Leader's Speech in Meeting with People of East Azerbaijan

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on February 17, 2010 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 who have traveled a long distance and who have enlightened our Hussayniyyah on the occasion of this glorious and unforgettable event - that is to say, the 29th of Bahman of Tabriz. Your warm breath, your eloquent tongues and your unstoppable and persistent motivations - which have been tangible in all cases - have really created a warm and revolutionary environment in our Hussayniyyah. Throughout history, the people of Tabriz have always been the manifestation of these characteristics.

We see two characteristics in the people of Tabriz and Azerbaijan. These characteristics can be seen in our recent history and during great events from the pre-constitutional era until today. One is that the people of Tabriz have always been initiators. They have always taken the initiative in their hands. The issue of the 29th of Bahman is an example. If the vigilant people of Tabriz had not created that great event in the 40th day mourning ceremony on the occasion of the uprising of Qom, this chain of arbaeens would not have been formed in the country and it would not have become clear how this great popular movement would be launched and would continue throughout the country.

Therefore, it was the people of Tabriz who took the initiative. The same is true of the events which occurred before that. The same is true of the Constitutional movement. The people of Tabriz are initiators and innovators. Besides, many of the slogans which are chanted today by our dear people throughout the country have been invented by the people of Tabriz.

The second characteristic is faithfulness. Some people begin to take a path, but they fail to continue and remain faithful. Different events weaken them and make them hesitant. Sometimes, they turn back from their path and sometimes, they do what is even worse. They begin to reject the essence of their movement and path. We have had such cases.

But the people of Tabriz and Azerbaijan are faithful and they have stood firm. In the Holy Quran, Allah the Exalted says, "And whoever fulfills what he has covenanted with Allah, He will grant him a mighty reward" [The Holy Quran, 48: 10]. Those people who stay faithful and who stick to the truth will not falter with the passage of time and in the face of difficult events. Therefore, Allah the Exalted will grant them a great reward.

Some people are not like this. They go back on their promise: "Therefore whoever breaks his allegiance, he breaks it only to the injury of his own soul" [The Holy Quran, 48: 10]. Those who break their allegiance act to their own disadvantage. In fact, they suffer a loss because of their violation. It is not the cause of God which suffers a loss. You people of Tabriz and Azerbaijan have remained faithful and you have stood firm.

Although our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) was not intimately familiar with the people of Tabriz, he knew them very well. On the issue of the fitnas which were provoked in different areas of the country including Tabriz, Imam said that the people of Tabriz themselves would respond to the instigators of fitna and they did so. They responded to them. Nothing could extinguish the fire of those fitnas except for the power of faith, religious zeal, determination, awareness and foresight.

Today, the same conditions exist. Although our dear youth did not see Imam in person, although they did not witness the Sacred Defense Era, and although they did not see people like Shahid Bakeri and other such self-sacrificing martyrs, they show their presence on the scene with the same power, resistance and foresight that the youth in those days showed in a courageous and self-sacrificing way and in different fronts such as the 29th of Bahman and the eight-year imposed war.

Today, our youth are the same as the youth in those days. What does this signify? Why? What is the reason? The reason should be sought in the truth of this phrase: "The word of the revolution is the word of Truth". This is the characteristic of truth.

"A good word is like a good tree". This is a pure, healthy and deeply-rooted tree which grows on fertile land: "Whose root is firm and whose branches are in heaven". Its roots are firms and its branches have gone up: "It brings forth its fruit at all times, by the leave of its Lord" [The Holy Quran, 14: 24-25]. Its fruits are permanent and it bears different fruits in different seasons. That is to say, it is not a disposable tree like many of the movements which are launched throughout the world in the name of revolution, coup d'état or other such things and through which governments are overthrown, but which are disposable. In such movements, things get back to prior and sometimes worse conditions after a short time. The word of truth is not like this. It is permanent.

Today, our revolutionary movements and goals are the same movements and goals which were illustrated by our magnanimous and wise Imam (r.a.) on the first day of the Revolution. These goals were compatible with the people's divine nature. This was why they accepted these goals. If it had not been for this, it would not have been an easy task to attract the hearts of millions of people towards these goals.

When someone speaks on the basis of the divine nature and divine words, then people's natures are attracted to him: "had you spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah united them" [The Holy Quran, 8: 63]. On the 22nd of Bahman, the number of people who participated in the rallies on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the Revolution was larger than the number of people who participated in such rallies in previous years. Not only did the people not decrease in number, but they also increased and became stronger.

This is contrary to the ways of nature. If you throw a piece of stone into water, it creates a wave. The more time passes, the smaller and the more invisible this wave becomes until it is completely gone. The passage of time quashes social waves. What kind of truth is this that not only is it not quashed with the passage of time, but it also becomes more prominent on a daily basis?

This truth is like the event of Karbala. On the day of Karbala, Hussain ibn Ali (a.s.) and his companions were martyred in an abandoned desert where there was not any friend and where there were many enemies. On that day, his family members were taken captive and that was over. Today, this event - which should normally have been destroyed and consigned to oblivion after 10, 15 days - is still prominent, even after the passage of many centuries. The name of Hussain ibn Ali (a.s.) is shining like the sun and it is enlightening hearts and offering guidance not only among millions of Shias and other Muslims in different Islamic countries, but also among non-Muslims. The same is true of our Revolution. The more time has passed, the more truths it has uncovered.

Well, the language of the enemy is different from ours. Some people use the same words that the enemy does. They use the same language that he does. Only God knows whether they understand what they are saying or not. But they use the same language anyway. They try to pretend that the Revolution has deviated from its path. This is not true. If it had deviated from its path, not so many hearts would have moved forward in the name of the Revolution and with the memory of the Revolution. If it had deviated from its path, not so many religious and motivated people would have gathered in one place with the memory of the Revolution.

This Revolution plays the same role in the entire world. Today, the influence that it has exerted in the hearts of the people in Islamic countries is visible. You should not pay any attention to what some hostile governments say about our Revolution. Peoples respect and think highly of this Revolution and they covet it. These are signs of legitimacy and survival. These are signs of "It brings forth its fruit at all times".

Well, as you and I have remained faithful until today with the help of God, we can remain faithful in the future as well. If we preserve this faithfulness, God will give us a mighty reward: "He will grant him a mighty reward". This reward is not particular to this world or to the hereafter. It is both worldly and otherworldly.

In this world, our reward is achieving dignity, power and lofty ideals and in the hereafter, it is the divine reward and generosity which is loftier than anything else. If, God forbid, we are not faithful to our allegiance, if our temptations make us deviate, it will be to our own disadvantage. The Revolution will continue its path. Those people who abandoned the Revolution and who stood up against the Revolution according to the wishes of the enemy made a loss. They vainly think that if they plot, speak and move against the Revolution, they will achieve results. But this is not the case. They are wrong.

One the issue of this year's 22nd of Bahman - when this great and divine miracle showed itself and when the great presence of the people astonished eyes - I should say that the enemies and opponents, whether hostile or ignorant ones, had thought in a different way. They had hatched other plots and they had had other thoughts in mind.

Since long ago, they have been trying to do something to destroy the event of the 22nd of Bahman which is one of the manifestations of the presence of the people in this Revolution. They have been trying to do something to make the people in Tehran and other cities fight against one another. They had made some predictions. They said that a civil war would break out in Iran on the 22nd of Bahman. You can realize out of this expectation what they had done to make this civil war break out in Iran.

Some made such statements and some hoped to succeed in reflecting the people's supposed opposition against the Islamic Republic on the 22nd of Bahman. They promoted the idea that the people are exhausted with the Revolution and the Islamic Republic and therefore, they are against it. They had had such thoughts and they had carried out such calculations. The people punched all these opponents in the mouth and they resolved the matter with their awareness, with their foresight, with their determination and with the hand of divine power which awakened them.

Foreign enemies too should have woken up by now. The American president and people like him constantly claim to support the people of Iran. They say, "We are the supporters of the people of Iran. The people of Iran are opposed to the Islamic Republic". They have said these things many times. Notice how they felt when they saw the people of Iran took to the streets on the 22nd of Bahman. Is there any divine humiliation for the enemy which is greater than this? Is there any greater disgrace for the enemy?

Some people inside the country constantly spoke against the Islamic Republic and against its general movement. Some did it out of ignorance and out of being unaware and some did it out of hostility and enmity. They constantly said, "People, people, people". Well, these are the people. The 22nd of Bahman showed where the people are, what they want and what they say. These people inside the country were deceived by the illusions which were instilled into them. They vainly thought or they pretended that the people have washed their hands of the Revolution and Imam (r.a.). The 22nd of Bahman, the people's awareness, foresight, determination and faith and the divine blessings which were bestowed on them were a sharp rejoinder to the enemies.

Foreigners are under such illusions as well. Sometimes, words do not carry their correct meaning. The leaders of arrogant countries - that is to say, a few arrogant governments - sit and rant about the Islamic Republic. They promote the idea that the global community is against the Islamic Republic. Which global community? Which global community is opposed to the Islamic Republic? Four, five arrogant governments - which are even rejected by their own people - are against the Islamic government and the Islamic Republic.

These are governments which are in the hands of Zionist owners of cartels and which are in the fists of international leeches. Of course, such governments are opposed to and against the Islamic Republic which has shouted the slogan of justice. The day the octopus network of global capitalism begins to praise us and the day it stops opposing us, we should begin to mourn.

So, a few arrogant and bullying governments are against the Islamic Republic, but the global community is not opposed to the Islamic Republic at all. The global community means nations. The global community means many of those governments which are dissatisfied with these arrogant powers although they do not dare to express this dissatisfaction. But we know that they are dissatisfied.

This is completely clear in their statements and speeches. They share this dissatisfaction with us, but they do not dare to announce it because they are afraid. Well, we are not. We openly express our heartfelt viewpoints and we know that these viewpoints are shared by many other peoples and governments as well. We are opposed to arrogance. We are opposed to global arrogance. We are strongly opposed to the domination of a few countries over the fate of the world and we fight against it.

We do not let them play with the fate of the world. This is completely clear. Those governments are opposed to us as well. They make excuses on the nuclear issue. They make excuses in the name of human rights and democracy, but the entire world knows that they are lying and that they are behaving in a hypocritical way.

In the present time, they have dispatched their agents to the region again so that they roam around the Persian Gulf and repeat their lies and nonsensical ideas against the Islamic Republic. They have been dispatched to say, "Iran is after a nuclear bomb". Who believes what you are saying? Who believes that you care about the interests of peoples in this region? Who believes you, you who have trampled upon the peoples of this region - because of your illegitimate interests - as much as you could and as much as you have been allowed to do so?

You have turned the Persian Gulf into a weapons store. This was done by the Americans. It was they who sucked up the money that belongs to countries surrounding the Persian Gulf and who stored their weapons there in return for the money that they stole. You are warmongers, you attacked Iraq, you destroyed Afghanistan, you set out to murder the people of Pakistan and you will repeat these crimes wherever you can.

Despite these crimes, you speak against the Islamic Republic? All regional peoples and many regional governments know that the Islamic Republic is an advocate of peace, brotherhood and the dignity of regional and Islamic countries. They are roaming around like vagabonds and their movement is in decline. It is 30 years now that they have been plotting against the Islamic Republic and it is 30 years now that they have been failing. This year, it was the nth time that the Islamic Republic achieved victory in its competition against arrogant powers.

It was the enemy that provoked some people inside the country to create the post-election events out of ignorance and wrong calculations. He did this so that he might weaken the Islamic Republic. But the opposite happened. Before these events happened, if someone had tried to prove to the people in a reasonable way that the enemy had lain in ambush [perhaps he would not have succeeded] but after these events, the people saw with their own eyes that the enemy has lain in ambush.

The people of Iran are like this. When they see that the enemy has lain in ambush, they do not show any hesitation and they enter the arena. By Allah's favor and grace, from now on too, all people from different social backgrounds will adopt a more serious outlook towards their responsibilities and they will move forward in a more motivated way. By Allah's favor, they will do this in all environments including scientific, industrial, business, financial and different other environments. Everyone should show diligence and work hard.

So, the responsibility of officials is heavy. The responsibility of the officials of the country and the three branches of government towards this great popular movement and the astonishing vigilance of the people is heavy. Our people are prepared to defend their country, their Revolution and their values. The servants of society should respect and show humility to the people, they should pursue their tasks in a powerful and serious way and they should work for the people.

There are certain hardships, difficulties and problems in the country, but there is no hardship, difficulty and problem that cannot be solved with the hands of determination and reliance on faith. By Allah's favor, the officials of the country in the three branches of government and in different organizations and all the people will play their part and they will make efforts to solve these problems.

Everyone should know that the future of the people of Iran is a bright future. As I said before, our people have made their decision. God willing, they will reach the peak of their goals and they will become a role model not only for the world of Islam but also for everyone so that they know what the path of dignity and greatness is.

I hope that the God of the world bestows His blessings, kindness and assistance on all the people of Iran and on you dear people of Tabriz and Azerbaijan. I hope that the holy heart of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) is satisfied with all of you. I hope that you will benefit from the prayers of that great Imam (a.s.) and I hope that the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) and the pure souls of martyrs are satisfied with all of you.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings