Officials of Parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections met with the Leader of the Revolution

Iran will stay committed only as long as the other side will: Leader

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on January 20, 2016 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the officials in charge of holding elections.

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 Muhammad and upon his immaculate household.

Welcome dear brothers and sisters. This friendly and warm gathering – that has been formed by diligent people in charge of a very important task – is a very auspicious gathering. I hope that with His mercy and kindness, Allah the Exalted pays attention to each and every one of you, that He approves of the great responsibility that falls on you – this was reflected to some extent, in the genuine statements that Mr. Jannati made - and that He bestows His blessings on you, God willing.

I would like to congratulate you on the birthday anniversary of Hazrat Askari (a.s.) – the great father of our Wali, Imam, Sayyid and Master (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). Also, I congratulate you on the arrival of the month of Bahman which is the month of pride, the month of a great transformation in the history of the people of Iran and the month of great events. By Allah’s favor, we should do something to deserve feeling proud of this month and its events.

I want to say a few things about the elections. Well, Mr. Jannati (may Allah the Exalted protect him and prolong his existence and blessings) and Mr. Rahmani Fazli – the honorable and diligent Minister of Interior – raised certain points in this regard. They were good points. All the points that they raised were thorough and important points. I too would like to say a few things. We have spoken about this issue before and if I live long enough, there will be more opportunities to speak about this matter in the future. If there is time, I will say a few things about the recent matter – the issue of the Bar-Jaam [JCPOA] and the recent agreement – as well.

On the issue of elections, we should pay attention that elections are a competition, a national competition between all the people of the country. If this competition is held in a good, healthy and strong way, the honor will belong to the federation no matter which team wins among the different teams that participate. This is the case. When sports teams play well, the federation will feel proud of their strong and healthy play no matter if team A, team B or team C wins. The same is true of elections. If the people of Iran enter the arena in a good, strong, determined and decisive manner and if they fill the ballot boxes with their votes and willpower, Iran will feel proud. The Islamic Republic will feel proud no matter who wins and who loses. In fact, there is no victory and no defeat for the people. In any case, the people will be the winners. This is the main point on the issue of elections.

What is a healthy competition and a healthy game? A healthy competition is one in which everyone plays well and everyone makes good moves. As I said before, the first condition is that everyone participates and enters the arena. In my previous speech too, I said to everyone that even those individuals who might have a problem with the Islamic Republic [should participate]. They do not have a problem with the security and power of the country. Well, today, this system has preserved the security of the country, it has facilitated the progress of the country and it has given dignity to the people. These things cannot be denied. They should love these things and therefore, they too should enter the arena for the sake of dignifying Iran and the Iranians, preserving national security and guaranteeing the progress that thankfully began in the beginning of the Revolution and that has continued until the present time in a persistent and continuous manner.

They should enter the arena for the sake of these things. Everyone should enter the arena. Of course, those individuals who enter the arena for the sake of God’s satisfaction and on the basis of their responsibility will make another achievement as well as those, which is very great. This achievement is divine satisfaction, the satisfaction of God. This is the first condition: everyone should enter and enter with enthusiasm. And I will tell you that everyone will enter the arena. By Allah’s favor, grace and permission, the people that we have seen and the awareness and insight that they have shown prove that our dear people will enter the arena.

Some people have lain in ambush to trip up the Islamic Republic through the absence of the people in the arena of elections and by boycotting or undermining the elections – I will expand on this matter later on. Some people have lain in ambush. In the face of these vicious individuals, the people have shown their efficiency and today too, they will show it. This has been the first and most important issue that I have raised in all elections and in the present time, this is the case as well: the full and enthusiastic participation of the people.

The second matter that provides and guarantees the health of elections and this competition is that the people enter the arena in an intelligent manner in order to elect competent individuals. They should choose individuals who – when they occupy that position, no matter what that position is: it can be the position of membership in the Assembly of Experts and the Islamic Consultative Majlis or presidency - dedicate themselves to the problems of the country, who sacrifice themselves on the path of rendering services and protecting the people’s interests and benefits, who refuse to sell the country to the enemies and who do not act against the interests of the country for the sake of showing considerations for this and that. They should elect such individuals. This becomes a good choice.

I have said and would like to say again that even those who do not believe in the Islamic Republic should participate in the elections and vote. This, however, does not mean that they should send someone to the Majlis who does not believe in the system. Nowhere in the world does such a thing exist that when we say, “You, who do not believe in the system can participate in the elections” they answer, “So allow me to vote for someone who does not believe in the system.” This is meaningless. Nowhere in the world do decision-making centers allow someone who does not believe in the essence of the system to participate in elections.

Even in some countries, they eliminate someone from the scene with the slightest accusation. In America that today introduces itself as the symbol of freedom and other such concepts – and some simple-minded individuals believe what they say and what they promote – they used to firmly reject anyone who made a statement that remotely linked them with the economic thoughts of socialism. They used to do this during a time when the leftist orientation existed in the world. Of course, in the present time, such thoughts do not exist. They were not communists, they did not even believe in communism and socialism, but if they showed a small vein of such orientations on economic issues, they would reject them.

This happened in a country that mentions the name of freedom, democracy and the like and that complains why we have a Guardian Council. How shameless they are! Therefore, that we are committed to the belief that only those who approve of the system and the interests and fundamental values of the country and who strengthen and pursue such matters should go to the Majlis is a public right. This is influential in elections and their health as well.

There are other points as well. Everyone should obey the law. I liked it very much when I saw that the honorable gentlemen – both Mr. Jannati (may God protect him) and Mr. Rahmani Fazli – stressed the issue of observing the law. This is our permanent advice. I have always stressed that the officials involved in elections should plant their feet in a safe spot. The safe spot is the legal spot: the law. You should observe the law.

Legal organizations should not be insulted. We should not slander or insult a legal organization that has certain responsibilities. A legal organization is a legal organization. This does not mean that such organizations do not make mistakes. Every legal organization might make mistakes like everyone else and like this humble person who is full of mistakes and errors. However, this should not make us insult a legal organization and diminish it in our promotions and statements. If this gate opens, there will be chaos. Well, if you have a certain opinion and you disrespect such and such a legal organization, you should know that someone else has another opinion and they might disrespect the legal organization that you are affiliated with. Is this good? They should not open this gate.

They should not make public opinion panic by saying that it is not clear what will happen and that they do not know what will happen. This is very wrong. I have offered this warning before as well. You should allow the people to move towards the elections with enthusiasm, excitement and eagerness as this is the truth of the matter. Agitating the minds of the people is a very wrong measure. They should not make the people pessimistic about the elections.

Candidates should not insult one another either. Well, if you are a candidate and if you believe that you are a competent and outstanding individual, very well, you can make complimentary remarks about yourself as much as you want. But, you should not insult and slander your rivals and you should not talk behind their backs either. Slandering means saying something about someone which is not true, but talking behind someone’s back means saying something that is true. However, you should not talk behind their backs either. So, this is another responsibility and standard for the health of elections. Candidates should go and speak to the people about their capabilities, strength and competence. And the people take a look and vote for them if they like them. And if they do not like them, they will not vote for them. This becomes a healthy election.

They should not give impractical promises. Some candidates give certain promises to the people that they themselves know they cannot fulfill them. Why do you give a promise to the people when you cannot fulfill it? Why do you make the people hopeful about something that is not going to happen? And sometimes, they give illegal promises. They say that they will do such and such a thing while they know that it is illegal and that it is against the Constitution and law. They should not make such promises. They should not make illegal promises.

The people should be treated in a sincere manner. All our people are a people who feel and understand honesty. When we act in a dishonest way, it is possible that some people believe in us for a moment, but the truth will dawn on them soon after. The people should be treated in an honest way. We should speak to the people in an honest way. This is one of the definite traditions and manners of a healthy election.

Some people have developed a certain habit. They constantly speak about “hardliners”. Yes, being both a hardliner and a softliner – acting in an extremist or negligent manner – is bad. This is clear, but it is not very clear what extremist and soft ideas are and what the middle ground is. These are not among clear issues and they need clarification. This is because we receive a lot of news in this regard. When I take a look at different newspapers, I see that when some people speak about extremism, they mean hezbollahi and religious orientations. However, you should not accuse religious, revolutionary and hezbollahi orientations of extremism because they are the same people who are present in the arena with all their power and with complete sincerity.

When it is a matter of defending our borders and national identity, laying down one’s life and offering one’s blood, they are the ones who step forward. Just because an issue arises that is not approved by some people, they should not immediately attribute it to hezbollahi individuals. An example is the issue of the Saudi embassy which was, of course, a very bad and wrong measure. Anyone who did it should know that it was a wrong course of action. Should we undermine revolutionary people and revolutionary youth – who are both revolutionaries and who, on most occasions, have a greater understanding and are more intelligent and reasonable than many seniors and elderly people: they understand and analyze issues well and they are prepared to lay down their lives for the Revolution and Islam – with the excuse that such and such an course of action, which was wrong, was adopted?

I am saying this because I have a very friendly relationship with youth up close and from afar. I did not even like the incident that happened to the English embassy – it happened a few years ago – let alone the one that happened to the Saudi embassy. These courses of actions are not acceptable in any way. Such operations are very bad operations and they are to the disadvantage of the country, Islam and everyone. However, they should not use this as an excuse to invade and criticize our revolutionary youth. This was another issue.     

Therefore, as Mr. Jannati pointed out, elections are a great blessing and a great opportunity. This great blessing requires that we thank God. All of us – wherever we are – can thank God by trying to hold the upcoming elections in a good and healthy way and by preventing this great event, movement and honor from becoming chaotic and turbulent with our behavior, our statements and the unreasonable remarks that one hears in some corners of the country. We should pay careful attention to this because it is a very great event.

And you are the agents of this great task. You should know this. There are many difficulties, problems and expectations. Sometimes, the arrows of slander are rained down on you – wherever you are whether in administrative and supervisory committees, in the Ministry of Interior or in the Guardian Council. However, you should know that you will receive a great reward by God because the task is a great one. Because you are engaged in a great task, you will receive a great reward by Allah the Exalted and the Magnificent if – by Allah’s favor – you do it for the sake of God and for the sake of carrying out your Islamic and revolutionary responsibility. Therefore, you should not be intimidated by the difficulty of this task and this path and you should pursue it in the best way possible. This was about elections.

As for the issue of the Bar-Jaam, this was another event, a great and important one. To be fair, they really made great efforts. This does not mean that all of our demands were met. But even that number of the Islamic Republic’s demands that were met is satisfactory. Our dear brothers – the honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs, the negotiating team, and the honorable President himself – really made many efforts. We used to see that they were constantly busy trying hard, working in an enthusiastic manner, pursuing things, thinking of various solutions, holding long meetings and they had to tolerate sleeplessness and the like. I hope that Allah the Exalted rewards all of them and that their measures gain divine approval.

This should not be forgotten, but some people are pretending that the achievements that have been made are because of America’s kindness to us as it lifted sanctions for instance. This is not the case. Some people want to use this opportunity to make nice the sinister face of arrogance again. This is very dangerous. What kindness? You went through a lot of trouble to gather some money and build a house. Then the bully of the neighborhood comes and takes away the key of the house from you. He occupies, for example, half of the house. He places you under great pressure. Later on, with great efforts and endeavors, with your mental and physical energy and the energy of others, and with promotional activities, you do something to force him to leave your house, but he still keeps two rooms for himself. So, should we thank him because he left the house and compromised part of his usurpation? The Americans are like this.

We developed nuclear energy with our own capabilities, with the ideas of our own scientists and with the support of our different administrations. On this path, four people were martyred until we reached this point. Is this a joke? We did something to force the enemy to tolerate the existence of several thousand centrifuges in the country because of the current realities. This was while the same enemy was not willing to see even one single centrifuge work in our country. This is not a favor on their part. This is because of the efforts of the people of Iran and our scientists.

They imposed sanctions in order to make the people angry so that they pour into the streets. I said this a few years ago, but some people said that this was merely an analysis. It might have been an analysis on that day, but it is a fact today. They themselves have acknowledged this. Many of them acknowledged in different speeches that their goal is to make the people angry with the Islamic Republic and with the Islamic Republic’s government. They wanted to do something to make the people pour into the streets, but our people stood firm. The people’s resistance and steadfastness became a source of support for political and diplomatic work, for the negotiations and the like. The enemy was forced to accept this.

Even that amount of retreat from the enemy was because of the power that the people showed. The Islamic Republic’s government showed power and dignity as well. Of course, I personally believe that we could have acted even better. Well, our capabilities, opportunities and resources allowed this much. However, even this amount of progress is noteworthy and significant. And this was because of the people’s support, national power, and the strong bond of the Islamic Republic with the entire Iranian nation and the masses of the people.

I should add that the nuclear issue and arrogance’s – which is mainly represented by America: America is that great idol and the other western governments that have been involved in this arena are peripheral and minor idols – battle against us on the nuclear issue was not because of this issue. It can be sworn that they know that the Islamic Republic is not after a nuclear bomb. This can be sworn. The issue is about something else. This is part of a general movement for pressuring the people of Iran, stopping the revolutionary movement of the people of Iran towards their goals and preventing the increasing influence of the Islamic Republic in the region and in the world. This influence is a reality. It is not we who are pursuing this matter. This is the nature of this phenomenon. Our idea is new and attractive. Pure hearts and sincere intentions like it. This is why when the influence and credibility of the Islamic Republic increase, they go wild. Their goal is to stop this. Their goal is to convey this message to nations: the Islamic Republic of Iran also failed to establish, continue and manage a system on the basis of religion. They want to show this and this is their goal. Everyone should pay attention to this. Both officials and all our people should pay attention to this.

With bullying and false propaganda, America wants to move forward. Resistance should be shown in the face of his bullying and his false propaganda. In the present time too, all officials – whether government officials and the supervisory committee that we advised – should take care that the other side does not use deception. This is because the other side is a side that likes to deceive and to cheat. His smiles and the masks that he is wearing on his face cannot be trusted.

I will tell you that the America of the time of Reagan and Bush is not different from today’s America in any way. They are not different from each other in any way. As the America of the time of Reagan deemed it necessary to bombard our areas in the Persian Gulf out of grudge and anger, today too, they will do so if they can. America has not changed. American policies in the face of Islam and the Islamic Republic have been fixed policies. Of course, their methods have been different. One pursues a certain method and another pursues a different method, but their goal is one thing. Everyone should be aware of this. So, they are deceitful and they deceive. They should be careful about his deceptions. They should take care that what they are doing should be compatible with what they have promised to do in the real sense of the word.  They should not ignore the other side’s deceptions. If they see that the other side is acting in a deceitful manner, then they should act in the same way. That is to say, if the other side goes back on his promises, this side too should go back on his promises. They should resist.

The move that our dear youth in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps made in the sea – they showed their identity and power in the face of the enemy’s transgression – was a very correct move. Until now, we have not had the opportunity to thank them. I am really grateful to them. The enemy crossed our waters illegally and they went and surrounded them. Those who are in charge of political affairs should act in the same way in all international arenas. They should be careful about the enemy’s transgressions. They should see from where he is transgressing and from where he is crossing the redlines and then they should stop him with all their power.

Another point that I have raised many times is that now that sanctions have been lifted, will the economic problem of the country and the problem of the living conditions of the people be solved? No, management and planning are necessary in this regard. Both during the time of the current and previous administrations – during the time of the previous administration, part of the important sanctions had just begun and it was only a matter of time for the other part to begin – I said that only 20, 30, 40 percent of the economic problems of the country may be related to sanctions and that other problems are related to our management.

We should benefit from management and we should act in the correct way and the way to do so is the economy of resistance. Everyone has approved of the economy of resistance and everyone has planned for it. Fortunately, executive organizations and our friends in the administration have certain plans to pursue this matter. They should seriously pursue it in order to make the country resistant in terms of the economy. Otherwise, if we fix our eyes on foreigners’ decisions and hands, we will not reach anywhere.  

Today, they have brought down the price of our oil to one fifth of its real price, approximately. Unfortunately, they have brought down the price of oil – which is the main resource of our economy – to almost one fifth of its real price. Besides, even 100, 110, 120 dollars was not the real price of oil. The real price of oil is more than that - I have said this before as well.  But they have even brought it down to almost one fourth, one fifth. If we fix our eyes on the enemy’s hands, these things happen frequently. These are those inevitable fluctuations over which one has no control. We should do something to help the economy stand firm in the face of such fluctuations and to prevent it from being affected by them.

In the present time that different corporations come and go, government officials should be vigilant. It should not be the case that signing a contract with financial, industrial and economic corporations - that come and go from abroad - harms our domestic industries, business and agriculture. Of course, we have said in private meetings to our honorable officials that they should pay careful attention. The country should stand on its feet. We are a strong nation with a large population. We are an approximately eighty-million nation. This is not a small population. There are tens of million educated youth in our country. We have capable and knowledgeable people in all areas and divisions. And these are our underground resources. And this is our astonishing climatic diversity. All these are valuable resources. All these are opportunities. We should stand on our feet and we should not be dependent on others.

Well, the enemy is the enemy and his plans are to the disadvantage of nations. This is the case in our region. You remember that a few years ago, the Americans spoke about “The New Middle East”. At that time, we did not correctly understand what they wanted to do and why they had called it “The New Middle East”. Now we understand what “The New Middle East” is: it is the Middle East of war, the Middle East of terrorism, the Middle East of prejudice and reactionary attitude and the Middle East of fighting against each other. There is a war in Syria, there is a war in Iraq and there is a war in Libya. Terrorism is common in all these countries. There is terrorism in Turkey and there is terrorism in other places as well. This is “The New Middle East”. This is what they have been looking for. Of course, they deny it, but one has eyes and a brain and one can see these things. They want to wage a war between Shia and Sunni, they want to arm domestic agents and they want to set them on nations and governments. This is their “New Middle East”. They should know America.

In the shade of the people’s piety, revolutionary outlook and insight, our country has thankfully been immune to a great extent from the transgression of the people’s sworn enemies. Although they delivered some blows and hatched some plots, they failed to deliver a fatal blow and by Allah’s favor, they will fail to deliver a fatal blow from now on too. And by Allah’s favor, the people of Iran will see the day when they overcome all arrogant policies and achieve their dreams. By Allah’s favor, the people of Iran will experience all the great goals and ideals of the Islamic Revolution. Our public diligence is required, our sincere efforts are required, our cooperation is required and our kindness towards one another is required.

We should be together, we should get along and work with one another, we should not forget our goals and lofty ideals and we should step in all arenas with sincerity. God is with the people of Iran and by Allah’s favor, the victory will belong to the Iranian nation. I hope that God will bestow success on all of you. I hope that God will associate our dear martyrs and our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) with the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.).

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings