Leader’s Speech at Imam Reza’s (a.s.) Shrine

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on March 21, 2007 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful‌

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, 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.

Our Lord! On you do we rely, and to you do we turn, and to you is the eventual coming. [The Holy Quran, 60: 4]

I must congratulate you for two occasions: one is for the arrival of the New Year and the other is for the arrival of the month of Rabi al-Awwal in which the Holy Prophet of Islam, Mohammad ibn Abdullah (s.w.a.) was born. The New Year itself is one of the auspicious eids for the people of Iran.

The people start the New Year with praying to God and they ask God to change their condition to the best of conditions. Because the months of Muharram and Safar have just ended, this year's New Year has been endowed with the blessings of these two months. You, who have gathered at Ali ibn Musa al-Reza's (a.s.) Holy Shrine, are endowed with more blessings. I also have the opportunity to point out some of the issues which, by Allah's favor, will be beneficial for us in the beginning of the year.

In the beginning of the year, we have a good opportunity to strengthen the national will and to think of ways to make this year full of blessings for ourselves. If all people of Iran focus their efforts on having a fruitful year with hard work and active participation in different arenas, Allah the Exalted will definitely help them. Of course, having complete honesty, being well prepared to satisfy God's demands and to follow the right path, having knowledge of one's condition and position in today's world, finding the obstacles ahead of us and exploring ways to remove them are essential steps that we should take to strengthen this great national will. These are the prerequisites for the success of a dynamic nation. Such a nation should know its conditions and understand its position. It should make firm plans to improve these conditions, and it should have a strong determination to encounter the obstacles which naturally come across one's path. I want to use the opportunity during the time that I am at your service to talk a little about these issues.

A matter of central importance for the Iranian people - which we should always have in mind - is that our nation and our people set themselves a major goal, and they strived for that goal during the decades after the Revolution started in Iran. The more we look at this issue, the more strongly we feel that we have enough capabilities to attain the goal of making Islamic Iran an outstanding country and a model for Muslim nations both with regards to material prosperity and spiritual values. That is to say, our nation can make much progress in terms of material possessions and spiritual development, it can have complete national independence and national pride, it can exploit its full potential, it can improve public welfare and it can administer social justice. Only in this way, our nation can become a model for Muslim nations and even non-Muslim nations. The Iranian nation wishes to have freedom, welfare and faith, and it is after developing its country. This is the goal of our nation.

There is no disagreement over this goal. When it comes to attaining this goal, partisan and political conflicts are resolved or avoided. This goal is shared by all the people of Iran. All of them want to have a prosperous country and a free and an outstanding nation. They also want to realize their full potential, be the leading nation in many arenas, raise the flag of social justice and hold up the flag of Islam among all Islamic countries. These are the things that all the people of Iran are looking for. We can attain these goals because knowing that our nation has considerable potential offers us great hope. The Iranian nation's record on pursuing its goals confirms what I am saying.

The Iranian nation is talented and full of resistance. They have also religious and national zeal, they have unshakable faith in Islam and they have an overwhelming love for their country. These are the things that offer us considerable hope and absolute confidence that our nation can attain these goals. It is not far-fetched to attain these goals as the Iranian nation's record proves this.

For many years we had lost the power to compete with the world in different arenas as a result of the domination of dependent and corrupt regimes over our people. From 200 years ago - when global competition in science and politics had seriously started - up to the present century, these autocratic and repressive regimes ruled over Iran. Their repressive measures made the Iranian nation, which was once ahead of other countries in science and culture, virtually powerless to compete with the world. When a nation cannot compete with other nations, they naturally lose their capabilities, and they cannot achieve any success. Consider a sports team who has enough capabilities, energy and enthusiasm. If others do not let them enter sports competitions, they will naturally lose their capabilities and they will be gradually weakened. Those corrupt regimes did such a thing to our nation.

In spite of the fact that corrupt and incompetent powers and repressive rulers had placed our nation in such a situation, it managed to keep up with the world in different arenas, and it achieved dramatic progress as soon as the Islamic Revolution took place in Iran. The Islamic Revolution of Iran gave our nation the opportunity to enter global competitions. Today, both in scientific and political arenas, our nation is outstanding and pre-eminent among other nations in the world. We are scientifically advanced for the current era. Of course, we cannot make up for the backwardness, which was imposed on us during the last 200 years, in only 20 or 30 years. However, we moved forward at a rapid pace considering the short time we had. You can see that today our youth have made impressive progress - which will make the Iranian nation very glad if they are fully informed about such progress - in arenas of nuclear energy, stem cells, spinal cord injuries and tens of other arenas. Our prominent figures have managed to accomplish extraordinary feats and they have received great compliments from all the people in the world.

We have had many achievements in political arenas too. Today the political discourse of the Islamic Republic of Iran is broadly welcomed both inside and outside the Middle East region. Everybody wants to listen to the discourse of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Our officials are prominent in international communities. They are warmly welcomed when they travel to other countries and they are famous for their strong stances on different matters. Such an excellent condition for our nation shows that we have a lot of talent for making progress and that we have the courage to enter different arenas.

Regarding international politics, our nation has managed to introduce new concepts to the world. The world did not know what religious democracy was, but today it is a popular slogan among Islamic nations. The world did not know what exactly the system of domination was. It was our nation who defined it explicitly and as a result, international politics became familiar with this concept. The issues of religion-based politics and law, and management of the country are new concepts that our nation has introduced. Therefore, we can enter global competitions in scientific, political, industrial, economic and cultural arenas. We can hope that in the short run we will achieve spectacular success and in the long run we will become the first nation in the world. This is what our nation aspires for.

However, the path that our nation wants to take is not like a smooth asphalt road. We will have a lot of obstacles and rough passages ahead of us. We have two main enemies on our way. Today I will briefly introduce these enemies to you so that you and I find a way to confront these enemies. A nation should know its enemies, it should uncover the enemies' plots and it should fully prepare itself for them. We have two types of enemies. One type comes from our inner selves and the other comes from the outer world. The enemies from our inner selves are more dangerous. What are the enemies from our inner selves? They are the negative traits that may develop inside us such as laziness, slackness in our jobs, extreme selfishness, strong suspicion about people's activities, pessimism about the future and lack of confidence in ourselves and in our nation. These act like diseases. If these traits exist in our inner selves, we will face serious problems. The enemies from the outer world have always tried to fill our nation with these negative traits such as "you cannot", "you have a gloomy future", "you are doomed to failure", "you are completely destroyed", "you are in serious trouble" and so on.

They made special efforts to make our nation desperate, bored, unsure of themselves, lazy and dependent on foreigners. These negative traits are enemies from our inner selves. Before the advent of the Islamic movement in our country, these undesirable traits were the biggest disaster for our nation. If a nation suffers from these diseases, they cannot make much progress. If people in a nation are lazy, frustrated and unsure of themselves, and if there is no bond between them, they are suspicious of one another and they are hopeless about their future, they will not have any major achievements. These traits are like termites. If they penetrate a structure, they will completely destroy it. Or they are like worms which make fruit spoil if they penetrate into it. We should fight against these negative traits. Our people should be hopeful, confident, optimistic about their future and interested in making progress. They should also have religious faith in divine grace which will help them attain their goals. By Allah's favor, our nation has such a self-confidence and hope, but it should bolster its confidence and raise its hope. If we manage to remove these enemies from our inner selves and our national culture, enemies from the outer world cannot inflict any harm on our country.

As for the enemies from the outer world, I define them as the global system of domination or what we call global arrogance. Global arrogance and the system of domination divide the world into the dominator and the dominated. The dominators fight with a nation who tries to defend its rights against them. They will exert a lot of pressure on this nation, and they will try to break down its resistance. These are the enemies of a nation which wants to have independence, dignity and progress and which does not like to comply with their domination. These are the enemies from the outer world. Today these enemies are the global network of Zionism and the current government of the United States of America. Of course, this enmity goes back to the beginning of the Revolution. They may change their policies in many issues, but they have persisted in carrying out their policy on enmity towards Iran since the beginning of the Revolution. They placed as much pressure as they could on our country, but their efforts were futile. They have not been able to weaken our nation or make us back down with their measures. Their economic sanctions, military threats, political pressures and war of nerves have proved to be futile. Today we are much stronger than 15, 20 or 27 years ago. This shows that the enemies have miserably failed in their hostility towards the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic of Iran. But this hostility towards the Iranian nation still exists.

There is a fundamental contradiction in the world. From the viewpoint of Muslim countries and regional nations - Asian, African, Latin American and regional nations - the Iranian nation is brave, and they always defend their rights and they resolutely resist oppression. They ascribe these characteristics to the Iranian nation and they speak highly of the people of Iran. But this nation and this Revolution, that have received great praise from Muslim and regional nations, have been accused of violating human rights by oppressive powers. They have also been accused of undermining global security and advocating terrorism. This is a contradiction, a contradiction between the view of nations and wishes of the superpowers. This contradiction is a threat to the global system of domination. They are drifting away from the people day by day. This has created a gaping hole in the structure of western liberal democracy, and this hole will grow larger and larger on a daily basis. Western propaganda cannot cover up the truth indefinitely. It cannot hide the truth forever.

Nations are becoming more and more vigilant on a daily basis. When the Iranian president travels to Asian, African, and South American countries, the people shout slogans in his support. They hold demonstrations for him and express their support. But when the American president travels to South American countries - that is, America's backyard - the people set the American flag on fire to welcome him. This means that the foundations of liberal democracy are shaking. The west, especially America, currently claims to be the standard bearer of liberal democracy. The contradiction between western governments' wishes and the tendencies and what people see are growing more serious day by day. They are claiming to support democracy, human rights, global security, and fighting terrorism, but their evil nature is indicative of warmongering, violation of peoples' rights, and their insatiable greed for energy sources of the world. The people can see this. Day by day liberal democracy and America - as the pioneer of liberal democracy - are losing their reputation before the nations of the world. In contrast, Iran is gaining more respect.

Nations are coming to understand that the Americans' claim that they are defending human rights is a lie. One instance of this is their behavior towards our nation. During the time of taghut - Pahlavi regime - Iran was under the complete control of the Americans. Americans dominated all parts of Iran. They used to establish military bases in order to gain control of Arab countries of the Middle East and monitor their activities from these bases. Iran and Israel were allies and the worst dictators ruled over Iran. They used to torture freedom fighters in prison. Brutal suppression of the people by the taghuti regime's violent agents and the severity of their actions were noticeable throughout the country for example in your own city, Mashhad, and in Tehran and many other cities. They plundered our oil. They lost our national wealth and public funds to foreign rulers. They did not allow the Iranian nation to participate in global competition to make progress in scientific and industrial arenas. They utterly humiliated the Iranian nation. That regime in Iran was the closest ally of the U.S. in the region. Therefore, the Americans fervently supported these rulers. They raised no objections to violating human rights and lack of democracy in taghuti regime of that time. Today Iran is a free country, and our democracy is clearly seen by the world - our democracy is peerless in the world - as there are close relations between the people and the government. From the viewpoint of the American government and politicians, this Iran is not desirable. This shows the stance of global arrogance when the situation is not pleasant for them. Of course, the Americans have not benefited - and will never benefit - from their enmity towards Iran. The Iranian nation is becoming stronger on a daily basis and the values of the Revolution are becoming more and more prominent and they are increasingly gaining credit.

We have some duties against these two enemies. First of all, we should know the enemy perfectly well. Then we should uncover its plots. Today our enemies from the outer world have devised many schemes for the Iranian nation. In order to determine our path, we should devise our five-year policies and twenty-year strategic plan. Our enemies have prepared some plans and developed some policies for us. We should find out what their policies are.

I divide the schemes of global arrogance against the Iranian nation into 3 categories: the first one is war of nerves, the second is economic war and the third is reaction to Iran's scientific progress. The enmity of global arrogance towards our nation can be summarized in these three categories. Of course, advertising executives, the media and political analysts should explain these schemes for the people. I will only tell you the main points in brief about this issue.

What is a war of nerves? The purpose of a war of nerves is to frighten the enemy. Whom do they want to frighten? Since the nation and the majority of the people are not frightened, whom do they want to frighten? They want to frighten government officials, political figures and us - elites of the society. They want to frighten these people. They also want to bribe people who can be easily bought. They plan to weaken our national will and change people's understanding of facts about their country. This is the purpose of a war of nerves. If for one hundred times you tell somebody who is not ill that you are not very well and that you look rather ill, then that person may feel out of sorts. On the contrary, if for one hundred times you tell somebody who is sick that he is well, that person may feel he is alright. They want to distort the facts by the power of suggestion.

Our nation is talented, competent, and they are full of enormous capacities and our country is blessed with rich natural resources. There is no reason for this nation to be frustrated, but global arrogance wants to distort facts so that people become frustrated. They want to make the people lose their trust in government officials. People's trust in government and its officials is a great blessing for a country. They want to take away this blessing from our people and they try to make the people lose their trust in themselves and their government. By circulating rumor, they threaten to impose sanctions and turn to violence.

They try to change the place of the accused and the plaintiff in political issues by propaganda campaign. Today the Americans are the accused and nations are the plaintiffs. We are also plaintiffs because we believe that the U.S. has tried to take away many rights from us. The U.S. is accused of dictatorship, colonialism, warmongering, military occupation and fitnas against our nation. We are the plaintiffs and the claimants. The Americans want to convince the world that they are the plaintiffs and the people of Iran are the accused. However, in the U.S. there is a flagrant violation of human rights and a growing insecurity. Only in one year -2003 - they themselves reported that 13 million American citizens were arrested. They easily authorize torture and they easily issue warrants to have the people's telephones tapped. After the event that happened on the 20th of Shahrivar [September 11, 2001] they arrested and then investigated several million people. This is the current situation in the U.S. Moreover, outside the U.S. there is Abu Gharib prison, Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp and other secret prisons in Europe and other parts of the world. They should answer for their actions because they are accused of many crimes. In spite of the fact that they violate human rights, they claim that they are staunch advocates of human rights and they want to question the Iranian nation or each nation they wish about violation of human rights. They are the ones who promote terrorism. These are all parts of the war of nerves that the Americans make.

One part of the war of nerves that the enemy makes is fomenting discord. They instigate ethnocentric and religious - between Shia and Sunni - fitnas, and they try to cause partisan and guild conflicts. Inside Iran, they have some mercenaries and henchmen who adopt their measures in different ways. These mercenaries spread rumor and accuse Iran in the issue of Iraq. Those who have occupied Iraq, who have humiliated the people of Iraq and who have insulted women, men and the youth of Iraq - at present, American and English soldiers behave disgracefully and violently towards the people in Iraq - accuse Iran of involving itself in the events of Iraq. At the time when the U.S. government and many western governments were supporting Saddam Hussein and his Baath regime, the Iranian nation welcomed all Iraqi refugees. These liberated people came to our country and we protected them from Saddam. Now these people have gained power in Iraq. Terrorist organizations in Iraq are instigated by intelligence services of the U.S., England and Israel. The killings that are carried out in Iraq at present have nothing to do with Shia and Sunni because they have been living together in Iraq for centuries and they have had no major conflicts. There are many Shia and Sunni families in Iraq who have married their sons and daughters to each other and some Shia and Sunni families live together. These terrorist activities were done by global arrogance. They are the ones who benefit from insecurity in Iraq.

They spread rumor about Iran's role in propagating Shiaism and encouraging the so-called Shia Crescent. One of the measures adopted in their war of nerves is to first create discord between the people of Iran and second create discord between the Iranian nation and other Muslim nations. The U.S. has always followed the policy of portraying the Islamic Republic of Iran as a frightening country for its neighbors. Of course, some countries have gained a profound understanding of the intentions of the U.S. and some countries may make a mistake and fall into the trap of the Americans. We have been always willing to extend the hand of friendship to our neighbors in the Persian Gulf, which is the world's largest source of oil. We are still friends with them and we would like to develop our friendship. We believe that the Persian Gulf states should have a mutual defense treaty and they should fully cooperate with one another. We should not let the U.S., England and other foreign countries enter this strategic region under the pretext of defending it. We ourselves should ensure the security of the region and this is possible when the Persian Gulf states fully cooperate with one another.

For this reason I want to give local politicians some friendly advice. One important piece of advice is that they should be vigilant. They should not talk in a way or adopt a certain stance that will help the enemy carry out its schemes in this war of nerves. They should never help the enemy. Today those who disappoint the people and make the people lose their trust in them and the officials have helped the enemy. Today those who make the people disappointed about the future and foment discord - all types of discord - have helped the enemies of the Iranian nation. Those who can write well and speak eloquently and those who have important positions should be vigilant. They should not let the enemy use them for their own ends. The war of nerves that the enemy makes is the most important part of their enmity towards the Iranian nation.

Their economic war against us is another important part of their enmity. They want to put a lot of pressure on the Iranian nation with regards to economic issues. I must say that there are no major obstacles in the way of the Iranian nation to make progress in economic areas. The policies specified in article 44 of the Constitution - which the government is trying hard to implement and which they should actively pursue - have provided our people with ample opportunities for economic progress. These policies have been formulated not only for rich people but also for all the people in our country. This year and maybe a few years into the future, the government should focus on economic issues. We are able to boost our economy. They threaten to impose sanctions on us, but they should know that sanctions cannot harm us. Have not they imposed sanctions on us already? We achieved great progress in nuclear issues and scientific arenas, and we managed to highly develop our country in many areas while there were heavy sanctions against us.

In certain circumstances sanctions may even turn out to be beneficial for us because they can help us increase our efforts. The focus of the country should be on economic issues in the current year - Today is the first day of this year - and maybe a few years into the future. Everybody should benefit from the policies specified in article 44 of the Constitution. Those who are rich enough should invest their money in different business areas, and those who do not have enough money can combine their money with that of other people to make a profitable investment. All the people and all the guilds can make an investment, and they can work collectively to encourage investment. The Justice Shares - which are formulated in article 44 of the Constitution for the bottom two deciles - include 10 million people in our society, but other people can also benefit from the policies in article 44 of the Constitution. There are some measures which we can adopt to achieve this goal. The government officials should tell the people how they can engage in economic activities. These policies are formulated to produce public wealth. From the viewpoint of Islam, it is acceptable to produce wealth. Producing wealth is significantly different from stealing other people's wealth. Sometimes one steals money, which is part of public wealth, and sometimes one accumulates wealth by illegal means. These things are forbidden from the viewpoint of Islam, but God Almighty and Islam allow us to produce wealth by legal means. People can produce wealth, but they should avoid extravagance. Islam tells us that we can acquire wealth, but we should avoid extravagance.

Excessive consumerism is not acceptable from the viewpoint of Islam. What you gain from your investment should be used to produce new sources of wealth. You should neither let your wealth be stagnant - this useless accumulation of wealth is called kanaz in Islam - nor should you spend it extravagantly. If you avoid these, it is acceptable to accumulate wealth for yourself, because an individual's wealth is part of public wealth and everybody benefits from it. The policies specified in article 44 of the Constitution are based on this point. They were formulated to help all the people, especially the lower classes of our society, generate income in different ways and improve their living conditions. This is a considerable step towards promoting public welfare.

Thwarting scientific progress can be exemplified by the nuclear issue. In their comments and political commentary, they say western governments are opposed to Iran's achieving nuclear energy. Nobody cares whether they agree to it or not. Has the Islamic Republic asked permission for achieving nuclear energy? The Iranian nation has not entered this arena with the permission of others, so it cannot be denied permission. All that matters is that the Iranian people want and have agreed to have this energy. Last year in the gathering of people on the occasion of the first day of Farvardin, I said again that the nuclear energy is a necessity for our country. It is a long-term need for our nation. Today if the officials of our country neglect their duty to produce nuclear energy, future generations will blame them. The Iranian nation needs the nuclear energy to improve their living conditions, not to build nuclear weapons. Some people tend to repeat what the enemies say about our nuclear energy. These people ask if we need nuclear energy or not. Do not we need the nuclear energy? Is it acceptable to endanger the future of this country and neglect the needs of our nation for the future? Do the officials of our country have the right to betray future generations? One day we will be out of oil because we are using it every day. Should the Iranian nation beg other countries to give them the energy needed to run factories, produce electricity, light and warmth for their houses when they will be out of oil? Are the officials of our country allowed to do so? Some people only repeat what the enemies say. Today those people who praise the nationalization of the oil industry which was fulfilled by Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh and Ayatollah Kashani - this achievement is not as extraordinary as the nuclear achievement - express their opposition to the nuclear energy, as the opponents of Dr. Mosaddegh and Ayatollah Kashani tried to discourage their movement. This is not acceptable. We have made dramatic advances with our own innovation.

The officials of our country never broke international law as all of our activities are done under close scrutiny of the International Atomic Energy Agency. There is nothing wrong with this and we have no complaints in this regard. They can monitor our activities closely, but provoking controversy and using the United Nations Security Council for their own ends will be detrimental to global powers opposing the Iranian nation in this regard. I should warn them that if they persist in using the United Nations Security Council for their own ends and if they keep trying to deny us our basic right, we will break international law as they did. So far, we have obeyed international law regarding our nuclear rights, but if they break the law, we can also do the same and we will do that. They should know that if they continue to threaten us and turn to violence and oppression against us, the Iranian nation and their officials will definitely use all their potential to harm those enemies who try to attack them.

I want to finish my comments. As a servant of the Iranian nation, I would like to give them a word of advice: you should practice the slogan of this year that I designated - that is to say, National Unity and Islamic Solidarity. National unity means the consolidation of the Iranian nation and Islamic solidarity means coming together of Muslim nations and it requires that the Iranian nation develop their relations with Islamic nations. If we want to achieve national unity and Islamic solidarity, we should rely on our shared principles. We should not involve ourselves with minor issues about which we have disagreements.

Another piece of advice is that our dear people, especially our youth, should not lose their self-confidence. You dear youth of the Iranian nation, should know that you are able to achieve astonishing feats. You are able to help your country have honor and gain admiration at its highest level. The enemies want to shatter your self-confidence and your confidence in officials of the country and the government. The enemies wish that our people lost their confidence in the government, which is responsible for managing the country. You should try to foil this plot of the enemies. I fervently support the government as I supported previous administrations which were elected by people. I will maintain my stance in the future. I strongly support the current administration. There are cogent reasons for my support. Firstly, the position of government in the Islamic Republic of Iran and in the political system of the country is very significant. Secondly, government has the most responsibilities.

Moreover, its efforts to pays special attention to religious principles and revolutionary and Islamic values are very precious. Its diligence, which is exemplified by maintaining close relations with the people, organizing provincial trips, and serving justice, is very valuable. I really appreciate this diligence and that is why I fervently support the government. Of course, I have some reasonable expectations of the government for this support. My first expectation is that the officials of the country should not get frustrated. Moreover, they should keep their faith and trust in God, have confidence in the people of Iran, continue to work and live with the people, avoid extravagance which allures some people, increase their vigilance, avoid partisan and political conflicts which only waste their time, work for the people as hard as they can and fulfill the promises that they give them.

We should be fully alert, turn to God for help and be careful. The Iranian nation is a great and capable nation and it has great goals to pursue. I hope that Allah the Exalted continues to shower his grace and blessings on you dear people of the Iranian nation. By Allah's favor, today, which is the first day of 1386, will be the start of a prosperous year for our people.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings