Imam Khamenei

What has lifted the shadow of war from the country is not officials but the presence of the people

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on April 30, 2017 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with a group of laborers on the occasion of Labor Day.

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 pure, immaculate and chosen household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.

You are very welcome dear brothers, dear sisters, groups of people involved in labor, laborers, entrepreneurs, outstanding personalities in the area of labor and officials in charge of such affairs. I hope that by Allah's favor, this will be an auspicious Eid for you.

This year, the auspicious birthday anniversary of the Master of Martyrs (God's greetings be upon him) has coincided with the days related to labor and to laborers. Let us consider this a good sign and I hope that God willing, we will benefit from the immaculate soul of the Master of Martyrs (God's greetings be upon him) in order to be able to find and to take our path because this will help us to put an end to the existing problems. I would like to say a few things about the issue of labor and laborers and the issues relevant to this important matter. And then I will raise a few points about some other issues which are interesting to all of us.

Fortunately, our people's love and admiration for Hazrat Abi Abdullah (greetings be upon him) is completely clear and evident. The people really express their love for the Master of Martyrs (peace and greetings be upon him) on the occasion of his birthday anniversary, on the occasion of his martyrdom and on the occasion of Arbaeen. This is a source of pride for us. This understanding and this affection is a source of pride for our people.

Well, on Labor Day, we should both discuss the issue of laborers – the matters related to laborers in the country – and the issue of employment one of whose dimensions is the issue of labor and laborers. This is because the issue of employment is one of the serious problems of the country in the true sense of the word and therefore, it should be resolved.

As for the issue of laborers, everyone has highlighted their significance time and time again and they have done so in different ways. If a country is willing to have an advanced and independent economy and economic progress in the real sense of the word, it should attach great significance to laborers. This is because laborers are the spinal cord of productive and occupational economy in the country. This is undoubtedly the case. That we have held up the flag of national production in recent years and that we constantly stress national production, the main part of this issue is related to laborers. If we want our society of laborers to enjoy the benefits and rights that they deserve, we should stress the issue of national production.

If laborers become busy working in society in an optimistic manner and if the rules that regulations that exist in this regard are observed – I have referred to these rules and regulations before and today too, I will mention some of them as well – then the economy of the country will prosper. The problem with our economy is not an insoluble problem. It is not a problem for which there is not any solution. It is not a knot that cannot be untied. We should find the path and after that, we should show determination and work hard. Officials should work hard.

One important task in this regard is observing and taking into account the needs of the society of laborers of the country. The society of laborers should feel respected and appreciated. It should feel that its value and the value of its labor are being appreciated. If this happens, then tiredness, lack of energy and indifference towards labor will not exist anymore and the work will be done correctly and accurately. Well, one of the requirements for this is that we should promote the culture and significance of labor. There are some individuals who are thirsty for work, but they do not find any and there are some people who do not dislike idleness. We should promote the culture, value and significance of labor in society. Labor should find its place and its significance among the public opinion of our people. This is one of the necessary tasks.

And labor is important, but the kind of labor that one does is of secondary importance. If we say that we do not want such and such a job and that another job should be given to us, this is of secondary importance. The first issue is one's interest in and enthusiasm for working. This should be promoted in society. Labor should be recognized as a value. Laborers should feel proud when they speak about their occupation. They should not feel small when they do so as this is the truth of the matter. If we gather together all sources of wealth in the world and if all the rich people of the world gather in once place, but there is not any laborer to work, this is not of any value.

So, laborers are the spinal cord of the economy and of production. Of course, I have said many times that every angle of labor has a share. Entrepreneurs, employers, laborers and executive managers have a share in labor each. When these various elements cooperate, the work will be done with utmost beauty, excellence and perfection. This is clear. Everyone should cooperate, but the role of laborers as the pivot of labor, activity and employment in the country should be highlighted in the form of a value so that this will be a source of honor and pride. If someone – for example a young individual – is asked, "What does your father do?" and if he says proudly, "He is a laborer" – as he would proudly say "He is a manager" – this will be a huge step.

Job security is one of the requirements. This is related to executive officials. The job security of laborers is very important. Solving the livelihood problems of laborers is very important. Each and every word that Mr. Minister said should be pursued. The tasks related to each and everything that he said should be carried out. There should be movement in this regard. Everyone should feel responsible so that these things will materialize. Therefore, everyone – including the administration, employers, laborers and entrepreneurs – is responsible. Everyone is responsible to some extent. If responsibilities are carried out, then the job will be done correctly.

What I am saying is not preaching. The things that I am saying are not supposed to be some words of advice. The purpose of raising these points is to create a public discourse and a public demand so that everyone decides to achieve these goals. The purpose of naming the year and of repeating the phrase "the economy of resistance" is to make this public demand show itself in the hearts, tongues and actions of the people so that everyone moves towards that direction. When something turns into a public discourse and a public demand, it will naturally materialize. In other words, officials will move in that direction.

There is another point that we should not forget. The Islamic Republic should be really grateful to the society of laborers in this regard. As you know, the society of laborers plays a major role on political and social matters. This is the case everywhere in the world. Laborers' strike in such and such factories and organizations delivers important economic and political blows to governments. Since the first day that the Revolution achieved victory, the enemies tried to use this method against the Islamic Republic. Since the first day, they tried to somehow force laborers into exerting negative political impact on the Islamic Republic. However, laborers have always been by the Islamic Republic's side. They have always been by the Islamic government's side and they have always supported it.

In the course of the past 30-plus years, our laborers have actually given the enemies of the Islamic government a slap across the face! The Islamic Republic and all its officials should be thankful to the society of laborers. From now on too, this will be the case, God willing. Our society of laborers is a pious society. Despite all the efforts that the enemy makes, it moves forward and acts according to its divine and Islamic responsibilities. It naturally stands by the Islamic Republic's side, it works for it and it is at its service. Well, everyone should appreciate the value of this.

Let me bring up the issue of employment as well. The issue of employment is beyond the issue of laborers. Employment is an important issue for the country. Every official – these are election days and I will speak about this issue later on as well – and everyone who will become an official of the country, an executive official or an official in economic areas in the future administration, should focus their efforts on the issue of employment from the first day.

These are not issues which we can allow to be delayed. They should attend to the issue of employment from the first day. If our officials can provide employment inside the country in a satisfactory way, social detriments, the various problems that youth have and the numerous maladies that exist as a result of unemployment and idleness will decrease as well. We spend heavily on confronting the issue of addictive drugs and the smuggling of addictive drugs, but part of it results from the existence of unemployment and of unemployed individuals. The issue of employment is very important. This is of primary importance.


And as I mentioned, there is a connection between employment and national production. If we wish to create employment in the country, we should attach great significance to national production – production in the common sense of the word: industrial and agricultural production and production of various services. All these points should receive attention and they should be planned for. These are not issues that can be delayed. The officials in charge – everyone who is and will be in charge of these affairs – should attend to this matter as soon as possible.

I would like to say a few things about the issue of elections. Well, the environment of elections is getting hotter in the country and this is a very important and necessary thing. This issue should not be ignored. The issue of elections is very important. I have something to say to the people and I have something to say to officials and to candidates.

The main thing that I want to say in this regard is addressed to the people. Our dear people should know that their presence in different arenas is determining. What does it determine? It determines national security. If the people show their presence on the scene, the country will remain secure. If you see that our impudent, shameless and bullying enemies avoid adopting extreme and hard measures, this is because of the presence of the people. They are afraid. They are afraid in the real sense of the word.

This is not an analysis. The things that I am saying are realities which are among obvious facts. When the people are present on the scene, an enemy who wants to fight against the Islamic Republic will be forced to retreat and to avoid attacking. When a rift emerges between the people and the Islamic Republic and when the people do not show their presence on the scene, then they will be able to do whatever they like. And this will not be very difficult for them. They will be able to adopt all sorts of measures, as they have done so in various parts of the world. In Islamic Iran, the enemy has failed to do anything because of the presence of the people [Audience say "Oh liberated leader, we are ready. We are ready."]. Be patient and allow me to continue. I hope that by Allah's favor, this preparedness will always exist and that it will exist in all areas. For the moment, you should be prepared to listen to my statements.

It is because of the presence of the people that the enemies have failed to transgress. I sometimes hear some people say, "Now that we have assumed a responsibility, we have managed to lift the shadow of war from the country." I have heard this in the past as well. This is not the case. Such statements are not correct. Hear it from me: what has lifted the shadow of war and the enemy's transgression from the country over the course of these long years is the presence of the people!

Well, how is this presence shown? The most important manifestation of this presence is elections. This is what I want to say to the people. I do not say to the people who they should and should not vote for. I will never say this to the people, but I say to them and I insist that they should definitely go to ballot boxes and vote for every person whom they think is eligible. This should happen. Everyone who loves the country, everyone who loves the Islamic Republic and everyone from among the people who loves security should enter the arena of elections and go to ballot boxes. This is what decreases the enemy's malevolence.

Those individuals who are not on good terms with their own people want to put the people's support for them on display and they want to show off this support to powers. Of course, this will not work. The people are on good terms with us. The people cooperate with the Islamic Republic. They are attached to the Islamic Republic. Throughout the past 40 years, the people have endured certain hardships alongside the Islamic Republic. They have taken difficult paths and they have offered vital help to the Islamic Republic. The progress that we have made, the power that the Islamic Republic enjoys today and the influence that it has in the region has been because of the presence and assistance of the people.

Notice that when one of your youth is martyred in a certain region – I have carefully followed up this matter – it does not matter which city, province and part of the country he comes from as the people welcome these individuals with such enthusiasm and excitement that one is left astonished. What is the reason for this? This is because the Islamic Republic's movement and orientation interest the people. They know that the Islamic Republic is working for their dignity, their security and their progress. The Islamic Republic has cut off the enemy's hand from this country. This is not a trivial task, rather this is a big task.

Notice that oil and other sources of income and wealth in oil-rich countries are in the hands of foreigners. They let foreigners enter the country so that they can preserve their power and enjoy it for a short while. This was the case during the time of taghut in our country. Several thousand Americans used to receive money which belonged to our people. They used to rule here and they used to bully the officials of the country from top to bottom. 

This is the case in other countries as well. However, the Islamic Republic came and cut off the enemy's hand. It put an end to the restrictions that the enemy had imposed on our country and it pushed the country forward. Today, Iran is a country that is rapidly making progress. Today, Iran is a dignified and powerful country. These things are very significant. The people know these and therefore, they are by the Islamic Republic's side. I will tell you that the people's cooperation with the Islamic Republic is manifested in their presence at ballot boxes. This is the basis of what I want to say about elections.

Another issue that I would like to discuss is that the people should not look at the issue of elections in a cursory manner. They should vote by thinking and by deliberating. When we think and make a choice on the basis of a logic and when we make a decision about our vote on the basis of that choice, we can justify ourselves before Allah the Exalted. We might even make a mistake in this process, but we can justify ourselves before Allah the Exalted. However, if we act in a careless, indifferent and perfunctory manner, we will be responsible not only before God but also before ourselves. Later on, we will say to ourselves, "Oh, we did not think carefully on this matter." We will condemn ourselves.

However, when you think, when you study and consult with others and when you make a choice on the basis of a logic, Allah the Exalted will be satisfied with you because you have done your duty and your conscience will be pleased with you. It says, "I have done my job even if I have made a mistake. Well, mistakes happen for everyone, but I have done my job." This is another thing that I wanted to say to the people.

I have something to say to the honorable candidates as well. Six honorable gentlemen have run for the elections. First of all, I would like to say to the honorable candidates that they should make their intentions divine. They should not work for the sake of power, rather they should work for the sake of serving. If someone enters the arena of battle for the sake of serving the people – particularly underprivileged classes – then every move that he makes and every word that he utters will be considered as a good deed, one that will be rewarded by Allah the Exalted. You should enter the arena with this intention: with the intention of serving. This is the first point.


The second point is that you should choose your slogans in a way that everyone knows you want to support the weak classes and groups of people and that you intend to solve the problems of those who have serious problems. We are a body. Society is like the body of an individual. We should see which parts of our body are weak, which parts do not receive blood and which parts need more attention and then we should attend to those parts. This does not mean that we should ignore the other parts of our body. What I am saying is that we should prioritize the parts that have a problem.

I have sometimes made serious complaints to different officials in different administrations. We do not usually make these complaints in front of the people and public opinion in the country. This is because the people do not like fighting, angry arguments and the like and besides, such arguments are of no avail. However, I have sometimes made bitter complaints to the officials of the country and I have done this several times. One of the reasons behind those bitter complaints was their lack of attention to priorities. What are priorities? There is a priority in every area - well, the country has economic, cultural, political, scientific and other such areas. These priorities should be observed, pursued and accelerated.

The gentlemen who have run for presidential elections today should make a decision about this. They should promise to themselves and to Allah the Exalted that they will observe priorities should they be elected by the people and should they win their votes. They should pay more attention to the areas that are in serious need of attention. They should implement their plans on the basis of this.

Everyone should know – including the honorable candidates – that we will not manage to help this country progress except with jihadi and revolutionary work. Being prepared like a jihadi individual is necessary in all areas. If this exists, all tasks will move forward. If this exists, the dead ends will break. This is about hard, diligent, quality, jihadi and revolutionary work. What does "revolutionary" mean? Some people think that when we speak about revolutionary work, we mean disorderly work. This is not what we mean. On the contrary, one of the main line of revolutionary work is discipline, but "revolutionary" means that we should not busy ourselves with peripheral, ceremonial and flashy things.

Revolutionary work means that we should create short cuts for giving individuals the permission to do certain tasks. Once, a number of sincere and pious entrepreneurs met with me and said that in order to carry out a small task – they referred to such tasks, but I do not want to give details – one has to get permits from 20, 25 places. This is non-revolutionary work. Revolutionary work means that those who formulate these rules and regulations should shorten the paths and create short cuts for the people, for entrepreneurs and for those who want to render services. These are necessary tasks. Officials should show determination and do real work.  

Another word of advice is related to the government officials who are in charge of the elections. The officials in the Ministry of Interior and in the Guardian Council, the officials in charge of promotional activities – those in the IRIB and in other places – and the officials in different areas who will, by Allah's favor, hold the elections on the day of the elections should preserve the people's trust. The people's votes and the people's presence are their "trust". They should preserve this trust with utmost care lest God forbid some people be able to undermine this trust.

They should observe the law carefully. They should not have any considerations for anyone when it comes to the law. The law is the law and it is for everyone. There are no exceptions about the law. They should observe the law so that the task will be carried out in a correct and ideal way so much so that Allah the Exalted will be satisfied, God willing. I have said many times and I would like to repeat that the people's votes are haqul nas [things that constitute the people's rights]. If anyone violates the people's votes, they have violated haqul nas. Being responsible for haqul nas is a very difficult task.

Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad and his household, make us capable of doing what we say and what we want. Make the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam and the pure souls of martyrs satisfied with us. Make the holy heart of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) satisfied and pleased with us.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings