Leader's Address to the People of Larestan

The following is the full text of the Speech delivered on May 8, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a group of people in Larestan County, Fars province.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all sentient beings, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Al-Mustafa Muhammad, and upon his immaculate and infallible household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.

I thank Allah the Exalted who has bestowed upon me the blessing to meet with the dear and cordial people of Larestan and be in the company of you dear brothers and sisters living in this ancient county. During my previous trips to Fars province, I always liked to meet with the dear people of Larestan County and the city of Lar. However, I did not unfortunately find such an opportunity. I feel today - in the enthusiastic and sincere company of you dear people which is full of kindness - that every Muslim and faithful person who has such familiarity with Islamic teachings in his heart will certainly hold such sincerity and purity in his life, city, and the community where he lives. I thank you dear people for your sincere kindness, and I express my admiration of you. I deem it necessary to thank all the residents of Fars province. Today is the last day of my trip to this vast and honored province. During my 9-day stay in this province, the people of Shiraz and other cities in Fars province showed great kindness and sincerity. I should thank all these people for their kindness.

The government officials have fortunately paid due attention to the problems of Fars province. The cabinet members held a meeting in Shiraz yesterday. They held useful discussions and made important decisions about the different problems of the people of Fars province - particularly the problems of Lar and Larestan County. I hope God Almighty will bestow His blessings on the officials. I hope they will render services to you dear people who rightly deserve their services. I hope they will carry out their responsibilities towards you people who deserve such efforts.

The name of the city of Lar is inseparable form the name of the late Grand Ayatollah Abdul Hussein Lari in the Iranian history. Wherever there is a mention of Lar, or when one looks at the recent history of our country - the last 100 or 120 years - the name of this great man is prominent and shining.

I do not intend to limit myself to previous honors, but I want to help us truly know ourselves through familiarity with our history and our prominent figures in the past. Through such familiarity, I want us to understand our current status and find the right path to follow in the future.

Some hundred years ago, Larestan County recorded a very adventurous Islamic movement in our history with the help of this great man and with the help of the people of this region. The people of Lar and the great Larestan County are among the most prominent people of our vast country if we are to judge people on the basis of their awareness, their national willpower, and their wisdom and courage in taking action. In an era when seeking freedom and opposing despotism was not known to many people in the country, the issue of fighting despotism had been clarified for these people due to the spirituality of this great and conscious Islamic scholar. The people of Larestan, led by this magnanimous sayyid, opposed the English invasion. They laid down their lives to oppose the English government's despotism. In a letter to his son, the late Sayyid Abdul Hussein Lari said that he was under immense pressure, yet he said he was ready to give his life in that fight. When a leader acts like that and resists so sincerely, national willpower will naturally be summoned, and will guide nations onto the right path. After the demise of that magnanimous man, his son Sayyid Abdul Muhammad Lari, who is a prominent clergyman, also involved himself in some political activities.

We have to learn a useful lesson from the history of Larestan County that will serve us in the present and our dear and strong nation in the future. The history of this county teaches us that a nation will emerge victorious out of the most difficult battles if it is led by an effective leader who does not have his heart set on this world or worldly possessions. Under such circumstances, a nation will be able to conquer its greatest and most obstinate enemies. The Iranian nation utilized this lesson which it had learned from its experience in this region and other regions across the country during the Islamic Revolution.

The Iranian nation set up its movement by hoisting the flag of Islam and following the principles set by the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) in an era when the powers of the world assumed that they had removed all traces of religion and religiousness from people's lives. It is a very important fact that the Iranian nation's Revolution could attract the attention of the world, through adherence to the principles of Islam and religion, in an era when the powers of the world - especially the arrogant powers - assumed that they had uprooted religion and religiousness in the world, particularly in Islamic countries. These powers had comforted themselves with the thought that there will be no trace of Islam left in the world. They presumed that traces of religion would become fainter in people's lives every day. They took delight in these thoughts. It was during such an era that the Iranian nation restored religiousness to people's lives by hoisting the flag of Islam. This is a fact.

We staged our uprising for the sake of Islam. We hoisted the flag of Islam. Our Revolution and our nation guided even non-Islamic countries onto the path of religiousness, spirituality, and pure religion. This is the miracle that the Iranian nation performed. And our revolution could act as a model for many other nations by adhering to the principles of Islam and the Holy Quran.

If you take a trip to some of the Islamic countries, you will see that the situation is totally different than it was thirty years ago, that is prior to the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Those days even if some people acted or set up movements with the aim of gaining freedom and independence, they acted under the banner of atheistic schools of thought. But today when intellectuals, students, and devoted people speak of independence and freedom, they do it under the banner of Islam. They voice these mottos under the banner of Islam. This is a blessing from the Iranian nation's uprising. This is a blessing which you were given by the great Islamic Revolution which took place in contemporary history. The Islamic Revolution has its roots in the Tobacco Protest, the Iranian Constitutional Revolution led by the great ulama of the time, and the uprising of the people of Larestan which was led by this great figure. When we reflect on the past, we have such a perspective in mind. The past is like a mirror and a tool for us. It teaches us how to pave the way for the future.

What is of primary importance to the Iranian nation today is adherence to the principles of Islam. All the blessings that are longed for by a nation could be achieved through adherence to the principles of Islam. Adherence to Islamic principles is our only way to gain freedom, independence, and common welfare. It is the only way for us to make scientific advances and to be the pioneer in various fields. It is only in this way that we - the Iranian nation - could possess great dignity. Islam will bestow all these blessings on a nation through its teachings. Today, adherence to the principles of Islam is the greatest path lying ahead of the Iranian nation.

The second issue is that of unity which I have emphasized during my trip to different cities of this province and in all my addresses to our dear nation. The reason is that our enemies have resorted to fomenting schism among Muslim nations as one of the ways to deal a blow to this nation. They have also adopted the same line of policy in the world of Islam and among the Islamic Ummah. Ever since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, they have tried to make our neighboring countries - including the neighboring nations around the Persian Gulf - afraid of the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Revolution. Unfortunately, they succeeded in doing so in some cases while the Islamic Republic has always extended the hand of brotherhood towards all Muslim nations and governments.

The Islamic Republic believes firmly in Islamic unity. Islamic unity means a sense of solidarity and cooperation among all the governments. Muslim nations are thankfully united. Tribal, ethnic and religious differences cannot create gaps among nations, unless the enemies are willing to do so. But unfortunately, political issues could influence governments. We state today that we have brotherly relations with all our neighboring countries. We extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood to all these countries. We do not depend on any of these countries, and this feeling of brotherhood does not arise out of need. The Iranian nation has proved that it can overcome problems by relying on God and its self-confidence, but we consider disputes as opposed to the interests of the Islamic community. It is due to this reason that we have extended the hand of friendship towards all countries. Fortunately, we have healthy and brotherly relations with all the countries of the region - Arab or non-Arab - despite the efforts of those who oppose Islam, and despite the efforts of American and Zionist spy networks who are constantly causing revolts. And such brotherly relations should be improved on daily basis.

The same thing holds true about the situation inside the country as well. They have tried, since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, to foment discord among our people under different pretexts, including people's ethnicity, religion, and political differences. We foiled this plot hatched by the enemies, but we still believe that both ourselves and our dear brothers and sisters should exercise care in this regard. Everyone - including Shia and Sunni Muslims, people living in different parts of the country, and those with different political tastes - should know that the Iranian nation is a united nation despite the existence of various religions, ethnicities, and tastes in the country. Despite these facts, the Iranian nation is united and unified. It is through such unity that the Iranian nation can defend its identity, interests, and dignity before its most bitter enemies. And, by Allah's favor, the Iranian nation will bring the enemies to their knees.

Although there are some Sunnis living here in different regions and towns, there is thankfully an exemplary sense of brotherhood among the Shia and Sunni people in Larestan. And this sense of brotherhood is to be appreciated. This is a fact which I realized through the reports I read, and the traces of such a sense are evident in this gathering. We should all make efforts on the path of Islam and both Shia and Sunni Muslims should exercise utmost efforts to promote monotheism, pure Islamic principles, and the principles set by the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.). We should not let different opinions and interpretations, our different tastes, or even our personal grudges in certain cases to affect our lives and policies, or else this would delight our enemies.

Today, the enemies' efforts are aimed at closing down this center of the Islamic Ummah and the great Islamic movement, namely the Iranian nation, which has initiated the active movement of the Islamic world. The enemies and the arrogant powers' efforts are aimed at preventing the Muslims of the world from following this practical model. The Islamic Republic is a practical model for other nations. The Islamic Republic proved to the Islamic world through its existence, power, progress, and unity that it is possible to form an Islamic system to confront the enemies' various plots in such an unstable world. It proved that it can bring an Islamic system onto the scene. This is the experience which the Iranian nation has put before the Muslim nation's eyes.

The enemies' filthy goal is to prevent Muslim nations from using this model. And they try to do so through slander and political, military, security, and economic propaganda. When we look at some of their mercenaries active in the neighboring countries' media - in some Arab countries - we realize that they sometimes broadcast so blatantly against the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic. And this fills us with surprise. They level such accusations against the Iranian nation, the Muslim community, and the Islamic Republic that make us wonder how corrupt could these mercenaries and base people be when they serve the enemies' purposes and oppose Islam and the Holy Quran for the sake of worthless worldly possessions.

The only way to oppose these people lies in our hands. Dear brothers and sisters, we could oppose the enemies by increasing our unity and unanimity on a day to day basis and by increasing our efforts to make progress in the country. Thankfully, a lot of efforts are currently being made in this regard. I should here refer to the fact that many of the charitable people in Lar and Larestan County are making good efforts which I am aware of. There are reports of their services and assistance to the people, of the donations they give to the underprivileged, and of the contributions they make in regard to scientific issues. These charitable people are also involved in constructing mosques and such places. These are the things that the people of this region do out of interest and of their own volition. Such services are provided on a larger scale across the country by the Islamic Republic. And God willing, we should move towards these goals on a permanent basis. We should promote the level of knowledge and try to boost the economy in the country. We should also contribute to all the political, social, and moral efforts made across the country. This is the only way through which the country could foil the arrogant powers' plots.

It is through people's determination that we could have an independent country. The investments that people make in different sectors are very valuable, especially the ones that they make in production sectors. And I consider making investments in production sectors to be the best of deeds and the best charity for those who are interested in rendering services to the people. This would create employment opportunities in the country, would help the country progress, and will uproot poverty in some important parts of the country.

Today, the policies of the arrogant powers in the region have been revealed to the nations in this region. They are aware of what these powers are seeking through their policies. The presence of the Americans in the Persian Gulf is the cause of insecurity in this region. This is what the nations are aware of. The period when foreign governments and global bullying powers could dominate countries, canals, and strategic areas in the world under the pretext of bringing about security to those regions has come to an end. Today, the people of the world and the Iraqi people know why the U.S. invaded Iraq. Even the Americans themselves confessed to the fact that they invaded Iraq for the sake of its oil resources. They caused the biggest troubles for the Iraqi people under the pretext of saving them. They attacked the Iraqi people like a group of wolves, yet they claim to be trying to maintain security in that country. That is a lie. The greatest source of insecurity for the Iraqi people is the inconsiderate presence of the invaders who take no notice of the Iraqi people's lives, properties, moral principles, and national pride.

During the early stages of the Iraqi invasion, I said in an address to the invaders during the Friday prayers: "When your bullying soldiers step on the Iraqi youth's back while they are lying on the ground, you should have no doubt that the Iraqi people will not remain quiet about these acts. The Iraqi nation is a devoted one. They are a proud nation. You are provoking the Iraqi nation against yourselves with your own hands." This is what has happened today. They are looking to find the basic reason behind the Iraqi people's operations against the invading countries' soldiers. As usual, they are making some miscalculations. They accuse Iran, Syria, and other countries. They should blame themselves for that. The very presence of the American forces would suffice to provoke the Iraqi people against them. There is no need for anyone to provoke the Iraqi people from beyond the borders. Therefore, leveling accusations against others is a baseless act. You are the main culprits. The Americans are the main culprits in the Iraqi issue. This is true about other regions as well. The presence of the Americans in the Persian Gulf - in this very crucial region of the world - is a source of insecurity. The security of this region should be provided by the governments of this region. This is true as we all know that the interference of the U.S. in Palestine has made the issue even more complex.

The Palestinian conflict could not be resolved by the Americans. Their interference would make matters even worse. The more the Americans interfere in the issue, the more complex the issue will get. The Palestinian people are vigilant. They are noble and broad-minded people. They have elected their own government. They should let that government make decisions based on the nation's support. As time passes, their interference in the Palestinian issue - their unilateral interference which is aimed at supporting the interests of the invading Zionist regime - will make the issue even more complex. Of course, these issues will be resolved. Both the issue of Palestine and the Iraqi issue will be resolved. One day these issues will be resolved, and there will be no trace of the American arrogance and their identity on that day.

Dear youth, the whole country belongs to you. The future of this country belongs to you. It is you who will, God willing, fully benefit from the outcomes of this Revolution during a full prosperous life. Make efforts as much as you can. Work as hard as you can. Try to acquire knowledge. Do not stop making constant efforts. Try to remember Allah the Exalted, to pray, and to become familiar with the Holy Quran. Also pay attention to moral issues and spirituality. These will, God willing, help you reach a position which the Iranian nation deserves.

O God, I swear You to Muhammad (s.w.a.) and his household to increase our familiarity with Islam and to make us fonder of Islam on a daily basis. O God, bestow Your blessings and mercy upon these dear people. Dear God, make up with Your blessings for the deficiencies which were caused by a shortage of rain in this region and other regions across the country. O God, protect the youth of this region and bestow prosperity upon them. Dear God, guide our youth, and bestow on them a bright future that is full of honors for both themselves and the country. O God, associate with Your saints the immaculate souls of our martyrs and the Imam of the martyrs. Dear God, associate us with our dear martyrs, and make the holy heart of the Imam of the Age (May our souls be sacrifices for his sake) pleased with us.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.