Leader's Speech in Meeting with People of East Azerbaijan

 The following is the full text of the speech delivered on February 17, 2014 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the people of East Azerbaijan. The meeting was held on the anniversary of the uprising by the people of Tabriz on the 29th of Bahman of 1356.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I would like to welcome all the dear brothers and sisters from Tabriz and Azerbaijan. I express my gratitude to you dear brothers and sisters for enduring this long trip on these cold days of winter in order to imbue our Hussainiyah with warmth and enthusiasm on these important and historical days. I would like to express my deep gratitude to all the brothers and sisters - particularly the great families of martyrs, outstanding ulama and high-ranking officials - and I thank the honorable Friday prayer leader of Tabriz, Mr. Shabestari, who has really made and continues to make valuable efforts. These efforts are best suited for this great city and province.

I would like to say something in the beginning of my speech which is a word of thanks for the great people of Iran because of the glory, greatness and power that they showed on the 22nd of Bahman. Words cannot properly describe and appreciate this glory. First, we should prostrate ourselves before God, who is the Transformer of hearts and souls and who is the Conqueror of intentions and willpowers. Everything happens according to the will of God. Second, I express my deep gratitude to all the people of Iran throughout the country for holding the 22nd of Bahman rallies in such a lively, outstanding and blossoming way. Later on, I will refer to the issues related to the 22nd of Bahman again.

Today, our gathering and meeting with you dear people of Tabriz and people from other cities of Azerbaijan is on the occasion of the 29th of Bahman. The 29th of Bahman is not only a name. It is not a day like other days and it is not a mere event. The 29th of Bahman means the event which happened in the year 1356 on such a day - that is to say, on the 29th of Bahman. It was a single event, but with several meanings. Many of you youth who are present in this meeting - who are my dear ones and my dear children - did not witness the 29th of Bahman. However, the lessons of the 29th of Bahman are still alive.

This great event had several significant points. The first point was that it showed and reflected the moral and behavioral characteristics of the people of Tabriz and Azerbaijan. This is very important. We should know ourselves with our characteristics and moral attributes. Other people sit and write for us the characteristics of the people of Iran in a distorted and short-sighted way. We should accurately know ourselves in the mirror of these events.

In the event of the 29th of Bahman, the people of Tabriz showed these characteristics: First, deep religious faith, second, religious zeal and third courage. The other characteristics that they showed include awareness about the requirements of the time and a correct understanding of events. It is very important for a group of people to be religious and courageous, to have the power to take action and to know when to take action.

Taking action sooner or later than the right time is not efficient. The people of Tabriz created the event of the 29th of Bahman exactly at the right time. Such characteristics are very important. Of course, Tabriz and Azerbaijan had these characteristics even before the 29th of Bahman and they continue to have them until today. The events which followed the 29th of Bahman have shown this. Therefore, these characteristics should be preserved.

Showing Islamic faith, religious zeal and courage, being ready to take action, playing a leading role, breaking lines, accomplishing outstanding and innovative feats in the way of lofty goals, knowing the right time and the circumstances and doing what is best suited for these circumstances are among the blessings and the results of the 29th of Bahman which reflected the outstanding characteristics of the people of Tabriz and Azerbaijan in the mirror of history.

The second point about the 29th of Bahman is that it showed how blessed the solidarity between the different areas of the country is. How far are Qom and Tabriz from each other? A certain event took place in Qom [the uprising of the 19th of Dey]. Well, those people did not want to let it stay alive. They wanted to consign it to oblivion. But the people from an area which is far away from Qom - that is to say, Tabriz - rose up all of a sudden and kept the event of Qom alive.

It was not the case that the 40th day mourning ceremony on the occasion of the uprising of Qom was commemorated by the people of Qom. Rather, it was Tabriz which commemorated it. As a result, the oppressive and taghuti regime became ferocious and did something stupid in the face of the people of Tabriz. In this event, a number of people were martyred. The propaganda efforts that they made at that time were very stupid and wrong. They wanted to cover up this event.

Anyway, when this event was over, it was the people of Yazd who commemorated the 40th day ceremony on the occasion of this event in Tabriz. This is the solidarity between the different areas of the country. This chain of solidarity continued to develop. It was you people of Azerbaijan who played a pioneering role in commemorating the arbaeens for the martyrs of the Revolution. Then this movement was extended to Yazd, Shiraz, Bushehr and other areas of the country. This was the second point about issues related to the 29th of Bahman.

The third point is that if the people of Qom or Tabriz had been told that their movements on the 19th of Dey and 29th of Bahman would lead to a great revolution, none of them would have believed it. But this happened. This shows that if a people show diligence, step into the scene and avoid retreating, they can even move mountains and work miracles. And this miracle happened. My dear ones, dear youth, you should think about and study the reasons for the emergence of the Revolution. The event which was most similar to the miracles of prophets was the event of the victory of the Revolution.

Would anyone have believed that the people of a country - who were under the domination of America, who were entrapped by western culture, whose economy was completely in the hands of powerful global enemies, who were weak in military areas and who were isolated in terms of international dignity - would rise up against all symbols of phony and materialistic power, would raise the flag of Islam in the world of materialism and in the face of the East and the West, would stand up against them, would achieve victory and success and would make them retreat? America and the Soviet Union had disagreements over hundreds of issues, but they had an agreement on one issue which was to destroy the Islamic Revolution.

In such conditions, who would have believed this? But this happened and this is a lesson. One of the lessons of the 22nd of Bahman to yourselves, to us and to all the people of Iran is that one should know there is no great event, obstacle and power which can stand up against the firm determination of a people.

There are many things to be said about the characteristics of the 29th of Bahman and the people of Azerbaijan and Tabriz. After this event, the same spirit, the same sense of responsibility and the same sense of commitment and motivation have continued to exist in the people of Azerbaijan until today. The people of Tabriz have shone brightly in different events. These lessons should be preserved and remembered.

As I said, first we should know our domestic characteristics and second, we should pay attention to the relationship and solidarity between the different areas of the country. The latter is an issue on which the enemies have focused their efforts. They want to pit Iranian ethnicities, who joined hands in a brotherly way during all events, against one another.

We have Turks, Arabs, Fars, Lurs, Baluchis, Kurds, Turkmens and various other ethnic groups in Iran. One characteristic dominates all of them which is Islamic Iran's rule over them. This rule has gathered all of them under the flag of Islam, Islamic glories and the beautiful name of Iran. Today, there is an effort to separate these ethnicities from one another. Everyone should know vigilantly that some people are scheming to pit Iranian ethnicities against one another. We should not forget the message of unity, solidarity, sympathy and cooperation that the 22nd of Bahman has delivered to us. This is the second point. The third point is the miracle that the willpower of the people worked.

Let us go back to the issue of the 22nd of Bahman and the Revolution which is the issue of our past and present and which will remain our primary issue forever. The 22nd of Bahman has shown itself to be more enthusiastic each year.

Some people make different analyses. In fact, these analyses are carried out in a vacuum. They sit and think to themselves, but the reality says something else about the people. Those people who carefully counted the number of the people participating in the 22nd of Bahman rallies by observing the streets - a number of them do this with special cameras - have delivered many reports to us about this. These people said to us that last year - the year 1391 - the number of people was remarkably larger than the year before that. The same people who carry out these exact or nearly exact calculations reported that this year, the number of people was even larger than last year.

When people keep repeating this, someone may think that this is a load of nonsense such as the slogan "every year better than the previous year". But this is not the case. This is the truth. Well, what does this truth show us? This humble person thinks that the public celebration on the occasion of the victory of the Revolution is a unique phenomenon like the Revolution itself.

What does this mean? It means that as our Revolution was peerless throughout the history of revolutions - even the enemies have acknowledged this - the commemoration ceremony on the occasion of the anniversary of this Revolution is peerless, because of different reasons, throughout the world as well. The commemoration ceremonies which were held on the anniversary of different revolutions in the world and which we used to see on TV and hear in the news were soulless and formal. These commemoration ceremonies were held two, three, four years after the establishment of such revolutions.

This is not the case in our country. The people celebrate not only in Tehran, but also in all the cities of the country. They celebrate not only in capital cities, but also in all the cities of the country. They celebrated not only the first, second, fifth and tenth anniversary, but also the 35th one.

Is this not an astonishing phenomenon? Thirty five years have passed from the Revolution. Those people who were born in the first year of the Revolution are 35-year- old men and women now and their youth is over. This is while each year, the anniversary of the Revolution is held in a motivated, powerful and glorious way, with a sense of resistance and with faithfulness to the ideals of the Revolution.

Is this not astonishing? Let the media networks of the enemy say whatever they want, but their think tanks know what is happening in our country. Those who sit and study our events know that it is not possible to confront these people, this Revolution, this motivation and this faith.

What kinds of slogans do our people chant? They chant the slogan of steadfastness in the straight path of the Revolution. They chant these slogans everywhere. Throughout the country, their slogans are about resistance. With the 22nd of Bahman rallies, the people show the truth that Allah the Exalted has fulfilled His promise: "if you help the cause of Allah, He will help you and make firm your stand" [The Holy Quran, 47: 7].

Allah the Exalted will make firm and strengthen your stand. He will not let you be forced to retreat. This is the divine promise. This divine promise has been fulfilled for the people of Iran. You helped the religion of God and Allah the Exalted bestowed firmness of standing on you. This celebration on the 35th anniversary of the Revolution tells of the firmness of standing.

Well, what is the message of this celebration? You should take a look at the slogans of the people in order to understand the message of this celebration. The way I see it, there were two messages in this year's 22nd of Bahman rallies. One was resistance and the other was unity.

What does resistance mean? It means that the people of Iran stand up for the ideals of the Revolution. Well, we have both affirmative and negative [in logic, an affirmative proposition is a statement that asserts something and a negative proposition is a statement which denies or negates something] slogans. These are our affirmative slogans: we are after social justice, we are after public presence in different events of the country, we are after Islam, we think that the happiness of the country lies in observing Islamic teachings, we are after an independent economy, we are after the kind of culture which is independent of foreigners, we are after a completely Islamic and Iranian culture, we are after offering refuge to the oppressed and confronting the oppressor, we are after the progress of the country, we are after the scientific prominence of our country and we want our country to play a leading and pioneering role in economy, culture, social issues, morality and spirituality. These are the affirmative slogans of our Revolution.

Our Revolution had also certain negative slogans. These are the negative slogans of the Revolution: we do not give in to bullying and blackmailing and we do not give in to arrogance.

Arrogance means that a few powers - which have gained materialistic capabilities and which have weapons, money and other such things - want to rule over the world. And today, arrogance is manifested by America. During the Revolution, during subsequent events and during the imposed war, the people of Iran said, "We do not give in to America's bullying and blackmailing".

Some people should not put make-up on the face of America and erase the ugly parts, savagery and violence from its face. They should not describe America as a friendly and philanthropic government to our people. Even if these people make an effort to do this, their effort will be vain. Notice what America has done throughout the world over the last 70, 80 years - of course, there are many things in the history of America before this era which I do not want to discuss now. Take a look at the wars which America has waged, the innocent and civilian people whom it has viciously killed in these wars and in other events and the dictators which have been supported by America in the East and in the West.

One of these dictators was Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in Iran and tens of other such dictators in Asian, African and Latin American countries including military and non-military figures. These dictators oppressed their people for many years. They viciously oppressed the people, they looted their wealth and they created many disasters for them. This support for dictators exists in the performance sheet of America.

An example is its support of international and governmental terrorism. The fake and criminal Zionist regime, which has usurped Palestine, has been receiving support from America for tens of years. It kills people, destroys houses, oppresses and imprisons youth, women, men and children.

The Zionists have attacked Beirut, they have destroyed Sabra and Shatila and they have committed many other crimes. These measures have been recorded in the performance sheet of America. It launched an attack on Iraq and it killed tens of thousands of people. We do not know the exact figure. It is estimated that in recent years, the Americans have killed around one million Iraqi people directly or indirectly.

I do not know the exact figure, but at least tens of thousands of people have been killed. Even killing one person is enough for this act to be condemned. In Afghanistan, they are committing crimes in a different way.

They have established certain terrorist organizations for killing people. In a certain meeting, I mentioned the name of one of these organizations. They have established the well-known Blackwater company whose job is to kill, to create terror and to destroy people. It was the Americans who first established these extremist, murderous and takfiri groups. Of course, in the present time, this bullet which the Americans fired has ricocheted and has hit themselves. The government of America is such a government.

The issue is not about the people of America. They are like other people. The issue is about the regime and the government of America. How can this face be beautified with make-up while these acts are in front of the eyes of the people of Iran?

How did we people of Iran suffer from these crimes? Around 25, 26, 30 years - from the coup d'état launched on the 28th of Mordad of 1332 to the year 1357 - the people of Iran suffered from the oppressive regime of Mohammad Reza and after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the people of Iran were faced with many oppressive, malevolent and evil acts.

The people only remember the recent sanctions, but they started imposing sanctions from the beginning of the Revolution. In the beginning of the Revolution, the Americans supported anyone who wanted to do something against the Revolution. The Americans did not care if these people were leftist, rightist, military or non-military figures. They did their best to help anyone who had certain motives against the Islamic Revolution. These people took the form of ethnic groups and many other different forms.

The last plot which the people of Iran saw with their own eyes was the fitna of the year 1388. The President of America shamelessly supported the provokers of fitna in Tehran. At the present time too, they are supporting them. This is the list of the malevolent acts that they have committed. Today, many of their evil intentions over which they used to draw a veil are gradually becoming clear.

This year, I said in Mashhad - in Samen al-Hujaj's holy shrine - on the first day of the year 1392, that I am alright with negotiations. I said that a number of officials and executives of both the previous administrations and the current administration think that we should negotiate with the Americans on the nuclear issue so that it can be resolved. I said, "Well now that you insist, you can go and negotiate with them particularly on this issue". But during the same speech in the beginning of the year, I said, "I am not optimistic. I do not oppose you, but I am not optimistic".

Notice that the Americans constantly make ridiculous statements. A shameless American senator gets some money from the Zionists in order to go to the United States Senate and swear at the people of Iran in a peculiar way. They did not insult the people of Iran. Rather, they started swearing at them. The heads of their countries are the same people. They insult the people of Iran on different levels. Of course, the people of Iran slapped them across the face on the 22nd of Bahman.

One of the reasons for this year's warmer gathering of the people is that they saw American officials behave in an audacious, mischievous, greedy, foul-mouthed and rude way. The religious zeal of the people drew them to the arena so that they can say to the Americans, "Do not make a mistake. It is us that you are facing".

On the 22nd of Bahman, the people of Iran wanted to say to all of us - including this humble person, different officials and those diligent individuals who are really making great efforts in areas related to managing the country, whether those who are involved in foreign policy or those who are involved in domestic affairs - that we should feel comfortable because the people of Iran are standing firm, and they are present on the scene. They said to us that we should not feel weak in the face of the enemy. This was one of the great messages of the people of Iran.

This is the same thing that I said in the beginning of the year. I said this both before and after my meeting in Mashhad. After that meeting, I repeatedly said that the nuclear issue is just an excuse for enmity. Even if one day the nuclear issue is resolved the way America wishes - although this is completely unlikely - then, another issue will follow it.

At the present time, the spokesmen of the American government bring up the issue of human rights, missiles, weapons and other such issues. I wonder why the Americans do not feel ashamed of speaking about human rights. If anyone in the world claims to support human rights, American officials should not make this claim considering all the shameful acts which exist in their performance sheet on the issue of human rights. Perhaps, people throughout the world do not know about 80, 90 acts out of the 100 acts that the Americans have committed on the issue of human rights. Nonetheless, the 10, 20 acts that they are aware of can form a voluminous and gloomy book.

Everyone knows about the Guantanamo prison. Everyone saw the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Everyone saw the Blackwater organization. Everyone knows about their attack on wedding caravans in Afghanistan. Everyone saw their support of those well-known terrorists who are proud of being terrorists. Everyone saw that the Americans broke their promises and that they lied. The entire world saw these things. Nevertheless, they continue to speak about human rights and they do not feel ashamed. Such extent of shamelessness in their behavior is really a strange phenomenon.

What our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our executive officials started to do will continue in the future. Iran will not go back on what it has promised to do. Of course, the officials can make their efforts and carry out their responsibilities, but the Americans are the enemies of the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic. They are the enemies of the flag that you people have raised and this enmity will not end with such negotiations.

The cure for confronting this enmity is only one thing which is relying on national power and national capability and strengthening the country from the inside as much as possible. No matter how hard we work on this area, it is always too little.

By Allah's favor, the policies on economy of resistance will be announced soon. I said this previously as well. The cure for solving the problems of the country lies in taking the path of economy of resistance which means reliance on the inside.

We should not have our eye on other people's hands. We ourselves are capable and rich. We have both human sources of wealth - our human resources have few equals, if not no equal at all, in the world - and natural sources of wealth. Our sources of wealth are extraordinary. The world needs us and we do not need the world as much as it needs us.

Today, the world revolves around oil and gas and we are in the top spot in this regard. Recently, the honorable executive officials delivered a report to me which showed that today, we have come first in the area of gas while, before that, we were second in the world ranking. Until recently - perhaps until one, one and a half year ago - we were second in the area of gas. But today, we have come first. These are our resources.

And the world needs our resources. As you saw, a faint smile spread across their face. Foreign companies are rushing towards our country. They want to come to our country. How long can the Americans persist in their obstinacy? They should know that if we rely on our own capabilities, their resistance will shatter. As long as we have our eye on the hands of other people, as long as we follow up sanctions to see which ones are lifted and as long as we follow issues such as what such and such an American official said, we will get nowhere.

We are a big country and we are a strong, civilized and talented people. Besides, we have many God-given sources of wealth. Our officials are sympathetic officials. They want to work and we, in turn, will help them and pray for them. But we also insist that they should rely on domestic forces. We ask the officials to trust the people and domestic forces. They should try to make this infinite and deep spring bubble up and effervesce. If this happens, all the closed doors will open. They should move forward and act in this way.

Our intentions are divine. We thank God that our goal is gaining the divine satisfaction and that we know the divine satisfaction lies in helping our country make progress and in helping our people achieve dignity. We are following this path and Allah the Exalted will help us as well. As I said, this holy ayah of the Holy Quran says, "If you help the cause of Allah, He will help you". If you help God - that is to say, if you help the religion of God - this will have two results: one is that "He will help you" and another is that He will "make firm your stand". He will not let you be forced to retreat.
And you should know that by Allah's favor, the Americans and global arrogance will sooner or later be defeated in reaching their goals against Iran, the Islamic Republic and the people of Iran. You should know that God willing, the people of Iran will celebrate their victory in all arenas and in front of ill-wishers and jealous people.

I hope that Allah the Exalted will bestow His blessings, guidance and assistance on all you dear people of Tabriz, on the people from other cities of Azerbaijan and on all the dear people of Iran.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings