Imam Khamenei

International conventions contradicting national interests must not be passed: Imam Khamenei

The following is the full text of a speech delivered on June 20, 2018, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the members and personnel of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis).


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 pure, immaculate, and infallible household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.

I would like to welcome the dear brothers, dear sisters, and the honorable members of Majlis. This year's meeting has a special feature, and that is the presence of personnel from different branches of the Islamic Consultative Majlis. They are, thankfully, present in today's meeting. They are the different subsets of the Majlis; there are managers, officials, and personnel among them. I welcome all of you, and I thank you for the efforts that you have made. I ask Allah the Exalted to bestow increasing blessings on you and on us while on the path of guidance and reform.

First of all, the month of Ramadan has just come to an end, and we are still in a Ramadan like mood. I would like to say a few things in this regard. The soul of rendering services is getting closer to God. If all the tasks that you do — in parliamentary sessions, in parliamentary commissions, and in other organizations affiliated with the Majlis — are done for the sake of God and on His path, they are real services, and they help you to get closer to God. Few acts of worships really equal such services provided that they are carried out for the sake of God. If this spiritual and divine attribute dominates our activities, our measures, our words, and our silence, its impact is that it will help society to improve, and it will allow individuals to get closer to their real essence: this is what pleases the divine prophets.

We humans are slaves to the material world. Our looks and our eyes merely see the manifestations of what is material. That is why we get attached to material things. Material beauties attract our eyes, and our eyes cannot see beyond that when they are entrapped in a material environment. If we increase our spirituality and our spiritual sincerity, if we take closeness to God seriously, and if we practice working for God and move forward in that arena, then the pure spirit that emerges in us will open our eyes to a scenery which is loftier, more beautiful, and more valuable than these material beauties and desires: "If one day you fly away from this mean material dominion, you will see that the otherworldly dominion is made up of vast worlds." [Excerpt from a poem by Parvin Etesami]

"The otherworldly dominion" does not only mean paradise and Judgement Day. There have been individuals in this material world who witnessed certain truths with their truth-seeking and spiritual eyes. They lived a happy life by looking at those spiritual and divine scenes and the lofty blessings of God. Most of them were indifferent to the things that we are attached to. It is possible to move on this path; all of us can do so: this is not a tricky and difficult path provided that we observe this [spirituality] in our affairs.

When we see that the measures we want to adopt, the words that we want to say, the laws that we want to pass, the opinions that we want to give, and the services that we want to render are for the sake of God and will lead to God's satisfaction, we should proceed with them. However, if we feel that they will not lead to God's satisfaction, we should not proceed with them. Everyone can exercise with such precision and care. All of us can do so. If we adopt such an outlook, it will gradually help us to move forward, and it will increase our purity and sincerity.

Well, let us attend to the issues of the Majlis. I have written down a number of points and issues to discuss with the honorable members. Of course, in previous meetings, I’ve raised points that I deemed necessary and valuable. So, some of these points are a repeat of previous ones, and some of them are new. In any case, I will discuss what I think is necessary.

It seems that every term, the members and the high-ranking officials of the Majlis should try to gain more points, overtake their predecessors and improve the quality of the Majlis. Well, if we wish to gain more points, the way to do so is to work harder and better. The arena of doing work and rendering services is like this: we should work hard and we need better work. We need fundamental action.

Of course, Mr. Larijani–may God protect him–the honorable Speaker of the Majlis, presented a good list. Before that, too, he had sent a written report which I studied carefully. Thankfully, many tasks have been carried out, but an important point in this regard is that quantity, is not enough for evaluation, “how many bills we have passed” is not enough. It should become clear how much those bills weighed on the management of the country. This is because you are the managers and legislators of the country, and you are in charge of laying the tracks that the executive branch of the country follows. This important part of management is in your hands. You should see how effective your bills have been in eliminating problems, in helping the country progress, and in improving the welfare of the people. So, quantity alone is not enough: quality should be considered as well. Of course, there are other conditions which I will discuss. There are other things which are necessary too.

Generally speaking, the Majlis should be the embodiment of national dignity and the power and strength of the government: this is the Majlis. Why is that? It is because the Majlis has been elected by all of the people throughout the country. They have elected certain individuals, brothers, and sisters, with a specific motive. Imam once said, "The Majlis is the extract of the people's virtues." This is a very important point. Notice that he said, "The extract of virtues,” not the extract of all attributes. Some attributes are not among virtues.

The Majlis should be the extract of the people's virtues, and the people's virtues are many. The Majlis should not be a symbol of doubt, lack of confidence, despair, hopelessness, indifference, and negligence towards the issues of the country. The Majlis should not show that its outlook towards national capacities and capabilities is based on despair. These are the people's virtues whose extract should be witnessed in the Majlis.

I express my regret that studying history is, unfortunately, not very common among much of our youth and people. Otherwise, if we knew history better, we would see that the Iranian nation is outstanding both in the past and in the present. In history, our people are a symbol of faith, knowledge, self-confidence, pride in their achievements and resistance. –This is the case in history.

I would like to give two examples in this regard: the Seljuqs came to Iran in the fifth, sixth centuries of the Hijri calendar. Some of them came to Iran from the south, and some went to Asia Minor from the north. Those who went to Asia Minor changed the language, civilization, and culture of the people living there. They changed everything. They made ancient Anatolia – which belonged to the Byzantine Empire – adopt their own culture. However, those who went to Iran from the south – the Seljuqs in Iran – were digested into the civilization and culture of Iran. They were foreign people, but they were ingested into Iran.

Not only were they ingested in the Iranian civilization and culture, but they were also compelled to become promoters of Iranian culture. Notice how advanced our art, architecture, and poetry used to be during the time of the Seljuqs. They were not Iranians – they were Seljuqs, they were foreigners – but Iran injected them into its body. This is the meaning of national power and strength.

The same thing happened in the case of the Mongols. The Mongols came to Iran as aggressors, and they did things which are well-known, but what was the result? The Mongols could not impose their own civilization, culture and “Yassa” [Mongol legal code] on this country, rather it was Iranian civilization and culture which ingested them itself. They turned into promoters of faith, religion, culture, and art. One of the prominent eras in the history of our art is the era of the Mongol rule over Iran. This is part of our history.

Let us go beyond this. When Muslim warriors, who gave us the dear religion of Islam – "Someone gave us a dear religion" [from a poem by Mohammad Taqi Bahar] – went to North African countries – this is just an example that I am giving you – the language and culture of those countries changed. However, when they came to Iran, our language did not change. In the Islamic era, the Farsi language achieved more growth and development than in the pre-Islamic era. What do we have about the signs of the Farsi language in the pre-Islamic era? But notice what growth the Farsi language achieved in the Islamic era. Notice the change in poetry, prose, and culture in that era. These are very important points which should receive attention. These points were related to the past.

In the present time, too, it is 40 years now that our people have faced the most difficult enmities. Could it be more difficult than that? No people have really faced such hostility – such comprehensive hostility. A bizarre confederation – like the one in the Battle of the Confederates in the early Islamic era – has been formed against the Islamic Republic, but its dimensions are million times greater. They have hatched security plots, and they have done whatever they could. However, you should compare the condition of the people with their condition 40 years ago. The people's power, greatness, progress, awareness and strong international presence is not comparable with the beginning of the Revolution. The people have progressed on a daily basis. The Iranian nation is this.

You are the extract of the Iranian nation. So, you should know how you should behave. These people are a religious, knowledgeable, self-confident and an independent nation. They know what privileges they have, and they insist on them. And this is while 40 years have passed after the Revolution.

We cannot speak about history at length here. There are two, three revolutions which are among the greatest revolutions in the world: one is the French Revolution; another is the Russian Revolution and another is the American independence movement. All these movements were launched in the past 200 years. The American independence movement occurred about 230, 240 years ago – it occurred in the 1770s or 1780s of the Christian calendar. A few years later, the French Revolution would occur, about 100 years after that, the Russian Revolution would be launched. These events took place in the recent past.

If you look at the history of these revolutions, and if you compare their first 40 years with that of the Islamic Revolution, you will be astonished at the greatness, progress, and rapid development of our Revolution! Those revolutions never managed to move forward at such a speed, and with such intensity and strength. This has nothing to do with the developments of the time and the like. These events have not been impacted by such factors. There are other factors involved. The Iranian nation is such a phenomenon, and you are the extract of its virtues. You should adopt such an outlook towards yourselves and towards the Majlis. You should coordinate your expectations of the Majlis with this outlook and by Allah's favor, you should meet those expectations. Well, this was the first point.


The next point is that legislation and the laying of the tracks for the executive branch, which is the essence of work in the Majlis – of course, the Majlis is in charge of supervision as well, but its main function is legislation – should be improved on a daily basis. Every term and every year, the quality of legislation should be improved compared to previous terms and years. I would like to raise certain points about legislation.

First of all, you should have priorities. Mr. Larijani pointed out that the priorities of the country have been observed in the laws that have been passed recently. Well, this is very important. You should look and see what issues are the main priorities. Some bills might be proposed which would take up the time of the Majlis, which would create a peripheral issue in the social environment of the country, while they do not have any priority at all. –These bills should be eliminated. This is like the money we do not need, but we spend it anyways in an extravagant manner. The Majlis' time should not be wasted like this because it is limited. You have only four years; therefore, each and every bit and moment of this time should be utilized. So, only those issues which take priority should be brought up in the Majlis. 

Another issue is practicality. Sometimes, a law is passed, but it is not clear whether it can be implemented or not. In other words, expert work does not show that if this law is passed, it will be operational. These laws should be eliminated as well.

Some laws are against the interests of the country. Basically, this is not done in the Majlis on purpose. I would like to point out the issue of international conventions and treaties. These international treaties – which are referred to as conventions in the west – are stirred up somewhere and those who join it later on – for example, the 100, 150 countries which join it later on – have no influence on its initial ingredients in any way. Some big powers sit in their thinking rooms – as they say, in their think-tanks – and cook up something for the sake of the interests and benefits which they have defined for themselves. After that, they pass it with the help of some governments which share their values, which are intimidated by them, which follow their policies and which do not benefit from such treaties to a great extent.

If an independent government – like the Islamic Republic – shows up and says, "I do not agree with it. I do not agree with this international convention and treaty." They become enraged saying, "Gentlemen, 120, 150, 200 countries have accepted this treaty. Why do you not accept it?" –Conventions are mostly like this.

Now, what should we do? Some of these international treaties and conventions contain good measures. Very well, this is alright. In the case of the issues which arose in the Majlis in recent months, I said that the Majlis should pass laws in an independent manner. Let us take the case of combating terrorism and money laundering for instance. Very well, the Islamic Consultative Majlis is a courageous, intelligent, and well-informed parliament with a great performance record. They should sit and pass a law on this. If the law is about combating money laundering, there is no problem, and there are not many conditions and terms. What you, yourselves, intend to do, should be specified in the law. This is what is important. There is no need to agree with things which we know are not transparent or which we know are problematic only for the sake of their positive aspects and features.

Well, the law should pursue solving the problems of the people. You should observe domestic priorities. Primarily, you should pursue solving the problems of underprivileged and weak classes of the society. There are some classes in society which are poor, average, or below average. The law should primarily focus on solving the problems of these people. Of course, the law is for everyone, and it is for the welfare of all classes of society – it does not matter which classes – but this should be the priority because the issue of underprivileged classes is about livelihood problems. The law should try to overcome these problems.

The main point is that the law should not become a plaything in the hands of the owners of money and power. This is what is important! It should not become a toy in the hands of such people. Sometimes, you pass a law which administers such and such a punishment for someone who climbs up peoples' houses with a ladder. In this case, there is no difference whose house they enter with the use of the ladder – be that a rich, or a poor person, or a person living uptown or downtown. Everyone benefits from this law. The law is for everyone, but sometimes, there are some priorities. You should not allow the law to be in the hands of those who have money and power.

In preparing and passing laws, expertise should be seriously observed. Fortunately, the research center of the Majlis is a good center. The reports that I have received about this research center contain good news. There is a great possibility for doing expert work. This should be utilized to the maximum. As well as using this capability arm of parliamentary expertise, you should benefit from outstanding personalities outside the parliamentary environment. Sometimes, you know that someone has been working and thinking for several years on a matter which requires expertise. If you consult with them on that area of specialty, they will solve a big problem with one short word or sentence. This is how it is. Sometimes, outstanding personalities can provide such help. With one small proposal, they can solve a big problem.

I said that the law should be after solving real problems. I have seen that some of the bills which are proposed, discussed and passed in the Majlis, related to family give one the feeling that they are influenced by western traditions. Such laws should be avoided. Westerners do not attend to family values in any way. This does not mean that they do not want to do so, rather it means that the western conditions and lifestyle are in conflict with family values in the real sense of the word. They, themselves, have acknowledged this. It is many years now that they have been suffering from this. Now, they want to remedy this, but they cannot do so. The foundations and pillars of a family have become extremely undermined in the west.

Now, should we copy western conventions about women, youth, children, parents, and the like and let them change matters related to the family? This should not be the case because they are not related to us. We should pass laws on a family which solves familial problems in the real sense of the word. If there are problems, the law should solve these problems. We should not be influenced by westerners.

One important point is about the laws on solving economic problems. As was pointed out, a meeting has thankfully, been organized with the presence of the heads and officials in the three branches of government. The purpose of the meeting is to enter into economic matters in a serious way and to make decisions and open the path. It is very important that this meeting is being held at the present time as well. The Majlis should make serious moves in this regard. Today, the economic issues of the country take priority. These problems should be resolved in the real sense of the word. The enemy wants to take advantage of this weak point. He should not be allowed to do so.

Another point is the issue of passing new laws. Some laws are not reasonable any longer. This is about reforming laws. I have frequently mentioned this before. Some laws have been passed during or before the Islamic Republic era. They are laws, but they are no longer reasonable. You should eliminate these laws. The Islamic Consultative Majlis can do so. No other organization can do this. The laws which are not reasonable and whose existential philosophy has expired should be abandoned. Some laws lead to contradiction and serious problems in carrying out tasks. You should pursue the issue of reforming laws in the real sense of the word. Some laws are problematic and they should be eliminated.

I have heard that the Ministry of Economic Affairs is eliminating some of the laws which prevent the improvement of financial issues in the country. On that day, I discussed this issue [Supreme Leader's Eid ul-Fitr Sermons delivered on June 15, 2018]. This is a very good task. There are some tasks which can only be carried out by government officials, but there are some tasks which cannot be carried out by them. They can only be carried out by the Majlis. This was another issue.

Another issue is about implementing laws. The honorable Speaker of the Majlis said some time ago that it is two years now that such and such an organization has not implemented a certain law. My question is, what have you members of the Majlis done about it in the past two years? If that organization does not implement a law, you should pursue the matter. Why should they not be implemented? You spend so much time, money, resources, and the like in order to pass a law. Now that it has been passed, some official does not implement it? Well, you should do something about it.

They have said that they have referred these issues to the judiciary branch. And the judiciary branch has responded that such things are not among criminal activities. If you want to turn them into criminal activities, who should do so? It is the Majlis which should do so [a participant in the meeting says that the judiciary branch should pursue the matter]. No, this is not the responsibility of the judiciary branch. The judiciary branch pursues criminal activities. Who can turn this into a criminal activity? The Islamic Consultative Majlis. It is the Majlis which should do so.

You should state that a specific wrongdoing is a crime with a specific punishment. Then, you should refer the matter to the judiciary branch so that they can take necessary actions. This falls on the Majlis. Therefore, in my opinion, the issue of pursuing laws is a very important task that should be carried out.

Another point which is noteworthy to the dear brothers and sisters in the Majlis is the issue of the behavior of members. In my opinion, the comprehensive and all-inclusive word that can be said in this regard is the word "revolutionary.” Members should behave in a revolutionary manner. They should act in a revolutionary manner. In the oath that you took, you promised that you would preserve the Revolution, revolutionary achievements, products and the achievements of the Islamic Republic. How is this possible? It is not possible to preserve these achievements without being revolutionary. One's behavior should be revolutionary.

Revolutionary behavior does not mean behaving in an ill-advised manner, rather it means behaving in a wise, intelligent, and jihadi manner. This is a jihadi movement. We frequently advise managers to manage affairs in a jihadi manner. In the case of the Majlis, we advise that they behave, speak, and act in a jihadi and revolutionary manner. The spirit of faith and revolutionary motivation should dominate all the tasks that the honorable members of the Majlis carry out.

Guarding the achievements of the Revolution and the principles of the Islamic Republic is part of the oath you took in the process of becoming members. If this is not observed, then the presence of members becomes problematic both in a legal and sharia sense. If the achievements of the Revolution and the Islamic Republic are not observed, and if they do not receive attention, this is problematic both in terms of the Constitution and in terms of sharia.

Another issue, which I have frequently discussed with the honorable members in previous meetings, and which I would like to discuss with you, as well, is the issue of presence in parliamentary commissions and sessions on time. The reports which are delivered to me on this matter are not very satisfactory. Sometimes, it is said that the voting process in commissions cannot begin because the number of members does not reach the required minimum. Every member should consider it their responsibility to show their presence in the Majlis and in parliamentary commissions during all required minutes and hours.

Another issue which is not only related to you, and which is related to the entire country is the issue of living an aristocratic lifestyle. The plight of aristocratic lifestyle is a grave plight! They brought me a photo of a building which was built with public funds. I became shocked to see how some people have dared to do so and how their hands and hearts have allowed them to allocate public funds to such things! If aristocratic lifestyle becomes common, if it becomes part of our lifestyle, the fallout from that will be boundless! It will be very problematic and make things very difficult. You should take this issue into account.

Another issue is the issue of foreign trips. The dear brothers and sisters should do their best to cut down foreign trips. Such trips should be taken only out of necessity and need. One should not act in an extravagant manner in this regard.

The next point is about supervision over the members. A few years ago, I brought up this issue and the members endeavored to establish a supervision board to supervise the behavior of members. You should strengthen this. You should do something to exercise supervision in the real sense of the word. Of course, you are in charge of supervising the administration and others' behavior. However, in my opinion, this is more important. This is self-supervision: supervision of oneself and on the health of the Majlis.

What I feel is that to this day, the Islamic Consultative Majlis – which is a fundamental pillar of the Islamic government – has, thankfully, moved forward in a satisfactory manner. You should strengthen your movement in the direction of the Revolution's goals. Today, the country needs inner strength at a national and governmental level. Notice who your enemies are, with what spirit they are moving forward and with what malice they are standing against the Iranian nation. Of course, they are not only standing against the Iranian nation. This is their nature.

Today, the issue of separating a several thousand children from their mothers in the US is not a minor issue, rather it is a very grave issue. One cannot bear to see these children cry on television. How can they adopt such a wrong and criminal course of action just because of a certain policy and rule? How can they separate several thousand children from their mothers? They are like this.

They are people who stand against the people of Yemen at sea with the assistance of some big governments which have advanced weapons. Their goal is to take away a port, which is a breathing point for the oppressed people of Yemen, from them. They kill individuals without any scruples. It is not the case that they are only on bad terms with the Islamic Republic. They are oppressors by nature! They are the apparatuses of oppressive power.

Of course, they are extremely opposed to the Islamic Republic, and they create many obstacles in its way. The reason is that the Islamic Republic is a justice-seeking system, one that claims to advocate for Islam and the oppressed. They should be confronted. Our strength should be preserved and we should be confident that by Allah's favor, greatness, magnificence, and power, the Iranian nation will overcome the US and overcome its enemies.

They are the Shimrs [killer of Imam Hussein (a.s.)] of the age in the exact sense of the word. They are the manifestations of this Quranic ayah in the true sense of the word: "For their oaths are nothing to them." [The Holy Quran, 9: 12] They are not trustworthy when it comes to their oaths and promises. We are witnessing this. This is in front of our eyes. They are blackmailers and bullies in the true sense of the word.  It is evidently clear that the Iranian nation, the Islamic Republic, and the honorable officials of the government will not give in to any blackmailer and bully!

I hope that God will preserve you and help you succeed so that you can carry out your duties. Go forth, and God willing, do something to remain on top of the table.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings



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