If the U.S. tears up the JCPOA, we will set it on fire: Ayatollah Khamenei

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on June 14, 2016 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the government officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran 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 al-Mustafa Muhammad and upon his immaculate, pure and chosen household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth

Welcome dear brothers and sisters. I thank Mr. President for his statements. He presented complete and good explanations. One of the blessings of these Ramadan meetings is benefitting from the spiritual environment of the month of Ramadan. Although it is true that this meeting is an exceptional meeting, that different officials, the outstanding personalities of the Islamic Republic, holders of positions and responsibilities from various parties and with various tastes are present here, and that there is the opportunity to discuss certain matters, to have a reunion, to express our affection for one another and the like – these are the blessings of this meeting – however the most important blessing of this meeting is the one that I just said, which is benefiting from the spiritual environment of this auspicious month.

We read in some verses of the dua that is particular for the days of the month of Ramadan, “This is the month of fasting, this is the month of rising, this is the month of returning to God – “Turn to Your Lord in repentance” [The Holy Quran, 39: 54] – this is the month of repentance, and this is the month of forgiveness and mercy.” This month and this environment enjoy such characteristics.

What sins do we repent for? Well, humans and the likes of us are sinners from head to toe. There are two kinds of sins: one is a sin that harms ourselves only. Another is a sin whose commitment by us harms others as well. Sometimes, the food that our teeth chew is something hard that breaks our teeth, but it does not harm other parts of the body. However, sometimes with these teeth, we eat something that harms our liver. It is not the liver’s fault, rather it is our teeth’s and our mouths’ fault. Sometimes, our sins are like this. Sometimes, we make a move, make a statement and take a path that harm society and the country. Such sins are important and cardinal sins.

God says, “And fear tumult or oppression, which affects not in particular only those of you who do wrong” [The Holy Quran, 8: 25]. Sometimes, someone does something wrong. The punishment that Allah the Exalted administers involves everyone and the whole society. We should avoid such wrong acts and such fitnas. This is addressed to us officials. The masses of the people are not addressed by this statement. It is we officials that can do something to make the whole society suffer and that can act in the opposite manner as well: we can do something whose benefits reach the whole society.

The late Allamah Tabatabai (may God bestow paradise on him) has a certain opinion about the following holy ayah from Sura an-Nisa: “Whatever good happens to you is from Allah, but whatever evil happens to you is from yourself” [The Holy Quran, 4: 79]. He says that a human society - a society in a certain country or in a certain area - has an independent and unique identity which is different from the identity of every individual in that society. In other words, society is like a single individual in this sense. As one part in the body of an individual can act in a way that other parts become involved as well, in society too, one member can act in a way that other members become involved.

But certain incidents occur in society in which some individuals are blameless. So, how can we say that, “Whatever evil happens to you is from yourself”? He says that this ayah is correct. In such cases too, these incidents are “from yourself”. However, “yourself” is a large entity named “society” one of whose members has committed a sin. Therefore, if we are to avoid such sins, we should be very careful. This requires care and vigilance. The environment of the month of Ramadan should teach this to us. We should instill this in ourselves. Wherever we are, we should really have a sense of responsibility in this regard.

In the dua for the days of the month of Ramadan, many things have been demanded of God. It is a very good dua. By Allah’s favor, you should read and contemplate on this dua if you have the opportunity to do so. It is an astonishing dua. In this dua, Imam (a.s.) has taught us to make requests that oneself cannot think of at all. He teaches us what to ask God. One of the things that we ask God in this dua is liberation from a number of things. I will mention to you what they are: liberation from lack of motivation and the disease of indifference, liberation from lack of enthusiasm for work – notice that it does not occur to us that these things are a disease and a malady and therefore, we should ask Allah the Exalted to save us from these maladies and to give us the cure for them – liberation from ignorance and liberation from the hardness of one’s heart.

The last one occurs when one’s heart becomes hard in the face of divine dhikrs and sympathetic advice. Our hearts become stiff when someone offers a well-intentioned word of advice. The exact sentence is this, “And save me from laziness, exhaustion and tiredness, from lack of motivation, from hard-heartedness, from indifference and negligence, and from arrogance.” We should liberate ourselves from such things. In this dua, we ask God to save us from these things.

Now, what are the consequences of these sins – these were a few sins, there are other great sins as well – for us? One of the consequences is that when we commit a sin, we lose our power and energy at a sensitive time. An ayah in the Holy Quran says, “Those of you who turned back on the day the two hosts met, it was Satan who caused them to fail, because of some evil they had done” [The Holy Quran, 3: 155]. In the Battle of Uhud, those who could not tolerate and whose hearts beat very quickly for the desire of war spoils forgot what sensitive responsibility they had and they turned a winning war into a losing one: “It was Satan who caused them to fail, because of some evil they had done.”

They had committed some sins before and these sins manifested themselves there. This is one stage. Our sins work in a way that we fail to show tolerance and to resist at a sensitive time and at a turning point. Well, we are the officials of the country. All of us – ranging from this humble person to executive, judiciary and legislative officials and other individuals in this chain of responsibilities – are responsible. If we act in a way that we become the embodiment of this ayah, “It was Satan who caused them to fail”, if our legs tremble and if we fail to show steadfastness at a time when steadfastness is necessary, then we will be exposed to a very grave danger. This is one stage.

Another stage that is higher and worse than this is that we commit a wrongdoing which causes us to act in a hypocritical manner. In other words, our tongues do not reveal what exist in our hearts. A holy ayah says, “So He has put as a consequence hypocrisy into their hearts, till the day whereon they shall meet Him, because they broke their covenant with Allah” [The Holy Quran, 9: 77]. If you do not honor your covenant with God and if you go back on the promise that you made before Him, this leads to “So He has put as a consequence hypocrisy into their hearts.” Of course, there is a completely logical rule for this, but there is no time to explain how a sin leads to hypocrisy in individuals.

Another stage which is even higher than this is that sometimes, our sins, our wrongdoings and our deviations cause us to – God forbid – deny the signs of God: “In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil for that they rejected the signs of Allah” [The Holy Quran, 30: 10]. The cure for this is self-care. We should watch and supervise ourselves. We should increase motivation in our organization and we should work harder. So, our responsibility is to work hard, to avoid sins and – to put it briefly – to show piety. Piety, which has been considered as the main philosophy and goal of fasting in the month of Ramadan, means this. Piety means taking care of oneself. We should constantly take care of ourselves. Of course, primarily, I am addressing this statement to myself. All of us are responsible. Therefore, we should appreciate the value of the month of Ramadan.

Dear brothers, dear sisters, we should appreciate the value of this month of Ramadan which we are in now. Thousands of thousand months of Ramadan have come and gone throughout history. And thousands of thousand months of Ramadan will come and go during which time we are not living. Amid these billion months of Ramadan in history, we are present in a few of them. In this chain of the months of Ramadan of history, we have been given the opportunity to spend 20, 30, 50, 60 months of Ramadan from the age of taklif [the age when we are obliged to perform religious obligations] until the end of our lives. So, we should appreciate the value of them.

Last year in the month of Ramadan, there were some individuals – from among our close friends – who are not present this year. I do not know which of us will be present here next year and which of us will not. So, you should appreciate the value of this month of Ramadan. The month of Ramadan is the month of forgiveness, of repentance, of dhikr, of attention to Allah the Exalted, of worship, of shedding tears, and of attachment to spirituality. A poet said, “So many months of Tir, Dey and Ordibehesht will come when we have turned into dust and ashes” [from Saadi’s Bustan, Chapter 9].

As for the issues of the country, I want to put the matter this way: we are in a sensitive situation. The current situation of the country is an important one. Well, Mr. President stated the measures that have been adopted. These measures should be pursued and continued. Those parts that are incomplete should be completed. All these measures are necessary. The other organizations of the country too should carry out some tasks each. Currently, the country is in a special situation, not in this month and this year in particular, rather in this period of time. Why is that? Primarily, this is because eyes have opened to the infinite capacities of the country. In the beginning of the Revolution, we were unaware of many capacities of the country. We did not have any information about them because we did not have any experience and we were not well-informed.

Today, the members of our Majlis, our ministers, our officials and the intellectuals and politicians of the country have acquired new awareness about this wide spectrum of resources and capacities in the country. This is the truth of the matter. When I read some of the articles that experts and intellectuals write, I see that these realities have thankfully received a lot of attention. Well, one reality is that this great capacity exists.

Our country is a large and astonishing country. A few years ago, I said [Supreme Leader’s speech delivered on October 5, 2006 in a meeting with university professors] that our population is one percent of the world’s population, that the area of our country is almost one percent of that of the whole world, but the resources that Allah the Exalted has given us are much more than one percent of that of the whole world. In that speech, the figure that I said was three, four percent. Recently, I have received a report that says, it is six, seven percent of that of the whole world. That is to say, our capacities are six, seven percent of the capacities of the whole world, both in terms of population and in terms of human and natural resources. This is one side of the issue.

The other side of the issue is that we have an enemy. We are not an undisturbed country without an enemy who does not wait in ambush for us. We have an enemy. Of course, enmity among countries, governments and powers is not something new, but in the case of the Islamic Republic, it is something new. In the case of the Islamic Republic, it is a unique phenomenon, a unique enmity. Why is that? What is the reason? The reason is that the Islamic Republic is a phenomenon that is unprecedented in the world and global powers are looking at this phenomenon very carefully. When you probably read or heard that a few years ago, in such and such a country that is our enemy, a research center was formed to research into Islam and political Islam in particular, this is because they want to see what this phenomenon is. A system has been created on the basis of Islam and Islamic principles which contains opposition towards arrogance, tyranny, oppression, discrimination, usury, and the things that powers are doing in the world today.  A system with these theoretical and practical principles has come into being which is growing on a daily basis. They have done their best to stop this system, but they have failed. It is growing roots and its influence is increasing on a daily basis.

Now, they themselves are shouting that Iran is the sole operator in the region and that Iran’s influence is not comparable with any other country in the region. It is the Americans – not I - who are saying this. So, I do not want to boast. The Islamic Republic is such a system. This means that a new power is being born and created at a global level. This power is challenging the oppressive interests of arrogant powers. Enmity towards the Islamic Republic is because of this. Such enmity is not being shown towards any other country. As I said, governments have certain differences with one another. They have land and border disputes with one another. They have certain financial interests and they show enmity towards one another, but such enmity is particular to the Islamic Republic. So, on the one hand, we have identified and learned about these capacities, and on the other hand, we have a violent and hostile enemy ahead of us.

The things that this enemy wants to do should be identified so that we can know our fundamental and general plans. You should pay attention that our governmental plans and our executive policies are all part of those fundamental plans and they become meaningful only as part of them. These tasks should be carried out, but they should be considered as part of that general and fundamental outlook so that they can fulfill their purpose. We should know what the enemy wants to do, what his plans are for us and then, on the basis of this, we should prepare our plans for the immunization, security, protection and guardianship of the country in the face of the enemy.

If I want to say it briefly, the enemy’s plan is to stop, destroy or at least stunt the growth of the capabilities of the Islamic Republic. This is the enemy’s plan. So, what should we do in this regard? We should increase our capabilities as much as we can. I have repeated many times in this meeting and in different other meetings in the recent years that the country should become strong. This means that it should increase these capabilities of various kinds. If we increase them, then we can comfortably say to the people, “People, sleep peacefully.” And we ourselves can feel relaxed. If we do not increase our capabilities, then we will suffer from nervousness.

Now, what are the capabilities that we have? I have written down a number of those capabilities of ours that are the target of most enmities:

The first is Islamic faith: Islamic faith. Some people might be surprised and say, “Sir, today’s world is the world of the freedom of thought, belief and the like!” This is not the case. Most of all, they show enmity to the kind of “original Islam” that Imam (may God bestow paradise on him) applied for the first time which is the basis of the Islamic government and the Islamic Republic. Take a look at the activities that are done today everywhere in the world – particularly in the Islamic Republic and among our people - with the purpose of breaking this dam of faith.

If you are interested in social networks and in cyberspace, you know and understand well what I am referring to. They are using all methods to undermine our Islamic faith. What does “our” refer to? Does it refer to me, a seventy, eighty-year old man? No, they are not worried about us. They want to undermine the faith of the generation that appeared after us and the generations after that. And certain efforts are being made to that end. Well, a source of our power and our capability is our Islamic faith which is a target of their enmity.

Our second capability is scientific power. They have even embarked on assassinating our scientists. They have planned for this and they have even benefitted from the malicious tools that are forbidden everywhere in the world in order to stop our scientific movement. This Stuxnet which they sent into the Islamic Republic’s cyber programs could have destroyed our entire nuclear system. This is a crime. It is a well-known international crime and we can sue the perpetrators of this crime in international courts. Unfortunately, we did not do so. They have resorted to such methods. They are extremely opposed to our scientific progress which is, in fact, a scientific capability. Well, in my opinion, one of the main reasons why they pressured our nuclear sector was this. They used to speak about the existence of atomic and nuclear bombs in our country. However, they themselves knew that they were lying. Later on, I will speak more about the nuclear matter.

The other capabilities that we have are economic capability – I will expand on this later on – and preventative and defensive capability. They are fiercely opposed to this as well. From their viewpoint, our country should be like a castle whose walls have been brought down so that they can do whatever they want. If our organizations have defensive resources and resources for counter attack, this is like building a wall around this castle of our country. Therefore, they are opposed to this. The discussions that they have about our missiles and the like mean: opposition to our defensive capabilities.

Another is our political-national capability. This means the unity and solidarity of the people. We have said many times that there is nothing wrong with differences of opinion in political areas and with like and dislike for such and such individuals. What is wrong is the existence of differences among the people about the fundamental and major principles of the country’s movement. This is wrong. Officials in charge of political and social affairs should not let this happen.

Fortunately today, this unity exists. It has existed from the beginning of the Revolution until today. This does not mean that the Revolution or the 22nd of Bahman do not have any enemies and opponents. They do have certain enemies and opponents, but the majority of the people love the Revolution and the symbols, signs and reminders of the Revolution. The majority of the people love Imam’s (r.a.) name and memory. This is a very great blessing. This means the political capability of a people.

Another is the capability of having a young population. This is an issue that is often neglected. It is a few years now that I have been issuing warnings about the issue of population control. Fortunately, certain tasks have been carried out in this regard. Some officials have carried out good tasks, but what should really be done has not been done completely yet. Today, our young population is a phenomenon and a blessing. This is because youth are a source of movement and a bubbling spring of motivation, movement, enthusiasm, invention and creativeness. It is the youth who do things. If this young population is gone in 20 years, the country will suffer a loss because youth cannot be imported into the country. We should prevent this from today.

If the rumors that we hear sometimes – of course, I have not researched into this matter a lot and I do not have enough information in this regard: these rumors say that some wrong methods which were common in the past continue in the present time as well and that abortions and the like are carried out in some places – are true, then the government officials in charge of such matters are responsible towards this and they should pursue it. The issue of having a young population is a very great and important capability.

So, this enemy exists, these are our capabilities and these capabilities are the target of enemy attacks. What is the result? The result is what we have always said: the enemy should be identified, his methods should be understood and the areas from where he will launch an attack should be identified and blocked. This is exactly like a military war. In a military war, individuals in charge of intelligence go and get a measure of the area and the enemy. They guess or find out that the enemy has a certain intention and wants to attack from a certain area and then they block it. The war that exists today in the area of political and economic matters is much more significant than a military war and it enjoys a wider scope as well. So, the areas from where the enemy attacks should be identified. This is the responsibility of everyone.

Now, what we should speak about is who this enemy is. We said that we have an enemy. Who is the enemy? The enemy has exposed itself in a completely naked manner. We do not need to go and look for him. The enemy is the arrogant and Zionist network. This is who our enemy is. The network of arrogance is headed by the regime of the United States of America. And the Zionist network is embodied by the fake Zionist regime that is ruling over occupied Palestine. This is who the enemy is and he does not hide himself. America does not hide its enmity. The American president might spread out a Norouz sofreh, but they will also strike a passenger plane of ours, and in the U.S. Congress they ratify everything that is against the Islamic Republic, and the American president signs it and acts on it.

Exchanging pleasantries, saying nice things and passing diplomatic smiles is different from the things that you actually do. They are even different from political statements. Notice that in the present time, the statements that the American president, the U.S. Secretary of State, officials in charge of security matters and the U.S. Secretary of Defense make about Iran are not statements that a friend makes, rather they are statements that an enemy makes, one that is very hostile. And it is evident what the Zionists are.

This is the enemy. A few days ago, our honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs said an interesting thing in the Majlis. Of course, I read it in newspapers. He said that America’s nature has not changed. He is right. America’s nature is the same nature that showed itself during the time of Reagan. It is the same nature and it has not changed in any way. This is the enemy’s nature. Of course, parties exist – the Democratic and Republican parties – and they pass the government around among themselves. However, America’s nature is the same. What he said in the Islamic Consultative Majlis was completely correct.

There is a wrong notion inside our country which is a claim that we can get along with America and that we should get along with it so that we can solve problems. Well, this is an incorrect notion. We cannot rely on illusions, rather we should rely on realities. First of all, as I said, a system like the Islamic Republic can never receive kindness and affection from the likes of America, logically speaking. This is not possible. Second, take a look and see how America has treated us in the past 50, 60 years – since the 28th of Mordad, after that during the time of taghut and after that, from the beginning of the Revolution until today. During the time of taghut, America looked at the Pahlavi regime as a source of wealth. This is while the blows that America delivered to Iran during the same time were fatal and mortal blows.

Those who are familiar with history and with life in those days understand and acknowledge this completely. And it goes without saying what happened after the Revolution. From the first day, they began acting in a vicious and hostile manner and this has continued until today. So, the issue is not about a misunderstanding. Sometimes, there is a misunderstanding between two governments which is resolved through negotiations. Sometimes, the dispute is about a border area. For example, they argue about how much of that border area each of them should get. This can be resolved through negotiations. They can resolve it through a 50-50 deal.

However, here the issue is not about a 50-50 deal, rather the issue is about the existence of the Islamic Republic. This cannot be resolved by conducting negotiations and establishing diplomatic relations. This notion is not a correct one. The phenomenon that Islamic power, independence and progress have created in the world is not acceptable to arrogance, which is embodied by America. It is wrong to think that we can sit and negotiate with the Americans and say to them that we can make peace somehow. Making peace requires that you relinquish your claims.

Two, three years ago – in the beginning of the recent phase of nuclear negotiations – I said that the Americans should make it clear for us what the extent of our retreat should be so that they stop showing enmity to us. They should make this clear for us. If the nuclear matter is resolved, will everything be over? Well, now the nuclear matter has been resolved. You should go and see if the issue is over or not! Then, they brought up the issue of missiles. If the issue of missiles is resolved, they will bring up the issue of human rights. If the issue of human rights is resolved, they will bring up the issue of the Guardian Council. If the issue of the Guardian Council is resolved, they will question the essence of Leadership and Wilayat-e Faqih. And if the issue of Wilayat-e Faqih is resolved, they will bring up the issue of the Constitution and the authority of Islam. This is the main issue. The dispute is not about trivial matters. Therefore, this notion is a wrong one.

This issue has been discussed with me a lot. There were some individuals from among my friends who thought that based on their beliefs and interest that this is possible. We sat and spoke about it in recent years. However, they themselves acknowledged later on – not to me, rather when I was absent and in formal decision-making meetings – that there is no answer for the arguments that I have presented in this regard. They are right. There is no answer for the arguments that I present on this matter. This is the case about our country and even when it comes to many other countries- the Americans do not intend in any way to get along with them.

You should know and pay attention to this. The main policy of America is to digest powers and world policies in the stomach of American policies. This is not particular to us. Of course, their enmity towards us is of a particular kind. This is the characteristic of the enmity between us and them, but they show enmity towards other countries in any case. They show enmity in political, economic and cultural areas.

In the present time, European film makers and companies are screaming about the domination of Hollywood. This is a cultural domination. You cannot say that France is the Islamic Republic. This is America’s policy. They have said this many times. They speak about this in a continuous manner. In the present time too, the candidates for the U.S. presidency- these two individuals- are competing with one another about who can better say that America is the lord and master of the world and that everything ends with America. Before them too, Bush the Elder said- during the time when the Soviet Union had been destroyed- in an arrogant manner, “We are a unique power today. They should coordinate themselves with us. It is we who should determine the new order in the world.” Notice that this is their policy. This is the enemy. How can one get along with this enemy?

I should add that some people think that the enmities that are shown towards are due to our hostile behavior. They think that we constantly push our fingers into their eyes and this is why they show enmity towards us. This is also a wrong notion. We have never begun hostilities. In the beginning of the Revolution, the Americans who had been arrested were detained for a few days. Imam (r.a.) said that they should be escorted to their own place – to their embassy – with complete protection. This continued until the event of capturing the embassy occurred. Of course, there were certain causes and reasons behind this. The Americans used to live a completely peaceful life in our country. They used to come and go easily. Of course, they behaved in a mischievous manner. It was not we who began hostilities, rather it was they who did so.

 From the beginning, they began hostilities by slandering us, imposing sanctions, making extravagant claims, and offering refuge to the enemy of the Iranian nation [the deposed Shah and his family]. It was they who began hostilities. Besides, it is not only the Americans who show hostility towards us. There are other countries as well. For example, what hostility has the Islamic Republic shown towards France? Because Imam (r.a.) resided in France for a while, that country was even praised by revolutionary forces, but you see what they are doing in the present time. You witnessed that on the nuclear issue, the French played the role of the bad cop. Of course, it was the Americans who managed this, but the French took the worst position on the nuclear matter anyway. What had we done to the French? Had we shown any hostility towards them?

Another example is the Netherlands which is a small country. On any matter when the issue is about the Islamic Republic, one of the countries that is at the top of the list of enmities is Netherlands. But what have we done to the Netherlands? What hostility have we shown to that country? What have we done to that small country that is located in some corner of Europe? The dispute is not about whether we have treated them in a hostile manner or not. Another example is Canada that cut off its relations with us. Had we shown any enmity towards Canada? Had we treated it in a hostile manner? The issue is not about this. It is about something else. We should not deceive ourselves by saying that we should not show enmity so much so that they do not do it either. This is not the case. There are other motives at play. There are other issues behind the scenes, part of which we explained.

Now, what should we do? The country should become immune. The officials of the country should immunize the country. All the tasks that the administration has carried out or wants to carry out in the area of the economy and other areas require the immunization of the country. What should we do to bring about this immunization or what should we do to increase it if it already exists? We should increase the capabilities that we referred to. These capabilities should increase on a daily basis. This is what has been pointed out by the Holy Quran: “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war” [The Holy Quran, 8: 60]. The Arabic word “quwah” includes all these things. “Quwah” does not only include guns, weapons and the like. It also includes worldly and otherworldly, economic, military, scientific and moral sources of power. “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power” means that we should increase “quwah” as much as we can. This is what we should do.

This also falls on our shoulders. It is we officials who should carry out this task. And the people will follow us and enter the arena to do their duty. So, we should increase our capabilities. Increasing these capabilities includes strengthening Islamic faith. This is the responsibility of the administration, of Islamic seminaries, of promotional organizations, of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and of the Islamic Promotions Organization. It is their responsibility to do so. You should strengthen Islamic faith. You should strengthen it in any place where the youth are present, whether universities or educational centers. Islamic faith is a great responsibility that falls on all of these organizations. They should carry out this duty.

As for scientific capability, this is the responsibility of the Ministry of Science and research organizations. The organizations which are in charge of strengthening science should try to separate themselves from peripheral matters. Sometimes, we witness that these organizations are involved in some peripheral matters. Perhaps, all the gentlemen in charge of these organizations are present in this meeting. They should listen to this: you should separate yourselves from such peripheral matters and you should attend to the main matter which is becoming an apparatus for strengthening science.

Other capabilities that we have are economic – I will say a few things about the economy because we are running out of time – and defensive capabilities. All the organizations that are related to the issue of defense – including the Ministry of Defense, the Islamic Republic of Iran Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps – should do their best on matters related to defense. Another capability is the existence of a young population that we spoke about. We addressed the issue of having a young generation, benefitting from the youth and strengthening motivated and young individuals.

In the speech that I delivered at Imam’s (Allah the Exalted’s paradise be upon him) shrine [delivered on June 3, 2016], I said a few things about pious and revolutionary youth. However, some individuals from the outside created some uproar. They – as is commonly said today – “revealed” that I am strengthening revolutionary youth. This is not a revelation. First, it is not a new thing. I always do so and I will continue to do it. Second, it is not a secret. It is known to everyone. I have done so in a continuous manner. This is completely clear. I admire the revolutionary and pious youth who exist throughout the country. This is our responsibility.

Ideologically speaking, we cannot put the youth who dedicate their youth, their strength, their power and their motives to the lofty goals of the country on an equal footing with those youth who pursue lust, an aristocratic lifestyle and the like. Of course, all of them are the same in terms of social rights, but they are not at all the same in terms of values. It is clear that those youth who work hard and who dedicate their time, their energy and sometimes their scant financial resources – there are such cases as well – to goals and to jihad are not on an equal footing with other youth. I have always supported such youth and I will continue to do so.

Now, it is time for a number of admonitions. I would like to offer two admonitions: one is about the economy – fortunately, Dr. Rouhani attended to the issue of the economy in a comprehensive manner and I too would like to offer some admonitions in this regard – and another is about the Bar-Jaam [JCPOA].

We have certain problems in the area of the economy. In the present time, the country has serious problems on economic matters. I hope that by Allah’s favor, these problems will be eliminated with the administrations’ plans and with the tasks that they are going to carry out. And the main problems in this regard are economic recession and the issue of employment – matters related to unemployment. These are the main problems. We should attend and pay attention to them. The issue of recession is very important. When I take a look at these matters – I said this in the previous administration as well – I see that they are more related to management and policies rather than to sanctions. We can see this both in this administration and in the previous two administrations. If we formulate good and correct plans, the impact of sanctions will not completely disappear but they will reduce to a great extent. Plans should be prepared in a well-organized and vigilant manner.

One of the tasks that is clearly important in the area of economic matters and that can cure the problems of recession and unemployment to a great extent is attending to small and medium-sized industries. I heard – I read it in newspapers – that the honorable Minister of Industries has said in the Majlis that our industry is in a disastrous condition. I do not exactly know what term he used, but he used a term similar to disastrous. This disaster is mostly related to small and medium-sized industries. Reviving small and medium-sized industries should be one of the main plans of the administration. This is one of the bases of the economy of resistance. That the capacities of factories are several times more than their output and yield – that is to say, the work that they do is much less than their capacities – is one of the issues that should receive attention.

Another is the issue of priorities. We should take priorities into account when we want to make decisions in the area of economic matters. Sometimes, a task is very important and necessary, but it is not among top priorities. In other words, there are more important tasks than that. In my opinion, this is very important. I myself have some experience in the administration. I have been in the administration and I have seen various administrations. Each of our honorable and dear ministers tries to “Bake their own bread” [speaking in Arabic]. This means that we have lit a fire to bake breads. Each loaf of bread belongs to someone. Each of our ministers pulls the fire towards themselves so that it bakes their own bread.

Of course, this is their responsibility. Their responsibility is to support their own sector. We are not blaming them for this. The Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Industries, the Minister of Roads and Transportation and the Minister of Energy try in different ways each to pull the resources and the budget of the country towards their own sectors. Well, here we should look and see which is a higher priority.

Imagine that the money that has been frozen in foreign banks is released – of course, it has not been released yet and it is not clear when this will be done: we will reach this issue later on as well. Now, what do we want to spend it on? This is very important. Priorities should be taken into account. Let me give you an example. I think that I have given this example to the honorable Minister as well. Imagine that our air fleet is to be renovated. Well, this is a very important and necessary task, but is it a priority? Is it a priority for the country? Imagine that we buy 300 airplanes. It is not clear whether this is a priority or not. This should be studied. I am not giving an expert opinion. I am only saying this so that this matter will be worked on by experts. I am only saying that priorities should be observed. This is a very important issue.

Another very important issue is attending to knowledge-based companies. This will help us to move forward. Knowledge-based companies deal with both science and economy. Attending to knowledge-based companies is one of the most fundamental tasks. This is a priority and it should be attended to. Of course, some knowledge-based companies come and complain to us. Officials should pay attention to this point.

An important task that is necessary is preventing unnecessary contracts. It has been reported to me that after the nuclear matter, we have signed contracts that are worth 2.5 billion dollars, approximately. Of course, there have been more agreements, but what has been signed is worth 2.5 billion dollars approximately. This is based on the report that they have delivered to me. I took a look and saw that, for example, one agreement was about the solar energy. Are these things a high priority?

If there are really some resources – some foreign resources or financial centers – we should see which areas are a priority and then we should spend them in those areas. If someone wants to invest in our country, we should say to them that we need such and such areas to be invested in. It should not be the case that we do whatever they want. This is another issue.

Another issue is preventing harmful imports. I have repeated this several times recently. “Harmful imports” means those products which have a domestic counterpart or those products that are not among the current and most urgent needs of the country even if there are no domestic counterparts for them. For example, what do we need such and such cars with such and such speeds for? They say that the private sector imports such products. Well, the administration can prevent this with all the methods that are available to it – including tariffs and other such methods. The resources of the country – financial resources and the money that is released – should not be wasted. Closed-down industries, the area of knowledge-based economy and the area of renovating our old and worn-out machinery are among the top priorities of the country. 

Another issue is about agriculture which can make us become self-sufficient. Fortunately, the report that was delivered today shows that we have made progress in these areas. Of course, I have not received any reports in this regard.

Another issue is about oil. Well, large-scale production of oil is a positive matter in oil culture, oil sales and oil markets. If we increase production and oil exports, this is a good thing and the country needs it as well. There is no doubt about this. However, what is better is to turn oil into value-added. There is no value-added in the kind of oil that we extract from wells to send it outside and get some money in return. And oil is decreasing on a daily basis! If we can turn oil and gas into products that have value-added for the country, this is good. As well as the tasks that are being carried out for producing, selling and optimizing oil and oil wells, our policy should be to produce and export petroleum products and to export petrol. Why should we import petrol?

One of the things that makes one feel embarrassed when one thinks about it is importing petrol. With all this oil, the Islamic Republic is importing petrol and diesel fuel! This is while we are boasting before the people and the whole world that our oil and gas supplies together are the largest in the world, which is the truth of the matter of course. We should do something to eliminate our need to import diesel fuel and petrol! We should produce petroleum products and we should export them. And in the case of gas, we should activate downstream industries in the area of petrochemistry. Well, upstream parts are fortunately good and good tasks have been carried out in them, but we should activate downstream parts as well so that we can create employment and job opportunities.

Another task is preventing smuggling in a serious way with jihadi and revolutionary methods. The issue of smuggling is a very important issue and the task cannot move forward by adopting a happy-go-lucky outlook and doing things slowly. This requires a decisively jihadi and revolutionary piece of work.

It is said that the economy of resistance that we keep speaking about requires resources, while we do not have any resources. I believe that we can provide resources for beginning the movement of the economy of resistance. Fortunately, good tasks have begun in this regard.

It has been said that the sum of foreign and local currency deposits is a mind-boggling amount of money. Because I have not seen the original report and because this has been narrated to me, I will not say the exact figure so that there will not be any mistake. However, it is a mind-boggling figure. We should channel these sums of money. One of the tasks that falls on the economic organizations of the administration is channeling resources towards the direction that they want and that is to the advantage of the country. They can do so with different incentives and methods. This is a very important issue. Of course, the Majlis should help as well.

So, these are the main tasks that should be carried out in the area of the economy of resistance. There are certain dos and don’ts on this matter. Both the dos and the don’ts should receive attention. The sum of these things becomes the economy of resistance. I hope that it will move forward, God willing.

Well, let us leave this issue behind because there is no time until the evening [time for adhan]. Let us attend to the issue of the Bar-Jaam [JCPOA]. The Bar-Jaam has both opponents and proponents. In my opinion, both opponents and proponents exaggerate when they express their viewpoints. Both the proponents who speak positively of the Bar-Jaam and the opponents who criticize it speak in an exaggerated and inflated manner. In my opinion, there is no room for either of such statements.

The Bar-Jaam has certain pros and cons. It has certain advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are the things that encouraged us to conduct these negotiations. Of course, as you know, these negotiations had begun before the formation of the 11th administration and it was because of these advantages that we conducted the negotiations. Certain positive things had occurred to our mind all of which were not achieved, of course. In fact, many of them were not achieved, but there were certain advantages in any case and we felt that these advantages might be fulfilled. And it was then that the negotiations began. After that, during the time of Dr. Rouhani’s administration, these negotiations were naturally expanded and accelerated. These are the advantages.

What are the disadvantages? The disadvantages are the things that we have always been afraid of and the things that we kept speaking about all the time. We were saying in a continuous manner that they are people who do not keep their promises, that they have an evil nature, that they are deceitful individuals and that they do not honor their promises. These are the disadvantages. There are certain flaws and rifts in the Bar-Jaam through which these disadvantages can show themselves. If these flaws and rifts had been eliminated, the disadvantages would naturally have decreased or disappeared completely.

What I want to say about the Bar-Jaam is not at all addressed to our dear brothers who participated in the negotiations. They did their job and they did their best. They really worked in a diligent manner. Well, we were witness to this and we used to see it. They went and they stayed there for a long time. I think it was in the month of Ramadan of last year. They stayed there in part of the month of Ramadan. This was difficult. It was really difficult and they really worked hard. So, I am not blaming them. I hope that Allah the Exalted is satisfied with their work, God willing. I too prayed for them and I continue to do so. I am addressing the other side – the people whom we faced in those negotiations.

As for the Bar-Jaam itself, as I said, the document itself has certain flaws and rifts. There are some ambiguous parts in it which have helped the enemy to take advantage. These flaws and rifts have enabled the other side to take advantage. Of course, we will not violate the Bar-Jaam first. Everyone should know this! We will not violate the Bar-Jaam if the other side does not do it. Of course, the individuals who have run for the U.S. presidency are constantly threatening that they will tear it up. Well, if they tear it up, we will set it on fire!

The reason why we will not violate it is based on the Holy Quran’s edict: “Fulfill your promise” [The Holy Quran, 17: 34]. After all, this is an agreement that we have signed. We do not wish to violate it. However, if they violate it, we will violate it as well. This is also based on the Holy Quran’s edict: “If you fear treachery from any group, throw back their covenant to them, so as to be on equal terms” [The Holy Quran, 8: 58]. If the other side breaks its promise, you should break it as well. “Fa anba’iz” means throw it back to them. It means that you should break it as well. So, we are following Quranic principles on both aspects of the matter.

The other side’s duty was to lift sanctions, but it has not lifted them yet. Sanctions have not been lifted yet. Some of the sanctions have been lifted somehow, but they have not actually been lifted in practice. The main point of contention was secondary sanctions. They preserved primary sanctions with complete strictness and strength and this is influencing secondary sanctions. I urgently request that those who are in charge of these affairs pay close attention. They should not constantly say that sanctions have been lifted because this is not the case.

The issue of banking transactions has not been resolved yet and big banks in the world do not deal with us. The Americans say, “What does it have to do with us?” This is a mischievous comment. How can you say that it has nothing to do with you? It is their job. Dr. Zarif – I do not know if he is present in the meeting or not – said to the U.S. Secretary of State that the issue of banks – big banks – has not been resolved yet and he said in response that it is not related to them. Then, Dr. Zarif immediately answered, “Yes, it is related to you. If you want, you can do it. It is you who are blocking it. It is the United States Department of the Treasury that is blocking it.”

When they hold a meeting with banks, they say to them that it is alright for them to do business with Iran and that this is alright with the American side, but in practice and through other statements, they speak in a way that they do not dare do so. For banks, what is better than entering into business with an eighty-million market like Iran’s market? Banks are not unwilling to do business with Iran. However, there is a prohibition which is American threats. A U.S. government official said two, three days ago that they will not leave Iran alone and that they will not allow it to feel relaxed. When they speak like this, when a high-ranking member of the U.S. government speaks like this, will such and such a bank dare come and do business with Iran?

Of course, a number of small banks are prepared to do so, but for transactions – for contracts and for real agreements and investments – big banks should enter the arena. But they have not entered the arena and it is not clear when they will do so. This is a grave problem. It is the American side that has committed this great sin and this great wrongdoing. So, we should not justify what the Americans are doing! Of course, they issue directives, but directives are different from what is happening in reality.

The same is true of oil tankers insurance. Oil tankers insurance is an important issue in oil transactions. They have agreed to insure our oil tankers to a limited extent, but they are not willing to enter the arena for big insurance structures - that is to say, the sum of these oil transactions which sometimes reaches billions. They have not agreed to insure these sums of money. The reason is that they themselves are present in those organizations and structures and this is why they do not allow it to happen. So, the Americans have not honored a great part of their commitments.

We have paid our down payments in a constant manner. We have closed down 20-percent enrichment, we have almost closed down Fordo and we have closed down Arak nuclear plant. These have been our down payments, but they have more expectations. I want to say that if Dr. Salehi is present here, you should not at all accept and give in to the expectations that they have in the area of carbon fibers, which are used in centrifuges, or the expectations that they have about measuring those 300 kilos. They constantly increase their expectations despite all the down payments that we have made! In any case, the opposite side has not fulfilled its promises.

Today, if we want to have access to our oil revenues, it is a very difficult task. It is both difficult and costly. The money that we have in other countries is not given back to us. This has not been done. Some of them have made some promises of course. Based on what Mr. President has said to me, one of these countries has made certain promises, but it is not only one country, rather there are several countries involved. We have some money in their banks. However, they cannot give it back to us because it is in the form of dollars and the issue of dollars is related to America. Things have been locked up. Well, this is American enmity. If not, what is enmity? They have not fulfilled their promises.

So, what I want to say is that the nuclear industry is a strategic industry for our country.  This industry should prevail. It should be developed and it should not be damaged. The existence of this industry is even efficient in immunizing and protecting the country. The operational capabilities of the nuclear industry and the nuclear organization should prevail. Its manpower should be preserved. The capability to restore the prior conditions should be preserved as well. In the present time, this capability fortunately exists. I will tell you that in less than six months, they can help the country develop 18,000 SWUs with the same IR-1s, which are the old machines we used to use. Just right now, this possibility exists in less than six months.

This means that the other side should not think that our hands are tied. We can develop 100,000 SWUs in less than a year and a half with the pieces of IR-4s - which are advanced second and third generations – and with other equipment that are available to us. These are the possibilities that exist today in the Atomic Energy Organization. They should employ these possibilities to stop the other side. However, no rash measure should be adopted. They should do their best in the face of American violations.

Fortunately, our honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs and our honorable President said in this meeting, in the Majlis and in other places that they are pursuing these matters. They should pursue them seriously. Notice that as is commonly said, “rights are not given, they are taken”. You should take it on your own. And notice that you are going to take it from a wolf like America. You should pull it out from his mouth. It is not the case that he comes and gives it to you with open arms. As long as they have not violated it, we will not violate it either, but we should preserve our capabilities in the face of their mistakes and their violations.

I should add that it was because of our scientific and technological power that we managed to snatch what could be snatched away from the Americans on this matter. If it had not been for our capability to achieve 20-percent enrichment and to build advanced centrifuges, we would definitely have failed to force them into accepting these several thousand centrifuges so much so that they would not criticize it anymore. It was because of our power that we managed to do so. If this power is gone, the other side’s pressures will increase. And the more this power increases, the more our power to pressure the other side will increase. So, we should preserve this power.

We have also appointed a supervisory board. I expect the supervisory board to pay more attention and to show more vigilance. Whenever they really feel that the other side is acting in a treacherous manner and breaking its promises, they should carry out their duty of defending national interests.

Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad (s.w.a.) and his household, make what we said, what we asked for, what we wished for and what we worked for serve Yourself and Your cause. And accept it from us with Your generosity. Bestow Your kindness and mercy on the servants of the country. Bestow Your kindness and mercy on our magnanimous Imam (r.a.), our great martyrs and our dear disabled war veterans.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy