Leader's Speech on His Arrival in Shiraz

The Following is the full text of the speech made on April 30, 2008 by Ayatollah ‎Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a large group of the people of ‎Shiraz.

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 am grateful to Allah the Exalted who gave me the opportunity- belatedly- to meet you ‎dear people of Shiraz. My dear brothers and friends in Shiraz and Fars province have ‎been continually complaining about the delay.

‎I would like to tell you that I was no less enthusiastic than you were to meet you dear ‎people and your beautiful, blessed, and honorable city. This is a city for scholars. It is the ‎city for science, talents, and wisdom, and a place where historical and international ‎figures were born. Shiraz and Fars province enjoy a high status among other cities and ‎provinces across the country.

As is my custom, I usually point out some of the prominent characteristics - historical and ‎other characteristics - of the places that I travel to and the people I meet. The reason is ‎that I want the local people, especially the youth - no matter in which part of this vast and ‎honorable country they live - to have a clear understanding of their historical background. ‎However, this explanation appears to be unnecessary for the city of Shiraz and Fars ‎province. That is because the luminaries of this city and province are so numerous and ‎your city is so famous throughout the world that it is not necessary for anybody to say ‎anything in order to introduce Shiraz and its past. But I would like to mention a couple of ‎points for a particular reason.

‎Throughout the past centuries, Shiraz has proven to have vast human potentialities in ‎almost all scientific areas. Moreover, the city of Shiraz and Fars province have a ‎prominent and bright record regarding social and religious issues and whatever is related ‎to the fate of nations in general - that is to say, national resolve. The more one thinks ‎about your history, the more one realizes the extent of the wisdom of the people of this ‎area. ‎

rom a religious point of view - which I am going to emphasize more - the shrines of ‎Ahmad Ibn Musa and his esteemed brothers and other descendants of the Prophet's ‎‎(s.w.a.) household are another important sign. That fact that the esteemed descendants of ‎prophets addressed the people of Fars and chose their province as their sanctuary is very ‎significant. This is especially true about the prominent character of Ahmad Ibn Musa who ‎is considered to be one of the most prominent descendants of the Prophet's (s.w.a.) ‎household. He has been described as a generous, glorious, and modest person and his ‎father - that is, Musa Ibn Ja'far - considered this honorable man as superior to his other ‎children and relatives and treated him with special kindness. Shiraz attracted the attention ‎of this esteemed descendant of the Prophet's (s.w.a.) household as well as other ‎descendants. They came to this region, and they were supported by the local people. Until ‎this day, the blessings of this esteemed man keep benefiting the entire Fars province and ‎an important portion of this country. ‎

Regarding literature and art, Saadi and Hafiz are like two glittering pearls on the body of ‎the Persian language and literature. This is not something that requires further ‎introduction. In other areas of knowledge, there have been great figures in this province, ‎each being unparalleled in their own time in philosophy, Islamic jurisprudence, literature, ‎grammar, art, exegesis, philology, astronomy, physics, and medicine. It would not be ‎appropriate to mention the names of all the figures who were among the most prominent ‎people in their time and who managed to reach the peaks of perfection. Introducing all ‎these figures requires another meeting, and that is enough for now. There are very ‎important and valuable pages in history regarding social issues and the tendency of you ‎dear people towards religious courage and taking action.

‎The activists among the ulama living in this province who were offered to the theological ‎history of this country are scarcely found in other parts of Iran. These activists were ‎supported by the people.

Later on after the Revolution and in the present era - both during and after the Sacred ‎Defense - you dear people, youth, scholars, and faithful men and women managed to ‎achieve a prominent position and demonstrate the identity of the people of Fars province ‎and Shiraz in action without pretension. ‎

Today, this province is famous in various areas for scientific and technological endeavors ‎as well as in-depth research and scientific innovation. There have been some scientists in ‎your city and province who are considered as prominent international figures in science. ‎This province is a pioneer in medicine, electronics, industries, petrochemistry, science, ‎and engineering. Shiraz University has been a pioneer in establishing various fields of ‎study. The presence of you people and youth in various arenas has been outstanding. ‎Your armed units - both the army units and the armed units of the Islamic Revolution's ‎Guards Corps serving in this province - played a leading role during the Sacred Defense ‎era. ‎

Therefore, throughout history this province and this city have proved to have a ‎praiseworthy potentiality in religious matters, depth of religious faith, scientific ‎endeavors, anti-autocracy movements, defending the great achievements of the Iranian ‎nation, and many other arenas. This fact has to be considered by government officials, ‎and they have to know that this place is a great source of human talents. This fact must ‎also be considered by the people themselves - especially the youth and young teachers - ‎and they have to know that each and every one of them can serve as a spring and help ‎quench the thirst of this land and the whole country. ‎

I would tell you that the faith of the people of Fars province, and Shiraz in particular, is ‎not just a claim. I am giving you these facts after carefully studying and considering all ‎aspects of the issue. There were efforts to confront such faith due to the great historical ‎background of this city, due to the presence of great scholars and clerics in the history of ‎the city, and due to the movement that was led by these scholars and clerics. But the ‎people of Shiraz and the youth of this city made great contributions during the Islamic ‎and clerical movements of 1961 and 1962. Across the country, cities such as Qom, ‎Tehran, Shiraz, Tabriz, and Mashhad played an important role during those movements. ‎And Shiraz was among the most important cities in this regard. It was due to this fact that ‎some of their scholars were arrested and transferred to Tehran.

‎This movement was started by the evil Pahlavi court in the early 30s (solar Hijri) and ‎continued for more than 20 years up to the victory of the Islamic Revolution. They tried ‎their utmost to present Shiraz to the world as having a totally westernized identity. In the ‎latter part of that decade - probably around the years 39 and 40 (solar Hijri) - I myself ‎was witness to instances and manifestations of the corruption that was intentionally ‎spread on Zand street and many other centers those days. They purposefully tried to ‎encourage the youth to involve themselves in immoral activities and neglect of the ‎religious duties. This trend continued up to the fifties when there was the feast in Shiraz ‎and the things that probably all of you know about. Maybe, some of the youth have not ‎heard about the feast. This was one of the movements. ‎

Another movement that promoted anti-religion beliefs in this city more than most other ‎cities was the heresy by the Tudeh party that had its roots in this region, and they had ‎numerous activities here. When they realized that the ground was prepared for the ‎influence of the clergy and religion in this city, especially during the years in which the ‎late Sayyid Nureddin - the brave, charismatic, active clergyman who was aware of the ‎requirements of time - had stepped in, probably they even tried to encourage the Tudeh ‎party to challenge this clergyman. ‎

The organized movement by the Pahlavi court on the one hand and the widespread ‎movement by the then Marxists - that is the movement started by the Tudeh Party - on the ‎other hand acted like the two blades of a pair of scissors against this the people and the ‎youth and their faith. But these people and these youth were the ones who gave rise to ‎one of the most prominent events in this city in 1962 and 1963 - during the rise of the ‎Islamic and clerical movement. I mean Qom, Tehran, Shiraz, Tabriz, and Mashhad were ‎pioneers across the country, and Shiraz was one of the pioneers. As a result, a number of ‎prominent ulama of Shiraz were arrested and taken to Tehran. ‎

Despite all their efforts to put the people off religion, they did not get the favorable ‎response from the people. Acting and resisting the way they did, the people nullified their ‎investment. Later on in the last years of the reign of the evil Pahlavi regime - namely ‎during the years 1977 and 1978 - the people of Shiraz and Fars province were also ‎considered as a model for many cities across the country. ‎

You should not think of what I said simply as a preface to my speech here. What I said ‎were not words of welcome, nor did I intend to make any compliments. I wanted to come ‎to a conclusion. Now I would like to discuss a point regarding the general issues related ‎to the Revolution, which is also related to the things that I talked about.

‎Throughout the history of our country, we find only one model of seizing power. Let me ‎clarify the issue to some extent. In our country, seizing power has always been done ‎through military power and what we called coup d'état. This has always been ‎accompanied by the confrontation of powers. And people have never been involved in the ‎process. Different dynasties seized power in this country without the people having a ‎role. Take the case of your own city - Shiraz. First there was the Zand dynasty, and later ‎the Qajar dynasty gained power. They seized power from the Zand dynasty. The war was ‎between two armies who were seeking power - two military powers in fact. People played ‎no role in this regard. During the history of our country - before and after Islam and up to ‎the present - seizing power has always been done in that way. There exists only one ‎exception which I will later talk about. Besides this exception, seizing power has always ‎been accompanied by military invasion and without the people being involved in the ‎process. This was because people lacked the necessary motivation to get involved.

‎Both when power was passed on from one dynasty to the next and when there was some ‎power struggle within a dynasty, people had no role at all. To give a local example from ‎Shiraz, I would say that during the Qajar dynasty and for some time after the death of ‎Fath Ali Shah, one of the sons of Fath Ali Shah called Hossein Ali Mirza ruled this city. ‎Hosssein Ali Mirza wanted the throne. But Mohammad Shah - who was Fath Ali Shah's ‎grandson - had been enthroned in Tehran. A war took place. There was a war between the ‎two parties outside the gates of Shiraz. Of course, the people were downtrodden in the ‎course of this war. The people suffered losses, and their farms, possessions, property, and ‎lives were threatened. But they did not at all get involved in the war. That is a recurrent ‎theme in the history of this country.

‎Of course, I have to say that there was one exception - the historical validity of which is ‎under question and which is mixed up with myths. This exception is the allegedly popular ‎uprising of Kaveh the Blacksmith who managed to overthrow Zahhak. If the story is true, ‎it is the only exception in the history of this land. Of course, there is no mention of ‎Fereydun, Zahhak, and Kaveh the Blacksmith in the history of this land written by ‎Europeans from the Pahlavi era onwards. They have recorded the events in another way, ‎which is a separate issue, and I do not want to discuss it now. ‎

As the greatest revolution in the history of our country, the Islamic Revolution put an end ‎to all monopolies and turned them into a democratic rule. This was indeed the greatest ‎change in our history. This was achieved by the power of the people. There was no ‎confrontation of powers. People entered the arena, and were led by the clergy as the ‎pioneers of the movement. It was the people who could, by the great power bestowed on ‎them by God, seize power from the hands of autocrats and tyrants. They returned people ‎to power, and established a democratic rule. As far as I know, this is the only event in the ‎history of this land which happened in such a manner.

‎This event deserves consideration from various aspects. I should say that today, after the ‎passage of almost 30 years, since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, we should still ‎have an all-encompassing and comprehensive outlook on this event. The minor details ‎and the ups and downs are not very informative. We must highlight and revive the ‎adoption of a comprehensive perspective - which has of course been done by a great ‎number of our people and prominent compatriots as well as some foreigners - in public ‎opinion. ‎

In all events that take place throughout the world, there are a number of elements that ‎have to be considered together and not separately. The first element is the primary causes ‎of the event in question. Motives, goals, historical factors as well as geographical and ‎geopolitical factors all affect our knowledge of the event. The second element is ‎considering the role of those who started the event. In our country, the first element ‎consisted of the people's faith and freedom-seeking campaigns, the repercussions of ‎which were manifested in various incidents in our history - such as Mirza-e Shirazi's ‎hukm against the use of tobacco and the nationalization of the oil industry. The clergy ‎and our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) made the best of these factors and started the ‎revolutionary movement. This is the background I was talking about. ‎

The second element was the people, who entered the unparalleled Islamic Revolution into ‎the annals of history. Unfortunately, we see that some quasi-intellectual perspectives ‎deny the importance of the role of the people and their participation. Such perspectives ‎are misguided. When the people develop a general tendency and when some consider this ‎tendency as against their interests, they label it as 'populist', a movement started by the ‎laymen. This is the wrong reaction. It was the will of the public and their faith-based ‎participation that started the Revolution and led it to its final victory. Relying on its faith, ‎sentiments, and national pride, and by taking pride in its historical background and ‎cultural heritage, the Iranian nation managed to create this great movement.

‎The goal of the Iranian nation - which was attested to in different languages whenever I ‎asked this question of people from different countries - was to gain freedom and ‎independence by relying on Islam. The slogan "independence, freedom, Islamic ‎Republic" - which was a common slogan during the Revolution - was shouted by our ‎people from the bottom of their hearts, and it was exactly what the people wanted. People ‎could see that the country, great as it was, did not have rulers who could independently ‎make their own decisions, who were the followers of outsiders and arrogant powers and ‎who were under their yoke and weak against the outsiders and dependant on them. But ‎these rulers were tough and oppressive towards their own people. They treated their own ‎people cruelly and harshly and did not let them make free choices. Throughout the ‎Constitutionalist movement up to the Islamic Revolution, the people never went to the ‎ballot boxes enthusiastically and voluntarily to elect a particular candidate. Electing was ‎meaningless because the government was hereditary, the government officials were ‎installed by foreign powers, and the Majlis that had been formed as a result of the ‎constitutionalist movement was also installed by others and the MPs were not elected by ‎the people. The people fell victim to the decisions that were made by this irresponsible ‎system. The people decided to gain independence, freedom, national grandeur, and ‎material prosperity and well-being in this world as well as spiritual honor in the hereafter. ‎That was the ambition the people cherished, and they stepped in to realize it. That was the ‎second factor.

‎The third element is the factors that act against the event or the movement, which bring ‎about some consequences. This was true of our Revolution as well. In the beginning there ‎was a hindrance. It means that the Iranian nation had to gain freedom and independence ‎by exerting efforts and also that it had to bear the consequences and pay the price. ‎Anybody who wants to achieve something without making any efforts or paying the price ‎for it will never be successful. No one will ever realize his or her ambitions by avoiding ‎risks or by sitting around and waiting idly for the right opportunity to arise. This is true of ‎nations as well. Only nations that courageously steps into the arena and pays the price ‎will achieve grandeur.

‎The eight-year imposed war was the price that the Iranian nation paid. That was the price ‎for seeking independence, freedom, and grandeur. The Iranian nation paid this price ‎without turning a hair. Our nation endured 8 years of war because it knew that it was the ‎price for gaining national independence, power, and glory. The victims of the ‎indiscriminate assassinations of the 60s [solar Hijri] were another price that our nation ‎paid. Economic sanctions which have been imposed on us since the beginning of the ‎Revolution are yet another price that our nation has been paying. Right now as I speak to ‎you, the arrogant powers have been threatening us for two years with sanctions and ‎economic blockades. They pretend as if they have never imposed an economic blockade ‎on us before.

‎The capitalist and colonialist camp is using all its economic power and media networks to ‎exert pressure on our nation in the hope that it will force the Iranian nation to retreat and ‎to surrender. Not only do they want us to give up our nuclear rights - the nuclear energy ‎is one of the rights of the Iranian nation - but also they want our nation to give up its right ‎to grandeur, independence, free decisions, and scientific progress. The Iranian nation is ‎now on the right path towards scientific and technological progress and is determined to ‎make up for two centuries of backwardness under evil despotic governments. Our ‎enemies are alarmed and do not want our nation - which is located in a strategic part of ‎the world - to achieve these accomplishments. ‎

They do not want the Iranian nation to be known as the standard-bearer of Islam. That is ‎the reason why they exert pressure on us, but the Iranian nation is standing firm. They ‎threaten us with economic sanctions. They have imposed various types of sanctions, but ‎the Iranian nation has not suffered any losses. We used sanctions to make further ‎progress. Once we were in need of weapons, but they refused to sell even the most ‎primitive weapons to us. We took advantage of these sanctions, and the same people who ‎imposed sanctions on us are now seriously worried that the Iranian nation is turning into a ‎regional power. All this progress was caused by their sanctions. Those sanctions did not ‎harm us. We managed to turn these sanctions into opportunities. The situation is the same ‎today. We are not afraid of the sanctions imposed by the West. By Allah's favor, the ‎Iranian nation will make very serious efforts in the face of all sanctions and economic ‎blockades and will increase its progress by several times.

‎Such a comprehensive perspective on the Revolution - that is to say, taking into account ‎all motives and major causes of the Revolution and the formation of the Islamic Republic ‎as well as the pivotal role of the people and their religious faith as the main cause of the ‎Revolution and considering the costs - causes us to disregard trivial issues no matter ‎where we are or what position we have. This perspective causes us to focus on the ‎greatness of the Revolution and its general development, which has thankfully been ‎continuing with full strength during the past 30 years. Although they have been making ‎more and more plots against us, the Iranian nation has made increasing progress on a ‎daily basis. ‎

The enemies of the nation are constantly waiting for the opportunity to make the best of ‎every small or big issue in order to undermine the determination of our nation. They even ‎take advantage of natural disasters such as earthquakes and droughts or such issues as ‎inflation that are rampant in the whole world. If you take a look at the commentaries ‎broadcast by foreign radios, you will realize that economic issues form one of the pivots ‎on which our enemies' propaganda revolves. They are doing these things in the vain hope ‎that they will manage to undermine the determination of the Iranian nation. ‎

The Iranian people are now familiar with their officials. It is a mistake to pretend that the ‎current economic conditions and inflation are the result of laxity on the part of our ‎officials in various sectors. The government officials are fully aware of what is happening ‎in society. Today, the West has more economic problems than other regions in the world. ‎According to their own reports, the US economic crisis - which started in the US and ‎which is gradually spreading to Europe and other countries - has been unprecedented in ‎the last 60 years.

‎The United Nations declared that a food crisis has engulfed the entire world. By Allah's ‎grace, the Iranian nation suffers from fewer problems than do most of these conceited ‎countries, and it must solve the existing problems through the efforts made by the people ‎and the government officials. This requires efforts on the part of all those who live in this ‎country.

‎Government officials, including those serving in the executive, legislative, and judiciary ‎branches, all have responsibilities to fulfill. The people also have some responsibilities to ‎fulfill. What I told you about the human capacities of your city and your province means ‎that these human capacities must be useful for the future of this country and the ‎Revolution and that the people must feel responsible towards utilizing these capacities. ‎Wherever we live, we must feel responsible towards the destiny of the country and its ‎future, and we must realize that we can play an effective role in this regard. University ‎students, academics, teachers, students, farmers, those who are active in industries, and ‎those who invest in different industrial and agricultural sectors must all feel responsible. ‎Through a sense of responsibility on the part of all our people and through guidelines ‎provided by our government departments - government departments, the Islamic ‎Consultative Assembly, and the judiciary branch - the Iranian nation will be able to ‎overcome all the problems and obstacles that its enemies throughout the world want to ‎create for it, and we will be able to form the exemplary community that Islam indented to ‎create for Muslims.

‎‎ I designated this year as the year of innovation. This innovation is not peculiar to a ‎particular arena. In laboratories, research centers, classrooms, Islamic seminaries, ‎universities, industrial workshops, clerical environments, agricultural regions, and other ‎places, the innovations of creative people can help push any task a step forward and help ‎the country go though an important phase.

I also warned the people and the government officials about the economic issues both in ‎the beginning of this year and the beginning of last year. As I said then, the enemies have ‎focused their attention on sensitive economic issues in order to create problems for the ‎economy of this country. They intend to create as many problems as they can or at least ‎use their propaganda means and pretend that there are problems when they cannot create ‎problems. This is a policy that is vehemently pursued in various forms by our enemies in ‎their propaganda today. Financial discipline, frugality, and avoidance of extravagance are ‎the ways in which we can confront these problems. I would like to stress that our nation ‎must know that extravagance is one of the most dangerous maladies that can afflict a ‎nation. We are to some extent suffering from this extravagance. Let me refer to one of the ‎instances which is related to water shortage - which has affected your province and ‎several other provinces, and I hope that Allah the Exalted will send down His blessings in ‎the form of rain for you. Being uneconomical with water is one of the instances of ‎extravagance. This extravagance is not just limited to drinking water. We are also ‎uneconomical with the water that is used for irrigation. It is the duty of the officials in ‎charge of supplying water to pay special attention to this issue. Therefore, we must treat ‎the issue of extravagance - regarding both water and other things - as important.

‎Fortunately, the Iranian nation paid a heavy price - and it did so willingly and bravely - ‎and managed to pass through various phases, tread difficult paths, and achieve the ‎position it has now. But there is still a long way to go. With its strong determination, with ‎the efforts of its youth, and with the talents that are embodied in our manpower, our ‎nation will, by Allah's favor, find practical solutions and manage to tread this path with ‎prefect grandeur. In different meetings, I will talk about different aspects of these issues ‎and discuss various points in this regard during my stay in this province.

‎I would like to express my gratitude to you dear, talented, kind, faithful, hospitable, and ‎good-humored people. Thankfully, most of the good qualities of the Iranian people are to ‎be found in you dear people of Shiraz and Fars province. I thank Allah the Exalted who ‎has bestowed dynamism on you. I hope this dynamism will increase day by day. I pray to ‎Allah the Exalted to bestow success on you.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings