Leader's Speech in Meeting with Members of Assembly of Experts

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on September 4, 2014 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the chairman and members of the Assembly of Experts. The meeting was held on the occasion of the 16th Congress of the Assembly of Experts.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon Muhammad and upon his immaculate household

I would like to welcome all you dear brothers, great ulama, trustworthy personalities and experts of the people. We really miss Mr. Mahdavi in this meeting and we are sorry that it is three months this very good brother and this very valuable personality has been suffering from a difficult illness. It is absolutely necessary for the dear brothers in this meeting to say a prayer for his recovery: "Oh God, by the blessedness of Muhammad (s.w.a.) and his household (a.s.), bestow health on him with Your medication and cure him with Your treatment" [Speaking in Arabic].

I would like to commemorate the memory of the friends and the brothers who left us recently and I ask God to bestow forgiveness on them. These friends include the late Mr. Mohammadi Gilani, the late Mr. Zarandi, the late Mamousta Mojtahedi and recently, the late Mr. Jabbari (may God bestow His mercy on them).

It is the month of Dhul-Qada. The late Hajj Mirza Jawad Agha Maleki (may God bestow paradise on him) said that the month of Dhul-Qada is the month of repentance and return to God. It is the month of taking care of ourselves lest we, God forbid, oppose Allah the Exalted and His messenger. He said that the month of Dhul-Qada is the month of avoiding war with the enemies of God. Naturally, it should be a month in which we should take care not to oppose and fight against Allah the Exalted. The late Agha Maleki referred to the well-known Sunday practice in this month [a four-rak'at prayer] and insisted that we follow this practice in the month of Dhul-Qada.

The late Hajj Mirza Ali Agha Qazi (may God bestow paradise on him) wrote a letter to his friends, followers and students about the arrival of the month of Dhul-Qada. This letter exists in his biography. The late Mr. Qazi has composed outstanding poems in Arabic. As the late Mr. Tabatabai said, he was a great and outstanding poet. According to the late Mr. Tabatabai (may God bestow paradise on him), he was an outstanding poet. He composed a very eloquent qasida which begins with: "Wake up because the months of haraam have arrived". This qasida is very long in which he offers certain pieces of advice to his students.

It is an opportunity for us and for the people to benefit from the blessings of this month which is the beginning of three consecutive haraam months. Of course, the month of Dhul-Qada is the month of Hazrat Thamen ul-Hujjaj [Imam Ridha] (God's greetings be upon him) who is a source of blessing for everyone particularly we Iranians. We should benefit from the blessings of his shrine and we should get close to Razavi values.

I have prepared some points about current global matters and domestic issues. The essence of what I want to say is that we should adopt a comprehensive outlook towards global and regional issues including the issues of our own country. This comprehensive outlook gives us an understanding and insight with which we can understand our position and status in the current conditions of the world. Second, it teaches us what we should do for the future.

When we adopt a comprehensive outlook towards the whole world - including the region - we see a basic point. This point is the fact that the dominant system in the world is undergoing change. One can understand and see this. After the First World War, a new system emerged in the world particularly in our region. Certain powers gained strength and they turned into the superpowers of the world. And after the Second World War - it is about 70 years now that this war has been over - this global system became well-established and global management took a special form.

In fact, the west - whether in the form of socialism or liberalism which were both western - dominated the management of the world and westerners took affairs in their own hands. Asia, Africa, Latin America and different other regions in the world moved forward under the influence and domination of westerners during the past 70 years. However, one can clearly see that this system is changing. I will briefly refer to this issue and I will explain the reasons for and signs of this change.

Well, when the world is changing, when the global system is undergoing a transformation and when a new order is in an embryonic state, we naturally have more important responsibilities. Where is the position of Islam, the Islamic Republic and our important country, Iran, in this new global system? We can think about this, make predictions and move in this direction. The previous system - which, as I said, dominated the world for about 70 years - had two fundamental bases: one was an intellectual and ideological basis and another was a practical - that is to say, a military and political - basis. What I want to say is that both of these bases have been challenged and undermined in the present time.

The moral and intellectual basis was the west's - including Europe's and America's - claim to have superiority over other areas and peoples in the world in intellectual and ideological arenas. They chanted certain slogans which had nothing to do with scientific and industrial achievements. They chanted attractive and deceptive slogans such as the slogan of freedom, democracy, human rights and defense of nations and individuals.

With these slogans, they wanted to establish the superiority of their ideological system over different other regions, religions and intellectual orientations - particularly over Islam. Of course, they succeeded in doing this. In our world of Islam, the individuals, groups, political personalities and governments that have really believed in the superiority of the western ideological system are not few in number. Today in our society too, there are some people who have the same belief and opinion.

The second part, which is the practical part and which forms the second basis of western power and domination over global management, revolved around the political and military capabilities of the west. If some nations, governments and orientations were not influenced by this ideological system and by the first basis, if they did not surrender and if they showed resistance, westerners confronted them with political and military pressures. Westerners carried out many measures in this area - that is to say, the area of political, military and security pressures - in order to force those who did not give in to the first factor into following and cooperating with them.

We witnessed this in the world and in our own country. Western propaganda networks, which developed and modernized on a daily basis and which increased their capabilities to a great extent, constantly showed off these two factors - ideological superiority, and military and political domination - to other nations and they managed to convince intellectuals, broadminded personalities and gradually the masses of the people.

Today, both of these two factors have been challenged: both the first and the second one. Today, both of the two tools and weapons with which the west managed and dominated the world and took all affairs in its hands have been undermined. The first factor - the ideological factor which means the superiority of western values over the values of other nations, religions, Islam and the like - has been undermined because of a number of reasons. There are certain reasons why it has been undermined.

I have written down a number of these reasons to discuss in this meeting: one of the factors which has undermined the western ideological system and its spiritual domination is the increasing moral and spiritual crisis in the west. A clear sign of this crisis is that a feeling of absurdity, nothingness, desperation and psychological insecurity has been engendered in all western people particularly in youth. The foundation of family has shaken in the west. And these are the consequences.

Western orientation towards the issue of women has caused intellectuals, thinkers and broadminded personalities to seriously question feminism which was formed tens of years ago. These intellectuals and thinkers believe that feminism was a trap for women and that it created many obstacles for them. This is a long story.

Another issue is the issue of giving value to decadent practices. For example, homosexuality becomes a value in the west and opposition to homosexuality becomes an anti-value. If a person, a government official, a president and an outstanding personality is interviewed and if he says that he is opposed to homosexuality, this will be recorded as a negative point in his performance sheet. The moral environment has taken this direction in the west. Today, the situation is like this in the western world.

Of course, it will not stop at this point and it will be much worse and much more inappropriate than what it is now. Of course, some western thinkers and well-intentioned personalities have understood this and they constantly issue warnings, but it is of no use. When a system falls into this abyss, there is no way out and its fate will be nothing but destruction. This is one factor why western values have been challenged.

The second factor is people's interest in religion. This is, in fact, a reaction to the first factor. Among different people in western countries, interest in religion - particularly interest in Islam and in understanding the Holy Quran - has increased on a daily basis. Those who are in the middle of the arena know this very well. This is another factor that has seriously challenged the moral and ideological system of the west.

The third factor is the contradictions between western actions and western slogans. They constantly speak about freedom, democracy, human rights and the like, but in practice, western governments have violated these slogans in a way that today bringing up these slogans by the westerns is considered to be ridiculous and condemnable. Thinkers and intellectuals understand that these slogans are hollow.

The number of coups d'état that western governments and powers have launched against independent governments - which were mostly elected by the people - is astonishingly large. According to a number of reports, America has tried to overthrow 50 governments since the end of the Second World War until today. It has adopted all sorts of measures for overthrowing 50 governments and it has confronted tens of popular orientations. These courses of action have been recorded in the performance sheet of America and other such countries.

The only time that a nuclear bomb has been used is by America which claims, more than anyone else, to support people, human rights and the like. During the event that happened in Japan, more than 200,000 people were killed and more suffered from its consequences. Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prisons and the secret prisons which were established in Europe proved to everyone that these people have secret prisons, that they torture people and that they keep individuals there without any trial. These prisons still exist and everyone is witnessing this. This was the third factor that challenged the ideological system of the west.

The fourth factor was resorting to violence, bullying and suppression. They showed all kinds of violence including sanctions. Everyone in the world saw that when these countries have a problem with a people and when they cannot impose their cultural domination over them, they resort to violence and they dispatch their troops.

Sometimes, they send their armies, sometimes they assassinate people and sometimes they establish terrorist organizations. All these things were witnessed recently and this is in front of the eyes of all people in the world. They have attacked other countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. They have attacked Pakistan and other countries in different ways. This is another factor which has challenged the western ideological system.

And the fifth factor is creating orientations such as al-Qaida, DAESH and the like. Now, they claim that this has nothing to do with them, but everyone knows that they are involved. Once, I quoted a statement from a well-known American politician, but they denied it later on. It can be witnessed that they have created these orientations. They themselves acknowledge that it was they who created these orientations. Even if they do not acknowledge it, we have certain evidence which proves it. We know it.

I do not forget the time when the late Sheikh Said Sha'ban, the well-known Sunni scholar in Mashhad - now it is alright to mention his name - said to me, "I know that they are trying to keep you busy from the eastern part of your country". I said, "Well, our neighboring country in the east is Afghanistan". He said, "Yes, they want to keep you busy from Afghanistan". This happened during the war, before the emergence of Taliban, al-Qaida and other such orientations in Afghanistan.

Well, he was in contact with different political and seminarian groups of Sunni Muslims. He showed his presence in sensitive areas and he was a very respectable personality. He said, "I considered it my responsibility to inform you about this". After a short time, these events occurred exactly as he said.

Therefore, there is no doubt that these orientations have been created by these western powers and their regional agents. It is possible that they are not directly involved in some cases and that they use their agents for this purpose. Of course, they were directly involved in some cases as well. On the issue of Taliban, I do not forget that American newspapers somehow supported and promoted the ideas of Taliban. They did not do it openly and outspokenly, but in fact, their propaganda work was based on promoting Taliban during a time when it had just been formed.

Therefore, these are the factors that have completely challenged the western ideological system which claimed to be superior. In the present time, no one believes westerners and western powers if they say that they support human rights, human values and other such slogans. All the slogans that were included in the United States Declaration of Independence 200 years ago have been violated in practice.

The second factor - the political and military factor - was challenged as well. The most important thing that challenged this military and political factor was the establishment of the Islamic Republic. In an area which was completely under the influence of America, a great revolutionary movement was launched with such proportions. This Revolution created a system which was based on such thoughts that the Americans had tried very hard to destroy. And not only was this system not destroyed with their various attacks - including political, economic, military, security and other such attacks - but it also became stronger on a daily basis.

Today, the Islamic Republic is a system which is strong in the real sense of the word. Of course, the Islamic Republic is both strong and oppressed. This strength is not contradictory to the fact that the Islamic Republic has been oppressed. I once said that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) was the most powerful ruler in his time, but at the same time, he was the most innocent and oppressed person. The same is true of the Islamic Republic. Its strength is not contradictory to the fact that it has been subject to oppression and its innocence is not a sign of lack of power. The power of the Islamic Republic is really a clear issue. Even its enemies acknowledge it today.

And the events that happened later on and the eight-year resistance of the Islamic Republic and the people of Iran was not a minor event. Rather, it was a very important event. This showed that the military and security capabilities of dominant powers cannot decrease or destroy the resistance of a people. This resistance will manage to impose itself on these powers, as it did in the past.

Another reason why the western political system has been challenged is regional events such as the event of Palestine, the event of Lebanon, the 33-day war, the 22-day war, the 8-day war and the recent 50-day war which is among miraculous events. During the recent 50-day war, a small area with limited capabilities did something to bring the Zionist regime - which is the symbol of western power in the region - to its knees. The Zionist regime begged for a ceasefire, but the people of Gaza did not accept it. The Zionist regime constantly insisted that there should be a ceasefire, but the people of Gaza said no. They said, "These are our terms for a ceasefire" and until these terms were not met, they did not accept the ceasefire.

This is a very important and fascinating event. These events show that the military-political power and superiority of the west has been challenged in the real sense of the word. Many influential personalities in the west believe that war is not a practical and economical option anymore. This is a very common conclusion in the western world. Today, many politicians in America - mostly in America and partly in some European countries - say that war is not an economical option for them anymore.

This means that the military-security capability and power of the west has been completely challenged. Well, the new powers that have emerged in Asia and in the east - such as China, India and other such powers - clarify the other dimensions of this issue. Well, this is the condition of the region and the world which shows that the previous global system cannot prevail any longer and that westerners cannot manage the world anymore. A new order is being formed. Of course, it has not been completely formed yet.

What should we do in this regard? In my opinion, two issues are important: the first issue is that the realities we witness today should not be misinterpreted, distorted and analyzed in the wrong way. They should be understood the way they are. There are still some people, countries, governments, personalities, politicians and orientations that do not understand the reality that was referred to.

These people exist not only in our country but also in Asia. They believe that we have only one option in the face of the west: we should surrender to it. Now this surrender is either willing - that is to say, one willingly accepts western values and complies with the system that they introduce with and the expectations that they raise - or unwilling. The latter means that if a country does not surrender to and cooperate with them willingly and if it does not show obedience in the face of their fundamental requests, it will naturally face pressure whether economic, political and military pressures or pressures exerted through sanctions.

Under such circumstances, one has no option other than surrender, whether a peaceful or a noisy and difficult surrender! This analysis exists, but it is wrong. This analysis is dangerous. Such analyses exist in some corners of the country as well. But they are wrong. As I said, western power revolved around these two bases - the moral, spiritual and ideological basis, and the military, political, security and practical basis - but both of these two bases have been undermined. We should fully understand this reality.

The second task which is important is that we should prepare ourselves for playing our part in creating the new system. We should prepare the country for playing its part. And this will not be done except by strengthening the country. We should strengthen the country. This depends on using all the capacities and capabilities that we have inside and outside the country.

We should pay attention that our capacities and capabilities are not confined to what we have inside the country. We have important capacities outside the country as well. We have certain supporters. We enjoy a strategic depth in the region and in the country. This is partly because of Islam, the Persian language and Shia denomination. These things constitute the strategic depth of our country. These are among our capabilities. So, we should benefit from all of them.

Our strategic depth is not confined to the region. We enjoy a strategic depth in Latin America and in important parts of Asia as well. We have certain resources in these regions. We should benefit from them because they will strengthen the country.

Three issues play a very important role in strengthening the country: one is the issue of science and technology, another is issue of economy and the last one is the issue of culture. We should make investments in these three areas because they are key elements. Our administrations, our officials and our influential personalities should be active in each of these three areas.

Of course, the issue of population is very important as well. As was pointed out, the issue of population plays a very important role in national power. Some of the gentlemen in this meeting placed an emphasis on this issue which is completely correct. An increase in the young generation and the largeness of the country in terms of population plays a very significant role in achieving power.

More important than all of these factors is the issue of culture particularly at the level of popular beliefs. As you can see, they are making huge investments in this area. It was pointed out in this meeting that large funds are allocated to establishing influential networks such as satellite, the Internet, mobile phones and the like. They are spending a lot of money so that they can influence people's beliefs and so that they can get people out of the circle of Islamic influence and values.

The antidote to these plots is that we can prepare expository and cogent plans for people's beliefs at different levels. Our ulama, our cultural organizations, our promotional institutes, our spokespeople and our IRIB should be able to establish and deepen these beliefs in the minds of the people. Of course, the direct relationship of ulama with the people is an irreplaceable factor and element. Nothing can replace this direct relationship between ulama and the people. Nothing can do this. Even the IRIB which is a comprehensive network cannot replace the direct relationship of ulama and religious thinkers with the people.

The issue of unity and solidarity in the country is also very important. Differences of opinion in political areas - major and minor political issues - exist, but these differences of opinion should not shatter national unity and solidarity. Everyone should join hands with one another. One of the important issues is that everyone should support officials. Supporting the government does not contradict criticizing such and such an official, administration or the judiciary branch and the Majlis in general, but support should be offered anyway.

Besides, officials are thankfully working in a diligent way. During the year that the administration has been formed, they have made great efforts. Many tasks have been carried out and one can witness this up close. They have carried out many tasks and they have made good achievements. The same is true of the judiciary branch. Different organizations are busy working.

I remember that sometimes, a number of people went to Imam (r.a.) and complained about some shortcomings. They used to complain that such and such a task has been carried out. Imam (r.a.) used to reply, "The management of the country is a difficult task". This is completely true. The management of branches and different organizations is a difficult task. Someone may be completely alright in terms of their thoughts, actions and behavioral health, but the organization which works under their authority may face certain problems. This happens.

Paying attention to all aspects and dimensions of issues is not an easy task. This happens and different problems may come up. Of course, no one is opposed to criticism, but criticism should not mean creating obstacles for the efforts that someone wants to make. All of us should consider it our responsibility to support and help the administration and executive organizations. By Allah's favor, this responsibility will be carried out.

I hope that Allah the Exalted will not withdraw His blessings from our people. By Allah's favor, this will not happen. The amount of attention - to spirituality - that exists in our country today will definitely be helpful. There are certain times when one faces dead ends, but attention to Allah the Exalted and reliance on His blessings will really open these dead ends. By Allah's favor, we should pursue this. As I have repeatedly said, whenever I take a look, I see that the future and future prospects are very bright. By Allah's favor and grace, the future of this country will be much better than its past in all areas - whether worldly or otherworldly areas.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings