Leader's Speech to President Ahmadinejad and Cabinet Members

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on August 23, 2012 by Ayatollah Khamenei the leader of the Islamic Revolution in a meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his cabinet members. The meeting was held on the occasion of Government Week.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Well, there is not much time left, so I will have to briefly discuss the points I have in mind. I am grateful for the details that the friends presented. I hope you will succeed in actualizing what you have in mind and what you have planned and worked for.

This occasion [Government Week] is imbued with the memory of our honorable martyrs, Shahid Rajai, Shahid Bahonar and Shahid Eraqi, who were outstanding personalities. Efforts to keep their memory alive are in fact efforts to keep alive the discourse of the Revolution and the value of martyrdom. This occasion is also an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for the services that are rendered by the executive branch of government, both what is done by senior managers of our governmental organizations and what is done by those who serve at different levels. Fortunately, today there is a concerted effort. Government Week provides us with an opportunity to express our gratitude for these things. It is also an opportunity for yourselves, not just an opportunity to present reports and inform the people of what has been done - which is of course necessary - but also an opportunity for executive officials to engage in self-assessment so that they can identify, study and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. They should identify and evaluate what has brought about improvement for them and they should try to strengthen it. Similarly, they should try to eliminate what has brought about backwardness and weaknesses which are clearly visible in the lives of the people. You should consider Government Week an opportunity for yourselves, especially this year which is the last year of your term in office.

I clearly remember that in my first meeting with the officials of the current government on the occasion of Government Week, I said that opportunities pass like lightning. You see that the major part of your good and long opportunity has passed and that only one year remains. Of course, one year is a great opportunity. It is wrong to think that you cannot do anything in the one year that remains. No, in the one year that remains from your term in office, you can do a lot of important things. This last year is an important year, both because it is the last year of your term in office and because of the international conditions that exist. That is to say, you are faced with the muscle-flexing of the arrogant powers that are doing everything in their power in the hope that they will manage to force you to retreat and accept defeat, and you should do everything in your power so that you can dispel this illusion that the enemies entertain in their minds. In fact, you should complete your numerous services in this last year. There is no doubt that in this last year there should be no negligence and we may even say you should do your work more seriously than ever before.

Fortunately, the country is making progress. The statistics that are presented by our own organizations and by international organizations show that our country is making progress on all fronts. Of course, there are some people who have illusions, illusions which are based on wrong evaluations.

Our enemies are adopting new measures and these measures require new counter-measures. It is necessary to always pay attention to this point. Some of the friends said that the enemies make certain decisions and we adopt certain measures to confront those decisions. This is a very good thing to do, but what is even better is to predict what the enemy wants to do and to confront it before he takes action. For example, you had predicted the money transfer issue related to oil exports or the problem related to selling and transferring oil, insurance and other such things. We had figured out everything before they took action. Prepare solutions before they take action. The same is true today. That is to say, it is wrong to think that the enemy has stopped his enmity. No, they are looking for new ways. Because what they have done has proven ineffective, they will definitely look for new ways. Of course, their new ways will also prove ineffective. You should try to figure out what they will come up with and you should prepare yourselves.

A comment was made in this meeting which had been made in a previous meeting as well. It was said that it is necessary to centralize economic decisions of the executive branch. Of course, I agree. That is to say, there is no doubt that it is necessary to centralize decisions when it comes to large-scale decisions and essential matters. Currently economic issues are the most important issues, particularly whatever is related to the livelihood of the people and the pressures that the enemy wants to exert on the people. Decisions should be centralized, but pay attention to the fact that this centralized decision-making means that decision-making will be centralized in the government. All the people who are cooperating with the President in different parts of the government should have a common sense of responsibility. They should work in harmony. Everybody in the government should play a role in decision-making. In this regard, it is necessary to take the common sense of responsibility in the government very seriously. All the ministers and officials who participate in cabinet meetings should feel that they play a role in the decisions that are made and the measures that are adopted. If this happens, then everything will move ahead smoothly. There will be no inconsistencies in performance, in understanding of different issues and in statistics.

It is also necessary to make use of all the capacities. Our country enjoys good capacities. There are enormous capacities, both in the government and outside of it. Sometimes I see certain government officials seeking advice from people who do not work for the government. This is a very good thing to do. Continue doing this in different areas and make use of the existing capacities. There are caring and enthusiastic people who are prepared to cooperate with the government. It is necessary to make use of their cooperation. These things are among the capacities that exist in our country. And fortunately, the government enjoys enormous capacities.

There are certain strengths and certain weaknesses. In general, it appears that there are more strengths than weaknesses, but this does not mean that we should neglect our duty to eliminate the existing weaknesses. Over the past few years, major development projects have been carried out in the country, particularly in remote areas. These projects are truly important, an essential strategy of the government. Apart from this issue, pay attention to the remarkable advances that have been made in different areas relating to science and technology. The advances that have been made in science and technology over the past few years are very remarkable.

The same is true of improving the position of the country as far as foreign policy and different international issues are concerned. Today in the area of foreign policy, the weight that our country carries is very different from a few years ago. We play a significant role in different issues. These things are important. We have played a role in the events that have taken place, which is a different story. And I believe this issue is also very important.

Another strength, which I believe should be stressed, is the issue of highlighting our revolutionary values. During the years the ninth and tenth governments have been in power, the revolutionary discourse and values and Imam Khomeini's (r.a.) recommendations have been clearly highlighted - namely, the need for government officials to have simple lifestyles, fighting the arrogant powers, feeling proud of one's revolutionary spirit. We went through an era when the Revolution, the revolutionary spirit and other such things were sidelined. They tried to portray these things as negative, as anti-values. They would write articles and speak about it. Fortunately, today this is no longer the case. Generally, our people and government officials have a tendency towards revolutionary movements, revolutionary orientations, revolutionary values and revolutionary principles. Pay attention to the fact that these things are one of the reasons why the people support the current government. The people believe that these values are important. The call to justice, the issue of leading a simple lifestyle and government officials' avoidance of luxurious lifestyles - these things are very important.

The efforts that the government makes to bond with the people and the extraordinary efforts that the government makes are very good things. Notice that the numerous efforts you make should be coupled with quality and a commitment to fulfill your promises. Insist on this issue. There is no doubt that you naturally want to be able to fulfill your promises, but make sure to fulfill at the right time whatever you promise to the people. Even if you honor 90 percent of your promises, the other 10 percent is enough to undermine your position in the eyes of the people. One must not make promises whenever it is likely that one will not be able to fulfill them. In such cases, it is necessary to avoid speaking with certainty. I believe this is a very important point.

Everybody can see that the enemies have increased their efforts to counter the Islamic Republic in the recent years - in the past 6, 7 years and particularly over the past 2, 3 years. I believe there are two, three significant factors in this regard and if we knew the source of the enemy's motives, we would be in a better position to prepare plans. I believe one of the reasons behind the enmities we are faced with is the advances that you have made. They want to slow you down. The Islamic Republic - with its proclaimed support for Islam and Islamic democracy and with its rational rejection of liberal democracy - is considered a threat to the arrogant powers of the world. The more progress you make, the greater this threat will become. And this is what they want to prevent.

The second reason behind these enmities is that our revolutionary slogans have been revived over the past years. When our revolutionary slogans are sidelined, they will naturally become happier and pretend that they have fewer problems with us. The more you highlight our revolutionary slogans, the more hostile they will become. This is natural.

Another reason behind their enmities is the regional developments: the current wave of Islamic Awakening, which is extremely important and significant. I believe many people have not yet fully understood the vast dimensions of the events that have taken place in North Africa and our Islamic region. A very significant event has taken place and the hand of divine power is behind it.

If people from the countries that have carried out a revolution travel to our country and see that Iran is not suffering from any major problems, if they come and see our universities, our research centers and the living conditions of our people, if they come and see our marketplaces which are full of various products, if they come and see that our government does not have any major problems, they will naturally realize that we are a good role model for them. The enemies do not want this to happen. They want to prevent the Islamic Republic from becoming a role model. That is to say, they are trying to create problems for the Islamic Republic so that the countries that have carried out a revolution and entered a new stage do not follow the Islamic Republic as their role model.

Some people publish different things in newspapers, websites and different other places, complaining that we would not have faced so many enmities if we had not made so many enemies in the world. I believe such statements are not true. They are not based on a correct analysis. The enmities are completely natural. During the time of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.), we were faced with a lot of enmities because of the firm positions that Imam used to adopt. The weaker our positions become and the more we retreat, they will naturally pretend to be friendlier. Of course, this will not stop their encroachment. That is to say, they put on a smile so that they can move forward, encroach on different areas and prevent us from moving towards our goals. Of course, they have not been able to stop us over the past 33 years and by Allah's favor, they will not manage to do so in the future either. Fortunately, these are the conditions of the country. Needless to say, there are certain problems and weaknesses. There are certain issues which require our attention. However, one can see that in general the country is moving forward.

In my opinion, the majority of the existing problems are related to the livelihood of our middle and lower social classes. What is the reason? I do not want to present an analysis in this meeting. There are definitely certain weaknesses, which should be discussed with those who are in charge. There is no need for the people who can speak to the people to publicly enumerate the weaknesses. This is because discussing the weaknesses publicly will not resolve any problems. If a weakness has been identified, it is necessary to point it out to the person who is suffering from it. However, the consequences of the existing weaknesses are obvious and one can discuss them publicly.

I believe the important point is that underprivileged people in our country are suffering from certain economic problems. It is necessary to eliminate these problems. Some of these problems are due to inflation. We do not lack any products in the country. Fortunately, there is no shortage of the products that are needed in the country. However, there is the problem of inflation and reduced purchasing power. It is necessary to eliminate this problem and this is a responsibility that should be carried out by different parts of our economy - such as the Ministry of Industries, Mines and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture. It is necessary to seriously follow up these things.

Experts on economic matters - both those who work for the government and those who work outside of it - tell me that this issue is related to increases in money supply. They believe that the increase in money supply is the most important reason behind the current situation. We do not hear this only from those who work outside of the government. Those who work for the government report the same thing whenever we ask them. You need to find ways of controlling the increased money supply. It is obvious that when increases in money supply are accompanied by increases in production, there will be no problem. On the other hand, if increases in money supply exceed increases in domestic production or well-managed imports, we will naturally face a problem.

There are many factors that affect money supply. One of the factors that increases money supply is the subsidies which are provided in the form of cash handouts and have benefitted certain social classes. Your development projects - which produce yields in the long term - definitely increase money supply. The Mehr Housing Project which was mentioned in the meeting, the unfinished projects the number of which is increasing and some of the other good and necessary projects which the government carries out - all of these projects result in increases in money supply. It is necessary to find ways of resolving this problem. You have the necessary knowledge and experience, and you should find ways of resolving this problem. Channel this increased money supply towards centers which can help resolve the problems of the people, centers such as those involved in production.

It is necessary to help the private sector. I proposed "economy of resistance" which has its own requirements and pillars. One of the requirements is the need to rely on the people. The policies specified in Article 44 of the Constitution should be pursued with as much determination and care as possible. This is among the most essential things that you should do. In certain cases, I hear from our government officials that the private sector does not step in because it lacks the necessary capabilities. It is necessary to find a way to strengthen the private sector. This can be done through our banks, through passing the necessary laws and regulations. Do whatever that is needed in order to activate the private sector. After all, an economy of resistance is the kind of economy which continues growing and becomes less vulnerable. That is to say, our economy should be such that it is not seriously harmed or disrupted by the enemies' machinations. The enemies will continue their machinations in different forms. One of the requirements is to make use of all the capacities of our public and private sectors. Make use of the ideas and solutions which are provided by experts. Make use of the existing assets.

It is also necessary to let the people play a role. Of course, the friends who spoke today mentioned some of the outcomes that have resulted from prosecuting economically corrupt individuals. It is really not possible to do good economic work without combating economic corruption. This is really impossible. A few years ago, when I discussed this issue and mentioned certain points in a meeting with our government officials, I had this point in mind: it is wrong to assume that we can encourage the people to make investments and engage in wholesome economic activities, without combating economic corruption. It is also wrong to assume that combating economic corruption will discourage the people from making investments and taking part in economic activities. This is not the case and the reason is that the majority of the people who want to engage in economic activities are upright individuals who are inclined towards wholesome economic activities. Of course, there are always a few people who do not have the right attitude. You should take extra care not to let some people receive loans from our banks in the name of employment and entrepreneurship but divert the money to other activities. You should be very cautious in this regard. Both you and the judiciary officials should be cautious. I believe it is absolutely necessary for the executive branch and the judiciary to cooperate in this regard.

Another pillar of an economy of resistance is supporting domestic production, supporting domestic industries and agriculture. The statistics that the gentlemen present are promising, but on the other hand, we also receive reports from other executive officials that some of our factories are suffering from certain problems, that some of our industrial centers have closed down. We receive reports from different people, including you executive officials. That is to say, I receive reports from different sources. In any case, it is necessary to find solutions. These things will definitely create problems. If it had not been for the weaknesses, you would have created better conditions in terms of economic activity and you would have helped the people more. After all, domestic production is the self-generating part of our economy, the part we should rely on.

Activate small and medium economic units. Of course, fortunately our large economic units are already active. They are working well and they are producing good returns on investments. Their work is good and they create good employment opportunities. This is the case with the majority of our large economic units. As you said, our production is good as far as production of cement, steel and other such products are concerned. However, you should also think about our small and medium economic units. These things are very important and they directly play a role in the lives of our people.

The issue relating to foreign currency reserves is also an important issue, which has attracted your attention as well. Pay careful attention to this issue. There is a lot of work to be done in this regard. It is absolutely necessary to manage foreign currency reserves in an appropriate way. There was also a mention of the issue of base currency in this meeting, which was another area where the government made conflicting statements. That is to say, one day a government official was quoted in our newspapers as saying one thing and a couple of days later another government official said a different thing. Do not let such things happen. It is necessary to make a firm decision and to insist on it. In any case, managing foreign currency reserves in a careful way is a necessity.

Another issue which is related to economy of resistance is management of consumption. It is necessary to manage consumption, just like other things. The issue of extravagant consumption is an important issue in the country. How can we prevent extravagant consumption? It is necessary to do cultural work in this regard. It is also necessary to take action. Primarily, it is our media that are responsible for cultural work. In this regard, both the IRIB and other organizations have a responsibility, but the IRIB has a heavier responsibility. It is necessary to do cultural work. We are Muslims and we are interested in Islamic concepts. Extravagance has been repeatedly prohibited in Islam, but unfortunately we suffer from extravagance. I believe the work should begin in the government. I read in your reports that the government is after economical consumption. Very good, this is a necessity. Take this issue seriously. The government itself is a consumer, a very big consumer. For example, the government is a very big consumer as far as gasoline and other things are concerned. Be truly economical in your consumption. Being economical is absolutely necessary and important.

Also, pay attention to consumption of our domestic products. If you decide to buy something to be used in your organization or your ministry, try to buy a product that has been produced inside the country. Insist on this principle. Even one single item is a lot if it is used in your organization or ministry. Tell everybody that they are not allowed to use foreign products in your ministry. I believe such things can help.

Another issue that is related to economy of resistance is knowledge-based economy. Some of the people who have been active in the area of knowledge-based companies arranged a meeting with me in the month of Ramadan and discussed certain things. Fortunately, one can see that good things have been done. Knowledge-based companies and knowledge-based economic activities are an open-ended and promising path. Of course, the people I met with had their own complaints. I believe our executive officials whose responsibilities are related to this issue - both the Ministry of Industries, Mines and Trade and the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology - should pay attention to the issue of knowledge-based companies and they should listen and respond to the criticisms that are voiced. The ground has been prepared well. We have outstanding capacities, which can prove useful in this regard.

Also, I believe that the issue of unity and national solidarity is very important. Our government officials should try to make their orientations harmonious. This is a responsibility that lies on the shoulders of everybody. We should not blame the existing problems on each other. It is not acceptable for different branches of government to say, "We are planning to do such and such a thing, but they do not let us," or "we were doing such and such a thing, but they stopped us," or "we made such and such a decision, but they failed to take action." Nobody would accept such things. After all, the scope of responsibilities is clear. One group of people should pass laws and another group of people should enforce them. One group of people should formulate policies and another group should implement them. Everybody should work in harmony. We should not underestimate the importance of cooperation among the three branches of government. Of course, I am not addressing this point to the executive branch only. I am addressing it to all the three branches of government. I am also addressing it to different organizations such as the Armed Forces, which are not part of the three branches of government. Everybody should pay attention to this point. Of course, our media and those who can speak to the people have a role to play in this regard. Our media have an important role to play: they can strengthen unity or they can foment discord. The multiplication of news networks and websites has made it possible for everybody to have access to every statement that is made in the world. And many people are not careful enough. Those who have a responsibility to shoulder - both those who work for the government and those who are outside of it - should take extra care to appropriately channel the freedom of expression that the Islamic Republic has provided. It should be channeled towards creating dynamism, hope, unity and solidarity.

There was not enough time for the gentlemen to present a report on culture. I would like to make a point in this regard: we must not feel satisfied with shallow work as far as culture is concerned. Focus your attention on actions that are deep and fundamental, actions that motivate tens of other actions. Once I gave Mr. President a list of such actions. Those actions should be - and should have been - followed up. As far as culture is concerned, we should take care not to further the goals of the "aggressive culture", which is dangerous. If we fail to protect the culture of our society against the enemy, if we fail to safeguard the culture that leads our outstanding personalities, our people and our social classes towards a particular goal, things will become extremely difficult. No matter what decisions you make, everything will be ruined and your decisions will not produce the intended results.

The issue of cyberspace is also important, but there is not enough time to discuss this issue. Similarly, the issue of revolutionary diplomacy is extremely important, but again there is not enough time to discuss this issue in detail. I believe good things are being done in the area of diplomacy. Our diplomacy should be imbued with a revolutionary spirit, with revolutionary Islam. And this is what gives us a cutting edge. Today the Islamic Republic is popular among the regional peoples because of its independent and courageous Islamic positions. It is necessary to preserve this situation. Government officials of the Islamic Republic who show more courage and independence are more popular among the people in different parts of the world. Well, this shows that we are on the right path. This should be the orientation of our diplomacy. Fortunately, our government officials make a lot of efforts in this area.

It is necessary to make the best of the regional events in order to further our revolutionary goals. As I pointed out, these events are very important and they have been a heavy blow to the orientation of the arrogant powers in the region. You definitely know that it will take a long time for America and Zionism - not just the Zionist regime, but the entire Zionist apparatus which is powerful, active and influential - to save themselves from the effects of the great event that has taken place. These events took them by surprise in the real sense of the word. Of course, they are trying to take control of the events and ride the waves. In certain cases, they might be able to do so, but they will not succeed on a large scale. This is a very important opportunity for the Islamic Republic.

I hope Allah the Exalted helps you. You should know that every step you take, every effort you make and every time you do something out of care and compassion will be recorded by Allah the Exalted and it does not matter whether or not people like me find out and thank you for what you do. Whatever good and benevolent deeds you do will be recorded by Allah the Exalted. The Holy Quran says, "Surely Allah is Grateful, Knowing." [2: 158] People like me might never find out how much extra work you did and how many extra hours you spent in your office to finish your work. Naturally, if people do not find out what you did, they will not thank you for your efforts. However, every single moment will be recorded by God's angels: "Surely We wrote what you did." [The Holy Quran, 45: 29] Allah the Exalted records everything that we do. Nothing will go unnoticed.

May Allah the Exalted reward you. Pursue things in a determined way. The ninth and tenth governments have been famous for hard work, perseverance and tireless efforts. Try to preserve these characteristics until the last moments of your term in office, and I hope Allah the Exalted will help you.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings