Leader's Speech in Meeting with Government Officials

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on October 10, 2006 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with government officials. The meeting was held on the occasion of the month of Ramadan.

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 our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Muhammad, upon his immaculate and pure household and upon his chosen companions. And peace and greetings be upon Your representative and Your Hujjat for all people.

I thank Allah the Exalted from the bottom of my heart for His constant and endless blessings on the people of Iran and I hope that this auspicious month and these blessed days will continue to bring our people more divine blessings.

What I want to say to you dear brothers and sisters - who are the officials of the country and people in charge of managing these great people - is that all of us should take a more serious outlook towards the heavy responsibilities that Allah the Exalted has entrusted to each and every one of us and that we should be more committed to our promise to God. This is everything that I want to say to you.

Without God's help, no person and no people will achieve any dignity and happiness. And divine help has certain requirements as we say in this dua: "Oh God, I ask you to give me the requirements for Your mercy". One of the most important requirements for divine mercy is that the officials of the country and managers in charge of different areas feel committed before Allah the Exalted and the people. Without a doubt, the stronger and the more dynamic and enthusiastic this feeling it is, the more we benefit from divine mercy. We should move forward and we should accompany our movement with divine intentions and with the intention of getting close to God.

We should know that if we do this, God's assistance and blessings will be definite. The month of Ramadan is a good opportunity for this and the purpose of fasting is "That you may learn piety" [The Holy Quran, 2: 183]. Allah the Exalted has commanded us to fast with this purpose. At least, one of the purposes of commanding people to fast in this month - fasting is one of the important characteristics of the month of Ramadan - is to exercise piety.

In daily duas after saying prayers, we read, "And this is a month on which you bestowed greatness, dignity and honor and on which you bestowed superiority over other months". Allah the Exalted has made this month superior to others. One of the reasons for this superiority is fasting. Another reason is that He sent down the Holy Quran in this month. Another reason is the Night of Qadr. These things have been mentioned in this dua as the characteristics of this month. This is good ground for our growth and fruitfulness. It is like the spring. As each season of the year has certain natural characteristics, some seasons and some times, days, nights, weeks and months have certain characteristics for growth and for the spiritual dynamism and transcendence of people.

Friday nights and days have different characteristics and we should not be surprised at this. As night and day have different characteristics in the material world, they have different characteristics in the spiritual world, in one's spirituality and transcendence, in the acceptance of deed and in the influence of religious acts. The daytime of Fridays, the night of 15th of Sha'ban and the days which have been specified by the holy religion are examples of these special occasions. Other examples are: "the few days" [speaking in Arabic] which refers to the month of Ramadan, special days in the month of Dhul-Hijja and other such occasions. These days have not been chosen accidentally. It is not the case that the month of Ramadan is equal to the month of Rajab and Dhul-Qada in terms of essence and influence. This is not the case. As I said before, each has certain characteristics like the seasons of the year.

There is a narration which quotes the Holy Prophet (God's greetings be upon him and his household) as saying, "SubhanAllah, what are you welcoming and what is welcoming you?" This is the way he speaks about the significance of this month. The perceptive and subtle eyes of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) see the blessings of the month of Ramadan. Fasting is an opportunity with the effects and results that you know and have heard about.

There is a narration from the Commander of the Faithful (peace and greetings be upon him) which divides fasting into two kinds: the fasting of the body and the fasting of the soul. On the fasting of the body, he says, "The fasting of the body is the voluntary act of preventing the body from eating and this is done out of fear of divine punishment and out of interest in achieving divine rewards". With this motivation, we avoid eating. This is the fasting of the body. As for the fasting of the soul, "Fasting is protecting our five senses from all sins". This is the fasting of the soul.

You should prevent your five senses from all sins. "And the emptiness of the heart from all causes of evil". You should empty your hearts of the causes of evil. This is the fasting of the soul. Now, what are the causes of evil? Avoiding the sins related to the five senses are easy for a person who has a firm determination. It is easy for such a person to prevent his hands, eyes, ears and tongue from committing sins. However, emptying one's heart from the causes of evil is very difficult. This is more difficult and it requires exercise and diligence.

And dear friends, you and I are the addressees of this command. This diligence is our responsibility. The effect of the sin that we commit is really different from the effect of the sin that is committed by an ordinary person who has no official responsibility in society. We should be careful about individual sins and the sins that emerge from our hearts. The causes of evil are jealousy, greed - material greed and greed for accumulating money - having malevolent intentions for other people, harboring suspicions, being arrogant and self-important, and humiliating and looking down on people. It is because of these things that malevolent people emerge in the world. The arrogance, egotism, greed, jealousy, stinginess and lust in some people make them do things whose effects may not be visible in the beginning, but gradually, they lead to historical and human disasters and they produce permanent effects.

When we take a look at great historical disasters and their roots, we reach these characteristics that exist in individuals. When we take a look, we see that the greed, avarice, stinginess and lust in a person or a people are the cause of a great disaster. Hypocrisy and its opposite indulgence and decadence are among the causes of evil as well. These are the things that we should empty our hearts of.

The month of Ramadan is the month of exercise for these things. We should step on this path and move forward. The responsibility which falls on the shoulders of all officials is a heavy responsibility and of course, it is a very glorious responsibility. The Islamic Republic is a system which wants to help all people achieve happiness with the same message that prophets delivered throughout history. In fact, the Islamic Republic is confirming the message of prophets which is the opposite of the message of the taghuts of the world. Taghuts exist today as well. It is difficult for them to accept this message and this is why they confront it.

The path of victory in this challenge and encounter is nothing but resistance accompanied by faith, and belief in oneself and one's path. We should believe in the path: "The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith" [The Holy Quran, 2: 285]. It means that all believers should join hands and resist on this path. They should show resistance. This is the path of progress and victory. If they do this, then victory is definite.

We have experienced this during the past 27 years. Whenever we believed and stood by our claims, we managed to move forward. The same thing happened during the Sacred Defense Era. The same thing happened in preserving the foundation of this holy system. The same thing has happened in the day-to-day and hourly progress of this country. Today, when we take a look at the standards of progress and development in our country and when we compare them with the beginning of the Revolution, we notice that they are not comparable at all. In those days, because of the existence of many problems, we could not even guess that we would be able to reach this point, but by Allah's favor, we did so.

This was achieved as a result of resistance accompanied by belief and this is the way to make these achievements. If officials shirk their responsibilities, this is one of the sins whose effects will be destructive not only for themselves, but also for the people.

Apart from the individual sins committed by people from different social backgrounds, the sins committed by officials are particular to them. One of these sins is shirking one's responsibilities and refusing to do what one can and should do. Taking advantage of public funds is a sin which is particular to us. That is to say, it is you and I who can commit this sin, but the people cannot. Moreover, its effect is much more serious than an act of robbery committed by an ordinary person.

Slowing the public movement of the country by creating despair is another sin of us officials. If we disappoint the people, frustrate their dynamism and paint a dark picture of conditions for the people who should move forward with enthusiasm and hope, this is slowing the people's movement. This is a great sin. One of the things which slows down the movement of the country is creating discord and fighting against one another. Creating discord or fueling its fire is a sin that is particular to us officials and politicians.

Another sin is economic corruption, either being involved in it or refusing to pursue it. These are things which slow down the public movement of the country. Economic corruption is a decelerating factor because it is a kind of corruption and it creates problems for the financial and monetary system of the country and because its reflection in the minds of the people creates another kind of corruption. That is to say, it makes them disappointed. Therefore, participation, God forbid, in corruption, reluctance to combat corruption, drawing the people to it, using a kind of literature which encourages and emboldens the people to pursue corruption - whether financial, sexual or other kinds of corruption - slow down the movement of the country and these are our sins.

We should be careful. "That you may learn piety" means we should exercise piety. I have said many times that piety means taking care of oneself. Piety means that you should take care of yourselves with open eyes lest you make a mistake. Many times, our eyes are open to the mistakes that other people make. We look to see when they make a mistake or do something which we can consider as a mistake. But our eyes are close to our own mistakes. This is bad. We as individuals, officials and managers - at any level - should look at own our mistakes and errors. Of course, this is difficult. It is not easy for us to accept and find our mistakes and to condemn ourselves, but we should carry out this difficult task. On Judgment Day - in that difficult and demanding court - Allah the Exalted will question us. If we do not think of an answer today, we will have none to give on that day.

The duas and influential words of the Imams (a.s.) in such days and at such nights are a lesson about our relationship with God and their purpose is to help us influence ourselves and correct our behavior. We read in Abu Hamza dua, "Oh God, bestow Your mercy on me when I have no answer to give, when I cannot find my tongue to give you answers and when my mind makes a mistake when you ask me a question". This dua says, "Oh God, the moment when my hands are empty in giving you reasons and when I fail to give any reason - when we are asked, ‘Why did you do this? Why did you do that?' - bestow mercy on me".

If people ask us questions now, we constantly try to provide answers and we reason with them, but there, our hands are empty in giving reasons because the truth is clear and there is no room to make up any excuse. We ask God for His mercy because we cannot find our tongues in the face of divine questions and criticisms: "When I cannot find my tongue to give you answers". "And when my mind makes a mistake when you ask me a question". Our minds become confused as well. We should think of that day.

Today, you and I can do this as long as we are alive and able to breathe. The way to do this is self-edification and self-edification can be achieved in this month. This is the main thing that I wanted to say. Of course, I myself am the main addressee of these words of advice because I need this self-edification more than all of you. We offer these pieces of advice so that with these words, Allah the Exalted influences both my heart and yours.

Now, I would like to offer a number of recommendations:

One recommendation is about the issue of discord. Officials, politicians, different managers in different sectors - in the administration, in the Majlis, and in promotional and judiciary areas - and different groups should be careful because discord does harm to the country. Fortunately during the course of many years, we showed resistance against different hammers of discord. They hit us hard with different hammers in order to create a rift in this dam, but the Islamic Republic resisted. Discord, dispute and quarrel have always existed during all post-revolutionary eras - from the beginning of the Revolution until today. Such things have existed whether during the auspicious life of Imam (may God bestow paradise on him) or after his demise until today. However, a firm ideological and religious belt has always prevented the sides involved from falling down.

Even if some people were exceptions to this rule, they only harmed themselves and they failed to destroy the unity of the country. Once, discord became the official policy of the enemies. They said, "We should create a rift among the high-ranking officials of this country". But they failed to do so. Of course, they exerted many pressures, but by Allah's favor and grace, officials resisted. They are making the same efforts in the present time as well. Of course today, unity among the different organizations of the Islamic Republic is thankfully more than ever. Unity, solidarity and amity are deeper than ever, but this piece of advice that I am offering is necessary. You should be vigilant. The enemy is awake and he tries to create discord and rift. This is one of the things which we think everyone should be careful about.

Of course, differences of opinion exist and in some places, there are even more fundamental differences in terms of ideology and beliefs. There is nothing wrong with this. There may be differences of opinion in economic areas. The same is true of political areas. We do not criticize these things. Differences of opinion can exist, but they should not lead to disintegration, hypocrisy, quarrel and destruction of one another. In the face of the enemy, all of us should be united. When the Islamic Republic - in its entirety - says something, everyone should be behind it although they may have differences of opinion in ten other cases. This is something which has thankfully existed until today and it should exist from now on too.

Another point is that everyone should strengthen executive organizations - that is to say, the organizations which are in the middle of the arena: the three branches of government and primarily the executive branch and the administration - because the most difficult executive tasks fall on their shoulders and their responsibility is heavier than all other organizations. Everyone should take care of executive organizations.

Helping the administration is helping the country and it does not matter which party offers such support. All of you remember and all of you saw that since I have undertaken this responsibility, all administrations have received my support. This does not mean that I always agreed with the policies of those administrations. This has not been the case. I used to point out that I did not agree with some of their policies in different areas. But I have always supported administrations in general.

You should take care not to let the administration be undermined by differences of opinion and taste and by partisan disagreements. The administration should be preserved. Everyone should respect the president and everyone should consider this to be a principle.

If some people try to portray the administration as incompetent, this is not serving the country. Even if they believe in this, they should say it directly to executive officials themselves or the officials who can be influential in this regard. But promoting - among the people - the idea that the administration is incompetent and doing this in an unfair way is not the right course of action. Even if this idea were true, it should not appear through promotion and by shouting it in the rooftops let alone when the idea is wrong and unfair. With its serious outlook and good efforts, the administration is doing hard work which is based on calculation.

Now imagine that its opinion on such and such an economic issue is not identical with that of an expert. But this does not decrease the significance and value of its work. Today, everyone can witness - we and other people can witness - that the heavy work done by the administration is really praiseworthy and admirable. What it is doing is very good. Therefore, unfair criticism should not be made.

We should behave towards other organizations in the same way as well. The Majlis is the center of making decisions for the fundamental and comprehensive plans of the country and therefore, it should not be weakened either. The same is true of the judiciary branch. Making fair and reasonable criticisms is different from portraying an organization as incompetent and unsuccessful. This is wrong no matter if such portrayal is correct or wrong.

Primarily, everyone should help the administration and other organizations. Our organizations should not make extremist criticisms. Everyone refers to me - if officials speak to me privately, it is completely alright - different officials and individuals come to me and they complaint about other officials and sometimes their complaints are fair and sometimes unfair. There is nothing wrong with this. It is alright for them to speak to us, but these complaints should not be shared with the people. Why should they listen to our complaints and criticisms?

Coming to blows and arguing with one another in front of the people breaks their heart. Why should we break the people's hearts? We have such good people. They support the Islamic Republic in an extraordinary way. They gave the greatest power to this holy system so that it can stand firm - like a mountain - in the most difficult arenas. This was done by the people. We had nothing on our own. So, we should not break the people's hearts.

Sometimes, we witness that some promotions exaggerate the significance of some quarrels between officials. In such circumstances, the heavy responsibility falls on the people's shoulders. An example is the arguments that broke out on the issue of ending the war and accepting the resolution. Of course, if such arguments and quarrels do not take place, it is better. But even if they take place, we should not speak about their effects in such an exaggerated way that people think a great event has taken place. This should not be the case.

All the people and officials know the truth about the issue of the war. During the war, military and political officials did everything they could and every one of them rendered services. We witnessed these things up close. Of course, they had some weak points as well. These are not things that can be denied. The politicians had certain weaknesses and military personalities had certain other weaknesses, but without a doubt, their services were more than their weaknesses. The combination of these weaknesses and services led to what happened at that time - the decision that Imam (r.a.) made.

The people will certainly be informed - gradually and at the right time - of these events with all their details. They will be informed of them, but what I am saying is about the essence of the event. By Allah's favor, one day, they will be recorded. The combination and result of all these capabilities, weaknesses, achievements, good deeds and wrong measures was the event that happened at that time. And this result did not mean defeat. It did not mean surrender at all.

Imam (r.a.) was the manifestation of steadfastness, resistance, and hope about and progress towards the future. He acted in the same way during the war. He acted in the same way in accepting the resolution. He acted in the same in his announcements and statements. He taught this to us. We stepped in this path and by Allah's favor and grace, we will continue to take the same direction without any hesitation and collusion.

What we can clearly say about the behavior of the Islamic Revolution - whose complete manifestation and symbol was Imam (r.a.) - is its courage accompanied by foresight. In the Islamic Revolution, there is and has been no such a thing as shooting an arrow in the dark. Since the beginning until today, such a thing has not existed in the plans of the Islamic Republic. Today, such a thing does not exist and in the future, it will not exist either. We do not have such a thing as closing our eyes and brandishing a sword. We take action with open eyes and in an insightful way. However, we do it courageously. We move forward by making a correct calculation of the capability that Allah the Exalted has bestowed upon religious and determined believers. We move forward with different tactics and methods.

In wars, retreating is a tactic and it is not desertion. The people who have been in a war know and understand this well. As advancing is a tactic, retreating is a tactic as well. Sometimes, a commander may deem it necessary to order a tactical retreat. If he does not do it, this is treason. Similarly, it is treason if he does not advance whenever necessary. What is the difference between making a tactical retreat and running away? The difference is that a tactical retreat is made at a commander's order and that it is a well-organized action. Running away, however, is a non-systematic action and it results from letting go of the firm hand that one has grasped and from feeling empty and hollow.

We move forward wherever necessary. We move forward quickly wherever necessary and slowly wherever necessary. We take one step back wherever necessary and we take two steps forward wherever necessary. And Allah the Exalted offers His assistance. The same measure has been adopted on the nuclear issue and the same measure will be adopted from now on too.

If we had not adopted that course of action during those two, two and a half years, then today, we might have blamed ourselves and said, "Why did we not experience that path?" But now, we do not blame ourselves and we surely and clearly know what we are doing. We experienced that path. No one has any reason against the government and the Islamic Republic on the issue of the method that Mr. President explained regarding the nuclear matter.

This is the way to do this. We experienced the other path as well and it became clear to us [what the result will be]. Of course, it was clear from the beginning. By Allah's favor, the historical documents on these matters will be published one day. Each and every word of the event of those days has been recorded and written down and one day, it will be available to the public opinion in the country. By Allah's favor, it will become clear what has happened at that period of time. It was clear on that day as well. However, it was necessary to adopt that course of action. That move was necessary and therefore, it was made. Today too, this move is a correct move. Our policy on the nuclear issue is a clear policy: progress and persistence in asserting the rights of the people of Iran without making any retreat. Of course, we do this with our clear logic and the goal is a humane and clear goal.

On the issue of arguments and quarrels, I should add that there are some people who are ready to say untrue things about the Revolution, the system and Imam (r.a.). They are ready to find excuses. You should be careful about such people. We should not give them any excuse. Everyone should pay attention to this.

I would like to raise a few short points about domestic issues and then, I will end my speech.

One is the issue of elections. Elections are very important. Both elections - the Assembly of Experts elections and the city and village councils elections - are important in their own respect. All of us should feel responsible for these elections. Officials, all the people, different political and social groups and the activists of the country should feel responsible.

Primarily, the health of these elections is very important. Fortunately, the officials of the country pay attention to this matter. We too have always stressed it and we stress it now as well. The votes of the people should be completely protected. An issue which enjoys the same importance is preserving the health of the environment before the beginning of the elections. For example, now that candidates are declaring their candidacy and things are being prepared - there is not much time until the beginning of elections - you should preserve the health of the environment.

Some people damage the environment. Slandering, insulting and humiliating different personalities are against the health of elections. The press, radio and television, the people who are equipped with different means of mass communication - such as computers and electronic media methods - and the people who have minbar such as Friday prayer leaders and members of the Majlis should pay attention that slander damages the environment of elections. You can defend the candidates whom you are interested in. There is nothing wrong with this, but you should not attack and slander his rival. Such slander and insult is neither reasonable to the addresses nor appropriate. This is because they damage the environment. Therefore, the issue of preserving the health of elections and the environment of elections is very important.

Everyone should try to guarantee the participation of the people and help this to happen. This is addressed to all people from different social backgrounds as well. By Allah's favor, if I live long enough, I will organize several meetings with people from different social backgrounds on Eid ul-Fitr and I will discuss this matter with them. I am saying this to you now. Everyone should help this to happen.

The issue of the interference of the Armed Forces in elections has been addressed by some politicians which is not true. This accusation is a cruel act against the Armed Forces. As you see, it is many years now that at the request of the Ministry of Interior, the Armed Forces enter the arena to protect ballot boxes and there is no other interference. However, we would like to stress that governmental organizations in general - this is not addressed to the Armed Forces only - should not interfere in election affairs. They should allow the people and other groups to be free in preparing the list of election candidates. Government officials and those who are involved in executive tasks should not interfere at all. They should allow the people to carry out such tasks. That is to say, government officials should not affect the results of elections. You should allow the people to carry out promotional activities and act in a prepared and competitive way.

The last point is related to international affairs. With the events in Lebanon and Palestine and before these countries in Iraq, all signs indicate the defeat of America's policies in the region. Since the issue of Iraq began, the signs of the defeat of America's policies are being witnessed one after another. Since then, the events in Palestine, the Palestinian elections and the formation of Hamas government and after that the glorious event in Lebanon - marked by the courage and sacrifice of religious youth - showed the defeat of America's policies. America is trying to make up for this. We should pay attention that one of the things that it does is to isolate the center and source of this epic and movement, which is the Islamic Republic. Of course, they have failed to do this until now and by Allah's favor, they will continue to fail.

However, everyone - including we, our neighboring countries, regional countries in general and regional activists - should be vigilant. The purpose of the issue of the Shia Crescent, which was brought up by them, was to frighten the Sunni community. The issue of Iran's intra-regional power - the Americans and their media constantly repeat that Iran has become a great and intra-regional power - was raised to frighten Persian Gulf, Arab and neighboring countries more than to reflect a reality. They want to say to these governments, "Be careful! Iran is coming". Iran has not become a power today. Iran became a power since the day the sun of the Revolution began to rise and there is no doubt about this.

What has occurred during these years is the signs of this power which have showed themselves gradually and which will show themselves more in the future. However, this power does not confront any country and any government. It is not a threat to any country and any government. It does not want to fight against any government and any country. On the contrary, this power is an advocate of truth and justice. It defends justice and it hates and confronts the oppression, transgression and tumult that it witnesses in the world. It is not a threat to nations and to its neighboring countries. They should pay attention to this.

Thankfully, the Islamic Republic is a powerful government, country and system and its power is because of its reliance on religion, Islamic principles and its people. Any country and government which relies on its people will be powerful. We ask Allah the Exalted to help us increase our reliance on religion on a daily basis and to strengthen our relationship and bond with our people on a daily basis.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings