Leader's Address to Residents of Pakdasht and Mahallat

The following is an excerpt from a speech made by Grand Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, in a meeting with thousands of faithful and dedicated people from the cities of Pakdasht and Mahallat. The meeting was held on January 29, 2005 on the occasion of Eid-ul-Ghadir, the auspicious feast that marks the appointment of Imam Ali (greetings be upon him) as the successor to Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him and his infallible household) on a divine commandment.
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

First of all, I would like to welcome the respected audience, the dear brothers and sisters, especially those who have taken the trouble to come here from the Pakdasht region. I hope Allah, the Exalted, will bestow His blessings on the dear residents of Pakdasht as well as the entire Iranian nation.

I also felicitate you on the auspicious feast of Ghadir, a great divine feast that is a decisive and very important stage in the history of Islam. The appointment of Imam Ali (greetings be upon him) as the successor to the holy prophet (peace be upon him and his infallible household) is a very significant and meaningful event. What it means is that Islam attaches great importance to the issue of directing the affairs of a society. Indeed, this issue is among the most significant issues of any society.

The appointment of the Commander of the Faithful, who was the paragon of piety, knowledge, valor, devotion and justice among the companions of the holy prophet, sheds light on the different aspects of this management. It becomes clear that from the viewpoint of Islam, it is such qualities that are important with respect to directing the affairs of a society. Even those who do not hold the view that the Commander of the Faithful is the immediate successor to the holy prophet do not have any doubt about the knowledge, piety, devotion and bravery of the Commander of the Faithful and his striving and self-sacrifice in the way of righteousness and justice. This shows the kind of management and rule that is sought as an ideal by an Islamic society in conformity with the guidelines of Islam and the holy prophet.

Whenever human societies were directed by prudent, pious and brave rulers, they managed to take some steps forward. However, when they were subjected to rulers who did not care about virtue and piety, who furthered their own interests rather than the people's interests, who did not fear divine reckoning and overindulged their sensual and carnal desires, these societies always suffered a lot an ran into many difficulties.

If Muslim nations and Islamic countries were subjugated to certain oppressive powers and aggressors in some periods of their history, the main reason for their subjugation was the existence of such qualities in their rulers. If the day when the Western colonial powers began to conquer Islamic territories Muslim rulers were characterized by religious zeal, virtue and valor, and if they were not so inclined to worldly pleasures, the fate of those Islamic territories would have been different.

The weakness of Muslims and Islamic societies has mostly stemmed from the weakness of their rulers. Unqualified and incompetent rulers undermine moral and political systems in a society and cause the members of that society to degenerate. Today, if you look at the Islamic world, you will notice that the awakening of Muslims in all Islamic countries and communities throughout the world has been fostered by the awakening of the Iranian nation. Thanks to the leadership of Imam Khomeini, who was sincere in both his words and deeds and who entered the scene of struggle against the enemy wholeheartedly, the Iranian people followed the path of struggle and imposed their dignity on those who have always wanted to see Muslim nations degraded and humiliated. The late Imam's leadership was a ray of light from the shining sun of Ghadir and, thus, it yielded so many good results. Above all, it awakened the Iranian nation and revived spirituality in this country.

A great nation, with an ancient history and a rich culture, had become the plaything of the foreign aggressor powers, the powers that exploited its national wealth and natural resources, decided its fate and humiliated it. However, the Islamic awakening of the Iranian people helped them restore their honor and dignity through their firm resolve and intention.

Today the Iranian people are held in high esteem in the Islamic world. You can see the great enthusiasm expressed by the people of other nations when our government officials travel to their countries. This is because those people consider our officials as a symbol of the Iranian nation. They do not express such enthusiasm for the officials of other countries. This has been the case ever since the victory of the Islamic Revolution. The Iranian people are dignified because they defended their independence based on their Islamic faith. The arrogant powers hold a hostile attitude toward the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic because our people did not compromise on their independence.

Presently the U.S. officials, who are the ugliest manifestation of arrogance, are leveling baseless allegations and unfounded accusations against the Iranian nation. They also at times threaten the Iranian people, wrongly assuming that our nation will be frightened by their threats and will submit to their hegemony and kneel before them. This is a silly and foolish assumption! Even the day when the Iranian nation did not have its present capabilities, including its large young population and its technical expertise that has been attained by its young specialized manpower, it was not intimidated by the threats and arrogant words of the United States and the former Soviet Union, which were the superpowers of the time. Today, the Iranian nation is by far stronger, more determined and more equipped with what it needs than it was during the early years of the Islamic Revolution. Therefore, the Iranian people will not be daunted by the threats of any power whatsoever.

They hold a hostile attitude toward the Islamic Republic because the officials of our Islamic government are not ready to make the Iranian nation subordinate to the arrogant powers. This is what they expect from the officials of the Islamic Republic. They praise and are on good terms with any government in any country that is willing to betray their people and make them submissive to the United States. It does not make any difference to them whether it is a die-hard and reactionary government, a regime that has taken power through a military coup or an imperial regime. They would never raise the issue of human rights with regard to these regimes and governments! If the government of the Islamic Republic - God forbid - were ready to make the Iranian nation submissive to the enemies, they would not level different accusations such as violating human rights or supporting terrorism against the Islamic Republic.

Just as the hostility of the arrogant powers toward the Islamic Republic and Iranian officials stems from the fact that our officials are not willing to turn their back on the Iranian nation, so the legitimacy of the Iranian government and officials lies in their reliance on our nation. Any government or official in the Islamic Republic that does not rely on the people is not legitimate. Any official that gives the enemy's demands priority over the demands of the Iranian nation and shows weakness in the face of the enemy, trying to impose his weakness on the nation will be rejected by the people. The Iranian nation is brave and powerful and whoever wants to work for this nation should be characterized by courage and prudence. He should be self-confident in the face of the enemies.

The enemies are used to raising a lot of clamor and commotion. Threats and intimidation are the tools used by the arrogant powers to achieve their goals. Those who have no knowledge of such ploys think that these powers can do anything they want to, that the earth is under their thumb. This is not the case. The sword of the arrogant powers is blunt wherever there are resolute and zealous nations ready to face them. Wherever nations are vigilant and prepared to stand up to the arrogant powers, these powers will not be able to do anything. It is true that the United States has been able to dominate some countries with its military force, but the problem has been with those countries themselves, since there has been no firm resolve to resist on the part of their nations and governments. Otherwise, with respect to those countries where the people are united, faithful and dedicated and where there are strong ties between the government and the nation, the arrogant powers will not be able to do anything. The U.S. officials know this, since they have learned it by experience.

The U.S. officials know that the Iranian people are brave and steadfast. Yet, they open their foul mouths and accuse the honorable and faithful Iranian nation of racism and other things which they themselves deserve. They talk about human rights! The U.S. politicians are not entitled to do so, because they have the disgraceful stains of what they have done in Guantanamo and AbuGhuraib prisons as well as the bombing of residential areas in Iraq and Afghanistan on their record. They are flagrantly violating human rights but are impudent enough to still talk about human rights!

They accuse other countries of supporting terrorism! But the fact is that terrorists have been fostered by the U.S. itself. The Taleban thrived in Afghanistan under the auspices of the United States. And today the Monafeqin (the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq Organization), who are the most notorious and hated terrorists, are enjoying U.S. support. Terrorism is a tool in the hands of U.S. politicians, but they charge others with supporting terrorism. What the U.S. officials mean by terrorism is the courageous and self-sacrificial struggle of the devoted Palestinians. They expect the Iranian nation to become an accomplice in their oppression of the Palestinian people! This is also one of their silly expectations.

The Iranian people are determined to continue treading their path with resolve and strength. We have found the way to construct our country materially and spiritually. Thanks to Islam, the Iranian people are able to achieve both worldly progress and spiritual salvation. We have acted in all international arenas based on logic and wisdom, which have been taught to us by Islam. Our logic is guided by prudence and national interests. This has been our stance in all arenas, including nuclear talks with the European countries. The officials of our country pursue what is dictated by our national interests. In the present nuclear talks, the Iranian negotiators and the government of the Islamic Republic are serious, but the other side, which comprises several European countries, has so far not been serious. These European countries have so far not shown that they really intend to solve the issue. It is hard for the global arrogance to accept that the talented Iranian nation has been able to take great strides in the field of science and technology, especially in the field of nuclear technology. They want Iran's energy to be always dependent on oil, since oil is vulnerable to the policies of world powers. They aim to control other nations with invisible ropes. The Iranian nation would not accept this.

We have trust in the officials negotiating on behalf of Iran and support their stances. However, the other side should bear in mind that through political stratagems and by wasting time they will not be able to undermine the Iranian nation's firm intention to tread the path of nuclear technology, which is vital for our country's scientific progress and development. Nuclear technology is part of our national interests. Our officials are quite informed about this, and they are holding a firm stance on this issue.

If the European countries intend to reach a tangible agreement with Iran in this respect, they should not be influenced by the U.S. and Zionist pressures. They should treat the Iranian nation the way it deserves. The Iranian nation is a great and cultured nation - it has proved this. They cannot deal with the Iranian nation like a backward and colonized nation. The Iranian people would not forgive them for such as insult.

Some European countries still have memories from the 19th century and early 20th century. Bygone are the days when British ships came to the Persian Gulf, and the British military commander ruled all the regional countries, including Iran, from aboard the ship. The time when Britain and the United States told Mohammad Reza Pahlavi through their ambassadors who to appoint as prime minister or ministers, or who to dismiss, or what to do with oil, or which decisions to make is long gone. In those days the Iranian people had not risen up, they had not awakened.

Today, you are faced with a vigilant, resolute and unwavering nation. Our government officials have no fear of the threats issued by our enemies, since they also belong to this nation. The European countries that are engaged in nuclear talks with Iran should bear in mind with which country they are negotiating. If our government officials come to the conclusion that there is no seriousness on the part of the European negotiators, the present trend would change. This is something everybody should bear in mind.

The Iranian people have presidential elections ahead of them. Iran has many great capacities as well as a population of over seventy million with remarkable talent and so many areas of activities. In any area of activity that there has been an efficient and competent manager, a great deal of progress has been achieved. We are a great nation, and there are numerous God-given resources in our country. Many strides have been taken and considerable progress has been made in this country ever since the victory of the revolution. However, there are still many tasks that need to be performed.

Effective measures should be taken in this country against poverty, corruption and discrimination. If justice is seriously administered in society, most of the existing problems will be solved. It is the duty of the three government branches, the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislative, to take these measures. However, the Executive shoulders the greatest part of this responsibility. The people in the next presidential elections should vote for a candidate with the greatest ability and competence to perform such tasks. Our people have already shown that they will not be influenced by propaganda. They have the ability to find out which candidate is the most suitable for the office.

I pray to Almighty Allah to bestow on the Iranian nation the success in attaining further progress, dignity and power.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings