Leader's Speech in Meeting with Panegyrists

 The following is the full text of the speech delivered on April 9, 2015 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with a group of panegyrists on the occasion of the birthday anniversary of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.).

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Muhammad and upon his immaculate household. Allah's curse be upon all their enemies. Allah, send as many greetings to Fatima, her father, her husband and her children as Your knowledge encompasses.

I would like to congratulate all lovers of wilayat, prophethood, the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household and genuine virtue on this auspicious birthday anniversary. I welcome you dear ones. Each and every one of you enjoys a special position and status. Later on, I will expand on this matter. Before I begin my statements, I would like to commemorate the memory of the late Mr. Ahi (God's mercy be upon him), who was a committed, responsible, well-intentioned and diligent panegyrist.

I have known the late Mr. Ahi since early 1340s. In Mashhad, a group of panegyrists of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household had gathered together and he was an active member of this group. Of course, I did not have the chance to establish a close relationship with him, but I managed to meet him. For many years, I used to know him from afar. Later on, I met with him in person. I hope that God will raise his position. He was committed, responsible and enthusiastic in the real sense of the word. He was committed to panegyrics in particular. I used to meet with him in this place every year. God's mercy be upon him. I hope that God will bestow his forgiveness on him and on us.

Today, I want to discuss three issues: one is about you - that is to say, about panegyrics and this very blessed profession - another is about the nuclear issue, which has become a popular issue in our country in the present time, and the last one is about the issue of Yemen. I will briefly discuss these three matters with you dear ones and - in fact - with the people of Iran.

As for the first issue, being a panegyrist is a very noble profession. Why is that? It is because throughout history, there have been some people who praised and eulogized oppressive, cruel and bullying rulers. Such panegyrists exist in the present time as well. Today too, there are some people in the world who sing the praises of the most malevolent people. They use their pens to praise such people in order to earn some money - filthy and evil money. On the contrary, your tongues, your breath, your lungs and your artistic power are at the service of eulogizing virtue. The Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household are the household of virtue from head to toe. Those who eulogize the sun are eulogizing themselves. By eulogizing the virtues of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household, you are - in fact - eulogizing yourselves. By doing so, you are showing the nobility of this profession. A few years ago, I recited a poem from the late Saghir-e Esfahani in the same meeting which was related to Fatima Zahra (God's greetings be upon her):

"A narration says that the Holy Prophet saw a number of camels during the Night of Isra.
I myself am a camel from that caravan.
If you do not believe this and want a proof,
You can take a look at his book of panegyric which is in my hands.
This is the load that I carry."

May God bestow His mercy on Saghir-e Esfahani. So, you hold the book of eulogizing virtue in your hands and this is a great honor. You are lucky. Therefore, you should appreciate the value of this profession. You should appreciate the value of these characteristics and this opportunity. This was the first point about panegyrics.

The second point is that today, the society of panegyrists in our country has a very great opportunity at its disposal. You organize certain meetings in which a large number of people participate. Sometimes, a thousand people - most of whom are young - participate in your minbar and listen to your eulogies and elegies. Which opportunity is better than this? So many participants and so many hearts are prepared to listen to you and benefit from your panegyrics. So many individuals with the potential to be cultivated are available to you. This is an opportunity: "You should appreciate the value of opportunities because they are fleeting like a cloud which flies away". You should appreciate the value of this opportunity and you should make the most of it.

The third point is: how can we make the most of this opportunity? The best way to do so is to promote religious teachings. You should promote the same teachings for which these great personalities and these signs of greatness and virtue laid down their lives and for which they endured so many difficulties and hardships. As a result of their efforts, the event of Ashura and the tragic events of the early Islamic era took place. What was the purpose of these efforts and events? Their purpose was to promote religious teachings. You should use this opportunity to promote religious teachings and to draw the young generation towards implementing religion, sharia and the great responsibilities which are particular to this era.

Today, our country, our people and the world of Islam are in need of correct understanding and actions, and resistance. The people of Iran are a role model and the youth is their engine. These youth are available to you. By taking a brief look, you can see that the engine of the world of Islam is available to you. Therefore, you should promote religious teachings.

You should teach the people and the youth what they need to be pure, to lead a clean and Islamic lifestyle, to become Muslims in the real sense of the word and to achieve happiness. You have the capability to do so. Throughout history, when did we have such a large number of meetings in which all these youth gather and entrust their hearts to you? During our youth in Mashhad, if they had counted the number of panegyrists, they would not have exceeded five, six. In Tehran, the number of panegyrists was only a little larger. There are so many meetings, vocalists and sweet voices. There is so much art. Under such circumstances, poets too use their talents and compose poems. You should appreciate the value of this opportunity. This is another point.

And the last point is about avoiding deviation and superstition. You should avoid creating obstacles on the way of the youths' beliefs. Sometimes, we say something which creates a knot in the minds of our young audience. Who can loosen this knot then? How can this knot - which we create in the minds of youth with our flawed and wrong words and with our negligence and irresponsiveness, and which creates an obstacle on the way of their beliefs - be loosened? This is a responsibility. Is it correct if we turn the mourning and panegyric ceremony for the Master of Martyrs - whose greatness lies in his martyrdom, self-sacrifice in the way of God, giving everything away including one's desires and dreams - into a shallow ceremony where a number of youth take off their cloths and jump up and down with no clear purpose? Is this a good way to thank God for the gift that He has bestowed upon you?

Your good voice is a divine gift. Your capability to manage such meetings is a divine gift. These are gifts that God has not bestowed on everyone. He has given them to you and therefore, you should thank Him for them. I love, from the bottom of my heart, the society of panegyrists for such characteristics. I pray for you. I hope that God will help you to succeed.

I should add that the Iranian society's and the entire region's expectations of the society of panegyrists are high. I cannot say anything in praise of Hazrat Siddiqat at-Tahirah al-Marziah, al-Raziah (God's greetings and the greetings of all prophets, angels and righteous servants of God be upon her). You raised certain points about her in your speeches, but words fail me in saying anything in praise of that personality. So, I will not discuss this matter.

The second issue is the nuclear issue. Some people asked and continue to ask, "Why did he not adopt a position on the nuclear issue?" The answer is that there is no reason to adopt a position. Our nuclear officials and those who are involved in the nuclear negotiations have told us that nothing has been done yet and that no binding agreement has been signed between the two sides. So, what position should I adopt? If they ask me whether I agree or disagree with the initial agreement, my answer is that I neither agree nor disagree because nothing has happened yet. Nothing has been done yet. The main problem is the details that are going to be discussed at length. The officials have said this to us and to the people in their interviews. The main problem is after this stage.

The other side - which is an obstinate and deceitful side, which goes back on its promises and likes to haggle, is backstabbing and has a tendency to do such evil things - may want to confine our country, our people and our negotiators inside a circle on the issue of details. We have done nothing yet. No binding contract has been signed yet. That some people congratulate me and others is meaningless. Why should they express their congratulations? What has been done until today neither guarantees the essence nor the content of the agreement. It guarantees neither of these things. It does not even guarantee that the nuclear negotiations will be concluded and lead to an agreement. The initial agreement is like this. Everything remains to be settled in the future.

I want to raise a few points about the nuclear issue. I have never been optimistic about negotiations with America. This pessimism is not based on an illusion- rather- it is based on experience. We have experienced this. If one day - when we are no longer around - you have access to the details of these events and to the writings about these days, you will definitely see how we gained this experience. However, despite the fact that I was not optimistic about negotiating with America, I did not express my opposition to these specific negotiations. I gave my blessing and I supported our negotiators with all my heart and soul and I continue to support them in the present time.

If an agreement is made that guarantees the interests of the people of Iran and preserves their dignity, I will support and welcome it one hundred percent. Everyone should know this. If someone says that we are opposed to reaching an agreement, they have not spoken the truth. If an agreement is made which ensures the interests of the people and the country, I will completely approve of it. Of course, we said that no agreement is better than making a bad one. This is what the Americans have said as well. This formula is a correct formula. No agreement is better than making an agreement which ignores the interests of the people, destroys national dignity and humiliates the great people of Iran. Under such circumstances, no agreement is far better than making such an agreement. This is the first point.

The next point is that I have not interfered and I will not interfere in the details of the negotiations. I have always pointed out the main guidelines, the important frameworks and the red lines to the officials of the country - particularly to the honorable President. I regularly hold meetings with him. I have also pointed out these issues to the honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs on few occasions. So, I only point out the main and general guidelines to them. I do not touch on the small details that do not interfere with those larger guidelines. These details are within the remit of their responsibilities. It is they who can work on them. If it is said that the details of these negotiations are supervised by the Leadership, this is not correct. Of course, I feel responsible. I have never been indifferent towards this matter. There are certain general guidelines some of which I will refer to. Of course, I have referred to them in my meetings with the people and I have discussed them with officials in a more detailed way.

The third point is that as I said before, I trust the officials involved in the nuclear matter. You should know this. We trust the gentlemen who are involved in the nuclear matter and I have no doubts about them. By Allah's favor, there will be no doubts about them from now on either. I have no doubts about them whatsoever. However, I have serious concerns which result from the other side's deceitfulness, lies and tendency to go back on its promises and move in the wrong direction. The other side is like this.

One example is their behavior in the nuclear negotiations. A few hours after our negotiators concluded their negotiations with them, the White House issued a proclamation to explain the results of the negotiations. The proclamation that they issued - they refer to it as a "fact sheet" - was wrong about many things. That is to say, their interpretation of the negotiations and the agreements that have been made is a flawed, wrong and false interpretation. They brought me this proclamation and I read it. It is four, five pages. These four, five pages have not been prepared in the course of two, three hours. In the middle of negotiations, they sat and prepared this proclamation. Notice that the other side is like this. When it is speaking to you and when certain agreements are made, it prepares a proclamation which is contrary to what is going on between you and it. As soon as negotiations are over, it releases it. The other side is like this. The other side is untrustworthy and deceitful.

They make certain statements and then they say that these statements are for the sake of appearances. They write these things in order to put on a brave and strong face to their opponents inside their country. Well, such things are none of our business. But if such statements are supposed to be the criterion for our movement, then what they wrote in this proclamation will definitely not be the criterion. Of course, they say the same thing about us. They said that the Leadership may express a so-called opposition to the initial agreement for the sake of appearances. Well, "...kafirs think that everyone thinks as they do" [a well-known Persian saying].

What we say to the people is based on mutual trust. The people have trusted this humble person and I trust each and every one of them. I trust this public movement. I believe that "Allah's hand is with the community" [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 127]. I believe that this is God's hand. Take a look at the 22nd of Bahman with the cold and the hardships that existed. Take a look at Quds Day with its burning heat. The people participated in Quds rallies while they were fasting. Who brought them to the streets? What could they possibly gain from coming into the streets? It was God's hand that brought them to the streets. When we see [the presence of] God, we trust this popular movement, feeling, sincerity and acumen. We speak to one another in a sincere way, but the other side acts in a different way and they think we are like them. This is why I have such concerns. In the present time, I have certain concerns about how they will proceed.

Another point is that some people expressed their agreement and some expressed their disagreement. In our newspapers, in the press and in internet websites, some people speak in favor of and some speak against the initial agreement. In my opinion, we should neither exaggerate nor hurry. We should see what will happen in the future. I said this to officials a few days ago. Officials should inform the people and - particularly - outstanding personalities of details and facts. We have nothing confidential and secret. This is the manifestation of harmony with the people. We had spoken about harmony and unanimity. Harmony is not something that can be forced on the people. It is not a set of instructions that can be dictated to them. This is not harmony. Rather, harmony is like a flower or a seed. It should be planted in the soil. Then, we should look after and water it and we should avoid harming it so that it can grow. Without this, harmony will not be achieved. Harmony is even better than unanimity. Of course, unanimity is good as well:

"It is possible that an Indian and a Turk have a perfect understanding of each other
And that two Turks behave like strangers
Therefore, understanding one another is of a different kind
Harmony is even better than speaking the same language."

So, harmony is necessary and it should be generated and grown. This is my advice to everyone. The present time is a good opportunity for achieving harmony. Some people are opposed to the initial agreement and they make certain objections. Well, our officials are honest people. They care about national interests. So, they should invite a number of opponents - those who are outstanding - and listen to them. It is possible that they raise interesting points and that these points are valuable for the development of their work. Even if they raise no important point, officials can convince them. This is harmony. This is uniting hearts and feelings, and - consequently - actions. In my opinion, they should listen to one another and hold discussions.

Now officials may say that they have only two, three months left [to reach the final agreement]. Well, what happens if it becomes four months? What is wrong with this? It should be noted that at one stage, the other side delayed the negotiations for seven months. So, what happens if some time is taken to achieve harmony and unanimity and to exchange opinions? You can take time to do so. And the final decisions can be delayed. Nothing will happen. This is another point.

The next point is that these ongoing negotiations - part of which is conducted with the Americans - are only related to nuclear matters. They are only related to these matters. In the present time, we have no negotiations with America on any other matter. There is no other matter. Everyone should know this. We do not negotiate with the Americans on regional issues, different domestic issues and international issues. Today, the only matter for negotiation is the nuclear matter. This will become an experience for us. If the other side stops its usual obstinacy, this will be an experience for us and we will find out that we can negotiate with it over other matters as well. But if we see that they continue to behave in the same obstinate and deviant way, well, our previous experience will naturally be strengthened.

Besides, the opposite side is not comprised of the whole world. This should also receive attention. Sometimes one hears that - I have expressed my dissatisfaction with this - some friends say, "the global community". It is they that refer to themselves as the global community. We are not confronted with the global community. We are only confronted with America and three European countries. That is all. It is only America and three European countries that show obstinacy, break their promises and behave in a vicious way towards the people of Iran on this matter. No one else is confronting us. Two, three years ago, the high-ranking officials of more than 150 countries came to Tehran. About 50 heads of countries participated in the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran. This happened two, three years ago. It did not happen 100 years ago. It happened in the recent years. This is the global community. Why should we say, "The global community should trust us"? Where is the global community? The global community trusts us completely. Even in these countries [America and the three European countries], many people do not believe in their government. This is the next point.

The last point on this matter is about my demands. I have a number of demands which I made to officials and I insist on them. One is that officials should know our current nuclear achievements are very valuable. They should know this. They should not look at them as things of little value. They are very valuable. The nuclear industry is a necessity for any country. If some so-called intellectuals pick up their pens and write, "What do we need the nuclear industry for?" this is deception. This looks likes the things which used to be said during the time of Qajar dynasty. When oil was just discovered and the English had come to take it, Qajar officials said, "What do we want this smelly and stinking substance for? Let them take it". The statements that these so-called intellectuals say are like this. The nuclear industry is a necessity for any country. It is necessary for supplying energy, for preparing drugs, for turning seawater into drinking water and for fulfilling many other needs in the area of agriculture and other areas.

The nuclear industry is an advanced industry in the world. It is an important industry. And it was achieved by our own experts. This was an explosion of the inner capacities and talents of our own experts. Now, such and such a backward country says that if Iran is supposed to have enrichment, I want enrichment as well. Well, you can go and engage in enrichment if you know how to do so [audience laughs]. We did not learn enrichment from anyone. It was with our own domestic talent that we managed to do it. If your people have this talent, you can go and engage in enrichment.

These are childish excuses that some countries make. Enrichment and the other achievements that have been made in the nuclear area are a very important accomplishment. It is not a minor achievement. And these are only our initial steps in this industry. This industry should be worked on so that it makes progress. Now a few criminal countries which have either used nuclear bombs against other nations or tested them - such as America and France - are telling us what to do. Ten, twelve years ago, France conducted three nuclear tests - in a row - in the ocean. These tests are destructive and they destroy the marine environment. They conducted three dangerous tests. And there was little criticism over this matter in the world and later on, they shut mouths and it was over.

This is while we are not after nuclear tests. We are not after nuclear weapons. And this is not because they are telling us not to pursue these things. Rather, we do not want these things for the sake of ourselves and our religion and because reason is telling us not to do so. Both shar'i and aqli [related to logic and reason] fatwas dictate that we do not pursue them. Our aqli fatwa is that we do not need a nuclear weapon either in the present time or in the future. A nuclear weapon is a source of trouble for a country like ours - I do not want to expand on this matter. So, nuclear achievements are very important and pursuing this industry and industrializing the country is a very important task. This should receive attention.

The next demand that we made to officials was that we told them not to trust the other side. Fortunately, one of the honorable officials recently said in an open and direct way that he does not trust the other side at all. This is a very good thing. I said that they should not trust the other side, that they should not be deceived by its smile and that they should not trust the promise - not the actions - that it makes. This is because when they have crossed the bridge, they will turn around and make you a laughing stock. They are this shameless. Now that an initial agreement, in the form of a note and proclamation, has been published and that they have managed to move forward this much - nothing has been done yet and even when the two sides say that no binding agreement has been made yet - the American president appears on TV, with what gestures and show!

Another issue that we discussed with officials and that we would like to discuss with the people now is that in the details of the negotiations - the next months are very important - sanctions have to be lifted completely and at once. One side says that sanctions will be lifted in six months. Another says that it may take one year for the sanctions to be lifted. Another says that it make take even more than a year. These are their usual games. They are not worthy of attention and we do not accept them at all. If Allah the Exalted has ordained that an agreement is to be made, sanctions have to be completely lifted on the day of the final agreement. This has to happen. If lifting sanctions is supposed to depend on another new process, why did we negotiate with them in the first place? What was the purpose of sitting at the negotiating table and wrangling with them? The purpose was to lift the sanctions. If they want to set new terms for lifting sanctions, this is not acceptable at all.

Another point that we discussed with the officials and that we would like to discuss with you is that they are not at all allowed to penetrate the security and defense areas of the country with the excuse of supervision. This should not happen at all. The military officials of the country are not at all allowed to let foreigners enter the security and defense areas of the country with the excuse of exercising supervision, carrying out investigations and other such excuses. Also they are not allowed to hamper the defense development of the country. The defense development and capability of the country is the firm fist of the people in the military arena and therefore, it should remain firm and become even firmer. Another issue that we do not negotiate over is the support that we offer to our resistant brothers in different countries. Such issues should not be touched at all in the process of negotiations.

Another warning is that no unusual methods- which treats the Islamic Republic in a special way in terms of supervision- is acceptable. The same usual methods that are used in the world should be used in our country and nothing more.

The last point in this regard is that scientific and technical development in the nuclear area should not be stopped at all. Development - technical development - should continue. Officials may deem it necessary to accept a few limitations. We have no objections in this regard. They can accept a few limitations, but technical development should definitely continue and it should move forward with complete strength and power.

These are what we wanted to say to our officials. We have said these points to them in private meetings as well. During the past one and a half years, I have pointed out these issues to the honorable President. I have also discussed them with the head of the negotiating team - the honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs - on few occasions. These are what I wanted to say in this regard. Of course, it depends on them with what methods they want to fulfill these demands. They can go and find good negotiation methods. They can benefit from well-informed and trustworthy personalities and the opinions of critics. Then, they can do what is necessary. This was related to the nuclear matter.

As for the issue of Yemen, the Saudis have established a bad tradition in the region. Of course, they have made a mistake. Today, what the government of Saudi Arabia is doing in Yemen is exactly the same thing that the Zionists are doing in Gaza. This issue has two aspects: one is that it is a genocidal crime. It is a crime that can be pursued by international authorities. They kill children and destroy houses, infrastructure and national sources of wealth. Well, this is a big crime. This is one aspect of the issue.

The other aspect is that the Saudis will suffer a loss on this matter. They will suffer a loss and they will not achieve any victory. There is a very clear reason for this. The reason is that the military capabilities of the Zionists are several times more than these so-and-so Saudis. The Zionists are much stronger than them. The Zionists too had military capabilities. And the camp against them was a small strip of land, namely Gaza. But the camp against the Saudis is a country which is comprised of tens of millions of people. It is a people and a vast country that has stood up against the Saudis. If the Zionists can achieve victory in Gaza, the Saudis too will achieve victory in Yemen. Of course, even if the Zionists achieved victory, the chances for the Saudis to achieve victory in Yemen would be zero. In the present time, their chances are less than zero. So, they will definitely receive a blow. Without a doubt, their noses will be rubbed in dirt.

We have many differences with the Saudis on different political issues. But we always said that the Saudis behave with tact and gravity in their foreign affairs. But they have lost this tact and gravity. A few inexperienced youth have taken the affairs of that country in their hands and they prefer savagery to tact and maintaining appearances. This will be to their disadvantage. I warn the Saudis. Stop these criminal actions are commiting in Yemen. This is not acceptable in the region.

Of course, America defends and supports them. This is in America's nature. They support the oppressive side on all matters in the world. They advocate for the bad person instead of advocating for the oppressed. This is in their nature. They are acting in the same way on the issue of Yemen, but they will receive a blow and they will be defeated. Now, they are creating uproar by saying that Iran has interfered in the affairs of Yemen. Of course, this is interference! Just because we are saying a few words about this issue, we are interfering! But the fact that their criminal warplanes have created an insecure environment for Yemen is not interference. They are finding silly excuses for their own interference. These excuses are not acceptable in terms of international logic. Neither the people nor God will accept such excuses. So, this is what they need to do: they should stop committing such crimes and creating such disasters as soon as possible.

The people of Yemen are a great, ancient and historic people. They have a millennia-long history. These people have the capacity and capability to decide the fate of their own government. Of course, some people have tried to bring about a power vacuum and to create uproar. They want to create the same events that have unfortunately taken place in Libya - today, there is a very bad and regrettable situation in Libya. But fortunately, they failed to do so. The religious and enthusiastic youth of Yemen who believe in the bright path of the Commander of the Faithful (peace and greetings be upon him) managed to stand up against them. Shia, Sunni, Shafi'i, Zaidi, Hanafi and all types have stood up against the enemy's invasion and by Allah's favor, they will achieve victory. Victory belongs to the people.

Dear God, help our brothers - wherever they are in the world - to achieve victory. Dear God, humiliate and defeat the enemies of Islam and the enemies of Muslim peoples wherever they are in the world. Dear God, familiarize us with our responsibilities. Dear God, enable us to carry out our responsibilities. Associate the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) with his saints. Associate the pure souls of martyrs with the immaculate soul of Hazrat Siddiqat at-Tahirah (God's greetings be upon her).

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings