Ayatollah Khamenei

We must develop our economy from inside to combat sanctions: Ayatollah Khamenei

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on December 27, 2017 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the members of the Coordination Council of Islamic Propagation. The meeting was held on the occasion of the anniversary of the uprising of the 9th of Dey which took place in the year 1388.

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, upon his pure, immaculate and chosen household - especially the one remaining with Allah on earth – upon his esteemed companions and upon those who follow them until the Day of Judgment

You are quite welcome dear brothers, dear sisters, officials of the great movement of propagation for the people throughout the year, and officials of the organizations which help the Coordination Council of Islamic Propagation and which carry out these great tasks. I congratulate you on the birthday anniversary of Hazrat Askari (peace and greetings be upon him). His birthday was on a day like this.

On days leading to the 9th of Dey, I would like to commemorate and venerate the day of the great movement of the people and I hope that Allah the Exalted will bestow His grace, mercy, approval and blessings on this great movement and everything which follows from it.

The important task of the Coordination Council of Propagation is propagation. Propagation has a Quranic root. It is not something that we have invented or learned from others in the world. In the holy Sura, al-Ahzab, Allah the Exalted says, "It is the practice of those who propagate the Messages of Allah, and fear Him, and fear none but Allah. And enough is Allah to call men to account" [The Holy Quran, 33: 39]. Also, in the blessed Sura al-Maeda, He says, "Oh Messenger, proclaim the message which has been sent to you from Your Lord" [The Holy Quran, 5: 67]. The God of the world orders His Messenger to promote God's message. In the holy ayahs of the Holy Quran, the issue of propagation has been frequently discussed by the prophets: "I but fulfil towards you the duties of my Lord's mission. Sincere is my advice to you" [The Holy Quran, 7: 62].

What does propagation mean? It means conveying. Conveying what? Conveying a message and a correct idea. This is the meaning of Islamic propagation. However, the main condition is that it should be sincere, friendly and trustworthy and it should be done with a sense of responsibility. This is the meaning of propagation. In fact, the great task that you are carrying out is the same. In materialistic governments – primarily in the west – propagation exists as well. They refer to it as "propaganda". Propaganda is radically and fundamentally different from Islamic propagation. Propaganda is exercised with the purpose of controlling public opinion. It is in the direction of gaining power, benefits and money.

To be fair, westerners are very good on this matter. They are very skilled at this. They are very skilled at propaganda in its western sense – western propaganda. They earn money and they gain power. By doing what? By controlling public opinion. However, this is not the issue in the case of Islamic propagation. Propagation in its Islamic sense means reaching an understanding with the people. The issue is not about controlling, rather is about understanding. It means attracting minds towards a lofty and noble goal. It means helping minds get closer to one another. What is the result of this understanding? The result is that the people enter the arena voluntarily and dutifully in order to carry out fundamental tasks and good deeds. This is the result of it. In Islamic propagation, the issue is not about gaining power and earning money, rather it is about bringing the people to the arena of responsibility. The people feel responsible and enter the arena voluntarily.

Without doubt, the people themselves will benefit from the results of this great popular movement. This is the meaning of propagation. So, it is completely different from what westerners do. In western propaganda, there is nothing wrong with deceiving public opinion, dramatizing, behaving like an actor and lying. Everything which helps you gain that materialistic result is allowed in western propaganda. However, this is not the case in Islamic propagation in any case. In Islamic propagation, sincerity, trustworthiness, having a sense of responsibility and the like are necessary. Well, these statements were about the essence of propagation.

When public opinion becomes active and well-informed on a certain matter, this will naturally set bodies and minds in motion and bring innovations to the arena. Naturally, in Islamic propagation, opportunities and threats are explained to the people, enemies and friends are clarified and identified for them and their confidence is boosted. These things exist in propagation.

You should look at the prophets' propagations when they were under difficult circumstances. In the Battle of the Trench, Muslims engaged in digging trenches under the most difficult circumstances – in an important part of Madina, they engaged in digging trenches – while they were hungry and the weather was very hot. The Holy Prophet himself was busy digging trenches with Muslims. At one point, they reached a hard rock which could not be moved. The Holy Prophet was told, "Oh Messenger of God, there is a very hard stone which cannot be moved." Then, the Holy Prophet went there, took the pickaxe and dealt a hard blow to the stone. As a result of this blow, some sparks were generated. The Holy Prophet said, "I saw the Taq-e Kasra [palace and seat of the Persian emperor] in this spark. You will capture it in the future."

Notice that in the most difficult circumstances, the Holy Prophet said that he saw Muslims capture Taq-e Kasra. After another blow to the stone, he said, "I see you defeating the Roman Empire." This means generating hope and boosting confidence. Of course, there is a world of difference between the Holy Prophet's outlook and that of people like us. The way he generated hope and gave information about something is radically different from the way people like us do these things. He used to see and observe things in reality while we merely analyze things. Raising hope and boosting confidence should exist in propagation. The worst thing for a people is that they lose their self-confidence and hope about the future. 

Dear brothers, dear sisters, you should know that today, the enemies' most important plan – these numerous tasks that they carry out - is to make the people of Iran lose their self-confidence. Later on, I will expand on this matter. Today, the important effort of the enemy's soft war is to make the people of Iran lose their hope. We can understand from the ayah which was mentioned – "It is the practice of those who propagate the Messages of Allah, and fear Him, and fear none but Allah" – that there are enemies against Islamic propagation. When God says that those who promote divine missions fear Allah, but do not fear anyone else, it is clear that those who work against God have deployed their forces against divine propagators – the propagators of God's messages. The issue is about fighting.

Another ayah in this regard is, "Oh Messenger, proclaim the message which has been sent to you from your Lord. If you did not, you will not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission. And Allah will defend you from men" [The Holy Quran, 5: 67]. This ayah says that God protects His Messenger and that he should not have any concern and worry in this regard. It is clear that the enemies have deployed their forces against the Holy Prophet's propagations. Dear brothers, dear sisters, what does this mean? This means that when you do fundamental Islamic propagation, an enemy front will be formed against you. You should know this.

Propagation is an arena of war. Some people dislike the word "war". As soon as we speak about an economic, promotional and soft war, they express their dislike and say, "Why do you speak about war so much? You should speak about peace." Well, war exists. It is negligence to ignore the enemy when he has focused his efforts against us and when the enemy front is aiming its bullets at us. The Commander of the Faithful says, "The warrior should be wakeful because if he sleeps the enemy does not sleep" [Nahjul Balaghah, Letter 62]. If you fall asleep in your trench, this does not mean that the other side – your enemy – has fallen asleep as well. He is watching you and waiting for you to fall asleep!

We should not be intimidated by the word "war". Well, the enemy has waged a war in the present time. This is not a military war – without doubt, they will not start a military war and they will not dare do so – but there is a war in any case. It is a soft war. There are wars which are more dangerous than a military war. The enemy is at war with us. Well, you should pay attention that propagation means confronting the enemy. "Good propagation" means confronting the enemy of the truth and fighting against oppression and darkness in a direct manner. This is the meaning of propagation. This is the truth of propagation.

Well, we are close to our fortieth year. The fortieth year of what? The fortieth year of a phenomenon which has managed to change and shake the structure of power in the world. You should not say that such and such a power in the world is still holding its place. Well, our claim is not that we want to destroy all powers in the world. This is not our job. Of course, this will happen one day, but it will be done by a divine hand. Our job is to destroy the structure and system of power – the system of domination – in the world. And we have done so.

The system of domination means dividing the world into two groups of countries and nations: the first group is the dominator and the second is the dominated. We have destroyed this wrong system and wrong formula in the world. We have shown that a nation can exist which is neither a dominator nor dominated. This nation neither wants to bully others nor does it want to accept others' bullying. The people of Iran have shown this in practice. Well, they write such things in books. Thinkers and political analysts say such things in books, but how can books and writings be compared with reality? It was the Revolution which created this reality. The Islamic Revolution changed structures in the world.

They are not sitting idle in the face of this change in structures. Their enmities began from the first day. It is around 40 years now that they have been showing enmity. Throughout the past 40 years, they have shown all sorts of enmities. You are aware of these enmities, but these things should be clarified for the new young generation. Their enmities include waging wars, imposing sanctions, hurling abuse, making accusations, penetrating into the country, hatching plots, doing intelligence and cultural work, and creating domestic rifts. They have done everything they could with their money, but they have failed in all cases.

It is close to 40 years now that they have been doing these things. If their plots were supposed to work, the Islamic Republic should have been uprooted a hundred times over until now! As is said commonly in Farsi, the Islamic Republic should have rotted in its seventh death shroud until now. However, today, we have 40 years of power. The people of Iran have managed to resist and overcome 40 years of enmities, malevolence and pressure.

The people of Iran have passed through seven "khans" [in Persian literature, every difficult stage in a heroic mission is called a khan] while other nations would not have been able to pass through even one khan. You should draw a comparison. Do you remember Islamic Awakening? Certain movements began in a number of countries. Some heroics were displayed and certain nations stood firm and moved forward, but what was their fate? Where did they end up? What could they do? The movement of Islamic Awakening in Arab countries – in North Africa and West Asia – ended in domestic wars, domestic seditions, fratricide, and religious and tribal discord. They are still stuck in these problems. This was just the first khan, but they failed to pass through it. On the contrary, the people of Iran have passed through these stages with complete power and dignity.

Ousting and uprooting the monarchic system in the country was not a minor task. This country had gotten used to monarchy for several centuries. There used to be an absolute power which was indifferent to the people and which did not rely on public opinion. It used to do whatever it wanted and rule over the country without any restriction. We used to live like this for several centuries. However, the Islamic Republic, the Imam of the nation and the people behind their Imam managed to cut out this root. This was a great accomplishment, but some of the tasks which were carried out after uprooting monarchy were even greater than the essence of the work. Do you know what pressure preserving the Islamic government exerted over the country and the people in the course of the past 40 years? However, our people managed to endure this pressure. They managed to resist.

The comparison between the Islamic Revolution and these movements, uprisings and revolutions which were carried out in Arab countries is an instructive comparison. Even those countries which succeeded – for example, some countries in North Africa which managed to achieve independence in their fight against France and other such countries – were digested in the culture of the same colonialist countries after a short while.

The prime minister of one of these countries – I do not want to say which country – came here and met with me during my presidency. He began speaking to me in Arabic. He wanted to say a word whose Arabic equivalent he did not know. Then he turned to his advisor and companion who was sitting next to him and told him the word in French and asked him for the Arabic equivalent. The companion told him what the Arabic word was! This means that the French culture had become so dominant that the prime minister of that country did not know his own language – the Arabic language – very well. They had to translate French words into Arabic so that he would learn Arabic words. Such countries got stuck like this. They got stuck in the middle of the road like this. This is a road which the Islamic Republic has been taking for 40 years with complete power. Well, these enmities existed in the past and they exist in the present time as well.

Notice that what is important is that in every era, we should understand how the enmity of the enemy works and what it does to us. We should understand the enemy's plan, just like in a military war. In a military war, if you guess the enemy's plan, you can prevent it and prepare yourselves. You will either defend well or you will attack in advance. This is the case in military wars. In promotional, economic, cultural and security wars and in the war of influence and infiltration – all these are various forms of war – this is the main issue: you should guess what the enemy wants to do. Today, there is no need to guess. It is clear to every well-informed individual what the enemy wants to do. Thousands of artilleries – the artilleries of spreading lies and exaggerating the problems – are busy firing at this nation from paths which exist today but which did not exist in the past.

We are saying this in the case of cyberspace. We say that you should be careful about the enemy's artillery fire in cyberspace. You should be vigilant. You should take care not to let the enemy use this area against your identity, your entity, your government and your Revolution. They release false statistics in this regard. They lie, they give false reports and they tarnish the reputation of popular personalities whom the people should believe in. They deny the Revolution's achievements, they tell lies and if there is one failure, weakness and shortcoming, they say that there are thousands of them. If such shortcomings exist in one area, they extend it to all other areas. This is what the enemy does. This is the enemy's job.

Why does he do so? Because he has found out the secret to the victory of the Islamic Revolution. The secret is the people's belief and faith. He wants to destroy this faith. If he cannot do this in the case of those at an advanced age, he wishes to take this belief away from youth, teenagers and the new generation so much so that the people will not stand behind the Revolution and the Islamic Republic anymore. This is his goal. Making the people disappointed and pessimistic, undermining their self-confidence and painting a dark picture of the future are the things which the enemy is doing in the present time.

Unfortunately, a group of people are doing the enemy's work inside the country. Now, some of them do this knowingly and some do it unknowingly. But it is the exact thing that the enemy does: making the people hopeless, accusing this and that, and telling barefaced lies – which lead to hostility - in the minds of the people. These are tasks which some people inside the country are unfortunately carrying out as well.

Those who are doing the enemy's work inside the country do not have piety. Their religion is political. Instead of having religious politics, they have political religion. It is our politics which should be religious. We should not move our religion in the direction of carrying out political tasks and doing cheap and mean political work. But they are like this. They do not have piety. They are doing the enemy's work in order to strengthen such and such a party and weaken another. They want to raise the position of such and such a person and lower that of another. These are tasks which are unfortunately being done inside the country.

Some people are without media and some are the owners of media. The latter own news agencies and promotional minbars and they can talk. And they do talk but without any considerations. They neither pay attention to God, to religion nor to fair-mindedness. This is exactly what the enemy wants to do. And as soon as the enemy sees these things inside the country, he reflects them in his media with complete enthusiasm and excitement. If individuals inside the country say these things during the day, you see that they will be heavily reflected on in English and American media during the night! These things make the enemy happy. They make him happy against the people and against the Islamic Republic. These actions come at the cost of disappointing the people and the new young generation.

This is the case particularly for those who have all managerial resources at their disposal today or those who had them at their disposal in the past. It makes no difference. There are some individuals who have access to all managerial resources in the present time or they had access to them in the past. That is while, as westerners say, they assume the role of "the opposition". The individuals who are or were in control of the country do not have the right to speak and take positions against the country. They should adopt a position based on responsibility. They should answer for their actions. If I have access to all resources, I cannot make specific claims, rather I should be responsible and answer for what I have done with these resources.

If instead of answering for their actions, they make extravagant claims and speak against this and that, this cannot be done. The people will not accept this. Some individuals might think that this will influence the people, but this is not the case. The people are well-informed and they understand things. They will not accept this.

From the beginning of the Islamic Republic until today, all the managers of the Islamic Republic have rendered important services. Well, we have seen this up close. We have seen that they have rendered certain services. Of course, some of them have caused damage as well. There have been both services and damages. One should feel grateful for the services – whatever they were - of executive, judiciary and parliamentary officials in the course of time. Most of these officials are the servants of the country. Damages should be criticized as well. However, criticism should be fair and done in a responsible manner. It should not involve cursing and insulting. Making and accepting criticism is necessary, but insulting and mudslinging is haraam. Criticism is different from leveling accusations. It is different from mudslinging. It is different from repeating the enemy's words. Criticism should be fair and rational and it should be done in a responsible manner.

Painting a dark picture of things is not an achievement. If we keep condemning this or that organization and branch without any reason and logic, well, every person and every child can take a stone and break windows with it. This is not an achievement. The main achievement is to speak in a reasonable and fair manner. The main achievement is to avoid speaking because of one's own desires and personal interests and for gaining power. One should always consider God: "Every act of hearing or of seeing or of feeling in the heart will be enquired into on the Day of Reckoning" [The Holy Quran, 17: 36]. You should know that on Judgment Day, the words that you utter will appear in front of you in the form of actions that you have taken. Allah the Exalted will criticize and will enquire. We cannot say whatever we want.

Looking like a revolutionary is different from being a real revolutionary. The former means acting in a way as if we were really revolutionaries. Being a real revolutionary is a difficult task. It requires commitment and piety. One cannot be in charge of all the affairs of the country for a decade and then become the opponent of the country for the next decade. This is not possible [Audience laugh]! The 9th of Dey – which is so magnificent – was the people's response to these games. The 9th of Dey was a day of defending the values of the Revolution and religion.

The resistance that we showed then was for the sake of defending the elections. At that time, I outspokenly said that they are exerting pressure so that we will invalidate the elections. I said that I will not give in to the pressure of invalidating the elections. I announced this at that time. The issue is about the values of the Revolution and the Islamic government. This issue existed at that time as well as today. We should take care of ourselves to a great extent. We should be very careful.

Imam said, "The main criterion is a person’s current state of affairs." What does this mean? Imam was wise. It means that no one has the guarantee of staying on the right path until one's death. Everyone should take care of themselves: "Judgment about who is sober or drunk depends on one's final actions" [from a poem by Hafiz]. What things we have seen in the course of the past 40, 50 years after the beginning of Imam's movement – since the year 1340, 1342 onwards! We have seen ascents, descents, peaks and valleys and some excessive actions. We have seen astonishing things in this period of time! We should take care of ourselves to a great extent.

One of the tasks that should be done in the area of propagation is responding to the falsehoods that are spread among the people. Of course, all our promotional organizations should be careful and vigilant and they should take action. The Ministry of Islamic Guidance, the Islamic Promotions Organization, the Propagation Office, the organizations which are in charge of communications and media should all be careful. The enemy is constantly creating falsehoods: abundant falsehoods in a row. These knots should be untied, these falsehoods should be eliminated and minds should be put at rest. Our youth should not feel confused and confounded. People from all corners of the world are constantly creating falsehoods and doubts. Youth should be helped. Minds should be relieved.

Well, the enemy both creates falsehoods and magnifies the events. Our enemies speak - in their communications and promotional apparatuses – as if their audience were a thousand times larger than their real audience. They introduce thousand as million! Their pretensions are like this. We should not be deceived by them. We should not be deceived by the enemy's exaggerations. If their analyses against the Islamic Republic were correct – they say that such and such areas in the Islamic Republic are ruined and annihilated, and that the Islamic Republic is in a disastrous state of affairs – as I said, we should already have rotted in our death shrouds a hundred times over!

On the first day too, they used to say that the Islamic Republic would be destroyed in six months. Later on, they saw that such a thing did not happen. Then they said that it would be destroyed in two years. Now, forty years have passed! By Allah's favor and grace, everyone should know that we will bring our enemies – the criminal US and its cohorts – to their knees at this stage and at other stages.

Our main enemy, the regime of the United States of America, is one of the most corrupt and oppressive governments in the world. They support terrorists. They supported DAESH as much as they could. In the present time too, despite all the fuss that they kick up, they are still helping DAESH and takfiris like DAESH behind the scenes. This is according to the news that we have received. They support terrorism. They support tyrannical governments. They used to support the Shah. They support the oppressive House of Saud. They support some oppressive dynasties in the region. Are there actions which are more erroneous than these? Is there any corruption which is graver than this?

They support criminals, whether the criminals who are committing crimes in Palestine – the Zionist regime – or the ones who are committing crimes in Yemen. In Yemen, they shed blood every day. They commit crimes inside their own country. They place African Americans under pressure. The US police murder African American women, men, children and youth without any reason, but the US courts exonerate them and let them go. This is their judiciary branch! That is while they criticize and find faults with the judiciary branch of other countries including ours.

Of course, our judiciary branch is not perfect. You should know that I am aware of the problems that exist in the judiciary and executive branches. Perhaps, my information is much more than many others, but I see the positives as well. In Ziarat Aminullah, we say, "Make me aware of Your abundant bounties." We should pay attention to God's blessings. We have some corrupt judges, but we also have just and reliable judges as well. We do not have the right to reject everyone at once. We have ambitious, brazen and materialistic executive managers, but we also have clean and diligent executive managers. We do not have the right to pass judgment on everyone with the same brush. We should be careful in this regard.

We have these judiciary systems of the western world in front of us. An example is the judiciary system of the US whose prisons are a disgrace and whose problems are astonishing for their people - because of the issue of bribes and other such matters. Nonetheless, in Hollywood movies and the like, they pretend as if their judiciary system were clean and spotless. An example is what I just said: if African Americans are killed in the US, there is no guarantee that their murderers will be punished. This is the US government.

Well, this enemy stands against us and he is doing his best. They are spending a lot of money and hatching many plots. They are doing their best to create discord among the people inside the country – including political, religious, tribal and linguistic discord. Also, they are bleeding the rich around us and they receive money from them. They receive help from them as well in order to do certain things against our country. They are doing whatever they can, but by Allah's favor, their noses have been rubbed into the ground. They should know that we will move forward with power. By the grace of Allah the Exalted, we will disappoint the US in all arenas.

Those who used to be at the top of the US government in the past were not idle either. They used to work very hard as well. Reagan was even stronger than Trump. He was also wiser [Audience laugh]. He took action against us in practice with threats and uproar. He was an actor and his acting was much better than this one [Audience laugh]. He took action against us in practice. They struck our passenger plane, but where is Reagan today? Where is the Islamic Republic? Today, the progress and growth of the Islamic Republic is several times more than during the time of Reagan. It has progressed in all areas. At the moment, he is suffering from divine punishment. His body is rotten and buried in the ground and according to our religious rules, his soul is busy answering to the system of divine justice.

The same is true of the ones who are working now. By Allah's favor, the Islamic Republic will continue to stand on its feet and they will die with the fvidesire to see the Islamic Republic weak or eliminated from the arena. Of course, some of them have managed to busy some of us thanks to their velvet gloves. At a certain point in time, they managed to busy us with their superficial flexibility and with their velvet gloves – as I said recently, they wear velvet gloves over their iron fists. However, they were disgraced after a short while. Today, the truths about the malicious intentions of the government of the United States of America against Islam, Muslims and the Islamic Republic have been revealed.

We should be aware of the tasks that they can carry out. They impose sanctions. We should develop our economy from the inside. We should turn it into the economy of resistance so that sanctions will not work. The honorable officials should take the economy of resistance seriously. They should not support it just in words. The economy of resistance does not agree with uncontrolled importation. It does not agree with weakness in production. They should strengthen domestic production. Government and executive offices should prefer domestic products to their foreign counterparts. One important buyer in the market is executive organizations which buy everything and which need everything. They should prefer what is produced inside the country. The people too should turn to domestic products. All these things will break the spell of the sanctions that the enemy has cast.

These actions might not work in the space of six months, one year, but the real cure is nothing else. The same is true of propagational activities. The same is true of psychological warfare. The same is true of confronting the enemy's infiltrations. They should take care not to let the enemy's infiltrators enter into our decision-making and decision-building organizations. They should not take the enemy's flatteries seriously either. They should not take his expressions of kindness and love seriously. If he says, "Let us shake hands and sit together", our officials should not take them seriously. They should know what the enemy wants to do. If you know these things, if we know these things, if you observe these things, if we observe these things, you should know that the Islamic Republic will continue to move forward.

The problems that exist – I am aware of the problems of high prices, inflation, recession and the various problems that the people are suffering from in terms of their livelihood and economic issues – can be eliminated with the determination of officials. Allah the Exalted will reward you for this determination and I hope that He will untie economic knots, God willing.

Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad and his household, guide and help us towards what leads to Your satisfaction and assistance.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings