Leader's Speech to Government Officials

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on August 18, 2010 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a meeting with government officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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.

Certain characteristics of the month of Ramadan have been mentioned in the duas recorded in Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya or other books. And each of these characteristics are worthy of reflection. The month of Ramadan has been referred to as "the month of penitence" which I will discuss in few sentences later on, and "the month of surrender" which is in Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya. The meaning of "surrender" is identical to that of the word "submit" in the ayah "And whoever submits himself wholly to Allah and he is the doer of good (to others), he indeed has taken hold of the firmest thing upon which one can lay hold" [The Holy Quran, 31: 22]. "Whoever submits himself wholly to Allah" means surrendering one's heart and soul and making them submissive to divine will, divine orders and sharia. Ramadan has also been referred to as "the month of purification" which means that Ramadan contains a quality that purifies people of impurities. When an impure precious metal like gold is placed inside a furnace, it is purified. Purification means purifying human soul of impurities. These are the qualities that have been mentioned about the month of Ramadan.

It appears that the month of Ramadan among other months of the year is like prayer times among other times of the day. That is to say, holy sharia has provided opportunities in the form of prayers for people who are restricted by material factors. The five daily prayer times are like an alarm. They provide us with a kind of privacy in order to illuminate our hearts and souls. Daily prayers have been made obligatory in order to prevent us from being submerged in the material world. They provide us with the opportunity to step out the material world, think about spirituality and not be submerged in the material world. It appears that the month of Ramadan has the same characteristic among other months of the year. It provides the human soul with an opportunity to break free. The month of Ramadan is an opportunity for our souls to be purified of material factors that surround us. It provides an opportunity for our souls to become illuminated. This is the reason behind the existence of the month of Ramadan in sharia - it is an opportunity.

Among the characteristics that have been mentioned for the month of Ramadan - all of which are of course important - what particularly attracts my attention is "the month of penitence". I would like to discuss this point with you government officials. Penitence means going back when you realize that you are treading the wrong path, doing the wrong thing and cherishing the wrong thought. It means turning back to Allah the Exalted. This penitence has a meaning that is inherent to it. Going back means that we should find out where the problem lies and identify the path that is wrong. This is a very important point. As we move along, we often tend to turn a blind eye to the mistakes we make and to our faults. We fail to notice the problems that plaque our work. This happens in our individual responsibilities as well as our collective responsibilities - involving our nation, our party, our movement or our camp. We often ignore the problems with everything that is related to us. Therefore, it is other people who should point out our flaws. This would have been unnecessary if we had identified the problems and alleviated them. Then it would have been unnecessary for other people to point out our flaws.

The first step of penitence is to pay attention to the flaws of our own work and identify where the problem lies exactly and where we made a mistake. We should start with our personal responsibilities and move on to responsibilities that we share with other people. We should first evaluate our own work and see where we made a mistake. This is the duty of all of us. This is true of everybody - including ordinary people whose work suffers from many shortcomings and problems, prominent people, righteous servants of God and even saints. Everybody needs to engage in penitence. The Holy Prophet of Islam (s.w.a.) says in a hadith, "Dust settles on my heart [sometimes]." This hadith has been narrated by both Shia and Sunni Muslims. When the sun and the moon are covered by a cloud, they lose some of their brilliance. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) said that sometimes the same thing would happen to his heart. "And I repent seventy times every day." The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) said those things although we know how purified his soul was. According to another narration, "The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) used to repent seventy times a day." According to a narration by Imam Sadiq (a.s.), the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) used to repent seventy times a day without having committed a sin. As you know, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) was infallible. What did he repent of? The late Feiz [Kashani] (may God bestow mercy on him) said, "The sins that Prophets and Imams (may God bestow mercy on them) commit are not like the sins we commit. Rather, they sometimes delay dhikr and engage in permitted actions." In the course of their daily lives, Prophets and Imams may have some moments of neglect. What keeps happening to us all the time may happen to Prophets and Imams for a moment, and they may engage in permitted actions. Even these limited moments of neglect require that Prophets and Imams repent. Therefore, penitence is not just for ordinary people like us - it is for everybody.

This duty should be treated as more important by government officials. That is to say, you and I - who are responsible for certain affairs in the country or can exert influence in a particular social area - have a heavier responsibility to engage in penitence. We have to be extremely careful. Sometimes even when an offense is committed within an organization that is in our charge, we are responsible for the offense if it is somehow related to us. For example, when we neglect announcing a regulation, when we are careless in the process of employing a certain person or when we fail to deal with offenses as seriously as we should - we are responsible if these things lead to further offenses. "O you who believe, save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones." [The Holy Quran, 66: 6]

The conclusion is that we should be as careful as we can in the month of Ramadan, and we should rectify our behavior, our thought, our speech and our actions. We should look for the flaws and try to remove them. All these efforts should be in line with piety. "O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil)." [The Holy Quran, 2: 183] This holy ayah says that fasting is for piety. Therefore, the efforts that are made for the sake of the holy month of Ramadan should be in line with piety.

I have noted down a sentence regarding piety, and I would like to discuss it now. Often when we hear the word "piety", our minds are led towards observing religious rituals and obligations and avoiding unlawful acts. We are led to think of praying, fasting and honesty. Of course these are all important, but piety has other aspects as well, which are often ignored. In the holy dua of Makarim al-Akhlaq, there is an explanation about these other aspects of piety. "O God, bestow Your greetings on Muhammad and his companions, and adorn me with what You adorn Your righteous servants, and let me wear the clothes that Your pious servants wear." What clothes do pious servants of God wear? Then there is this interesting explanation: "In promoting justice, suppressing anger and extinguishing fires [that is, conflicts that occur among people in society]." These are aspects of piety. "And unite people who have been divided." These are all aspects of piety which have been mentioned in the holy dua of Makarim al-Akhlaq - the 20th dua of the holy Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya. This dua is a very important dua. I believe that everybody, especially government officials, should recite this dua and pay careful attention to the meaning. It is a very instructional dua. Instead of fomenting discord, rumor-mongering and turning people against each other, one should try to create unity among one's faithful brothers. These are aspects of piety.

These are all issues that we need to deal with today. Judiciary justice, economic justice, justice in the process of recruitment, justice in distributing the available resources among different groups in the country, geographical justice - these are all very important issues. These are all among our needs. Promoting justice is among the most important aspects of piety. Promoting justice is more important than saying a daily prayer or fasting on a hot summer day. According to a tradition, "For an emir, ruling fairly for a single day is like spending 70 years in worship." All of you are an emir - an emir is somebody who is in charge of an organization and his or her orders play a significant role in that organization. These are very important issues. This tradition shows the importance of justice and fair behavior.

It is also important to suppress your anger when you are angry with your friends. Of course it is also necessary to suppress one's anger at one's enemies. "And remove the rage of their hearts." [The Holy Quran, 9: 15] But when you are faced with an enemy who is opposed to your identity and existence, then your anger is sacred and there is nothing with showing this kind of anger. But when you are among faithful people - among people whom you should treat like Muslims - you should not show your anger. Anger harms people. It is harmful to make decisions when you are angry. It is harmful to speak when you are angry. It is harmful to work when you are angry, and often flaws and mistakes slip into your work. Unfortunately this is something that affects us frequently. Suppressing this anger - the kind of anger that causes diversion and intellectual and practical mistakes - is one aspect of piety.

Another aspect is to "extinguish fires". Some people fan the flames of political and partisan conflicts. Some people appear to have a mission to provoke conflicts. Inside our own country I see some people who want to pitch different elements, parties and their members against one another. They are determined to foment discord. They appear to be fond of fomenting discord. This goes against piety. Piety requires that we "extinguish fires" and settle conflicts. You should control and extinguish human, spiritual and moral fires [conflicts] the way you extinguish a fire in the material world. Similarly, you should "unite people who have been divided".

I once said that there should be maximum inclusion and minimum purging. Of course the criterion is our principles and values. People are not all at the same level in terms of their faith. There are some people among us whose faith is weak, and some other people whose faith is stronger. We need to make a compromise. It is not possible to reject everybody whose faith is weak. It is not possible to pin our hopes only on the people whose faith is strong. No, it is necessary to give a role to those who are not very faithful. Those who consider themselves as strong should not reject the people who they consider to be weak. They should be considerate towards those who are less faithful. Faithful people should try to guide and present reasons and advice for those who are strong in terms of their religious faith, but who have parted company with the rest because of a mistake or lack of vigilance. Other faithful people should help them change their mind. These are primary issues.

So these are the elements of piety and the ways to repent - "the month of penitence". However, what is interesting is that fasting in the month of Ramadan is a communal ritual. That is to say, fasting is not an individual obligation. We all enter this month and fast together - all members of the Islamic community and the Islamic Ummah. Just imagine what will happen if we all practice the important recommendations mentioned in the Holy Quran and all the principles of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) lifestyle. Just imagine what will happen in the world of Islam if every one of us believes that the recommendations are being addressed to us. On a smaller scale, just imagine what will happen in our country. We should appreciate this month, and we should do so by engaging in genuine penitence and spiritual purification in the month of Ramadan. Purification and penitence are the things that we should move towards in the month of Ramadan. These were the main points that wanted to discuss in today's meeting.

The President presented a good, detailed and useful report regarding current issues of the country. If we want to analyze current issues of the country appropriately and avoid making mistakes in our analysis, we should start with the old confrontation between Islamic Iran and the opposing camp. This confrontation dates back to almost 32 years ago - it is nothing new. Of course the opposing camp has undergone some changes, but we have not changed. We are saying the same things as we used to say at the beginning of this confrontation. We follow the same principles. We are treading the same path. We are moving fast on a straight path, and we have already determined our goals. These goals were evident since the beginning in the statements of Imam Khomeini (r.a.) and in the foundations on which the Revolution was built. We are making as much progress as we can. The opposing camp has undergone certain changes - it has lost some of its original members and recruited other members. Two observations can be made today about this camp. First, the opposing camp has grown weaker compared to the past. That is to say, the opposing camp has been declining since then. Second, our camp has been becoming stronger. That is to say, we have been moving towards further strength. There are sound reasons to support these two observations. That is to say, they are not just slogans. Rather, they are based on reality.

I would like to briefly speak about the opposing camp. What is "the opposing camp"? They call themselves "the global community" in their propaganda, which is a big lie. They are not at all the global community. They are only a limited number of countries. The Zionist regime and the US form the main axes of this camp. The rest either follow their lead, or are too weak to do anything to oppose them. The number of countries that form the core of this camp is not large, and it has never been large in the past either. Do not pay attention to the claims. I am telling you the facts.

Based on what criteria do we consider these two governments or these two elements as our main opponents in this confrontation? What is the nature of this opposition? There are two kinds of opposition: Fundamental and superficial. Territorial disputes, trade-related conflicts and some political disagreements that exist between countries are examples of superficial opposition. Fundamental opposition is existential. That is to say, this happens between two countries that are not prepared to acknowledge the existence of one another. This is the nature of our problem with the Zionist regime. We are not prepared to acknowledge the existence of the Zionist regime. We believe that this regime is a fake regime and that it has been imposed on the people of Palestine. It is a hideous entity in the Middle East, and it will undoubtedly be annihilated. That is to say, there is no doubt that the Zionist regime is not here to stay. In any case, we are opposed to the existence of this regime. Similarly, the Zionist regime is opposed to the existence of the Islamic Republic. They like Iran only when it is under the rule of a government that is not sanctioned by God. They are diametrically opposed to the Islamic Republic. This is an example of existential opposition.

The United State of America's view of the Islamic Republic is based on the rejection of its existence. This is what we have learnt over the years. Of course they deny this and say that they are only trying to change the behavior of the Islamic Republic. The change of behavior that they are talking about - and they do not always emphasize this change of behavior - is the same as rejecting the identity of the Islamic Republic. That is to say, they insist that the behavior which defines the Islamic aspect of our government should be changed. Similarly, our view of America is based on the rejection of its arrogant nature, otherwise the American regime is just a government like other governments in the world. The arrogant nature of America, its global hegemony and its imperialism are not acceptable to us. We cannot accept these things. Therefore, this is an example of existential opposition. And this existential opposition is sometimes active and sometimes passive. This existential opposition may exist between our country and some other countries in the world as well, but the opposition is not active. For some reasons, this existential opposition might have remained passive. They have their own reasons and we have our own reasons for this passive opposition. But the opposition between the Islamic Republic and the American government is active opposition. Therefore, the opposing camp is defined by active opposition. This opposing camp is moving towards weakness and decline. That is to say, if we compare its current political, economic and social situation and its global influence with 30 years ago, we will clearly see that it has declined and grown weaker. I have noted down some points in this regard which I would like to discuss now.

The opposing camp totally lacks public support in the world. That is to say, you can find no countries in the world whose people support the US government or the usurping Zionist regime. These governments do not have any public support in the world. Even in the countries whose governments support America and the Zionist regime out of prejudice, the people - many of whom are not even Muslims - are opposed to them. You saw an example of this in the newspapers today. The head of the Zionist regime has made a trip to a European country where thousands of people have reportedly gathered in a place and told him to get lost! This is the case everywhere. They face the same response wherever they go. Therefore, they do not have any public support. Even the American regime - with all that power and political influence - is suffering from the same problem, let alone the Zionist regime. Moreover, the opposing camp is hated by different peoples. They do not just lack public support - they are also hated in the world. Their flags are burnt. Peoples of the world set fire to the photos of their leaders, and they trample on their effigy. This is their current situation in the world.

They have bitter memories of the recent military attacks they have started. America has bitter memories of Afghanistan and Iraq. It failed in those countries. Regarding the issue of Palestine, political efforts and activities of America have not produced any results so far. They failed in Palestine too. As for the Zionists, their hatefulness and failures became evident to everybody during the 33-day war and the attack on the people of Gaza.

Also the opposing camp is in a bad economic situation. In spite of all their efforts, they have not been able to find a solution for the economic depression. Of course they say certain things have been done in this regard. But an appropriate measure has not been adopted so far. They are still under economic pressure. The measures that they have adopted in order to deal with the economic crisis - that is, injecting huge amounts of money into their financial centers - have proven ineffective. They are still in a bad economic situation.

They have failed in their Middle East policies - in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. Their big mistakes have made their statesmen unable to make decisions. They are confused. Today the Americans do not have any idea what they should do in Afghanistan. Disagreements have emerged within their own camp. They cannot make a decision and be sure that it will benefit them. If they leave Afghanistan, they will get a bad name and suffer from certain problems. And if they stay, they will have to deal with other kinds of problems and failures.

But the situation of our camp is completely different. The Islamic Republic is improving and making progress. The course of its movement is upward. This is true of every area. We are in a very good situation in terms of the scientific advances we have made. Some time ago I cited some figures in a meeting - of course the figures were produced in Europe. I said that the rate of Iran's progress is 11 times more than the average rate of progress in the world. This is a very important point. Of course this does not mean that we have achieved the same level of scientific progress as that of the advanced countries. No, it means that our progress is accelerated. This is a great achievement for our nation. It is good news. It means that if we continue making progress at the same rate, our nation and our youth will soon achieve the level of progress that we want. This is true of scientific and technological areas as well as reconstruction of the country. The honorable President presented some figures, and those figures are right. Good things are being done in the area of reconstructing the country, in the industrial sector, in the energy sector, in the area of transportation and in various other areas. We are much more progressed today than we used to be 30 years ago or even 20 years ago. But our progress is not just limited to material areas. We have made a lot of progress in spiritual and social areas as well. Today we enjoy high morale in the country. Our youth are highly motivated. The political arena is full of dynamism and enthusiasm. An election was held in which 40 million people took part and elected a president with 25 million votes. These are very important points. Bitter events took place after the election due to certain reasons. Each of those events had a cause, but the public turnout was a great accomplishment for the country. Our opponents expected that after the passage of 30 years in which about 30 elections had been held in the country, elections would lose their popularity in Iran. They expected that there would not be much enthusiasm to vote in the elections held by the Islamic Republic. But the presidential election was a very serious event, and there was a public movement. These are manifestations of progress.

The level of public support that the Islamic Republic enjoys is unique among countries across the world. Whenever our high-ranking government officials travel to a country, they are treated with a warm public welcome and expression of enthusiastic emotions. This is not true of any other country. The situation has been like this since the beginning of the Revolution - it is not a recent development. Wherever our presidents go, they are faced with a warm public welcome even in certain countries that do not share any common grounds with us in terms of language, race and geographical position. That is to say, people assemble in a place and express their respect for our government officials. The public support that the Islamic Republic enjoys is not less than before, and it may even be more today.

We are extremely hopeful about the future. We had no hopes of being able to manufacture what we are manufacturing today. Allah the Exalted bestowed His grace on us, and today our youth are doing things in scientific and technological areas that looked far-fetched to us 15-25 years ago. But they managed to accomplish these achievements, and this would increase our hope in the future. We are full of hope now.

We have had successful experiences in the political arena. Unlike the opposing camp that failed in the Middle East, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in different other places, we were successful whenever we entered a new arena. In the arenas that I mentioned, the Islamic Republic has been successful whenever it adopted a position or took action because of its sense of responsibility. Everybody admits this fact, and all our rivals are very upset about this.

One of the achievements that we have made is that our enemies are currently restricted by global hatred. This is among the achievements that we have made. Therefore, these two things are significant. That is to say, the opposing camp is on the decline, and we are making progress. If you look at all the developments inside the country from this perspective, you will be able to analyze the situation appropriately.

We keep analyzing this confrontation and making plans for it. The same is true of the enemies. The enemies make plans for the Islamic Republic, the way they should deal with it and the ways in which they can harm it. The enemies make plans both to attack us and to defend themselves. And we have our own plans for the enemies. We all need to understand this point. We should all move ahead together in the arena of action. Thankfully this has been the case up until today.

Now I would like to briefly speak about what the enemy does. Its plans consist of economic pressure, military threats and psychological warfare to affect public opinion both inside the country and on an international level. These are what they are doing. They cause political disruption and vandalism inside the country. Undoubtedly there are certain centers inside the country that are inspired by the enemy. These centers - which are guided and inspired by the enemy - are busy doing certain things. "And most surely the evil ones suggest to their friends that they should contend with you." [The Holy Quran, 6: 121] There is no doubt that there are such centers in the country. In spite of all these measures, the Americans shout the slogan of negotiations. They impose unilateral sanctions, issue resolutions and make military threats, but at the same time they propose negotiations. They constantly say that they are prepared to negotiate with Iran. None of these actions by the opposing camp are new. In my opinion, one of the points that we should pay attention to is that none of these actions are new or unprecedented. Sanctions date back to 30 years ago, and military threats have been there in all eras.

Regarding knowledge of the enemy's military threats, I am more informed than anybody else. I think it was during the time of President Clinton that the military threat looked so imminent that our then president used to constantly tell me that we had to do something. He used to tell me that we should not let them come and destroy whatever we had built. That is to say, the military threat was not at all unlikely. They used to threaten us in the media. Before the 9th presidential term, military threats were sometimes repeated by the enemy so frequently that government officials inside the country were truly intimidated. They used to hold some meetings. I have many memories of those meeting, and I still have the notes that I made at that time. Military threats have always been there - they are not new.

We have been faced with negative propaganda since the beginning of the Revolution. They leveled allegations against whoever they could. They leveled allegations against Imam Khomeini (r.a.) and the people. They insulted and leveled allegations against Friday prayers and public gatherings in their global propaganda. Their allegations are not something new. Of course they still continue their allegations. In the past their allegations were not less than today, and in some cases they were even more than today.

Causing vandalism inside the country is not new. In the year 1382, after the occupation of Iraq, there were riots here in Tehran for a few days. The black lady -who used to be the US President's advisor and later on became Secretary of State - openly said that they would support any riots in Tehran. She admitted this openly. They had become hopeful. They thought that an important event was going to happen in Tehran. This was in the year 1382. They had this attitude at that time, and their attitude was more or less the same before and after that time. Everybody witnessed similar things in the year 1388. Today's threats are not new. I will speak briefly about each of these cases.

First, I would like to speak about the issue of negations. It is a good thing that they are speaking about negotiations. Of course this proposal is not new. In the past, previous US administrations made the same offer, and we have always rejected their offer of negotiations. Of course there are many good reasons for this, but one obvious reason is that negotiations that are conducted under threats and pressures are not in fact negotiations. It is not acceptable if one side of negotiations threatens and pressurizes the other side like imperialists, imposes sanctions and shows an iron fist and at the same time says that the two sides should sit at a table and negotiate. This does not qualify as negotiations. We will not engage in this kind of negotiations with anyone. Therefore, America has always entered the arena of negotiations in this way.

We also have two short-term experiences in this regard. One is related to the issues of Iraq. I said in a public address that those negotiations were acceptable to us, and our officials went ahead with the negotiations. The other is related to an issue which was described by the Americans as an important security issue in a message. This happened during previous presidential terms. Our government officials participated in two or three rounds of negotiations. In the course of negotiations, the Americans usually resort to bullying whenever they realize that they will lose in a logical argument or whenever they realize that they cannot present an acceptable and logical argument. And because the Islamic Republic is not affected by bullying, they unilaterally call off negotiations. What kind of negotiations is this? We have already been through this. The same thing happened in both cases. Of course I expected this outcome in the former case. From the quality of the negotiations, I could see which direction they were heading in. They used to send me reports of the negotiations. They had held two or three meetings when I told the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to put an end to those negotiations. But the Americans unilaterally called off the negotiations before our officials had a chance to take action. This is how they behave. The honorable President and other officials say that we are ready for negotiations. Yes, we are ready for negotiations, but not with America. The reason is that unlike ordinary negotiators, America does not enter into negotiations in an honest fashion. America enters into negotiations the way an imperialist does.

We will not negotiate with any country that makes an imperialist gesture. They should put aside their imperialist tendencies. They should put aside threats. They should put aside sanctions. They should not assume a predetermined outcome for negotiations. Several years ago in a public address in Shiraz, I announced that we have not sworn not to negotiate for ever. We do not negotiate because of the consequences. We do not negotiate just because they are not real negotiators. They only want to bully us. They are like the thug who enters a shop and asks, "How much is this jar of honey?" The shopkeeper replies, "100 tomans." Then the thug grabs the shopkeeper and twists his arm. The poor shopkeeper is understandably intimidated and says, "The price is whatever you say!" The bully says, "30 tomans." The shopkeeper says, "30 tomans it is!" What kind of bargaining is this? They may twist the arm of other countries and force them to give in to their demands, but they cannot do this to the Islamic Republic. The Islamic Republic will not give in to such pressures, and it will respond to every pressure in its own way. If they do not resort to bullying and step down from the ladder of imperialism - which is a rotten ladder - we will not have problems with negotiations. But negotiations are impossible as long as they behave like that.

As for the nuclear issue, we have a right to produce nuclear energy, and we will not give up this right. This is our right. We want to produce nuclear fuel. We need several thousand megawatts of nuclear energy. We need to build nuclear power plants, and the fuel required for these power plants should be produced inside the country. If we depend on foreign countries to provide us with this nuclear fuel, we will not be able to fulfill the needs of the country. We need to produce this fuel inside the country. Therefore, nuclear energy is our right, and we will stand up for it. They say if you need nuclear fuel, we will provide it for you. They said they would establish a global organization to provide nuclear fuel. This was a meaningless and pointless remark. They proved how honest they are when they wanted to provide Iran with 20 percent enriched uranium. We needed 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel for a small power plant that is used for research purposes. 20 percent uranium is an ordinary commodity that is sold in the world. We ourselves bought it 15 or 16 years ago. We bought 20 percent enriched uranium, and nothing is wrong with this. But as soon as they realized that Iran was in need of this fuel, they started to play cat and mouse with us, and they turned it into an issue. In my opinion, this was a great mistake that the US and the west made. The way they acted in the case of 20 percent uranium was a mistake.

First of all, through this mistake they encouraged us to go after 20 percent enriched fuel. We did not want to do this. We had no intention of producing 20 percent fuel. The 3.5 percent uranium was enough for us, but their mistake encouraged us to go after 20 percent uranium. We were convinced that we had to produce 20 percent uranium, and we did so. This was their first mistake. Their second mistake was that they proved to the entire world that America and all the other countries that produce nuclear fuel are not reliable enough to depend on for fuel. This is because as soon as they realize that you need nuclear fuel, they will list all their demands and say, "Look, you must do all these things before we give this fuel to you!" What kind of a deal is this? Therefore, regarding the nuclear issue, they do not have any logical argument to present. We have found the path we should tread. We are moving forward. And by Allah's favor, we will continue this path.

As for the military threat, it is unlikely that they will commit such folly, but in case this threat is carried out, everybody should know that the scope of this confrontation will not be limited to our region - the scope will be wider.

Regarding the negative propaganda broadcast by America against the Islamic Republic, I believe this negative propaganda is the most unfair thing that our enemies are doing. This is because the Americans are the biggest violators of human rights. This is a fact. Whenever their interests are on the line, they treat lives of numerous people as worthless - they do not show any respect for their rights. But when it is their turn, they suddenly claim their rights. During their invasion of Iraq, they used 10-ton bombs in Basra. The Americans themselves used to call these bombs the mother of bombs. The bombs weighed ten tons! They killed many people, civilians, children and women in Basra as well as in other places. During the same days, a few American pilots whose planes had been shot down were captured by the elements of the Ba'ath Party. They televised interviews with the pilots, but the Americans protested that the Ba'ath Party had violated international regulations and that POWs should not be interviewed. This is how they behave. They have double standards.

They are the biggest violators of democracy. In many places, the Americans rejected the results of democratic elections. Gaza is a case in point. There were other examples in other places, but I do not want to mention their names. They are the worst [in terms of observing the principles of democracy].

The important point that we should pay attention to is that these attacks and these hostilities are not new, and the Islamic Republic has its own plans to deal with them. Fortunately our government officials adopted very firm and good measures to counter these sanctions. I asked the honorable President to tell the ministers in charge of our economy to present reports. They came and explained the decisions that they had adopted to deal with the resolution issued by the UN Security Council and the unilateral sanctions imposed by America and Europe. Their decisions are very appropriate. Very good measures have been adopted, and by Allah's grace, our government officials are determined to turn these sanctions into opportunities. These sanctions should indeed be turned into an opportunity.

We need to increase and strengthen national production. We should develop a tendency towards consuming domestic products. We should increase the quality of our domestic products. Of course government officials and law-makers have to shoulder heavy responsibilities in this regard. I have offered recommendations to our administrations regarding the issue of managing imports. I would like to stress this point again. I am not saying that we should stop importing foreign products. This is because in certain areas imports are a necessity. But imports should be managed. Sometimes imports should be avoided at all costs. Other times it is necessary to import foreign products. Imports should be managed. Of course our honorable government officials told me that the laws passed by the Majlis do not allow them to restrict imports. I ask our MPs to resolve this issue. If there is really a law that prohibits the administration from restricting imports, that law should be reformed. The laws should allow the administration to manage imports. National production should be boosted.

Wise measures should be adopted in these areas. Wisdom is very important. It is very important to make rational decisions. Decisions should be wise and courageous. Wisdom should not be interpreted as fear and retreat - wisdom accompanied by courage. Divine prophets were the wisest people. According to a tradition by the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), "God did not appoint any prophets before they had grown completely wise." But the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) engaged in maximum jihad, fighting and risk-taking. That is to say, wisdom should be accompanied by courage - without wavering and with firm determination and unity and with an eye on the long-term prospects.

I would like to stress the importance of unity. Unity and solidarity among government officials is a religious obligation. Today deliberate opposition to unity, especially by high-ranking officials, is an act that is against the rules of sharia. Everybody should pay attention to this point. The enemy wants to turn small disagreements into big issues. You should not let the enemy do so. Not every disagreement between two governmental organizations should be interpreted as a disaster. This is not the case. After all, the Majlis may have a particular position on a certain issue, while the administration may have a different position. They may have different beliefs and tendencies. These are not disasters. But these disagreements should not be turned into gaps that cannot be bridged or wounds that cannot be healed - this would be a very big mistake.

Of course there are certain things that cause these disagreements. Some time ago I asked the honorable members of the Guardian Council to arrange a meeting and specify the issues that cause disagreements between the administration and the Majlis. I asked them to determine the scope of their responsibilities in order to realize the principle of separation of powers - which is one of the principles of the Constitution. Preserving unity, adhering to the principles and the full observing of the principles are things that our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) used to recommend all the time.

Paying attention to the enemy's machinations and not playing into the enemy's hand - in this regard, one of the things that the enemy does is to undermine public trust in the officials. We should take care not to speak in a way that the people lose their trust in executive, judiciary and legislative officials of the country. This lack of trust is not fair, and it is what the enemy wants. We must not play into the enemy's hands. I sometimes see that the figures presented by the government are called into question without any good reasons. Why? Why are these figures questioned without any good reasons? After all, these figures are presented by a governmental organization that is the authority. There are other such things that cause distrust and despair.

We should pay attention to divine power and promises. Trust in divine promises is the basis of everything. Allah the Exalted has cursed those who suspect Him and the truth of His promises. "And (that) He may punish the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women, and the polytheistic men and the polytheistic women, the entertainers of evil thoughts about Allah. On them is the evil turn, and Allah is wroth with them and has cursed them and prepared hell for them, and evil is the resort." [The Holy Quran, 48: 6] That is to say, Allah the Exalted blames those who do not have trust in divine promises. Allah the Exalted says, "Surely Allah will help him who helps His cause" [The Holy Quran, 22: 40] and "Be faithful to (your) covenant with Me, I will fulfill (My) covenant with you." [The Holy Quran, 2: 40] If you move on the path of God, He will help you. Of course this is not just a divine promise. We would know from experience that divine promises are true even if we were incredulous and skeptical people who could not accept the truth of God's promises. Which one of the main elements of the Revolution and which one of the supporters and enemies of the Revolution could predict that such an event would happen in the country? Which one of them could predict that such a great monument would be built? Who expected this? But it happened. It happened because of trust in God, firm determination, not fearing death and failure, and moving ahead in the name of God and with trust in Him. And this will be the case from now on too.

Dear God, bestow Your mercy and grace on the soul of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) who opened up this path in front of us. O God, improve the position of our dear martyrs. Dear God, help the Iranian nation achieve its great wishes and goals. Dear God, do not let the enemies harm this nation and this country. Dear God, bestow grace and success on those who serve the Islamic Republic and the people in a sincere and enthusiastic manner.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings