Leader’s Speech in Mashhad

The following is full text of the speech delivered on March 21, 2009 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a group of people in the holy city of Mashhad.

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 God Almighty who has bestowed upon me the blessing and the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to this holy shrine, and to visit the dear people of Mashhad. I pray to God Almighty to make this Eid and the New Year auspicious for our nation.

This year marks the first year of the fourth decade of the Islamic Revolution - which has been termed the decade of justice and progress. Therefore, I will mention a few points on this occasion, both regarding some important domestic and international issues. We intend the fourth decade of the Islamic Revolution to be the decade of progress and justice in the Islamic Republic. The Iranian nation, with its great movement and by establishing the Islamic Republic, has moved towards making progress and administering justice ever since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution.

What are the characteristics of the next decade which has been termed the decade of justice and progress? In my opinion, the difference between the next ten years and the previous three decades lies in the fact that there are now great capacities and opportunities in our country for making progress and administering justice. These great capacities have prepared the ground for our great nation to make giant strides towards achieving these goals. The Iranian nation is prepared to take a big and rapid step towards making progress and administering justice. Our nation did not have such ample opportunities to fulfill these goals during the previous three decades of the Islamic Revolution.

The ground is now prepared for achieving these goals and there are some factors which play a key role in this regard. One of those factors is the presence of our educated youth in the country. Today, there are millions of educated and enthusiastic youth in our country who are active in science and research as well as on social and political fronts. The presence of these intelligent, educated, and prepared youth in our country is a remarkable phenomenon.

Experience is another important factor. The elites and officials of our country have gained valuable experience during the previous years due to tackling different problems. Today, our people can benefit from such experience. As an example of the benefits of such experience for our nation, I can refer to the policies which have been formulated in Article 44 of the Constitution. Pursuing these policies is the result of several years of experience which we have gained during the previous decades. And this has helped our elites reach their current position.

Another example is that of redistributing subsidies. This is the result of several years of experience which has been gained by our elites. Throughout these years, they reached the conclusion that the underprivileged and the lower classes should benefit more from public subsidies - which are granted to the public from public funds - compared to the well-off and those who are not in need of subsidies. Being determined to fulfill this goal and the strenuous efforts which are being made to implement this plan are the result of the experience which we have gained throughout the years. Such experience has now been put to practice.

The country's infrastructures are another example. Today, the situation in our country is different form the first and second decades of the Islamic Revolution when the required scientific infrastructures did not exist in our country. Today, our youth, experts, and scientists can perform great tasks in all arenas. Thankfully, the ground is now prepared for our country to make great progress in such fields as communications, road construction, scientific research, and construction projects. Our country is now independent in many areas including the construction of important international roads and airports, wireless communications, communication networks, and construction of dams.

There was once a time when no one could imagine that our experts will be able to build dams, silos, highways, airports, and steel factories. We were dependent on foreigners in all these areas. Later, when we cut out the foreigners, we did not enjoy great capacities in those areas. But today, we have great capacities. Our youth are capable of constructing large high-tech factories. They carry out complex scientific and technological projects, and are capable of satisfying the needs of the country. They even share their experience with other countries and provide other countries with their knowledge and technological expertise. Our country has a prominent position in this regard. This is considerable progress. There was a time when our youth could not even fire RPG7s. Today, the same youth are capable of launching satellites into space - which has attracted the attention of the world's scientists.

We were once in need of experts in order to use our power plants. Today, our youth have made such progress in different industries that they are capable of building power plants and refineries themselves. We once had limited capacities in the field of biology. Today, we have made great progress in this field - for instance, in growing stem cells, which is a very important issue in the world. Today, we have made considerable progress in the country. These are all the infrastructures of the country on the basis of which we can easily make progress in the future. In addition to all these - as I previously mentioned - our managers have gained great experience. Today, our managers and elites can plan for the future progress of the country. Visiting different parts of the country - underdeveloped regions and provinces for instance - as well as being in close contact with the people enables our officials to monitor the situation of the people in different parts of the country and helps them become aware of their problems. This is a great and valuable source of experience for our officials.

These will all prepare the ground for our nation to tread the path of progress and justice. And this requires that we make the next decade - the ten years which start as of today - the decade of progress and justice. And everyone should make efforts to achieve this goal.

Let me mention a brief point in regard to the issue of justice. Officials and those who have an influence on public opinion should then elaborate on the issue, do research in this regard, and inform the people about the results. What do we mean by progress? By progress, we do not mean making progress in one area only. Rather, we mean making comprehensive progress on all fronts. The Iranian nation deserves to make progress on all fronts: Progress in producing national wealth, in science and technology, in national power and international grandeur, in ethics and spirituality, in security - both social and national security - and in making efficient use of our resources. Making progress in the efficient use of our resources means that we should use our resources in the best possible way.

We have to make the best of our oil and gas supplies, factories, roads, and available resources. We should also make progress in maintaining social discipline and obeying the law. If a nation moves towards violating the law, or if breaking the law becomes the norm in the mind and behavior of a nation, that particular nation or country will never make any real progress.

We also need to make progress in creating unity and maintaining our national unity. These are what the enemies have targeted ever since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution. But fortunately, our nation maintained its unity whenever the enemies sought to foment discord among the people. We should increase our national unity and try to make progress in this regard.

Making progress in raising the level of public welfare is another important issue. Such welfare should be provided for all groups of people. We should also raise the level of political awareness in the country. For our nation, political awareness and the ability to carry out accurate political analyses are like a steel fence which protects them against the enemies' evil intentions. Therefore, we should raise the level of our political awareness. Even now, our nation is ahead of many other nations in terms of its political awareness. But, we should still try to make progress in this regard.

We also need to make progress in feeling responsible and in increasing our national determination. Of course, these goals cannot be achieved through words only. Simply putting these ideas down on paper is of no use. We need to develop appropriate plans. I will later mention a few points in this regard.

Let me mention a few points in regard to the issue of justice. Progress in the absence of justice is not true progress from an Islamic point of view. If our GDP or national wealth reaches a high point, but our people suffer from inequality and discrimination, or if there is a group of people who live in luxury while some others live in poverty, then this is not true progress from an Islamic point of view. Progress should be accompanied by justice. Justice has a comprehensive meaning and its borders must be specified. From our point of view, justice means reducing the gap between different groups of people. It means reducing the effects of geographical distances. A particular province, city, or town should not be deprived just because it is far from the capital, while those areas which are closer to the capital enjoy better facilities. This is not fair. Both the gap between the different groups of people and the effects of geographical distances should be reduced. There should also be equal opportunities for everyone.

All the people - those who can and have the required talent - should be able to make use of public resources. A particular group of people and those who deceive others should not have any privilege over the others. We should try to provide equal opportunities for everyone in the country. Of course, these are ambitious goals, but it is possible to fulfill them. They are not impossible to achieve. If we make efforts, we can achieve these goals. Fulfilling these goals is difficult but practical.

One of the manifestations of justice is fighting against financial and economic corruption. This is an issue which has to be taken seriously. I mentioned this point many years ago as well, and I have constantly repeated this point. Good efforts are being made in this regard, but fighting corruption is a difficult task. There are always some people who will stand against you. They will spread rumors and tell lies, and the one who is in the vanguard is always attacked the most. Of course, fighting corruption is a necessity and should be done. Those who intend to carry out great tasks in the country in order to administer justice and make progress should believe in these principles. They should be managers who believe in the administration of justice and who believe that corruption should be uprooted. Managers who are faithful and who believe in these principles and are courageous, sincere, and determined can definitely help us fulfill these lofty and divine goals. This was the first point which I intended to mention.

An appropriate measure which has to be taken in order to make progress and administer justice is what I said to the Iranian nation in my New Year message: The issue of reducing extravagance of every kind and moving towards reforming the norms of consumption and preventing public funds from being wasted. This is a very important issue. Of course, this is not the first time I am talking about this issue. I have constantly talked to our dear people about this issue and have reminded them of the necessity of being frugal. But the issue is not over yet. This goal has not been fulfilled to the extent we desired. It is necessary that we consider this issue as a policy and include it in our planning at different levels.

Our dear people should note that being economical does not mean lack of consumption. Being economical means efficient consumption and not being wasteful. Wastefulness means using something without any positive outcome. Purposeless consumption is in fact equal to being wasteful. Our people should always have this point in mind as a motto, because we are not currently in a good position in terms of our consumption norms. This is a fact which we should accept. Our wrong habits and consumption norms have led us towards being extravagant and wasteful. There should be a balance between production and consumption in our society. There should be an appropriate balance, leaning more towards production. This means that the amount of production should always be more than the amount of consumption.

Our people should make use of what is produced, and our extra production should be used for making progress in the country. Today this is not the case in our country. The amount of our consumption is more than the amount of our production. This will cause the country to move backwards. This will inflict serious damages on our economy and will cause our society to suffer from economic problems. In the Holy Quran, there are several verses which advise us to avoid being extravagant, especially in economic affairs. Being extravagant will inflict serious economic and cultural damages on our country. When a society suffers from being extravagant, it will start to suffer cultural problems as well. Therefore, the issue of being economical and avoiding extravagance is not just an economic issue. It is an economic, cultural, and social issue which may endanger the future of the country.

Let me tell you some of the shocking figures regarding our consumption norms. One of these issues concerns wastefulness in bread consumption. According to investigations which have been carried out in Tehran and some other cities, almost 33 percent of the bread made in the country is wasted. This means that one third of the bread which is made in those cities is wasted. Just imagine what a great percentage of our bread is wasted. This is while our farmers produce wheat by making enormous efforts, and if there is a shortage of rain in the country - as was the case last year when the amount of wheat produced in the country decreased - the government will have to spend public funds to import wheat from other countries. Then, one third of this wealth is being thrown away. This is really regrettable. Unfortunately, this is a fact.

Some investigations have also been carried out in regard to the amount of water we use. Almost 22 percent of the water which is used in our houses is wasted. Our country does not have a large domestic water supply. We should be as economical as possible in using our water supplies. Our water supply is provided with a lot of efforts. Our drinking water is pumped from far-away places. Dams are built by spending huge amounts of money. A lot of efforts are made and a lot of knowledge and expertise is applied to bring this water into our houses. Then we waste 22 percent of this water. This is only the amount which is used in our houses. The water which is used in farming and industries is wasted in some other way. According to the figures, our energy consumption is twice the average amount of energy currently used in the world - electricity and various sources of energy, that is, petroleum, gas, oil, and gasoline. The amount of energy which is used in our country in the form of these products is twice the average amount used in other countries in the world. This is an example of wastefulness, is it not?

There is an index called the energy index. This index is the proportion of the amount of energy used to the amount of production that is made. The less the amount of energy used, the more beneficial it is for the country. Sometimes, the amount of energy used in our country is eight times the amount of energy used by developed countries. This is indicative of our wastefulness. We are wasteful in our consumption both as individuals and households. Luxurious lifestyles, keeping up with the Joneses, and making unnecessary purchases on a whim are examples of wastefulness.

Unnecessary luxuries, cosmetics, furniture, and ornaments are the things which we spend our money on. We can use this money in manufacturing or investment sectors and contribute to the country's progress. We could also use the money to help the poor or increase our national wealth. Yet, we spend this money on things which we only buy to keep up appearances. Some people go on trips or throw parties the cost of which is more than a trip to Mecca. There are others who spend great amounts of money in their wedding or funeral ceremonies. They serve various kinds of food. Why? What is the reason for doing so? There are some people in our country who still cannot satisfy their most basic needs. We should help the country move forward. I do not intend to say that you must only donate your money to the poor - of course this is one of the best things to do. But even if you do not intend to help poor people, you can spend this money in manufacturing sectors and purchase shares in factories. This is to the benefit of our country.

Instead of making investments in the manufacturing sector, we spend our money to throw parties, to hold expensive funerals, or to purchase new clothes everyday. Why? What is the reason behind that? Wise people never do these things. These recommendations are not only included in religious teachings. There is a verse in the Holy Quran which says: "And eat and drink and be not wasteful. Surely He loves not the wasteful." [The Holy Quran, 7: 31]. There is another Quranic verse which says: "Eat of its fruit when it bears fruit, and pay the due of it on the day of its reaping, and be not wasteful. Surely He loves not the wasteful." [The Holy Quran, 6: 141]. God Almighty does not like those who are wasteful. We are all God's creatures. These are religious teachings and there are various traditions in this regard. There is a tradition in which it is said that once someone was having a fruit and threw half of it away. One of the imams (a.s.) rebuked him for being wasteful and asked him, "why did you throw it away?" There are even some traditions which advise us to use the seed of dates and pieces of bread that are left over. Then, there are some people who throw parties in hotels and throw away the food that is left over, claiming that it is not hygienic. Is this behavior appropriate for an Islamic community? Can justice be administered this way?

We should reform our habits. We should reform the norms of consumption in our country. We suffer from inappropriate norms of consumption. We should know how to eat, what to eat, and what to wear. We all have a cell phone in our pockets, and as soon as a new model enters the market, we all go and change our cell phones. Why is that? Why do we act so impulsively? Our officials are responsible in this regard. Being wasteful is not limited to personal matters only. We are wasteful at the national level as well. As I previously said, we are wasteful in using our electricity and energy supplies. A great proportion of such wastefulness is out of the hands of the people. It is the officials who have to take appropriate measures to solve this problem. Using old communication networks, electricity transfer networks, and electricity cables will cause electricity to be wasted. We produce electricity, and then waste it by using old electricity transfer networks. Or if we use old water transfer networks, a great proportion of our water supply will be wasted.

These are our national resources which are being wasted. The officials must prevent this from happening. Being wasteful can happen at the level of organizations as well. The heads of different organizations do not make personal use of resources, but there are examples of extravagance in their organizations. Luxurious offices in different organizations, using ornaments in offices, going on purposeless trips, and buying different sets of furniture are examples of being wasteful. These things should be prevented through careful supervision. Both in governmental organizations and among people as well as in different organizations, wastefulness should be considered as unacceptable. As I mentioned, this is a goal which cannot be achieved through words only. Appropriate plans have to be formulated in order to achieve this goal. The legislative and the executive branch are responsible for pursuing these plans. They should develop appropriate plans, pass laws, and enforce the laws in a determined manner. Our progress in the next ten years depends to a large extent on implementing these plans.

This economy is necessary in production, consumption, and recycling. We must economize on water. That is to say, we must preserve our dams, we must improve our water supply networks, and we must promote economical irrigation in agriculture and teach our farmers the appropriate methods of irrigation. Of course in recent years, these measures have already been adopted for the most part, but this is not enough. We need large-scale measures. We must prepare the ground to reduce the amount of household water consumption. It has been suggested that those who consume more water should be taxed more and should receive less subsidies. That is a very reasonable proposal. That is an excellent suggestion. Those who consume less should benefit more from governmental aid and public funds. There are some people who consume such little water that it would do no harm if the government charged them no money at all. But there are some other people who consume ten or twenty times more than others. These people must understandably pay more. As for bread consumption, it is necessary to produce high quality wheat and flour. It is necessary to preserve, bake, and consume bread in an appropriate manner. That is all for the issue of extravagance and economy, which I had to talk about.

The forthcoming election is another point regarding our internal issues. I would like to discuss this issue as well. Of course there is a long time left before the presidential election. If I find the opportunity, I will give our honorable people the recommendations that I consider to be necessary. There is a lot of time, but I would like to mention some points in this regard. First of all, elections are not staged in our country just for show. On the contrary, they form the foundation of our government. Elections are one of the foundations of our government. Religious democracy cannot be practiced with words only. Religious democracy is only possible through public participation, public determination, and rational and emotional engagement of the public in the developments that occur in the country. And that would be impossible unless there are appropriate nationwide elections and broad public participation. This democracy is the secret behind the constancy of the Iranian nation.

The fact that you did not fear the threats of the superpowers in the last thirty years, the fact that the superpowers could not go beyond simple threats and deal you any severe blows, and the fact that the youth of this country demonstrated the necessary courage and sincerity to enter various arenas are all due to religious democracy. We must truly appreciate this. Elections are the great investment of the Iranian nation. An election is analogous to an enormous investment in a bank. The bank does business with your deposit and you benefit from it. The Iranian nation has been making enormous investments and benefiting from the outcome. The votes of each and every one of you represent a share in the investment. Each ballot that is cast in the ballot box is a contribution to the deposit that will accumulate in the end. Even a single ballot is important. The more the voter turnout, the more the greatness of the Iranian nation before the eyes of the enemies. The more the voter turnout is, the more respect the Iranian nation will earn. And your friends throughout the world will become happier as a result.

Public participation in the elections is a measure of the greatness of the Iranian nation. That is what elections are. As a priority, I always try to convince the people that their participation in the elections is important. Their participation shows their approval of the government and strengthens the Islamic Republic. This is not just a simple political, personal, or moral issue. Elections are a large-scale issue. Elections concern the destiny of the people. That is especially true about presidential elections, as a result of which the executive affairs of the country are entrusted to a particular person and a particular group of people for a period of four years. That shows the importance of presidential elections.

I would also like to give a recommendation to the esteemed individuals who have put themselves forward as presidential candidates or will do so in the future. Those who put themselves forward as presidential candidates must know that elections are a means to increase the power of the country and the honor of the nation. Elections are not a means to secure power. If the elections are to earn power for the Iranian nation, then the candidates must pay special attention to this point and keep this in mind in their election campaigns and statements. In their election campaign, presidential candidates must not act or speak in a way that the enemies are encouraged to take advantage of the situation. They must campaign in a fair manner. They must not stray from justice in their election campaigns. Naturally, each candidate would want to contradict his or her opponents as a result of his or her position on a particular issue. This contradiction is not in itself bad, providing that it is not unfair and that it does not deny the truth. Everybody can run for presidency. Everybody is welcome to put themselves forward as presidential candidates. It is the people who will decide who to vote for. The people will act according to their vigilance, understanding, and what they perceive as important.

Thankfully, our elections are healthy. I have observed that some people have already started to create doubts about the presidential elections that will be held after more than two months. What kind of logic is there behind these attempts? What kind of thought is it? What kind of fairness is it? We have staged so many elections in the past thirty years - about thirty elections - and the officials in charge who were committed to their duty have always endorsed the accuracy of the elections. Why do you create doubts? Why do you try to shake public faith in the elections? Of course our esteemed people will not fall for your statements.
I would strongly advise the officials in charge of the elections to stage the elections in a way that voter turnout is maximized. They must make every effort to guarantee the candidates' freedom. The public must be able to make free choices. The presidential election must be held in an accurate manner and, by Allah's favor, we will have a healthy election.

Regarding the elections, there is something else that I would like to point out to all our esteemed people. There have always been conjectures and rumors about the position of the Leader on the elections. These rumors and conjectures will continue in the future as well. I can vote for only one candidate and I will cast my only ballot in the ballot box. I will never tell anyone who to vote for or who not to vote for. That is a matter for the people. I may sometimes defend or support a particular administration and some people misinterpret this. That is while I support all administrations. However, if a certain administration is criticized too much and I feel that these criticisms are unfair, I support the administration more strongly. I support fairness. I believe we must be fair. We must observe how people behave. That has nothing to do with elections: It is a matter of fairness and unfairness. It is my duty to support the people who serve the nation. It is the duty of all people. This support must not be taken as my position on the elections. I support all positive actions, all good measures, all types of progress, all service rendered to the public, all help to the underprivileged, and all kinds of resistance against oppression and arrogance. I always express my gratitude to those who do these things, regardless of a particular person or administration. That is my duty.

As for international issues that our country has to face, I will only discuss one issue: The problems between our country and the US. These problems have represented one of the most important tests facing the Revolution since the very beginning. Since the victory of the Revolution, the confrontation and interaction with the US government has unfurled as a great test for the Iranian nation. This great test has always been there throughout the past thirty years. Since the very beginning, the US government has treated our Revolution angrily and their tone has always been aggressive. Of course considering their calculations, they are justified in their attitude. They had full control over Iran before the Revolution. They had absolute control over our vital resources. America had carte blanche at our decision-making centers. At all our important centers, Americans could employ and fire whoever they wanted. Iran was a ranch on which Americans and American soldiers as well as others could graze freely. They lost all these advantages. Is it really possible for them to repress their aggressive opposition? Since the victory of the Revolution, the US government - both Republican and Democratic Presidents - treated the Islamic Republic unfairly. Everybody knows this. Inciting the few opponents of the Islamic Republic and supporting the separatist groups and terrorist acts were the first measures taken by Americans at the beginning of the Revolution. In every part of the country, in which there was a trace of a separatist movement, we discovered American involvement. Sometimes we could detect their financial support and some other times we could even spot their agents. That caused a lot of harm to our people. Unfortunately, they are still doing the same things.

Some of the outlaws on the Iran-Pakistan border are linked to American agents. That is to say, these outlaws talk to US agents on wireless devices and receive orders from them. We have tapped their lines of communications. There are terrorist murderers in our neighboring countries that are in contact with American officers. Unfortunately, such actions are still being done. That is how their enmity started and they went on to seize Iran's properties and freeze its assets. The Pahlavi regime had given Americans incalculable amounts of money in order to get airplanes, helicopters, and weapons from them. Some of these things had been manufactured in the US. They refused to give us what they had sold to the Pahlavi regime. They also refused to give back several billion dollars that belonged to us. Surprisingly, they even stored these things in a place and charged us for the storage costs. They usurped a nation's properties, refused to return them, and charged it for the storage costs. That is how they have treated us since the beginning. The properties of the Iranian nation are still there in the US and some European countries. We asked them for many consecutive years to give back our properties on several occasions. We told them that they had already received the money for these things. They told us that these things have been manufactured under the US license and, therefore, they were not allowed to deliver them to us. They are still holding the properties of the Iranian nation.

They gave Saddam the green light to attack our country. That was another measure taken by the US to harm our nation. If Saddam had not received the green light from the US, most probably he would not have attacked our borders. An eight-year war was imposed on our country, during which about 300,000 Iranian civilians and youth were martyred. Throughout the war, especially in the last few years, Americans supported and helped Saddam. They provided him with financial support, weapons, technical information, political assistance, satellite intelligence, and media support. They used to use their satellites to record the activities of our forces at the front. Then they used to send the information to Saddam to use them against our youth and forces.

They turned a blind eye to Saddam's crimes. A tragic event took place in Halabcheh. Different cities throughout the country were targeted by missiles. Our houses were destroyed. Chemical weapons were used in the front line against us. They turned a blind eye to these crimes. They did not raise any objections. Instead, they helped Saddam. That was another measure taken by the US government against our nation. Then towards the end of the war, our passenger plane was targeted by missiles fired from an American warship and was downed in the Persian Gulf. There were about 300 people on that plane. They were all killed. Then instead of reprimanding the officer who shot down the plane, the then US President awarded a medal to the officer. Do they really expect our nation to forget this? Could our nation ever forget this?

They supported the terrorists who killed our men, women, and children. They supported the terrorists who killed our great religious scholars and young children. They allowed these terrorists to continue their activities from inside their country. They constantly broadcast spiteful propaganda against our country. Throughout the years, especially during the two terms of the previous US President [George Bush], all US Presidents insulted our nation whenever they started to talk nonsense about our people, our country, our government officials, and the Islamic Republic. That has been the same for many years.

They undermined the security of the region, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq. They flooded the region with different weapons to oppose the Islamic Republic and of course to let their arms manufacturing companies line their own pockets in the process. They provided unconditional support for the Zionist regime. You saw one manifestation of this regime's oppression in Gaza two or three months ago. They caused a great tragedy, killing numerous men, women, and children. Their bombing raids, missiles, and bullets massacred about 5000 people in 22 days. That was while the US government supported the Zionist regime until the end of the war. Whenever the UN Security Council decided to pass a resolution against the Zionist regime, America intervened and supported the Zionists.

They used every opportunity to threaten our country. They constantly threatened us with a military attack. They said they had a military option on the table. They made many other threats. They threatened our nation every time they said something against our country. Of course these threats had no effect on our nation, but their threats demonstrated their enmity. They constantly insulted the Iranian nation, government, and President. A few years ago, an American said that the Iranian nation had to be wiped out. Recently an American official said a good Iranian is a dead Iranian. That is how they insulted our great and honorable nation, a nation that has only tried to defend its identity and independence.

They imposed sanctions on our country for thirty years. Of course these sanctions turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We should thank Americans for the sanctions they imposed on us. If it had not been for their sanctions, we would not have achieved this level of scientific progress. These sanctions have awakened us to the realities, forcing us to grow independently. But they did not intend to do us a favor. They wanted to show their enmity. For thirty years they treated the Iranian nation in this way. Now the new US administration says that it is prepared to negotiate with Iran, urging us to let bygones be bygones. They say they have extended a hand towards Iran. What kind of hand is that? If the hand that has been extended to us is an iron hand covered with a velvet glove, it does not have any positive meaning. They congratulated the Iranian nation on Norouz, but in the same message they accused the Iranian nation of supporting terrorism, seeking nuclear weapons, and things like that.

I do not know who is making the decisions in America. Is it the President? Is it the Congress? Or is it the unknown people who pull the strings? I want to say that there is a logic behind our actions. The Iranian nation has acted logically since the very first day. When we want to make decisions about important issues, we do not act on the basis of our emotions. We do not make emotional decisions. We make our decisions on the basis of rational calculations.

They invite us to negotiate and form relations with them. They shout slogans of change. Where is the change you are talking about? What is it that has changed? Clarify this for us. What is it exactly that has changed? Has your enmity towards the Iranian nation changed? Where are the signs of this change? Have you released the assets of the Iranian nation? Have you lifted the unfair sanctions? Have you stopped slandering, negative propaganda, and allegations against our great nation and its populist government officials? Have you given up your unconditional support for the Zionist regime? What is it that has changed? They only change their slogans while their actions remain the same. We have not seen any changes. Even their rhetoric is the same. The new US President insulted the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic right after he was inaugurated as President and delivered his inaugural address. Why? If you really believe there has been a change, show us. We cannot see any change. I would like to tell everybody - including US government officials as well as others - that the Iranian nation will neither be deceived nor intimidated.

First of all, verbal change is not enough. Of course I have not noticed much verbal change either. There must be genuine change. I would like to tell American government officials that the kind of change to which they only pay lip service is a necessity for them. You have no other choice: You must change. If you do not change, the divine laws of nature will force you to change. Nature will force you to change. You must change, but this change must not be in words only and there must be no ulterior motives. You cannot talk about change if you only change your policies and pursue the same goals. This kind of change does not constitute genuine change: That is deception. If there is any genuine change, it must manifest itself in action. I advise the US government officials or whoever makes the decisions there - be it the President, the Congress, or other people - that the situation in which the US government is involved is harmful to the American nation as well as the US government. You ought to know that you are one of the most hated countries in the world. Other nations burn your flag. Muslim nations shout "Down with the US" throughout the world. What is the reason behind so much hatred? Have you ever tried to investigate this issue? Have you ever scrutinized it? Have you learnt any lessons?

The reason is that you treat the world in a domineering manner. You speak in an arrogant manner. You try to impose your ideas on the entire world. You interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. You apply double standards. Sometimes when a deeply frustrated Palestinian youth snaps under pressure and carries out a martyrdom-seeking operation, you attack him with negative propaganda. But when the Zionist regime caused that tragedy in Gaza in only 22 days, you turned a blind eye to all the crimes it committed. You label the Palestinian youth as a terrorist and at the same time you say that you are committed to the security of the Zionist regime, which should be considered a terrorist regime by all standards. These are the reasons why you are hated in the world. This advice is in your best interest. You must give up your arrogant tone for your own wellbeing and for the future of your country. You must stop domineering behavior. Do not interfere in the internal affairs of other nations. Do not encroach on the rights of other people. Do not define interests for yourselves in every part of the world. If you do these things, you will see that the global attitudes towards the US will gradually change. Pay attention to these recommendations. That is my advice to the US government officials - the US President and the others. Think about these recommendations carefully. Have them translated. Of course you must not ask the Zionists to translate them for you. You must consult moral people.

As long as the US government continues the ways, actions, positions, and policies it has adopted in the past thirty years, we will act the way we have in the past. Our nation hates to be the object of your simultaneous attempts at negotiation and pressurizing. Our nation hates to negotiate while being pressurized. The simultaneous use of threats and negotiation will not work with our nation. We do not have a record of the new US President and administration. We will observe and then judge them. If you change, our behavior will change too. If you do not change, our nation will not change, as it has only become more and more experienced, patient, and powerful in the past thirty years.

Dear God, please do not withhold your mercy and blessings from our nation. Unfortunately, I was informed that the esteemed and loyal wife of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) passed away today. This honorable lady was a precious blessing to our nation. She patiently stood by Imam Khomeini (r.a.) - who was the pivot of the heart of our nation - in all hardships and in all circumstances. She was a prominent lady. I extend my condolences to the Iranian nation and her family members and relatives on the loss of this lady. May Allah bestow His mercy and blessings on her. O God, associate the soul of this honorable lady with Your saints. O God, associate the souls of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.), his esteemed children, and his wife with Your saints. Make us appreciate our dear Imam (r.a.) forever. Bestow Your blessings and guidance on all our people, especially the dear youth. O God, send down Your rain onto our parched lands and for our people.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings