Leader's Statements in a Meeting with Participants in IWMC

The following is an abridged text of the statements made by Grand Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, in a meeting with participants in the Islamic World Media conference (IWMC), held in Tehran on January 31, 2002 in support of the Palestinian Intifada.
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

I would like to express my warm welcome to all of you our dear brothers, and I hope that your conference yields positive results for the Islamic world, especially for the oppressed Palestinian people.

I intend to focus my words on two subjects. The first one is the issue of Palestine, which is one of the most important issues of the Islamic world. The role and responsibility of the media is the second subject that I will talk about.

Undoubtedly, Palestine is presently passing through its fateful days. It is true that Palestine has often been the scene of conflicts between Muslims and their enemies in the course of history. However, over the past one hundred years, especially in the past half a century, this holy land has been turned into the front line of such conflicts.

In general, Palestine has been the scene of important events in the history of Islam over the past centuries. But what is currently taking place in Palestine is almost exceptional and unprecedented.

In other words, the pressure that is currently being exerted on the Palestinians as well as the self-sacrifice and strong resistance of this nation are both unprecedented in the history of this holy land.

With their children being killed and their houses being destroyed, the Palestinians are sacrificing everything they have in their present Intifada against the occupiers of their homeland just in order to restore their rights.

The United States and most of the Western countries are fully supporting the Zionist regime, which is blatantly violating the international law and conventions. Thus, these countries are showing to the world that they have no respect for the international law and conventions, and that they only seek to promote their own interests and accomplish their own objectives.

There is no doubt that the Zionist regime would not be able to survive without the economic and political support of the United States and other Western countries, whose media are constantly airing propaganda in favor of the Zionist entity in order to cover up its crimes and atrocities against the innocent and defenseless Palestinians. Therefore, the United States and other countries supporting Israel are also complicit in these crimes and atrocities.

Ever since the emergence of the cancerous tumor of Zionism in Palestine, the Western countries have been acting in collusion with the Zionist regime. In other words, Israel has been tasked with protecting the regional interests of the Western powers by posing a constant threat to the security of the Islamic countries in the region. And the Western countries, in return, have pledged to fully support this cancerous tumor. Today, it is the United States that is playing a major role in supporting the Zionist entity.

After this awful disaster struck, no effective and appropriate measure was taken by the Islamic world to counter this catastrophe. Nevertheless, there were some prominent personalities both inside and outside Palestine such as Ezzeddin Ghassam, Haji Amin al-Hussaini and Sheikh Mohammad Hussain Kashef al-Gheta', who warned the Islamic states of the threat posed by the Zionist regime to the security of the regional countries. They also led a campaign against this occupier and aggressor entity themselves.

But the Islamic world, as a whole, did not respond to this threat in an appropriate manner and did not take effective action to root out this malignant tumor. Consequently, there have been some ups and downs over the past half a century in the struggle of the Palestinian people against the occupiers of their homeland.

However, the current Intifada of the Palestinians is characterized by two special features. The previous struggles of the Palestinians did not possess these two qualities at the same time.

The first feature of the present Intifada is its Islamic nature, and its second characteristic is its enjoying wide popular support. It is the association of these two qualities that is currently shaking the foundations of the Zionist regime.

Furthermore, another major factor threatening the Zionist regime is the fact that the present Palestinian uprising is spearheaded by the Palestinian people themselves, not by their politicians.

It is easy to draw politicians to the negotiating table and force them into submission through threats, coercion and intimidation or deceive them by making empty promises. But today, it is the Palestinian nation who is leading the struggle against the Zionist occupiers.

The Palestinians have now realized that their survival depends on their resistance against the occupiers of their homeland, since the international organizations are taking no action to stop the Zionist regime's crimes and its gross violations of the Palestinian rights.

The present struggle of the Palestinians has also been inspired by their religious beliefs and their strong faith in the Almighty. This is why the Zionists are now feeling greatly threatened by the uprising of the Palestinian people.

The brave resistance and uprising of the Palestinians has also infuriated the arrogant U.S. politicians, and they are now exposing their hypocritical nature. In other words, although the U.S. officials have so far been trying to hide their support for Israel and to portray themselves as impartial in the Middle East conflict, they are now shamelessly and openly supporting the Zionist regime's heinous crimes and brutalities against the defenseless Palestinian people.

The Zionist regime is assassinating the Palestinian activists, sending its tanks and troops to the Palestinian cities and villages, massacring the innocent men, women and children and destroying their homes. It is also receiving full support from Washington in committing all these crimes and atrocities.

This hypocritical, belligerent and domineering attitude is what we describe as ‘arrogance' in the terminology of the Islamic Revolution.

The United States and the Zionist regime describe the Palestinian resistance groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad and the Lebanese resistance group Hizbollah as terrorists! Why? These resistance groups are called terrorists only because they are trying to restore their rights that have been violated by the Zionist regime and to defend their honor and dignity.

U.S. officials would like to hear no objections to the Israeli killings of Palestinian children in front of the eyes of their fathers, such as martyr Mohammad al-Durrah who was killed by the Israeli soldiers while he was in his father's arms.

The Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Lebanese Hizbollah and all other resistance groups that are present in the arena of struggle against Israel are condemned as terrorists because they respond to the atrocious crimes and brutalities of the Zionist entity. The Islamic Republic is also condemned because it has always strongly advocated the restoration of the Palestinian rights.

We have never ceased our support for the cause of Palestine, and we have always called for a fair solution to the Middle East conflict that would restore the Palestinian rights, although we have known that the arrogant powers would be displeased by this attitude. We have never adopted a hypocritical or compromising approach to this issue. This is why the Islamic Republic has constantly been the target of the negative propaganda of the arrogant powers!

The U.S. officials are now revealing their true nature. In his recent speech, the U.S. president spoke like a person who is thirsty for the blood of human beings! He threatened and leveled baseless accusations against other governments and nations. Considering the existing realities on the ground, most of the nations in the world have now come to the conclusion that the U.S. is really the Great Satan. This belief is also substantiated by concrete evidence.

If you take a look at the history of the past thirty or forty years, you will find out that the U.S. has created the greatest hurdles in the way of popular and liberation movements across the world, and that its Central Intelligence Agency has assassinated a large number of activists and leaders of these liberation movements.

Furthermore, the U.S. has been the main supporter of the tyrannical and oppressive regimes in the world. It has plundered the national wealth and natural resources of other nations more covetously than any other colonial power, and it has sold the largest amount of deadly weapons compared with other arms manufacturers in the world. These are some of the reasons why most nations call the United States the Great Satan.

The U.S. is currently leveling baseless accusations against the Islamic Republic. We are proud of this, as we will never welcome praise and admiration from the most hated and the most evil regime in the world.

The United States is claiming that the Iranian officials are not elected by the people, while the fact is that all senior officials of this country are elected through the people's votes. Indeed, the absolute majority of the Iranians have taken part wholeheartedly and enthusiastically in all elections that have been held in the Islamic Republic since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, unlike some other countries in which people do not express much enthusiasm for going to the polls, and in which only a small portion of the population votes in elections.

The U.S. officials have so far suffered serious blows due to their lack of experience and their lack of knowledge of the realities of other nations. But today the inexperienced U.S. officials are pushing their country toward the edge of the precipice through their wrong policies.

Those at the helm in Washington have no sense of spirituality and have no respect for human rights. If they can, they will deal in the most brutal manner with those nations that refuse to submit to their domination and refuse to bend the knee to them, just as the Zionist regime is presently treating the oppressed Palestinians. The fact is that they cannot, but some U.S. officials have overestimated their power.

The Zionist entity, supported by the United States, is trying to bring the Palestinians to their knees and force them to forego their legitimate rights. But it will not succeed in doing so, since all the Palestinians have stood up for their rights in their present Intifada.

As regards the role and responsibility of the media, what is necessary to mention is that the media of the Islamic world shoulder a heavy responsibility at this sensitive juncture, and they should play a more active role in informing the world public of the plight and suffering of the Palestinian people and in defending their rights.

Today, most international media that broadcast to nearly all countries in the world, including to the Arab and Islamic countries, are controlled or influenced by the Zionist circles. The Zionists have long been trying to dominate and take control of the world media in order to change the international atmosphere in their own favor by airing pro-Zionist propaganda, and this is what they have already done.

One of the most effective ploys of the Zionists has been to portray themselves as the victims of persecution and to portray other nations as anti-Semitic! And they have fabricated many tales to inculcate this false idea in the world public!

What is more surprising is that despite all their heinous crimes and atrocities against the innocent Palestinians over the past half a century, the Zionists are still trying through their mass media and propaganda machine to portray themselves as the ones who are being oppressed and persecuted!

In their discussions with the Western officials and in their talks with the officials of some Arab and Islamic countries, the Zionists have said that they need security, and that their security should be guaranteed. But they have never said clearly what they mean by this security. As a result, they describe whatever runs counter to their interests as a threat to their security!

Thus, fulfilling the Zionist entity's demand for this so-called security is even worse than ceding territory to this occupier regime! This is because when you cede territory, you know what you have lost, but when you decide to fulfill this demand, you do not know to what extent you should yield and how many concessions you should make to this expansionist regime!

The Europe's experience serves as a lesson, and it proves that there is no end to such concessions! The German government has already paid around one hundred and fifty billion marks to the Zionists as compensation, but they are still demanding more from Germany!

What the Zionists have done to Germany, they have also done, more or less, to other European countries like Austria, Switzerland and France. They even demanded compensation from the Vatican until some years ago! All have to give compensation to the Zionist regime, and there is no end in sight to this compensation!

Furthermore, all the Western politicians, intellectuals and journalists are obliged to pay homage and bow to the monument that commemorates those allegedly killed in the Nazi concentration camps. In other words, all should acknowledge the veracity of something that has not been proven! This is also one of the propaganda means being applied by the Zionists to portray themselves as the victims of persecution!

The Zionists took advantage of the September 11 incidents in New York and Washington, which sidelined the issue of Palestine, and escalated their crimes and brutalities against the Palestinian people with full support from the United States. The Zionist regime even barred foreign reporters from entering the occupied territories in order to prevent the disclosure of the crimes committed by the Israeli soldiers against the innocent Palestinians, especially those living in the refugee camps.

Considering that most of the international media are today controlled by the Zionist circles, the media of Islamic countries shoulder the important duty to inform the world public of the facts about Palestine and Muslim nations so as to neutralize the biased and negative propaganda of the Zionists.

The devout and faithful members of the Islamic resistance in South Lebanon managed to convey their message of resistance and self-sacrifice to the whole Islamic world and also to other nations. This was what mostly frustrated the Zionist enemy, as the world realized what was happening in South Lebanon and what the Islamic resistance was trying to accomplish. As a result, the Islamic resistance received support from other Muslim nations, which boosted its morale. On the other hand, the Zionist enemy lost its self-confidence and experienced a major setback.

This is what we should always do through appropriate information dissemination. The Islamic world is always the target of attacks by its enemies. Besides, Palestine, which is part of the Islamic world, is today in the clutches of the Zionists, and the innocent Palestinians are suffering the most heinous crimes and atrocities.

Therefore, the media of Islamic countries should face up to their responsibility and drum up international support for the cause of Palestine. They should inform the world public of what is happening to the Palestinians in the occupied territories by conveying facts and disseminating information in an appropriate manner.

It is true that we do not possess the media capable of broadcasting to all countries in the world, but we should still make the most of the existing potential and resources of the Islamic world to promote the cause of Palestine.

The people of all ranks, especially the politicians, intellectuals, academics, writers, poets and artists, shoulder a heavy responsibility in this respect, since they are the ones who can influence the world public opinion and bring about a change in the present situation in Palestine.

This conference is an important event in itself, since it will enable you to exchange views on this issue and draw up a blueprint for coordinating and boosting the activities of the Islamic world media.

Many Muslim writers and intellectuals criticize the officials of some Islamic countries for not using their oil, their wealth and their political means as pressure levers against the Zionists. This is a just criticism, and we also agree with them.

Nevertheless, the Muslim intellectuals, writers and academics should also be criticized for not utilizing their abundant potentialities and resources appropriately in support of the Palestinian nation.

Sometimes, it happens that a piece of poetry proves more effective than any other means in accomplishing an objective.

A few years ago, a Palestinian poet composed a poem that incited all the Arab nations. Therefore, a coordinated propaganda campaign or proper information dissemination may even prove more effective than turning off the oil taps.

Above all, what the Islamic world media are expected to do today is to boost the morale of those who are in the front line of the resistance against the Zionist enemy. They should portray bright prospects for the Intifada and infuse the Palestinians with the hope that they will ultimately achieve victory over the occupiers of their homeland.

These media should make it clear to the world that the Palestinian people, who are only relying on their own strong faith and determination, will never submit to the Zionist regime, and that they will continue their Intifada until they restore their rights.

The Zionist regime and the United States do not aim for anything less than the total submission of the Palestinian nation. But they are mistaken, as a nation with a strong belief and determination like the Palestinians will never be defeated.

The media of the Islamic countries should get this point across in order to infuse more hope and energy into the Palestinians and give a fresh impetus to their resistance and Intifada.

Today, any measure that we take in this regard will affect the future of the Islamic world and will be recorded in history. Thus, we hope the Islamic countries realize the sensitivity of the present juncture and face up to their responsibility.

We can see a bright future for the Palestinians as well as for the Islamic world. I pray to Almighty Allah to confer His grace, favor and assistance on the Palestinian nation and on the whole Muslim Ummah.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings