Imam Khamenei

Negotiating with America does not make sense

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on August 29, 2018 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani and cabinet members on the occasion of Government Week.

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 Muhammad and upon his immaculate household and may God curse all their enemies

I would like to congratulate Mr. President, the ministers, the ladies and all individuals present in the meeting on the occasion of Eid al-Ghadir. I hope that this Eid will be the source of all the blessings that Allah the Exalted has placed in the wilayat of the Commander of the Faithful (greetings be upon him). He has given us this great blessing.

Al-Ghadir and the proclamation of the Commander of the Faithful (greetings be upon him) as the Wali of the Islamic Ummah and the successor of the Holy Prophet was truly one of the great blessings of Allah the Exalted. The principles of nubuwwat and risalat are Allah’s great blessings: “Allah conferred a great favor on the believers when He sent among them a messenger from among themselves” [The Holy Quran, 3: 16]. The same is true of the Commander of the Faithful’s wilayat. It too was a great blessing and favor: “Allah created you in the form of lights. Then, he placed you around His throne and by doing so, He conferred upon us a great favor. He put you in dwellings which are greatly esteemed with His Permission” [Ziarat Jamiah Kabirah].

This is truly a great blessing. In the Holy Quran– in Sura al-Maeda– the Commander of the Faithful’s wilayat and the issue of wilayat, in general, has been described as a source of disappointment for unbelievers: “This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion” [The Holy Quran, 5: 3]. According to the Quran, the day when the issue of wilayat was brought up was the day when “Those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion”. It was a source of disappointment for unbelievers.

The late Allamah Tabatabai has given a very beautiful explanation in Tafsir al-Mizan. He has explained this disappointment and the reasons behind it. There is another ayah in the same holy sura which says: “And whoever takes Allah and His messenger and those who believe for a guardian, then surely the party of Allah are they that shall be triumphant” [5: 56]. “Those who believe” which is mentioned in this ayah means the Commander of the Faithful. In the previous ayah, we have “And they bow down humbly in worship” [5: 55]. This ayah says that such believers give donations and charity while they bow down in worship. “And they bow down humbly in worship” is also interpreted to be the Commander of the Faithful. The same is true of “Those who believe” – that is to say, the ayah after “Only God is your Wali”. In this ayah [5: 56], the party of Allah – those who follow faith and this movement– are described as “triumphant”.

So, on the one hand, we have the issue of the unbelievers’ disappointment and on the other hand, we have the triumph of believers. These are the grounds for the movement of the Islamic Ummah and the Islamic community – particularly the Shia community. And they are a source of disappointment for unbelievers and a source of capability and power for believers and they are at our disposal.

What we, as the Islamic government, should constantly take into consideration is that we should consider the Alawi governance as the standard. We should evaluate ourselves by Alawi governance. The distance between us and that rule should be viewed as backwardness. When we do good tasks, when we progress in spiritual terms and when we do things which are a source of pride according to Islamic values, we should not exaggerate their significance. We should compare our deeds with Alawi governance and notice the difference between us and him.

One of the main criteria in Alawi governance is justice. Another is piety and chastity. Another is being a man of the people and being with the people. Alawi governance is comprised of such criteria. The life of the Commander of the Faithful was an embodiment of justice, piety, popularity and virtue. We should consider this as the standard. We should really move in that direction.

I am not saying that we should become the Commander of the Faithful as this is not possible. However, we should look at the summit and move towards it. Even if we do not reach it, we should move towards it. This is our responsibility. In the Islamic government, people like us– who are parts and members of this government and system– have the duty of thinking about justice, about our own piety and morality, about helping the people and about living a pure life. This should be our orientation. I hope that this Eid will be a blessed one for all you and for your families.

I would also like to congratulate you on Government Week. Government Week evokes the auspicious and eternal names of those two dear martyrs– Shahid Rajai and Shahid Bahonar. It places them– they were truly two outstanding and prominent personalities– within our view. Apart from that, Government Week in itself has certain blessings. One of the blessings is that it is a sign of the passing of a four-year opportunity. Every administration has a four-year opportunity- they have four-years time. This shows that this four-year era is over. So, government officials– in particular, high-ranking officials, like the gentlemen who are present in the meeting– will find the opportunity to carry out an evaluation of their work.

This is because our evaluation, when we carry it out in our hearts, is sometimes different from the one that one expresses in public. Sometimes, this evaluation really pleases us and sometimes, we might find it enlightening. It might make us think of what we should do or what we should avoid and the things that we should do to make up for them. Therefore, Government Week is such an opportunity.

There is another aspect to Government Week: it is a period of time for thanking government officials. It is really necessary for everyone who is in contact with the administration in whichever way to thank government officials. The task is a great task. The task– the duties that administrations undertakes– is a heavy one. The administration– the executive branch from top to bottom– shoulders a wide range of responsibility and work including political and economic affairs, scientific and cultural affairs, social matters, infrastructural tasks such as transport, energy and the like, public services and other such issues. Therefore, a wide range of tasks falls on the administration.

Well, from top to bottom, several thousand individuals are busy working and endeavoring. There are many individuals in the administration who are truly expending all their energy and who work harder than we expect so that they can do a good job. One should truly thank them. In a big and vast country like our country with its eighty-million population, management is really a great feat. It is not an easy task, rather it is very difficult and important.

Those who are involved in such affairs understand this more than anyone else. Someone who is outside this arena might think and judge otherwise, but when one stands in the middle of the arena– for example, I myself was involved in executive work for many years- so I understand how difficult it is and I know how many difficulties exist. Even if the problems that we have- such as our malicious enemies- did not exist, it would still be difficult and challenging. I, for my part, thank all you dear brothers and sisters. I hope that by Allah’s favor, you will be successful and I hope that God will help you do what you plan to do with ease.

In Government Week, both strong and weak points should be seen, primarily by officials themselves. Strong and weak points should be seen together. There are some people who only look at the weak points while they do not see the strong points. This involves the danger of dragging oneself towards pessimism and despair. If they only look at the weak points and ignore the strong points that exist, this is a flaw. It is a flaw for the officials who have such an outlook because it leads to despair and hopelessness– and it is also a flaw for those who look at things from the outside.

The opposite is true as well: if we only look at the strong points and avoid looking at the weak points, there will be other problems. This will lead to an increase in the number of weak points. It will prevent one from taking the right path and from achieving one’s goals. So, both strong and weak points should be seen. The strong points should be strengthened and increased in number and the weak points should be written down and decreased one by one. This is the case in all matters including in personal matters.

Fortunately, in this administration, the 12th administration, there are certain strong points which are noteworthy. In the year that has passed from the life of the 12th administration, good tasks have been carried out despite the fact that part of this year was allocated to the appointment of the cabinet and ministers with the problems that exist on this path. Good tasks have been accomplished, an important part of which was mentioned by the President. In the area of the economy, the 4.6 percent growth rate is a good matter that has taken place. Although there is a large gap with what we have mentioned in the general policies– eight percent– in such conditions, 4.6 percent is good. It is an acceptable growth rate for the administration.

In some areas, like agriculture and energy, good products have been manufactured. In the first three months of the current year, exports have increased by 20 percent and imports have decreased by 5 percent. These are good events that have taken place. They are noteworthy. They are presentable to the people, to those who have questions and to public opinion in the country. One should really thank God for these matters. I hope that by Allah’s favor, this process of increasing non-oil exports and reducing imports will continue until the end of the year. You should pursue the matter so that it will be accomplished, God willing.

In other areas too, good tasks have been accomplished. You gentlemen are busy publicizing these tasks in this week and when I look, I see that they are good. Of course, we should admit that we are not very skilled at promotions. Both the administration and we ourselves– all of us– are not good and professional at doing promotion. However, it is good to inform the people of the tasks that have been carried out until today.

I would like to offer some recommendations about three issues: one is about economic issues which are our main issue today. Another is about matters related to foreign policy and another is about domestic unity and solidarity which was touched on by Mr. President himself.

As for the economy, from the beginning of this year and even before that, we have had some meetings with the friends. I pointed to several issues which are very important to me, but I do not want to repeat them. The coordination meeting between the heads of the three branches of government, which was formed with the purpose of economic cooperation and assistance, has had certain blessings and advantages. That meeting has brought about some changes in the welfare of the public and it can produce more and better results and it should continue to be held.

Gentlemen, naturally, when two people sit next to one another, they have some common points and some differences of opinion. We should not forget our common points just because of those differences. When there is talk of negotiations with the world, they say that we should negotiate with such and such a government and country. Well, when we speak about negotiating with enemies, opponents and the like, then we should naturally negotiate with friends and insiders as well. There should be a negotiation. If something is a source of disagreement, there should be a negotiation. You say something, he says something and you will finally reach a common point. This should continue because it is necessary.

We should work efficiently and arduously when it comes to the economy. Friends, notice that the enemy has focused his efforts on the issue of the economy. The reason is that there have been some shortcomings and weaknesses in the area of the economy. As the people in the military say, there have been some blind spots in our radars through which the enemy has managed to infiltrate and advance. We should block those blind spots. We should identify the weak points correctly and then eliminate them and we can do so. We can do all the tasks that should be carried out – I will mention some of these tasks.

There are certain ways for managing the economy of the country. It is not the case that we have reached a dead end. There are certain ways which can be taken with power and we can advance, God willing. You should enter the arena. You should work arduously and efficiently. The economic officials of the country should not differentiate between day and night in order to work.

There was talk of the economy of resistance and the policies on the economy of resistance. The basis of the economy of resistance– its gist and bottom line– is insistence on domestic production. The basis is this. The policies on the economy of resistance both mean digging defensive earthworks against the enemy– if these policies are implemented completely and thoroughly in the true sense of the word, they will be like defensive earthworks– and also empowering ourselves in order to advance.

In other words, the policies on the economy of resistance have a defensive and offensive aspect to them. And the pivot is production. Therefore, I expect the coordination meeting between the heads of the three branches of government and the experts who are in touch with them to stress the issue of production in their discussions as one of the main issues that they work on. We should see what the domestic problems of the country are and then we should pursue solutions for them in different ways. I am not an economist, but I read what economists say. The economists of the country– many of whom you believe in– present certain solutions. It is not the case that there are not any solutions. There are certain solutions for saving the production of the country.

Another issue is the issue of people’s livelihood problems which is also related to production. One of the best ways to improve and correct the people’s livelihood problems– in the present time, the people have some problems: an important part of the people have problems– is to stress the issue of domestic production in the real sense of the word. There should be a comprehensive effort to prevent factories from closing down or working below their capacity.

An important point in the area of economic issues which I deem necessary to discuss is the issue of economic management. The administration should manage the economy of the country! Management should not be confused with direct involvement in all economic areas. The administration’s comprehensive involvement in the economy will be to the disadvantage of the country. We experienced this in practice during the Revolution and we know that the administration’s comprehensive involvement will not be good. The policies of Article 44 of the Constitution were formulated to prevent such involvement. Therefore, we should completely eliminate this idea from our minds. So, when I speak about management, this should not be mistaken with comprehensive involvement in the economy.

Economic management has two important principles: one is that we should open the arena for the activities of healthy economic actors. The arena should be opened for them and we should help them. Economic experts should see what the ways to help economic actors are. There are certain ways, they should see what the obstacles ahead of their work and progress are. Then, they should eliminate those obstacles. I will give one, two examples in this regard. One principle is managing this. Another principle is that the executive branch should watch over unhealthy economic activities in an intelligent and vigilant manner and with open eyes. An economic actor who makes harmful moves should receive attention. Such people should be prohibited from making their moves. The outlets for corruption should be blocked. Economic management means this and it has nothing to do with comprehensive involvement in economic affairs.

As for the first area– helping economic actors– I would like to give an example related to recent developments. Of course, there are many examples. There are some people inside the country who initiate an economic movement. Such individuals should be assisted. The example related to recent developments is the issue of stationery. A number of determined youth have emerged who are producing domestic stationery. Stationery materials are important. Notice that the consumption of stationery– pencils, paper, notebooks and other such materials– is very popular. That is while we are importing many of such materials. This has a cultural as well as an economic aspect to it.

Since two, three years ago, I do not remember exactly, they have been trying to produce domestic stationery. Well, this requires assistance. They should be helped, but they do not receive any. They even create obstacles for these youths. Such obstacles would not necessarily need government officials and ministers. Executive ministers may not know about them at all, but there are others who create obstacles. They should be prevented from doing so.

Some time ago, some of these youths came to me. Well, one sees that they are full of enthusiasm and that they are very energetic and ready to work. They have talent as well, but they do not have the necessary financial means. So, they should be helped. Helping them does not mean giving several billion tomans to them, like the deferred bank payments that exist: for example, someone owes a bank several thousand billion tomans! This is not like that! Such support involves much less money. They can be helped with little money. They can be pushed forward by receiving support. We have many such cases.

Notice that many people refer to me while I am not greatly involved with economic affairs and the executive issues of the country. So, I know that people refer to many officials, ministers and other such individuals. There are many such cases. These individuals should be assisted. It has occurred to me many times– when I say “many”, I mean on numerous occasions– that people come and complain to me and I have sometimes asked officials to pursue the matter. This is one of the tasks that should be carried out and there are many such examples.

One task is opening the arena– meaning improvement of the business environment. Just recently, I received a report. I do not remember the details, but what I remember, which is very important, is that about 30 directives were issued by officials on a specific matter and all that happened in a short time– for example, in the space of two, three months. Well, how can economic actors plan for their future? How can those who want to work in this area plan for the future? Directives are issued one after another while decisions are contradictory on the same issue. Such issues should be eliminated! These are the elements which create obstacles.

You should create the stability and tranquility that economic actors need. So, one principle of management is that we should help activists from among the people. We should open the arena for them and eliminate the obstacles ahead of them. Once, in one of the meetings that I had– this happened two, three years ago, but I do not remember the details– I mentioned that on the basis of a report that I had received from economic actors in the private sector, some people had to go to this and that office in order to produce something in a poultry farm and set up a small business as well as their own business. Such regulations should be reduced. The path should be unblocked so that the people can be active. This is the first part.

The second part is combating corruption and blocking the outlets of corruption. Open eyes of managers: this is what is needed! Notice that the Ministry of Intelligence recently sent me a report. I looked at it and witnessed that from the Aban of 1396 to the Tir of 1397, 56 warnings were issued to different executive organizations on matters related to economic corruption. Well, this task, carried out by the Ministry of Intelligence, is a good task. I do not know to what extent it has been pursued, but it is important to notice that the Ministry of Intelligence has come across such a big figure in the space of a few months. The Ministry of Intelligence has listed 56 cases!

As for the incidents which took place recently, Dr. Rouhani gave certain explanations which are correct, but the truth of the matter is that as well as these explanations, there was negligence and managerial ignorance. When we want to distribute foreign currencies in the market– because we deem this necessary and because we look at it as a means of lowering the price– we should do so with open eyes in order that, in such difficult conditions, we can prevent several billion dollars from falling into the hands of a few individuals who smuggle it, sell it in Iraqi Kurdistan, exchange it in the domestic market, spend it in other ways as tourists– everyone knows about this– or spend it on importing certain products while they have registered it for other products.

Well, these are matters that can be supervised by managers. I have already discussed this with Mr. President. It is not the case that we need to employ a policeman for everyone so that their activities can be monitored. This is not the case. There are certain methods these days. There are advanced methods and ways with which we can control activities. We should exercise control. In other words, we should supervise with open eyes. This is economic management. I believe that you can do so. Our administration can do so. This is not something impossible or extraordinarily difficult. It is not like that. What is needed is determination and jihadi participation in the middle of the arena and you can accomplish these tasks.

Someone receives money in order to import such and such goods and products on your behalf and with your permission– for example, in order to import medication, but they spend it on other products. We have announced in Article 44 of the Constitution that government factories should be sold to the people. With what purpose? With the purpose of closing them down or with the purpose of running them? Such people take over and then they engage in selling the ironware of the production machines which have been installed and assembled there with great difficulty, in the form of scrap iron and then they use the land to build a shopping mall!

Well, why is this being done? Who should stop this? It cannot be said that the judiciary branch should prevent this. It is the managers’ duty to see whom they are giving factories to. Article 44 specifies that factories should be given to the people so that they remain factories and so that production can be boosted, not for the sake of turning them into shopping malls, thus destroying them! These incidents have happened. This is not particular to your administration. Before you, these things happened as well. In any case, economic management means this and these points should receive attention.

Of course, I have written down two other items. Sometimes, it is not the case that the issue is about personal profits so much so that we say some corrupt individuals have done these things for their own personal profits. Sometimes, things happen because of our blunder and carelessness. For example, all of a sudden, you witness that baby diapers become a rarity in Tehran and big cities. This has happened. This is an actual incident, not a hypothesis. Baby diapers! This makes the people angry. The other side– the enemy– wants the people to become angry at the administration and the Islamic Republic. This is one of the ways. Diapers!

Another example is that on the eve of Norouz– which is traditionally a time for major house cleaning and the like– detergents become a rarity and you cannot find them. Well, this is a blunder and carelessness! These incidents should be pursued with open eyes. This is an important issue.

Another important issue that I would like to discuss related to economic matters is that our country is an outstanding country in terms of economic capacities. Our capacities are very good. If we do not benefit from these capacities, we have wasted God’s blessings. Allah the Exalted says, “Have you not seen those who have changed Allah's favor for ungratefulness” [The Holy Quran, 14: 28]. We should not change Allah’s favor for ungratefulness. We have extraordinary capacities.

A piece of research has been carried out in international institutes such as the International Monetary Fund and the like. I have received a report in this regard. They say that Iran is the 18th in the world in terms of GDP– GDP is in fact the actual capacity of the country which has been utilized: it is what has been implemented. We are the 18th among 200-plus countries in the world in terms of GDP. GDP means what you have exploited from the capacities of the country and what you have earned. This is a high rate and this is based on international research.

There is another piece of research as well as this one. This research has been carried out by the World Bank in 2013. It says that Iran is the first [in the world] in terms of untapped domestic capacities. How do you feel about this? This is not something which has been mentioned by an economist inside the country so much so that it would be interpreted in other ways. An international center looks at the capacities of the country– geographic, human, climate, minerals, underground and other such capacities– and says that our unused capacities overall are so high that we are first in the world. This has been mentioned in the year 1392/2013.

Therefore, failure to use capacities is an important issue. I have discussed this frequently in various speeches and I have pointed to some of the capacities which have not been used, and I do not deem it necessary to repeat them. It is more important and urgent to discuss them in meetings among specialists so that they can say what capacities have remained unused. There is a list of unused capacities. This is one point.

Another issue is misusing capacities. One of our problems is the issue of misusing things. Dr. Rouhani pointed out that we may not need to import gasoline anymore. This is good news, but the fact that we – who are one of the biggest producers of oil– are importing gasoline is very bad news. Why is this happening? Why do we need to export raw oil after all? Why do we not turn gas into products and into LNG? Why do we not turn oil into gasoline and then export it? This is a question. This means misusing capacities.

Since long ago– perhaps since 15, 16 years– I have been stressing, in previous administrations, the issue of developing domestic refineries and producing different petroleum products. Well, this should be done! Mr. Rouhani recently inaugurated phase two of Setareh-e Khalij-e Fars Refinery. This will boost the products of the country to a great extent. This is an important issue. We should follow the same line. Why should we import gasoline?

In certain years, we spent several billion tomans to import gasoline into the country. A country which has important oil sources and which is an exporter of oil should go and import gasoline which is a derivative of oil! This is very strange and bizarre. These issues should be highlighted and worked on and we can do so. The same is true of the issue of gas which I already pointed to.

In our country, one of our grave problems related to from my point of view misusing domestic capacities, is the high consumption of gasoline inside the country. The other day, Mr. President said to me that 105 million liters is the gasoline consumption of the country per day. I read somewhere else that it is actually more: 120 million liters. Let us assume that it is 105 million liters. Why? Why should we consume so much? At one point in time, officials managed to bring it to 65 million liters approximately– actually less than 65 million liters. This happened. Of course, they themselves changed it for the worse later one, but this can happen.

This is possible and there are certain ways for it. You should pursue them and you should move forward with power. Some families who have five cars and who need to use gasoline a lot might become upset. Well, they can become upset! Out of this 105 million liters, how much do the people– the masses of the people– have access to? In my opinion, these are important issues. You should prevent this. You should not allow it to be like that. A large part of this responsibility falls on the Ministry of Petroleum and also the administration. You should make decisions and you should prohibit it. The issue of economic management is another point and all these issues are the different dimensions of management. There are many things to say in this regard and I do not want to lengthen my statements.

One of our important economic issues is the capacity of the private sector. We are not benefitting from the capacity of the private sector. As I said earlier, we sometimes entrust factories, on the basis of the policies of Article 44 of the Constitution, to people who are ineligible, but normally we do not really involve the private sector and we do not benefit from the people’s investments correctly.

The Chamber of Commerce had a meeting with the Secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council and they discussed certain issues at length. I read what they discussed there. In my opinion, you gentlemen should read those statements. You should listen or look at them. They are correct statements. We should benefit from the capacities of the private sector. The private sector is ready. To put it in simple terms, administrations do not feel like implementing the policies of Article 44 of the Constitution the way they should [Supreme Leader laughs]. You should implement Article 44 of the Constitution! You should help develop the capacities of the private sector.

Those who can help are not confined to businesspeople. Businesspeople are only one part of the private sector. There are producers and craftsmen as well. In the present time, in the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Petroleum, for example, you need many pieces and components. You should speak to craftsmen. We have good craftsmen in the country. Years ago, when Mr. Bitaraf was the minister of energy, he needed a paddle or blade for something. I said to him, “Mister, you are a graduate of the Amir Kabir University. Amir Kabir University is very close to where we are right now. Go there and talk to them and they will build it for you!”

At that time, the people in the army– the air force– had already produced that component, of course for another purpose, but with bigger dimensions. So, craftsmen in the private sector can help the administration in different areas. Sometimes, it happens that we do not have one, two components and as a result, the chain of production stops working because of a lack of that component. Foreigners do not give it to us or they create problems. Well, we should produce such pieces and components inside the country. We can produce them inside the country. Whenever we pursued a task inside the country, persisted in doing it and spent on it, we managed to accomplish it. An example in this regard is the Ministry of Defense which has carried out good tasks.

Another important issue in the area of the economy– this is the fourth issue that I am bringing up– is the issue of managing the money volume of the country. Mr. President pointed to the issue of money and the money volume. First of all, it was wrong to allow money to increase. It was wrong from the beginning. We should not have allowed this to happen. From the beginning, we should have prevented an increase in the money volume. In the present time too, it would be wrong to leave money volume alone because it can attack everywhere and bring about destruction. The money volume should be managed.

If we think that there is nothing that we can do about the money volume, this is not the case. The money volume can be controlled and managed. Of course, this requires an active group of people who work day and night. We need a round-the-clock group of individuals. Some time ago, MPs asked the honorable President to appoint an active economic team. Very well, you can appoint a team under the supervision of the current team that you have. Of course, I will never discuss the issue of changing and appointing individuals and I have never done it before. However, you should appoint an active round-the-clock team comprised of individuals who are interested in jihadi work, who really want to work, who do not differentiate between day and night when it comes to working and who are keen to innovate.

You should ask them to managemoney volume and you can do so. According to one account, we have 400,000 billion tomans and according to another account, we have 600,000 billion tomans worth of unfinished projects. Well, you should create attraction for the private sector so that money is directed this way. It is possible to do these tasks. You should grant concessions and create attraction. It has sometimes happened that we have granted some concessions in price in order to sell our oil and develop our plans. For example, we have given discounts to such and such people. Well, we should do this inside the country as well. We should encourage the private sector to do so. We can accomplish important tasks.

I think it was recently that I said something in a meeting with government officials: I said that according to experts’ statements, Russia builds 30-megawatt power plants – I used to think that the smallest were 100-MW power plants, but it turned out that there are 30, 50-MW power plants as well. Very well, the price of these power plants must not be very high. This is lucrative. You should encourage the private sector to go and get 10, 20 of these and set them up. They are sources of energy, they help attract money, they act as desalinators and they have many other uses and advantages. What I mean is that we should attract money.

The large money surpluses that exist are a grave danger. Economists know this better. They know that to whichever direction it turns, it will be destructive. Well, sometimes, it turns towards the gold-coin market, sometimes it turns towards foreign currency– like what is happening right now, as you witness– and sometimes, it turns towards real estate. You should not allow this to happen. This should be managed. Money should not be left alone. It cannot be said that the money has turned to such and such a direction and there is nothing that we can do about it. This is not the case. This can be controlled and restrained. It should be restrained.

What Mr. President mentioned about the issue of banks is correct. Some banks place the central bank between a rock and a hard place. There is a cure for this as well. You should discredit and dismiss a bank which has failed to manage its own affairs and which has made the people line up for their money. First of all, the supervision of the central bank over other banks prevents this from happening, of course if there has been constant supervision from the beginning. And when it reaches this state of affairs, it should be confronted.

There are so many private banks! Why do banks face the problem of lack of cash? It is because they establish many branches and build different facilities for their own staff. Once, I said this to you: I was going somewhere in the car and we came across a wall which stretched as far as we were driving. I asked, “Who does this belong to? What is this big thing?” It was a gigantic structure! They said that it belongs to such and such a bank. Well, the hell this bank does such a thing! What does it want to do with this? This is a very important issue! They take the people’s money and build such facilities for themselves! It was probably a facility for so-called entertainment and the like. This should not happen!

Banks are doing the job of agencies. Once, I said in the same meeting that you should prevent banks from acting as agencies! Banks are not there to do the work of agencies! Well, the people’s money is being spent like this. The efficient control and management of the central bank over banks would prevent the central bank from reaching a point where it is stuck between a rock and a hard place. If it gives money, it will face a certain problem. If it does not increase cash, there will be another problem. After all, this is an important issue. In my opinion, you should attend to the issue of banks and you should attach significance to money volume and you should follow it.

I made certain statements on these issues and I do not want to speak more. Let us switch to the second issue. Of course, the second issue is not so long, it is shorter. It is about foreign policy and Mr. Zarif– our dear friend– is present as well.

First of all, I would like to highlight the importance of increasing relations with neighboring countries. We have 14, 15 neighbors. Many of them– the majority of them– are countries with which we can have good relations. We should benefit from opportunities. I delivered a message to you [the Minister of Foreign Affairs] about Pakistan and you said in response that you are busy preparing the ground for that. There is Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, West Asian countries and other places. We can work with this big group of countries on various matters. Such strong diplomacy with neighbors will be good for our economic affairs. It has been reported to me that if we can work with these countries to the extent of only 10 percent of their economic activities, it will be a large figure for us. Besides, 10 percent is not very high. This is one issue.

Another issue is about Europe. I have said before and I would like to repeat now that our relations with Europe should continue. Of course, Europe does not take one form. Their countries are different. They have some common points and they are different in other areas. They have different methods. In any case, our relations should continue with Europe in general– European countries, not the European community. We should continue relations with European countries, but you should give up hope of receiving help from them. You should give up hope about Europe. Europe is not a place where we can pin our hopes on when it comes to our various issues such as the issue of the Bar-Jaam [JCPOA], economic matters and the like. They will not do anything. You should give up hope.

Giving up hope does not mean cutting off relations. It does not mean cancelling negotiations. It means that we should make our decisions otherwise. This is what it means. You should be sceptical about their promises. Whatever promise they give, you should look at it with doubt. In the present time too, they are playing games. In my opinion, they are playing on issues related to the Bar-Jaam and sanctions. In fact, they are not behaving in a proper way towards us.

I would like to add that the Bar-Jaam is not a goal, rather it is a means. The Bar-Jaam is not a goal so much so that we would need to preserve it at all costs. It is merely a means for preserving our national interests. If one day you reach the conclusion that the Bar-Jaam cannot ensure national interests, you should put it aside. In other words, it is of no significance. You should see what national interests dictate. They sometimes put this question to me, “Why do you not burn the Bar-Jaam while you said that you would?” The reason why we did not burn it was because we thought we can preserve national interests with it. If we find out that national interests will not be ensured with it, we know how to burn it [Supreme Leader and Cabinet members laugh]! They should stop playing games with us. You should pursue this in a serious manner.

Of course, I have heard that you have recently written a good letter to European officials. It is good to write such letters. Of course, they should know that there is thinking and decision-making behind such letters. They should feel this both in the statements that you, Mr. President and others make- and in some of the courses of action that Mr. Salehi should adopt. I do not know to what extent he has adopted these measures. This is another issue.

Another point on the issue of foreign policy is the issue of America. Some people are whispering that there might be negotiations amid the United Nations General Assembly session. This is definitely out of the question. This does not make any sense. Those slick and glib politicians [the former US administration] behaved like that towards us. What can we expect from these brash, shameless, mischievous and quick-to-the-draw individuals? What negotiations should we have with them? This does not make any sense. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, the staff in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, not to mention Mr. President-it does not make any sense to have any negotiation with them.

Of course you know- you may know it better than me- that the US needs to negotiate with the Islamic Republic. The US administrations- the former one, the current one and the other ones- all need to show that they have dragged a system like the Islamic Republic to the negotiating table. This is what they need.

The day when Obama managed to speak to Mr. Rouhani on the phone, they celebrated the news there and we heard about it later on in some ways. They need this, but there is no necessity for us to fulfil this need of theirs. That is why we are opposed to negotiations, I have explained the reasons before and I do not want to repeat them.

The third issue is the issue of solidarity and unity. Solidarity and unity among the officials who manage the country is always necessary and today, it is more necessary than ever. I confirm what Mr. Rouhani said. The heads of the three branches of government, different officials and different organizations should support one another. This does not mean that they should have the same viewpoints on all issues. No, they might have opposing viewpoints, but first of all, they should help one another in practice- in particular because the administration is the one which is in the middle of the arena and main tasks fall on it: in particular, everyone should help the executive branch- and secondly, they should avoid mentioning differences in the media. This is important as well.

If you have a difference of opinion with another manager, why would you need to mention it in the media? What does this mean? What results will it yield? If four discredited political elements rejoice over such and such positions that we adopt, this is not a good reason for us. Discord among officials disturbs the people’s tranquility of mind. It makes them agitated, worried and nervous. Sometimes, I even see that ministers speak against each other. You gather at one table at the council of ministers and Mr. President is sitting at the head. You can fight and argue as much as you want there! You can bring up your differences there. So, why do you bring them up again on camera? A minister says something and another minister rejects it downright. This is a very strange phenomenon. Such media skirmishes are really a bad phenomenon.

As for yesterday’s parliamentary session, in my opinion, it was a display of the Islamic Republic’s power. May God bestow His blessings on Mr. President and the legislative branch for their mutual display of the power and stability of the Islamic Republic. This is a very important point. The members of the Majlis ask questions from a President who has been elected with more than 23 million votes and the President goes there and listens to their questions without any hesitation and refusal, he calmly answers the questions with equanimity. These are good signs.

When we speak about religious democracy in the country, this is what it means. It means that they perform their duties and do not become agitated. They ask questions and they answer. They talk without rushing one another. These are very important points. This happened yesterday. Yesterday, if one of the MPs had used a bad tone or if Mr. President had used a bad tone in facing the Majlis, how bad it would have become and what harm it would have inflicted on the Islamic Republic. However, this did not happen. They asked questions respectfully and Mr. President answered with equanimity and calmness.

Of course, there is a gap between their demands, expectations and the existing realities and there is no doubt that this gap should be narrowed, but there is nothing wrong with this. The important point is that what happened was a glorious display of the Islamic Republic’s power and stability and the self-confidence of the officials in the Islamic Republic. The Majlis showed its confidence in one way and the administration showed its confidence in another way. In my opinion, this was a very good event.

Of course, the enemy wants another thing. He is trying to portray it in a different way, but the truth of the matter is what I said and others see and understand this. The same is true of the people inside the country. The people too see this. Nothing spoiled the environment and there was no problem. They asked and answered questions with equanimity and mutual respect and then went back home. In my opinion, it was a very good session and the executive and legislative branches accomplished a great feat together. This both strengthens the President and the Majlis and moreover, it will be an opportunity for more cooperation and for bridging the gap between the viewpoints and realities, God willing.

Of course, the recommendations that we put forward and the issues that were discussed should receive attention and we should move forward. You should attend to the issue which is frequently discussed about the existence of an active, prepared and enthusiastic team to resolve these important problems one after another. I hope that by Allah’s favor, they will advance.

As for the meetings between the heads of the three branches of government, the statements that Mr. President made are correct. There should be good coordination between them. I have given the necessary words of advice in this regard and I will continue to do so, but you should pay attention that you should not move in a way that the natural responsibilities of other branches will be neglected. I have spoken to you in this regard before. You should try to coordinate.

Well, war requires a commander. I participated in war briefly and I know certain things [Supreme Leader and Cabinet members laugh]. However, a commander consults with others in his headquarters. There is no commander who yells, “let us go fight” and others just run after him without first consulting with others. They normally have a headquarters and they sit and talk and work. Sometimes, it occurs that the commander’s mind changes completely with the counsel that he gets from his staff. His opinion changes completely. There are things which are part of the natural traditions of collective behavior. These things should be observed. One of these traditions is that we should consult with others. We should think and consider other people’s rights. Of course, this should be followed by “So when you have decided, then place your trust in Allah” [The Holy Quran, 3: 159]. We should do that as well.

I hope that all you gentlemen will be successful, God willing. I hope that God will be satisfied with all of you and help you carry out the important duties that you have undertaken. I think my statements became too long [Mr. President says, “May God purify your soul. We benefited from your statements a great deal”]. Thank you very much. I hope that God will preserve all of you.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings

 

 

Tags

  • JCPOA
  • negotiating with the US

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