Ayatollah Khamenei

Imam Khamenei's narration of Iran's dependence on west in pre-revolution era

They say that we should make progress under the watch of the west. No [we should not]. For fifty years, the country lived in the shadow of the west: for fifty years! For a while, it lived in the shadow of the Uk; for a while, in middle Reza-Khan period, it lived under the shadow of Germany; and for a while, it lived in the shadow of countries like the US: this continued time and time again. What type of progress was achieved in our country during those eras? What did the country gain apart from disaster, backwardness, and the destruction of their main resources? So, we cannot be defined under any category of the west: this cannot happen. Those who say that Iran can progress while being subordinate to the west are traitors to the country if they know what they are saying; or they might be ignorant.

So, what should we do? We should put an end to dependence. Of course, dependence includes political, economic, and cultural dependence. It is comprised of various forms, but the main form is political dependence. Primarily, it is political dependence that prepares the ground for everything else. Naturally, political dependence causes culture and economics to infiltrate as well. This brings about dependence in all areas.

This is true even in the area of security, as was the case during the time of taghut. We were dependent in the area of security. Of course, we were mainly dependent in the area of the economy. The same is true of culture. Well, political dependence came to an end thanks to the Revolution, but liberation from other forms of dependence is difficult: this requires effort. This is not a claim that I am simply bringing to light today; during the time of my presidency, too, I mentioned this in Friday prayer sermons. I said that our political dependence came to an end, that we were thankfully liberated, but that we are still dependent in terms of economy and culture: we should work on this dependence because it will only lead to disaster.

I will tell you, when I look at the memoirs which have been written by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's friends, I read that in certain cases, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi himself was extremely angry at the Americans. He sometimes cursed them. Of course, he did so in his private room and in the company of his close friends. He was like a person who goes to his rooftop and swears at a policeman from a distant city. He used to swear at them in his private room; but whenever the British or the US ambassadors delivered a message, made a phone call, and issued a command, he was ready to bow down to them and obey their command: he had no choice, and he had to do so: this is dependence.—This should be destroyed.

Well, political dependence has been completely uprooted in our country. But great efforts should be made in other areas, one of the main factors in our salvation is scientific progress. 

Oct 18, 2017

The Islamic Revolution was the beginning of a new era throughout our history. The people of Iran had suffered from autocracy for a long time. Autocratic and despotic kings had controlled everything in our country. Those kings considered the country as their personal property, and they believed that the people were their subjects. From the late Qajar era through the Pahlavi era, another problem was added to the problem of autocracy: the problem of dependency.

Ancient kings were dictators, but at least they were not dependent on and obedient to foreign powers. However, during the late Qajar era and during the entire Pahlavi era, kings became both autocratic and dependent.—This turned into a serious malady for the political system of Iran. Such autocracy and dependence had many negative consequences in our country, and it had vast negative effects on our people. It was such autocracy and dependence which kept our country in a backwards state, offering our resources and natural sources of wealth to the enemies, preventing our people from achieving growth and making intellectual and scientific progress. We, who used to carry the flag of knowledge at one time, became beggars of knowledge—particularly insignificant and obsolete knowledge. We reached out our hands to others to beg for knowledge. In return, foreigners gave us very little—whenever they liked; they refused to give us a thing, it was only whenever they wanted to; as a result, our people were in a backwards and weakened state due to that autocracy and dependence.

We also lost our oil and other natural resources. They had prepared other plans that were far more dangerous than the plans they had already implemented. If one sifts through documents on the last years of the evil Pahlavi regime, one can clearly see that they had prepared very dangerous plans for our country and our people: they would have prevented us from achieving  progress for another one hundred years if their plans had been implemented.—The Revolution reversed this process and gave rise to a new era in the history of our nation. Independence, freedom, self-confidence, and progress are the four main outcomes of the Revolution: these four factors are firm pillars that support the Revolution despite all the enmity and opposition of the enemies

Feb 13, 2004

The people of Iran have managed to preserve the fundamental values and core mottos of the Revolution — to this day — with the same vigor that they exhibited during early days of the revolution. These are chief catchwords and values [of the Revolution]: independence, freedom, democracy, national self-confidence, self-belief, and justice, but most importantly is the implementation of religious rules or sharia in the country: these words and values have been preserved with their initial freshness. Today, the country enjoys independence, and this has been the public request of the people of the Revolution. This is the Iranian nation's response to 200-years of domination by foreigners over this country. It will be good for our youth, our intellectuals, and our researchers to pay attention to this matter. Before the Revolution, hegemonist powers used to dominate this country for two hundred years; and our governments used to rule under the shade of foreign powers. The Qajar government survived with the guarantee of the Tsarist government of Russia. In the Iran-Russia wars and during the Treaty of Turkmenchay, Abbas Mirza Qajari was assured by the Russians that the Qajar household will remain in power. In other words, the Qajar household used to live under the flag and guarantee of the Russians.

Later on, the English came, and they brought Reza Khan to power. And it was the English, again, who brought Mohammad Reza to power. After that, on the 28th of Mordad in 1332, the Americans entered the arena and established Mohammad Reza' authority--again. During those years, it was this or that power which altered our government. At one point in time – during the treaty of 1907 – England and Tsarist Russia reached an agreement to divide Iran amongst themselves: one area was under the domination of the English, one area was under the domination of the Russians, and one small area was independent. The country was, once, dominated as such.

So, the public request of the Iranian nation was to get out of that situation and to achieve independence. I can say that today, no country on earth has a people who are as independent as the people of Iran. All nations in the world show some consideration – in different ways – in the face of powerful forces. The people whose opinions are not influenced, by any other power of the world, are the people of Iran; thus, independence was preserved.

Mar 21, 2018


  • Britain
  • Dependence
  • Independence
  • United States of America