Leader’s Speech to People of Fars Province

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on April 23, 2011 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution to thousands of ordinary citizens from Fars province.

I would like to welcome the dear brothers and sisters who have traveled here from Fars province. Through your important slogans and through your presence in this meeting, you truly revived the memory of the great bravery of the people of Fars province and Shiraz. The people of Fars province have demonstrated valor on numerous occasions in contemporary times and in the recent past.

To be fair, Fars province and Shiraz are among the most prominent places in our country - in terms of distinguished manpower, in terms of knowledge, in terms of literary works, in terms of different kinds of progress in the arena of social life, in terms of political activities, in terms of jihad and in terms of piety. The name of Shiraz figured prominently in the most sensitive and vital social events of the pre-Revolution era. For example, regarding the historic tobacco fatwa, which was the beginning of a popular and conscious battle against the hegemony of the west, Mirza Reza Shirazi was a prominent figure. If the politicians and elites of our country had followed the path of Mirza Reza Shirazi, the destiny of Iran would have been different. But colonialists stepped in and put an end to his movement by taking advantage of the unawareness and greed of certain people. Similarly, the name of Shiraz figured prominently when the people of Iraq put up a fight against English colonialism and interference. The leader of this movement was Mirza Mohammad Taqi Shirazi who is also known as the second Mirza Shirazi. He was a great man. He was a religious scholar and a marja taqlid. There were prominent figures in Fars province during the constitutional movement, during the political activities which led to the victory of the Islamic Revolution and during and after the Revolution. This is about the issue of jihad. "Surely jihad is one of the doors of Paradise, which Allah has opened for His chief friends". The issue of jihad is not an unimportant issue. It is the door to Paradise, and not everybody is allowed in. Only God's friends are allowed to enter Paradise. This shows that our selfless people are among God's friends, and this is why the door to Paradise has been opened up for them.

The same is true of science. Shiraz has been a pioneer in the scientific movement during the post-Revolution era, especially during the recent years. Regarding political and social issues - which are difficult and confusing - the people of Shiraz are considered among the most vigilant and insightful people in the country. Sometimes political events get so complicated that they become confusing. But we see that our people are vigilant. In particular, the honorable people of Fars province are among the pioneers.

A prominent point about Fars province, especially Shiraz, is that the satanic Pahlavi regime selected a few places as centers for promoting deviation from ethical values and religious spirituality. Shiraz was one of those places. They decided to make use of the poetic and artistic spirit which is prevalent among the people of this province. Fars province and Shiraz are the center of literature. Fars province is the center of poetry and different kinds of art, and this shows the characteristics of the people of this province. The people of Fars province appreciate and produce art. The satanic Pahlavi regime decided to make use of these characteristics. They decided to make Fars province the center of spreading corruption. The people disappointed them. See how much the people pay attention to Imam Musa ar-Ridha's (a.s.) shrine and the shrines of his brothers. Compare this attention with the past and see how much more the people respect and pay attention to these shrines. That is to say, the path that the people followed is exactly the opposite of the Pahlavi regime's policies. They are still following the same path, and they will do so in the future as well. This is why I express respect for the people of Fars province and Shiraz.

Fars province offered 14,600 martyrs to the Revolution, and five thousands of these martyrs were from the city of Shiraz. This is a big number. When we say that one person was martyred, it means that tens of people entered the arena and made selfless efforts. It means that tens of people laid down their lives, and only one of them was martyred. You can now see what 14,600 means. It means that the entire Fars province showed enthusiasm and love for self-sacrifice.

I have no intention of praising the people of Shiraz or the honorable people of our country. You neither need my praise, nor do you expect me to praise you. So why am I saying these things? Because contrary to the enemy's wishes, I want the history and identity of our nation to become clear for today's and tomorrow's friends and enemies. This is because the enemies' propaganda is pursuing the opposite of this. A nation's determination to insist on its righteous goals - which are important for its life in this world and the next - is the key to that nation's progress. This is exactly the opposite of the goal pursued by wealthy, bullying and powerful people in the world who want to spread their hegemony over nations of the world and enslave human beings across the world. The only way in which a nation can counter this goal is to select a righteous goal and to pursue it in a determined way. This determination will help the nation achieve its goal, and this nation becomes a role model for the people who are watching it - just as the Iranian nation became a role model. Global analyses of the regional issues suggest the same thing. They are saying that Iran has become a role model. They are saying that the Iranian nation has turned into a role model for the people of the region. They are worried that what happened in Iran will happen in the region as well. They are worried that the flag of Islam may be raised in the region as well and that governments may be established on the basis of Islam. This is the characteristic of resistance.

Considering the characteristics which I pointed out about the people of Fars province, one cannot praise the great Iranian nation too much. No amount of praise is an exaggeration. There has been a battle throughout history, a battle between nations of the world and a few greedy, power-thirsty, wealthy and arrogant people. This battle has been continuing throughout history. Arrogant people have always had weapons, money and a loud voice. And there are certain things that they have traditionally lacked. They have been completely merciless and unfair. They have been prepared to give rise to great tragedies and crimes in order to reach their goals. On the other hand, nations of the world only had their life, determination and faith to rely on. Whenever nations have made use of these great tools and resisted, the opposing camp has been defeated. But nations have not always been steadfast. They have not always resisted. They have not always made the best of their life, determination and faith, but whenever they have, they have managed to make progress.

This battle is still continuing today. The arrogant powers of the world - namely, western powers, America and the Zionists - would never stop. They want to spread their hegemony over the entire world and the entire financial resources of the world. They want to dominate all human resources. What have nations done wrong to deserve this? Why should nations of the world tolerate their hegemony? Unfortunately these things have become realities. They select people who are like them and put them in charge of nations of the world in order to protect their interests and work against the interests of nations and pressure them as much as they can. This has happened throughout the world in different forms during the past 200 years - since the beginning of colonialism. The problem that nations of the world have been suffering from during this period is not the existence of dictators. Their problem is that dictators receive support from global powers. It is global powers that have been trampling on the rights of nations. This is the problem with the era of colonialism. It is possible to analyze all these issues appropriately if we look at them from this prospective. The same is true of today's issues.

Thanks to Islam, the Islamic Revolution and widespread Islamic Awaking, today certain events are happening in the region. There is no doubt that this public awakening will produce results, just as they have in certain parts of the region. The more the people of region preserve their determination and their preparedness for self-sacrifice, the more the probability of their victory will be. This is exactly what the arrogant powers, America and the Zionists do not want to happen. They do not want people to resist. America was surprised by the regional developments. It received an unexpected blow. The same is true of the Zionists and the self-righteous European colonialists. They were all surprised. But they are trying to take control of the situation in one way or another. Of course they have been unsuccessful so far. They failed completely in a couple of countries, and they are struggling in a couple of other countries. Definitely this awakening will not stop. This progressive movement of the people is irrevocable. Whatever they do, this movement will achieve results which will benefit nations and harm the global powers. Of course nations of the region should stay vigilant. They should know that the enemy is lying in ambush.

In certain cases, they clearly oppress nations. Regarding the issue of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen, all those who can sit in judgment would recognize western powers as the obvious criminal and culprit if they just paid careful attention. These western powers are oppressing the people in those countries. Analyzing these issues is up to political analysts, and they say the same thing in their analyses. The general conclusion is that today America, the west and others are pressuring and oppressing the people in favor of the Zionists and the fake Israeli government. Unfortunately the people of Bahrain have been oppressed more than other nations.

Because the Islamic Republic adopts righteous positions and announces them clearly, they focus all their propaganda attacks on the Islamic Republic. They want the Islamic Republic to be an indifferent bystander. Such a thing is not possible, and this is not the nature of the Islamic Republic. It is clear that neither the nation, nor government officials, nor political elites can be an indifferent bystander in this oppressive conflict, which has been imposed on the people by the arrogant powers. So they say that Iran is interfering in the internal affairs of those countries. What interference? How did Iran interfere in the internal affairs of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen? Yes, we expressed our view in a clear way. We were never intimidated by the frown of the so-called powers of the world. We did not pay attention to their frown, and we never will.

We announce our righteous position in a clear way. The righteous position is that the people of Bahrain have the right to protest. You can discuss this with any insightful person in the world. Explain their situation to him. Explain the way the oppressed Bahraini people are being governed. Explain what the rulers did to take advantage of this small country. Then see if they condemn the ruling system or not. They are making a mistake: confronting the people is useless. You may pressure the people violently and manage to put down the uprising for a short time, but the uprising will not die out. You will further infuriate the people on a daily basis. One day you will lose control of the situation, and it will be impossible for you to set things right. They are making a mistake. Both the Bahraini government and those who send forces to Bahrain are making a serious mistake. They think they can annihilate a popular movement through these things. This is what the Islamic Republic wants to say. The same is true of Yemen and Libya. Westerners are playing a game with the people of Libya. Libya is a country which is close to Europe and is full of oil. They do not want a populist government, especially a populist Islamic government, to come to power in Libya. So they just play a game with the people. The people of Libya understand this. And the same is true of other places as well.

The main criminal in these events is undoubtedly the arrogant powers of the world, the international system of arrogance and the international Zionist network, and today the Zionists are taking advantage of the recent events. They pressure the people of Gaza and kill them on a daily basis. The regional nations and governments and those who love the truth should not ignore the activities of the Zionist regime.

This is the situation of the Islamic Republic of Iran. As a result, you see that the propaganda and the political, economic and security actions of the US and its allies are focused on the Islamic Republic. Of course the Islamic Republic is standing firm, but they do not spare any malevolence. They have not backed down. The strength of the Islamic Republic has made their sword blunt. Their sword has hit the rock. I would like to urge our honorable nation and government to preserve this rock-solid position. Do not allow discord to be created. Do not allow a rift to be formed. Do not let the enemy achieve what he is seeking through its political malevolence and propaganda.

Notice what uproar they caused in the world in the past 5, 6 days over an issue which was not very important - the issue related to the Ministry of Intelligence. Their analyses started to promote the idea that there is a rift in the structure of the Islamic Republic, that the leadership of the country is divided and that the President did not listen to the Leader. They used their propaganda machines to seriously promote these baseless things. Notice how desperately they are looking for a pretext. Notice how they are lying in ambush like a wolf, looking for a pretext to attack the Islamic Republic in whatever way they can. They know that the government is busy making efforts and rendering services. Genuine services are being rendered in the country. Whenever a service is rendered somewhere, both the Leader and the people will support it. Our judgment is not based on individuals. Our criterion is the work that is done and the path that is selected. Wherever the people and I see hard work and services, we support them. Thankfully today efforts are being made. Our government officials - the President and his cabinet members - are making genuine efforts. They work day and night. I see how active they are. They are constantly making efforts and rendering services to the people. These things are very valuable to the country. According to the principles, I do not want to interfere in the actions and decisions of the administration. The responsibilities have been specified in the Constitution. Each government official has a particular responsibility. I step in only when I feel a national interest is being ignored, which was the case regarding the recent issue. Sometimes I feel that an important national interest is being ignored, so I step in to prevent this. This is not a particularly important issue because similar things happen. But the opponents, our foreign enemies and those who own international media outlets and propaganda machines use this issue to create uproar through their propaganda.

My advice to the domestic elements, those who care about the country and the brothers and sisters inside the country who deal with issues related to foreign propaganda is that they should not fan the flames of this uproar. Why is it necessary to analyze these things and to present arguments and counter-arguments? Thankfully the Islamic Republic is a powerful system. Government officials are doing their job. By Allah's grace, this humble person who has the responsibility of leadership is standing firm on his correct positions. As long as I am alive and as long as I have this responsibility, I will not allow the slightest deviation in the great movement of the Iranian nation towards the ideals. As long as our honorable people are present on the scene with wisdom, insight and strong determination, God will bestow His blessings on us. As long as we are present on the scene, we will benefit from divine blessings. If we go after our personal interests and forget the goals, divine assistance will definitely decrease.

But fortunately you see today that the people are present on the scene in every part of the country. The same is true about our government officials and the three branches of the government. The executive, legislative and judiciary branches of the government are truly present on the scene. I personally see their involvement. They are making serious efforts. They are working very hard. Their responsibilities are very heavy.

This year I raised the subject of economic jihad. The determined efforts of our government officials have given rise to a great movement. Both our people and our government officials should join hands and start this economic jihad this year. As I said, the slogans that I select for each year are meant to initiate a continuing movement. The slogans are not meant to be practiced only for one year. Thankfully these things are being done. We all have our own flaws. I have my own flaws, and the heads of the three branches of the government have their own flaws. Our honorable government officials are not perfect. We should take refuge in Allah the Exalted. We should identify our flaws and try to reduce them. We should not put obstacles in the way of the impressive movement by our great nation.

I pray to Allah the Exalted to continue bestowing His kind blessings on our nation. I hope God will make the holy heart of the Imam of the Age (a.s.) kind to us, and I hope God will help us benefit from his prayers. I pray to Allah the Exalted to bestow the highest positions on our dear martyrs and our magnanimous Imam who initiated this movement.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings