to raise the quality of their labor and to honor labor as befits its status. For example, if a student does not study well, he has not honored labor. Similarly, if a university professor does not put time on teaching, if he does not prepare himself and if he does not make time for studying, he has not honored labor. If a manager who has been appointed as a minister, director and member of the Majlis does not dedicate himself to his job, he has not honored labor. If we undertake a managerial task but do not dedicate ourselves and our time and energy to the task that we have undertaken, we are not honoring labor.
This is why I have always advised executive managers and government officials – whether the officials in executive, judiciary and legislative branches or the officials in other organizations – to pursue the responsibility that they undertake with all their power. It should not be the case that I undertake a responsibility and then spend part of my time attending to another responsibility and spend the other part attending to my personal and other such tasks. Under such circumstances, that labor and task has not been honored properly. So, these are the general pieces of advice for labor in its common sense. And I have said many things in this regard before. I have raised many points on this matter and therefore, I do not want to repeat them.
Our main and most important discussion is about the society of laborers of the country and about labor in its specific sense which means productive, service, industrial and agricultural labor. Today, this is our main discussion.
First of all, I deem it my responsibility to say a few things in praise of the society of laborers of our country. I have spoken about this matter a hundred times, but if I do so a hundred of times more, it is not enough. Our society of laborers has been loyal to the country and to the Islamic Republic. I am saying this because of being closely in touch with labor issues during the past 37, 38 years. Our society of laborers showed its loyalty and presence during the time of the Revolution. It showed its presence in the very important and determining events of the early revolutionary era.
In the beginning of the Revolution, the leftists and Marxists of those days – all of whom turned into the servants of America and others later on – were trying inside the country to turn the public movement of the people of Iran into limited and frozen forms of revolution. They themselves referred to these revolutions as “proletarian revolutions”. This way, they wanted to take affairs away from the people and from religion and Islam and to put them in the hands of some people as a proletarian government and revolution. In the beginning of the Revolution, such things used to be done.
I myself went to a factory on the old road to Karaj and I participated in one of these meetings. I met with laborers there. Some non-laboring elements had gathered there in order to turn that place into a starting point for provoking the laborers of the country – first the laborers of Tehran and consequently, the laborers of the entire country – against Imam (r.a.), the Revolution and the people. I saw this up close. I went there – both during the day and at night – and saw how pious, Muslim and Muslim-spirited laborers showed insight and wisdom against the plots of the enemies. Our laborers showed such insight.
This happened in the Revolution. It happened during the events of the early revolutionary era. After that, the imposed war began and after that, different political events occurred and various political orientations were formed in the country. During all these events, our laborers showed loyalty to the system. Not only did they show verbal loyalty, but they also entered the arena with their bodies and showed their presence and influence. This is a reality. And this has continued until today.
Laborers have certain livlihood problems. The honorable Minister pointed to part of these problems. Well, certain efforts are being made and I hope that Allah the Exalted will bestow the opportunity on him and on all officials to be able to put the issues that they raised into practice, God willing. I hope that God blesses and approves of what has already been done. And I hope that they will be able to do what has not been done yet. We should work on this. These problems exist, but the society of laborers did not take heed of and listen to the anti-revolutionary message. They wanted the masses of the people, the society of laborers and the academic society to stand up against the system, but the society of laborers did not do so. It stood behind the system and it defended it. This is the great achievement of the society of laborers.
I would like to give thanks to Allah the Exalted because this is the hand of divine power – hearts are in His hands – and secondly, I thank the society of laborers with all my existence. You acted well. You are acting well on the issues of the revolution and the Islamic Republic. This is the first thing that I wanted to say.
Now, I want to speak about the role of laborers, the issue of labor and the labor agencies in the economy of resistance which is a very important matter. The economy of resistance is not just a word. When we spoke about action and implementation, this means that each and every article in the policies of the economy of resistance should be put into practice in the real and true sense of the word. This means that the brothers and gentlemen who are in charge of this task and who are thankfully interested in it should sit and plan for each of these articles. They should pursue the plans step by step because the issue of labor has an important role in the economy of resistance.
What should laborers do so that they can play a role in the economy of resistance? Everyone has a role. Laborers, employers, the administration and different officials have a role. Primarily, the role of laborers is to have a sense of responsibility. Laborers should have a sense of responsibility towards the tasks that they have been entrusted with. Of course, all of us should have a sense of responsibility. They should carry out the tasks that they have been entrusted with in a dutiful manner. They should raise quality standards. All laborers should intend to do so. They should try to raise the quality of work. This engenders blessings for both themselves and for society.
In the big market of Mashhad, there was a shoemaker who was well-known for the shoes that he used to make. Although the shoes’ leather and soles were torn, their sewing was not. Efficiency means this. We should act in a way that our sewing – the tasks that are in our hands – is done in a proper, high-quality and firm manner. This is the responsibility of laborers.
Well, this is easy to say, but how can we do it in practice? Through the words of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), Allah the Exalted said, “May God show His mercy on anyone who carries out a task in a solid and efficient manner” [speaking in Arabic]. Perhaps, I have quoted this hadith tens of times. It means that may God show His mercy on those who do something efficiently. Well, there are certain requirements for this.
What should we do so that we can enable laborers to raise the quality of work? Part of these requirements fall on the administration and part of it falls on managers, the people, and laborers themselves. One of the tasks that should be carried out so that laborers can raise the quality of work is to raise their skill. The honorable Minister spoke about the issue of technical-vocational education. It is many years now that I have been stressing the issue of technical-vocational education to any minister of education and any other minister that has been appointed to such positions. This issue should be taken seriously because it is a major task. Laborers’ skill should be raised. Ordinary laborers cannot move forward just with their own experience. Of course, experience is effective, but education is necessary as well. Raising laborers’ skill falls on officials. They can do so with technical-vocational organizations and with different other tasks that can be done to raise their skill. Of course, employers and the administration are influential as well.
One issue is the issue of laborers’ occupational security. If laborers’ minds are preoccupied with whether they will continue working in their workshop or not, they will not be able to work. Therefore, occupational security should exist for them and there are certain ways for this. This is also among the heavy and various responsibilities of government officials, managers, employers and others. This responsibility is not only related to the Ministry of Labor, rather it is related to various divisions. They should do something to make occupational security exist. A factory shutdown is one of the biggest disasters. One of the disasters of laborers is that factories close down. This closedown is of two kinds: one is that employers do not have the necessary resources to continue the work. For example, they do not have enough cash and raw materials or their machinery is worn out. Well, this creates certain responsibilities for those who are in charge of raw materials and cash and those who are entrusted with the duty of repairing and updating machinery. It is their responsibility to help employers.
Banks, import and export organizations, agricultural and technological divisions, knowledge-based companies and all such organizations are responsible as well. This is one kind of factory close down. In this case, employers are not to blame for the closedown of their factory because there are exterior factors behind it. However, these factors can be remedied. It is difficult, but possible. They should look for, identity and eliminate these factors. This is one of the greatest and most important responsibilities of our organizations and managers. This is one kind of closedown.
Another kind of factory closedown is that one closes down a factory with the purpose of abusing resources. A person has bought a factory. For example, it has been transferred to them by the administration or they have bought it in some way. Later on, they see that their interests lie in using the land of this factory because the factory is inflicting a loss on them. For this reason, they close down the factory with some excuse. We have such cases as well and I have received reports in this regard. Such individuals should be confronted as well. They should be confronted very seriously.
Perhaps, I have said this in another meeting with laborers: they receive a loan – for example, with the purpose of importing raw materials for production – and then, they spend it on construction in such and such an area whose yield is several times more. Such individuals should be confronted. Such issues should be pursued. The judiciary branch, the administration, different associations and intelligence organizations are responsible in this regard. The issue is not that a person wants to become rich in a certain way. We are not opposed to such and such a person becoming rich. Well, they can go and become rich, but why should they become rich through trampling and stamping on the society of laborers and underprivileged classes of society? This should be prevented.
Notice that in this case, organizations are linked to one another like a chain. Banks, the banking system of the country, the organization in charge of imports and exports and the organization in charge of production and industry are all linked to one another. Each of them can add to the other. Each of them can violate rules as well. The macro-management of the country should try to prevent these violations. Everyone should add to one another so that the task can be carried out.
One of the tasks that helps the movement of laborers to be a successful movement is to promote the products of Iranian laborers. I will expand on this matter later on. I have many things to discuss on the promotion of domestic products. Later on, I will address this matter briefly. One of the tasks that is necessary for laborers’ success in doing good work is ensuring the health and safety of the working environment. Another task that is necessary is increasing the wages of laborers through the production cost. It is possible to plan for this in a way that employers are not harmed in any way. Unnecessary and extra costs can be reduced to increase laborers’ wages. If this is done, laborers will be encouraged. There are correct methods for doing this and some people have experienced it in the world. Fortunately, our officials really want to render services. We can find these methods with the power of faith, enthusiasm and interest that exists. We can work on these areas.
Another issue is paying attention to employers. Since many years ago, I have been repeating over and over again that employers and laborers are each other’s complement, not opponent. The Marxist philosophy and dialectic was based on opposition and confrontation. However, the Islamic philosophy and dialectic is based on collaboration, working together, cooperation, marriage and partnership. Employers and laborers are two members that can help each other. They are not two opponents and enemies, rather they are two colleagues each of whom has certain rights.
After all, an employer is a person who could put his money in a bank and receive the interests for it without any anxiety. Perhaps, he could have profited more, but he has not done this. Instead, he has entered the arena. This is a very good thing. If an employer does this with divine intentions, Allah the Exalted will reward him with paradise. I knew a pious man who led a simple life. He was rich but he lived a simple life. He said to me that people told him many times, “Are you crazy to invest your money in factories with, as they say, such a big risk? Go and put your money in a bank, receive the interests and enjoy it.” However, he said to them that he wants to dedicate his money to the progress of the country and to production. Very well, this is very valuable. One of the rights that exists in our country is a close cooperation between employers and laborers. You should have a close cooperation with each other.
One of the rights of employers is that the administration and executive organizations in charge should facilitate labor for them. As I said, if they do not have cash – for example – they should provide it for them. If they do not have raw materials, if their factory and machinery are worn out and other such problems, they should help them so that they can eliminate these problems. One way of helping employers is preparing the ground for export. Of course, the owner of products – employers – themselves actually export goods, but it is government organizations that prepare the ground. They can help on this matter by preparing the ground.
Here, our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and different other ministries can play their part. One of the ways for the administration to help employers is that it should support employers in the face of foreign customers. Sometimes, our exporters export some products, but they play games with and cause trouble for them in that foreign country. Here, the responsibility of the administration is to step forward and to help. It should not allow their rights to be violated in such and such a country just because someone – either a government official or a businessperson – wants to take advantage of them. It should not allow them to do so. These are ways of helping employers. These are among their rights.
One of the tasks that should be carried out is to exercise supervision on the health and quality of exported products. Some people damage the country’s reputation by exporting low-quality products. When such products enter foreign markets and their low quality becomes clear, this damages the reputation of the country. They damage not only the reputation but also the exports of the country themselves. Supervision should be exercised on their quality. These are the tasks that should be carried out.
Now, let us discuss the issue of domestic production. I believe that domestic production has many rights. Domestic production should be considered sacred. Supporting domestic production should be considered a responsibility. Everyone should consider it their responsibility to support domestic production. One of the ways to do so is to seriously avoid importing those products whose equivalents exist in the country. I have said this many times. Such products should not enter the country officially - I will address the issue of smuggling later on because the issue of smuggling itself is an important issue. There are certain ways for doing so. Raising tariffs and preventing the importation of those products whose domestic equivalents exist in the country are one of the ways to do this.
Of course, certain excuses are made in this regard. I know those excuses and I have heard them – I will expand on this issue later on – but the basis of the work should be to promote domestic production. I have been informed that in Tehran – this may exist in provincial cities as well – some stores have committed themselves to selling domestic products only. And they have put this on a signboard. They have taken photos of it and brought it for me. They have installed a signboard – a big one – saying that only domestic products are sold in this store. Well done! Well done to this passionate and righteous individual! Whatever exists in such stores is produced in the country.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, there are some stores whose products are all foreign when one takes a look. Unfortunately, some of these stores – which are very big – are related to government organizations. Why do they do so? This course of action should be considered horrible. Do you want to make domestic laborers unemployed and foreign laborers rich for the sake of boasting? They import products that have a foreign trademark. And some rich people – some nouveaux riches and arriviste who are not few in number in the country unfortunately – are only looking for foreign products – as they themselves say, foreign brands. I hate the word “brand” very much. Selling and using foreign products should be introduced as an anti-value in society except for those products whose domestic equivalents do not exist. In this case, using foreign products is alright.
We have not built a wall around ourselves. We are connected to the world and we have interaction with it. We buy and we sell. It is possible that domestic production is not economically reasonable in some areas. We have such areas. Here too, using foreign products is alright. In those areas where we have and want to have domestic production and where our laborers are busy working and creating value-added, sidelining domestic products, importing their foreign equivalents - at a price which is several times higher only because they have a foreign trademark and bear the name of such and such a well-known European producer and using them- should be considered an anti-value.
As I said, importing foreign products should be prevented in a reasonable way. I am not an advocate of extremism on such issues, rather I am an advocate of wisdom and insight. I am not saying that you should shut your store. What I am saying is that you should be careful and see what products should enter the country and then you should bring them and what products should not enter and then you should not bring them. I do not know what the issue of importing American vehicles is about. Some people are speaking about this issue. The Americans themselves did not use American vehicles! This was reflected in the American press and we saw it. They used to say that they consume too much fuel and that they are heavy. Imagine that we use the vehicles of such and such an American factory that is on the verge of bankruptcy- that we use American vehicles! [Audience chant “Death to America!”]
Such individuals should be seriously confronted. Who should confront them? I know that there are some people who exert pressure behind the scenes – their interests lie in this and that is why they exert pressure – but they should stand up against their pressure and refuse to accept it. I do not know if what they say about the importation of cosmetics – that it has reached several billion dollars – is true or not. I have not researched into this. I do not think that you carried out a lot of research on this matter either. If this is correct, it is bad. Importing cosmetics with the value of several billion dollars! And in our country for which they have created many obstacles! They import such products so that such and such a family that has become newly rich wants to have them. I have heard that some of these products are unhealthy as well. These individuals should be stood up against! They should resist them and prevent them from importing such goods.
Another issue is the issue of smuggling. I have spoken to government officials in different administrations about the issue of imports. They say that if we raise tariffs or prevent imports, such products will enter the country through smuggling. In your opinion, is this good reasoning?
Well, smuggling should be prevented in a serious way. Until today, we have not acted very seriously on the issue of combating smuggling. You should act seriously on the issue of combating smuggling. By smuggling, I do not mean such and such a weak Baluchistani sack-holder who goes abroad, puts something on his shoulders and carries it inside the country. This is nothing. Such cases are not important. Even if they are not combated, this is alright. What I mean is big organized smuggling.
Should tens and hundreds of containers that carry various smuggled goods enter the country? Well, we should go and confront them. We are the government, we have power and we can do so. We should confront them seriously. When they are confronted seriously several times, smuggling will either stop or it will decrease very much. Smuggling is a great disaster for the country. It is even worse than governmental imports. First of all, their health and quality is not clear, second the administration receives no profit and income from them, third they have the same problem that imports do which is making the market of domestic products dull. These are not small damages. Therefore, smuggling should be confronted in a serious manner. The organization that combats smuggling should be taken very seriously. We should appoint our strongest individuals for this task. And this is possible. I believe that this is possible. Either it will be prevented or if it is not prevented completely, a big part of it will decrease. This is a very fundamental matter.
Another issue that is very important and that I have discussed with a number of ministers – whether ministers of agricultural and industry or other government officials – is that sometimes, it is possible to produce something inside the country, but some people who earn huge profits from importing such products appear on the scene and prevent it from being produced. If possible, they do so by giving bribes – they say, “Close this factory” “Do not build it and take this money for it”. If that person does not give in, they do so by threatening him and committing crimes.
I do not want to mention the name of such products. I know some products that can be produced inside the country, but they are imported from the outside just because some people benefit from it and that they do not allow them to be produced inside the country. An innovative person shows up who has some money to invest. He wants to produce such and such a product which is used in the country very much. However, they approach and say to him, “Do not produce it. Take this 10, 30 billion tomans, but do not produce it.” Either that person gives in and abadons the matter, or if he does not give in, they pressure him by creating all sorts of problems for him. For example, they create legal obstacles for him or they eventually resort to committing crimes. This way, they hurt him and make him feel regretful. These are important issues. They are among security matters. They are not ordinary matters. So, we should not face these matters easily. Smuggling is like this. Smuggling is poison for domestic production.
Another issue is the issue of advanced technology. Sometimes, we ask, “Why do you import such and such products while their domestic equivalents exist?” And they answer, “The technology for our domestic products is old. Today, the world has changed. New things have appeared. New technologies have come that we have to bring from outside the country.” I have an answer for this. Of course, I am not opposed to importing. I am not opposed to importing – particularly, to importing technology – in any way. I myself have been a president in this country. I have been in contact with executive matters and I am familiar with them. Importing technology is alright. Sometimes, it is necessary to do so, but we should import as much as we need.
Whenever they cannot do something, they say that the technology for domestic production is old-fashioned. Well, we have so many active brains in the country. Is it a minor achievement to have a brain that can build a missile which can travel two thousand kilometers and which hits the target with less than a ten-meter error? [Audience chant “Allahu Akbar!”] I only wanted to give an example. As soon as there was talk of missiles, the youth became excited [Audience laughs]! What I am saying is that a brain which is able to build such a missile – whose significance is acknowledged by our enemies – can such a brain not build an automobile that consumes five liters instead of 13 liters in 100 kilometers? Can it not do so? Is this brain unable to do so? Why do you not go to the youth? Why do you not go to these active brains? Why do you not ask for their help?
It is many years now that I have been speaking about the cooperation between industries and universities. It is here that we can witness the results of the cooperation between industries and universities. Industries help universities so that universities develop new methods for them. Both of them will benefit from this cooperation. You should connect industries to universities and to outstanding personalities. In the present time, many tasks have fortunately been carried out in the area of knowledge-based companies and we see that the Iranian youth can work. Here in this Hussainiyah, they organized an exhibition for me and I visited it. A number of boys – high school teenagers – had gathered here and they had worked on certain things. I asked them about the things that they had done. One of them said that he had produced something. Another said that he had produced another thing. High school teenagers had done this!
Well, our minds are like this. Our human resources are like this. Why should we not utilize these human resources? Should we use foreign vehicles just because they have an advanced technology? Well, we can develop this advanced technology inside the country! I have many examples to give, but I cannot mention them as some of them are classified. If you knew what great feats our youth have accomplished and in what areas, you would really be astonished! We have many such examples and I have abundant information in this regard. Therefore, we should benefit from these brains. Saying that we have a backward technology is not a good excuse for importing products.
Well, this is what I wanted to say. I am optimistic about laborers, employers, managers and government officials. I am optimistic about all these people. I am not pessimistic about anyone. However, certain things are wrong. You should see where the problem lies and why it exists at all. You are watering a big pool with several thick pipes, but it never becomes full. Well, you should look and see where the hole is! You should see where the hole - through which water gets out, preventing the pool from getting full - is. Officials should look and find these holes.
My dear ones, the country can move forward. When I speak frequently about Islamic civilization and when I repeat many times that Iran can be the peak of this Islamic civilization, this is not a mere slogan and it is not boasting. This is because of a look at the realities of the country. We can do it. We can help our economy to progress. We can help our industry to progress. We can help our agriculture to progress and we can achieve self-reliance in those areas where self-reliance is necessary. Officials should work hard. As I said in the beginning of my speech, everyone is responsible to carry out their responsibility in the proper way and to make the necessary efforts.
Of course, we have an enemy and he is showing enmity. We are not moving forward on a smoothly-paved road. They are creating obstacles in our way in a constant manner. Who are doing so? Our enemies who are headed by America and Zionism, they create obstacles and they use tricks and they like us not to understand these tricks. Sometimes, they complain from afar, “Why do you have doubts about us?” Well, we see certain things that make us doubt you. We cannot close our eyes. In the present time, there are problems in the way of our banking operations and all officials are speaking about this. In the present time, the dealings and exchanges that are dependent on banking transactions are done slowly and with difficulty. Why is that? They say that big banks in the world are not willing to cooperate. Why are they not willing? Are they sick? Banks have been established to bring about interaction. Why should such and such a well-known and big bank in the world not want to do business with an eighty-million market of a country that enjoys so much wealth?
There is an interferer. Who is this interferer? America. I have said a hundred times – more or less – that America cannot be trusted. Now, this is becoming completely clear. They write on paper that banks can go and do business with Iran – this is only on paper and it is of no value – but in practice, they instill such a fear in the hearts of banks that they do not dare get close to us. This is Iranophobia. America says that Iran is a terrorist country and that they might impose sanctions on Iran because of its terrorist methods. Well, what does this mean? This is a message to banks saying to them that they should be careful as Iran might face sanctions and therefore, they should not step forward. They write on paper that banks can go and do business with Iran and they issue certain resolutions in this regard. However, in practice, they act in a way that banks do not dare get close to us and that foreign investors do not dare invest in our country. This is what they are doing in practice.
This is while they are worst than all terrorists! They help notorious terrorists. In the present time too, they continue to do so according to our information. This is why they call Iran a terrorist country. The other side – their American excellencies – say that the reason why investors do not step forward to invest in Iran is the domestic conditions of Iran. What is wrong with the domestic conditions of Iran? Which place in the region is safer than Iran? Is America safer than our country? Is America - in which several individuals are killed every day, according to their own information, because of terrorism – safer than Iran? Are European countries – with their popular demonstrations and with their labor and economic problems – safer than Iran? Iran is a safe country, a united country.
Despite the wishes of the enemies, the domestic conditions of Iran are very good conditions. When an American official says that the anti-Iranian sanctions system is not gone yet, what does this mean? It means that foreign investors should be afraid and that they should not approach Iran. They are creating Iranophobia. They are scaring-off people of Iran in an outspoken manner so that no one approaches Iran. This is our enemy. Well, this is the enemy. We should take into account the existence of the enemy in any activity that we do.
It is 37, 38 years now that we have had this enemy. Yet we made progress. I will tell you that even if this enemy survives for a hundred years more, we will continue to make progress for a hundred years more too, despite their wishes. America is our enemy whether we say it or not. He is an enemy whether this humble person mentions it in his speeches or not. They say, “Why do you constantly speak about an enemy?” Let us assume that I do not speak about this enemy. If I do not do so, will enmity be over? He is our enemy. He is an enemy of this public movement of the people and of the essence of the Revolution and the Islamic Republic. One day, America used to own everything in our country. However today, he does not even have an embassy! This is because an Islamic government has appeared. So, he is an enemy of the Islamic government and wants to restore those prior conditions.
They say that we should open the windows. His excellency [Barack Obama] recited a poem from an Iranian poet in his congratulatory message on the occasion of Norouz which said, “Open the windows.” I said in reply that they want windows to be open so that they can enter the house because they could not enter through the door! They want windows to be open so that they can easily come in.
Officials – including government and executive officials, the members of the Islamic Consultative Majlis, the officials of the judiciary branch, revolutionary organizations and the masses of the people – should pay attention that we have been oppressed, but we are strong, just like our Mowla, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) was the most oppressed person, but he was also the strongest person. If we appreciate our own value, know our own power and use this power in the best way possible and in the most humane and Islamic manner, we will overcome all these obstacles. Although, our road is not a a smoothly-paved one, we have the capability to move on rugged ground. Today, this rugged ground does not exist either. In the beginning of the Revolution, our path was rugged. Today, officials and the people should pay attention that we should rely on our own power.
In a few days – in two days – there is an election in some cities. You should consider elections to be important and you should participate in them. You should not abandon them because they are important. I have said many times to our dear people – both in the elections that were held in Esfand and before that in other parliamentary and presidential elections – that they should participate in elections because participation in elections plays a determining role. Some people do not pay attention to this. When you do not go to ballot boxes and when you do not transfer your feelings, your willingness, your enthusiasm and your identity to ballot boxes, things will become difficult. Therefore, you should participate in elections.
The significance of the second phase of the elections is no less than the first phase. As we said at that time that everyone should participate, now too, it is necessary for everyone to do the same. You should also ask Allah the Exalted for help because Allah the Exalted will help all of you, God willing.
Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings