Leader's Speech in Meeting with Outstanding Personalities of Kurdistan Province

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on May 14, 2009 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the outstanding personalities of Kurdistan province.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

This meeting is a very nice and pleasant meeting for me. Although the friends and brothers in this meeting made good, constructive and fundamental statements and although we were at your service for more than two hours, I am not tired at all and I was and am ready to listen to other participants in this meeting. Of course, it is about noon and we are getting close to adhan and noon prayers. This is our only limit, but I am not tired at all. I said this because the honorable host pointed out in his statements that I am tired. This is not the case. I do not feel tired at all and I am ready to listen to your statements. However, we have limited time until noon.

What you friends, brothers and sisters pointed out was valuable for me because of two reasons. The first reason is that there were many valuable points - whether in cultural, economic or different other areas - in your speeches. By Allah's favor, we will benefit from these good points and opinions and I hope that we will utilize them in future decisions. The second reason is that I managed to see, with my own eyes, the outstanding capacities of this province - in areas related to manpower - in a fair which was limited in scope. Of course, since long ago, I have been familiar with the works of a number of outstanding Kurdish personalities.

On the occasion of the presence of Mr. Ahmad Qazi - we were informed that he is the brother of the late Mohammad Qazi, the well-known translator - I would like to say that perhaps about 40 years ago or more, I read the first translation of the late Mohammad Qazi. I think it was the translation of the book "Mahatma Gandhi" written by Romain Rolland. Both the book and Mohammad Qazi's translation are really outstanding and prominent.

A few years later, I read another translation done by him. It was a translation of another very important work written by Romain Rolland which is "Amour d'enfants". I think it has three, four volumes and the prose which Mr. Qazi used was really elegant and well-organized.

Of course, I cannot say how exact and accurate the translation is. Those who know the original language can say whether it is accurate or not. However, this translation is really outstanding in terms of literary style and prose. I am familiar with the works of Persian translators and writers and I know how valuable they are. Considering this evaluation, I believe that the Mr. Qazi's translation is an outstanding one. I once saw him up close. At the end of my presidential term, I met with him in a Hafiz commemoration congress in Shiraz. He was introduced to me. He had a problem with his larynx and he was using a laryngophone to talk. We engaged in a short conversation.

Another example is the translations done by the late Abdulrahman Sharafkandi - known as Hazhar - which was pointed out by the friends in this meeting. He has really carried out a great task. The translation of the book "Canon of Medicine", written by Avicenna, is really a complex and valuable task. This book - which was written in Arabic by an Iranian personality and which was used in great medical universities throughout the world for many centuries - had not been translated for a thousand years.

I was aware that until a few years ago - perhaps until hundred years ago - "The Canon of Medicine" was a reference book in medical schools of European countries and that it had been translated in several European languages. But Persian-speakers were deprived of knowing "The Canon". In the middle years of my presidential term, I realized that the book "The Canon of Medicine" had not been translated. Therefore, I called on a group of people and I said to them that they should make an effort to translate "The Canon". An edict was issued and they pursued this matter. Well, such tasks require love. They cannot be carried out by issuing edicts and commands. In the meanwhile, I was informed that this book had already been translated.

I think that it had about eight volumes. They brought me the late Hazhar's translation. When I read the book - I should add that we do not know much about medicine, nor did we try to compare it with the Arabic text - I saw that whoever reads the book bows down in respect before the cohesion and consistency of this beautiful prose. Well, this translation has been done. Of course, I did not know Mr. Hazhar. When I asked about him, they said that he was a Kurd. Later on, I was informed that he had passed away.

Also, I am familiar with a number of Kurdish poets including the late Sotudeh - the great Sayyid - who was a very good poet. I knew him since the early years of the Revolution and I used to meet with him until he became sick and went to stay in Sanandaj. I think it was in this city that he passed away.

Another outstanding Kurdish poet is the late Golshan Kurdistani. I had read his poem before I met with him up close. I had such a familiarity with outstanding Kurdish personalities and the cultural characteristics of Kurdish people have always been imprinted in my mind as a fixed and clear truth.

As I said, I saw a fair today and this was very valuable and precious for me. I wish we had the opportunity to meet with more outstanding personalities of this province so that they could present their ideas and thoughts. Without a doubt, this would have been more valuable for me. I hope that, by Allah's favor, we can benefit from what we saw and what we learned in order to help our dear country and this wealthy and resourceful province make progress.

During the two days that I spent in Kurdistan, the focus of my speeches - whether in public meetings, in meetings with the armed forced of Kurdistan or in other meetings - was on describing the courage of Kurdish people. However I really came to the conclusion that the other beauties of this province and geographical area are superior to this characteristic - that is to say, courage and boldness - of the people of Kurdistan.

There are many beauties in this province: good behavior, mellifluous voice, beautiful nature, delicate poetry, lofty literature, enlightened thoughts and religious hearts. One can see these characteristics in this province and this should really be appreciated.

Fortunately, these valuable characteristics are respected and praised in the Islamic Republic. We appreciate the value of these characteristics in the Islamic government. We appreciate these spiritual and cultural values wherever they exist including Kurdistan, Fars, Isfahan and Khorasan provinces.

Outstanding Kurdish personalities are expected to promote and reflect this truth and this reality. Of course, this truth was reflected in the statements of the friends in this meeting and I know that, without a doubt, part of outstanding Kurdish personalities adopt such outlooks and think like this.

The Islamic Republic does not really adopt discriminatory outlooks, whether towards Kurdistan or towards any other specific area in the country. When we repeatedly announced that we consider the existence of many ethnicities in our country to be an opportunity, this is the truth. The existence of different ethnicities is really an opportunity for us. The outlook that the Islamic Republic adopts towards tribal and religious diversity is not a biased, nepotistic and one-dimensional outlook. I am saying this for certain.

The Islamic Republic has not adopted this outlook in the present time - I am saying this on the basis of my own intentions - and it did not adopt such outlooks it in the past either. It did not adopt this outlook in the 1360s, during Imam's (may God bestow paradise on him) auspicious lifetime. The judgment of the Islamic Republic is on the basis of following Islam and being Iranian. Its judgment is one the basis of being Muslim and Iranian. On the basis of this outlook, all Muslims and all Iranians are valuable throughout the geographical range of the country. The Islamic Republic wants to establish this thought in a firm way.

In my opinion, this province is a cultural province. I have said this many times. Some people have tried to turn this province into a dangerous and military one. They have distorted the truth. It was not the Islamic Republic that did this. Naturally, this could not be done by the Islamic Republic. So, who did this?

This was done by the enemies of the Islamic Republic. They promoted the idea that the Islamic Republic does not like or accept Kurds and Sunni Islam. This was a lie. This was not the truth. Later on, it became clear and it was proven that this was a lie and everyone saw it. This outlook was one that was adopted by the taghuti regime. That regime used to adopt a discriminatory outlook by nature, not only towards Kurds but also towards all the different ethnicities of the country and it used to do this with different excuses. But this outlook became obsolete in the Islamic Republic. Well, the enemies did not want to let this happen. They had certain interests which dictated that what the Islamic Republic wants should not be achieved in this area of the country.

Part of the backwardness and economic problems which exist in this province is the result of these malevolent acts, enmities and blind and severe hostilities. It was these enmities and hostilities which brought about these conditions for this province. These conditions have been brought about with the guidance of the enemies. I have read about these economic problems in reports and I am aware of what the gentlemen in this meeting pointed out. These are truths which should be rectified.

However, I believe that the Islamic Republic has overcome these hostilities. This does not mean that these enmities have been uprooted. All of us are still responsible in this regard. Everyone should try to make Kurdistan and our Kurdish regions - with all their natural and human talents - achieve the position which they deserve to achieve in our dear, great and Islamic country.

Some people do not want to let this happen. They are making efforts to prevent this, even in the present time. Among this cultural group of people, I do not like to speak about things which make our hearts ache. But these are true. Let me tell you in brief that the enemy is making certain efforts. You should pay attention to this. In the present time, the intelligence services of arrogance are openly pursuing their activities across our borders.

Yesterday, I pointed to this issue in another meeting as well. CIA's agencies are officially and openly working on this and they are making an effort to hatch their plot in this regard. Their efforts are focused on guiding any orientation which they can use against the Islamic Republic. These are not analyses. Rather, these are facts that we are aware of. Therefore, this requires vigilance.

Our organizations should be vigilant in the present time. The people are also expected to do certain things. But there are more expectations of the outstanding personalities of the country and of this province. There are certain expectations of you who have a correct understanding and knowledge of pains and cures and who are well-informed about many issues because of your intellectual minds. The masses of the people are not as well-informed as you are about these issues.

The Islamic Republic has brought a new idea to the arena. Contrary to what they say and promote, the Islamic Republic is not after creating enemies for itself, it is not after creating uproar and it is not after fighting and making trouble. This is another propaganda which has been promoted by the enemies and opponents of the Islamic Republic. If there is any trouble, it is because of the nature of the Islamic Republic. This nature is adopting an independent outlook towards global issues and taking care not to be influenced by powers in both small and great events.

This is one of the teachings and lessons of Islam. This is a command which Islam has issued to us. Islam does not want Muslim peoples to follow those centers of power which follow their own arrogant interests and selfish outlooks. It does not want Muslim peoples to do this in their orientations, movements, policies and decisions. From the viewpoint of Islam, it is the responsibility of officials to act according to the interests of their people and the Islamic Ummah. For this reason, we have not been influenced by the policies of arrogant and dominant powers.

On different issues, the opinions of the Islamic Republic were different from the opinions of the enemies. This is not acceptable for them and this is why they have begun their enmity towards us. Therefore, the Islamic Republic has to defend itself. This is the nature of resistance and independence. It creates friction. It would be possible for the people of Iran to have a government which would give in to the bullying of different powers. If they had such a government, then these frictions would definitely not exist. But friction would not be the only thing which would not exist. Other things - such as national dignity and progress - would not exist either. This was what we used to see during the time of taghut.

The figures that I spoke about in the meeting which was held in the great square of this city are instructive figures. Considering all its capacities, your province only had 365 students 30 years ago. I am saying this on the basis of official and recorded statistics. At that time, literacy in this province was only 29 percent.

Of course, the problems which exist today in Kurdistan did not exist in those days. But it suffered from lack of identity, it was in terrible conditions and it was weak and humiliated. Is this tolerable? And you can extend these conditions to all the people of Iran. The same terrible conditions existed everywhere.

Those who were part of the taghuti regime wrote certain books and memoirs about these conditions. When one reads these books, one feels deeply embarrassed. In those days, the outstanding personalities and decision-makers of the country had to go to America's and England's ambassadors to make decisions about a hundred-percent domestic issues and to formulate fundamental guidelines for the country. They had to go to these ambassadors to see if they were opposed to these decisions or not.

This is not something which has been made up by the opponents of the regime. Rather, these are facts which have been written by the supporters of the regime themselves. Of course, these facts could be witnessed in the documents which we found. In the present time, they are openly writing about such issues as well.

I have come across a book recently and I have started to read it. When one reads this book, one is really surprised. Where is that national pride? Where is that national dignity? Where is that feeling of pride about being an Iranian? Where is that reliance on the people who have a glorious past and a dignified historical legacy? None of these things existed during the time of taghut. Pahlavi rulers took these things away in one way and before them, Qajar rulers took them away in another way. Each of them was worse than the other.

The Islamic Republic put an end to these humiliations. We should pay attention to this issue as an astonishing, enlightening and valuable truth and we should carry out our evaluations and measures on the basis of this truth. I feel that the honorable and dear personalities of this province can play important roles in this area which is, in fact, a cultural-political area.

Building outstanding personalities is another important responsibility of outstanding personalities. As you can see, there are thankfully many outstanding youth in this province such as the lady who delivered a speech in this meeting. One can feel that our young students - whether boys or girls - are outstanding talents. Of course, these talents exist everywhere in the country. Thankfully, one can clearly see these talents in this province too.

Part of the responsibility of building outstanding personalities is related to decision-making and executive organizations. It is their responsibility to follow up this issue. By Allah's favor, we will ask them to follow up these issues, both the issues that you pointed out in this meeting and all other issues. But part of this responsibility is related to outstanding personalities themselves. Part of this responsibility is related to professors and teachers of religion, literature, culture and science. They should influence the minds of youth in their workplace and in their academic and educational environments.

You should pay attention that the enemy is worried and unhappy about the existence of a united, cohesive and pioneering Iran which has achieved great glories. They do not want this task to be carried out. Today, this great movement has been launched in the shade of Islam which is our religion and which is the main spiritual force behind uniting our people. They want to destroy this movement. Of course, they have failed and by Allah's favor, they will continue to fail. However, we should not be negligent about their plots. In my opinion, our dear and honorable personalities have a great responsibility in this regard.

I should add that some of the points which the friends in this meeting raised have already been thought about. These issues have been worked on and thought about and certain decisions have been made about them. But some of the points which were raised in this meeting are new and they should receive attention.

As for the issue which is related to students and academic researchers - it was pointed out in this meeting that this issue has not received any attention and that no budget has been allocated to it - I would like to remind you of the newly-established Presidential Deputy in Charge of Scientific Affairs. It is a very good organization and it is the reference point for such affairs. Besides, it has accomplished good and great feats. In my opinion, you should pay attention and go to this deputy. I hope that Allah the Exalted bestows success on all of you.

Today's meeting was very valuable for me because I met you - particularly a number of honorable personalities among you - in person and I listened to very good, valuable and constructive statements. I hope that, by Allah's favor, this meeting will bring about great advantages for the future of Kurdistan and for the future of the country.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings