Imam Khamenei

Everyone who is interested in Iran and its security should participate in the elections

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on February 5, 2020 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with people from various social backgrounds.

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 - those who guide the guided - especially the one remaining with Allah on earth

You are very welcome, dear brothers and sisters. You have enlightened our meeting and our Hussainiyah with your spirituality and your purity. In particular, I would like to mention those who have attended this meeting from distant cities. I also wish to thank the dear teenagers who sang a very good and artistic song. I also thank the honorable qari [reciter of the Holy Quran] who had an exquisite recitation.

Dear brothers, dear sisters, the ten-day Fajr ceremony is a unique and unprecedented occasion. The ten-day Fajr ceremony is the manifestation of national power and national determination. Why is that? It is because it was during that period of time when the Iranian nation managed to overthrow a decayed and corrupt structure, which had lasted several thousand years, with their presence and firm determination. For thousands of years, this country used to be run in a way that the people did not have any role. It was monarchies, and aggressive foreign powers who used to rule. Even in the Islamic era – as Islam is the manifestation of mercy – the rulers who came to Iran used to behave in a harsh and dictatorial manner: a behavior that was typical of kings and ordinary sultans. The people did not have any role in the management of the country. For a thousand years, the country used to be run like that.

In the last era before the Revolution – during the Pahlavi dynasty and a little before that, during the Qajar dynasty – things were even worse. In those days, not only did the people not have any role, but they also used to be trampled underfoot as well. The country’s sources of wealth were looted for the pockets of foreigners. Corruption had engulfed the whole government. The situation was like that before the victory of the Revolution.

Under the leadership of our magnanimous Imam – the role of such a leader is one that cannot be compared with any other leader throughout our long history and in my opinion, it is unique in the whole world – the Iranian nation exercised their willpower and made a decision. They were not intimidated by bullets and by the shallow power of the Pahlavi regime and they poured into the arena. They destroyed that structure, replacing it with a democratic one until the country turned into a democratic country.

What does democracy mean? It means that since the beginning, the system was formulated through the votes of the people. It was they who determined who should prepare the Constitution – in other words, the Assembly of Experts on the Constitution. After the candidates elected by the people prepared the Constitution, the Constitution itself was put to the vote of the people.

In the same fashion, the legislative and executive branches, various councils, the Leadership itself, and the Assembly of Experts who select the Leader, are chosen by the people. After that, they elect a leader. This means that everything is referred to the votes of the people. This way of running the country is what defines a democratic government. So, this ten-day period is one that is not comparable to any other period of the year for us. The ten-day Fajr ceremony is the manifestation of national determination.

Of course, the Islamic government is a popular government, but it is not only characterized by that. Our government is based on faith, religion and Islamic democracy. It is Islamic as it builds individuals like Shahid Soleimani. It is Islamic as it encourages families to send their youth and their flesh and blood to the frontlines during the Sacred Defense Era in order to engage in jihad in the way of God, while families feel proud of it. In which part of the world can you find a mother who loses three, four brave sons of hers, but who feels proud and who has no complaints to anyone? There are not any examples like this in any part of the world. We have read and heard about the condition of other countries. They too have had certain wars and certain casualties, but their condition is not comparable to what has happened in our country. This originates from faith.

Notice that seven, eight months ago – in the early part of this year – they engaged in making an analysis and doing a study about your Hajj Qassem Soleimani in American intellectual centers. They published part of their report and it became available to us as well. They have cited some of his qualities: for example, they said that he was a big obstacle in the way of American goals. Among the characteristics that they mention – for instance, they say that he was a brave risk-taker and other such qualities – they cited his commitment and his faith. His commitment was one of the qualities. It is like that. When pious personalities merge faith with good deeds and when they engage in a jihadi move, the outcome will be a personality like him who is admired by big powers and even by his enemies.

Today, I want to discuss two issues. One is about the presence of the people as we have two tests ahead of us: one is the 22nd of Bahman rally and another is the election. Another issue is about Palestine on which I wish to speak a little. Of course, it is clear what our position is, but I want to emphasize it again.

As for the 22nd of Bahman rally, well our people really showed their determination. That our people poured onto the streets in 40 winters, in cold weather, under heavy snow and in freezing cold and doing so in different cities – actually, all over the country – to celebrate the anniversary of the Revolution and to gather and show off their presence to the enemies, is not a minor incident. You should take a look at other countries’ national celebrations. About forty people stand there and some individuals march past them. Popular presence with such a magnitude with it happening 40 years continuously despite all the sabotage activities that the enemies have done – every year, they say something so that they can possibly undermine it, but of course without any success – is unprecedented.

Of course, I am too small to thank the Iranian nation, but one should really thank the dear Iranian nation with one’s heart and soul. This year, the 22nd of Bahman anniversary coincides with the forty-day anniversary of our dear martyr. It is the forty-day anniversary of Shahid Soleimani and the people are especially motivated. By Allah’s favor, the enemies will see, with their own eyes, the great participation of the people in different squares and streets. I cannot say much more about it. By Allah’s grace, our people will deliver a harsh blow to the enemy’s policies with their presence.

As for the elections, dear brothers, elections are an opportunity for our country and our nation and it is a threat for our enemies. Elections should not be underrated. We should not underplay the fact that some people say whatever they want about elections, discouraging the people with their words. Elections are an opportunity for our country: first of all, if it is held in an enthusiastic way and if all the people go to ballot boxes, this will ensure the security of the country. Why? Because the enemies who threaten the country and the nation are more afraid of popular support than our armaments. Although they are afraid of our missiles, they are more intimidated by the Islamic Republic’s popular support. Presence in elections indicates the people’s support for the system. That is why elections ensure security.

Secondly, they indicate the determination and power of the Iranian nation. Well, there are certain problems in the country and they themselves are aware of them. Their sanctions, as well as some negligence on our part, have brought about certain problems for the people and they have some complaints. However, because elections, the reputation of the system and the security of the country are at stake, they show their presence in the arena. This shows national determination, national power and national insight. This was another point in this regard.

Another point is that elections solve many of our international problems. The judgment of international spectators about countries and their outlook towards them depends very much on these things. They look at parliaments in different countries – if they have any – and the heads of countries to see how and with what level of participation they are elected. These issues are influential.

Besides, presidential and parliamentary elections are an opportunity for the arrival of new thoughts and new methods in the cycle of decision-making and decision-building. New thoughts will emerge. In particular – later on, I will expand on this matter, God willing – if we manage to find and elect eligible people, this will be influential as we will witness the arrival of new thoughts in the cycle of the country’s decision-making and decision-building. Such individuals will be able to present new solutions to the problems of the country and they will give their expert opinion.

The issue of the economy is very important and I have always stressed it. The issue of culture and the issue of developing science and furthering progress are very important as well, but it is elections which provide the basis for all these. If we benefit from strong, proper and public elections, then in my opinion, all the problems of the country will gradually be resolved. This shows the significance of elections.

Therefore, elections are the most fundamental issue in the country. This fundamental issue should not be undermined with peripheral matters, various comments and discouraging and disheartening words. Unfortunately, such words are uttered sometimes. Of course, the enemy is active and this is not a recent phenomenon. Since the very first years, the enemies have always put a question mark on our elections. They sometimes said that there had been violations of the rules in such and such elections and they sometimes said that they had been engineered. Foreigners used to say such things all the time, but they were not of any avail and the people were not influenced by them. The people do not trust such and such a treacherous radio that describes the millions of people on the streets as “a few thousand” and that describes 200 individuals who engage in sabotage on the streets as “the Iranian nation”. This is clear. However, this depends on us not giving weight to their statements from the inside. This is what I wish to emphasize.

Spokespeople, those who have audience and who are in a position to speak – whether in media or in cyberspace – should not speak in such a way that the enemy will be able to take advantage of their words by magnifying their comments by several times as this will discourage the people. When you say that the elections have been engineered, the people become naturally discouraged. When you say that this is not a democratic process and, that it is not a true election, rather it is an appointment, well the people become discouraged while this is a lie and such a thing is not true.

The elections in Iran are among the healthiest elections in the world. Of course, some countries in the world have good elections, but they are not better than ours. And in some countries, rigged elections are common. And there are some countries whose rules do not allow for the existence of democracy in the true sense of the word, including the United States itself! In the US, which is supposedly the center of democracy, even if we exclude the propaganda efforts that they make to change the path of people’s votes with money and the power of capital - this is another matter, but I do not want to discuss it now – their legal system has been shaped in a way that a person who has garnered fewer votes than another becomes president! This is how their system works! The rival candidate to the current President, who managed to hold office in the elections two, three years ago, had apparently received a few more million votes, but their regulations specified that the latter become president. Well, is this democracy? Is this the rule of the majority?

 This is not how it works in our country. In our country, there is a thorough system. If someone gathers votes slightly higher than 50 percent – even if it is one tenth more in those elections where 50 percent is the criterion -  he will become president. We have acted like this throughout all these years. In different terms, various people wrote letters to me saying that there had been violations in parliamentary elections. Very well, we appointed a board to follow up the matter and carry out research. And when they examined the matter carefully, they saw that the person who delivered that report was wrong and that he was not aware of certain things.

Elections in our country are healthy. I am surprised when some people who have built their career through elections question them. How come elections are healthy and proper when they turn out to be to your advantage and they are unhealthy when they are not to your advantage? “But if the right is on their side, they come to him with all submission” [The Holy Quran, 24: 49]. The Holy Quran says that if the law rules in their favor, they will accept it, but if it is not in their favor, they will not accept it. After that, it says, “Is it that there is a disease in their hearts?” [The Holy Quran, 24: 50]. It asks if they suffer from any disease in their hearts.

So, we do not have any complaints to make to the enemy because after all, the enemy shows his enmity. This runs in his nature, but we do not expect friends – those who are inside the country including journalists, those who are active in cyberspace, MPs and important executive officials – to make such comments. Everyone should be vigilant. It should not be the case that we ask the people to participate in elections, but we speak in a way that the people will become discouraged from participating in elections. This is not a proper action. It is wrong.

One of the most ill-advised courses of action in this regard is to attack the Guardian Council. Well, the Guardian Council is a trustworthy association. In the Constitution, a special status has been designated for the Guardian Council. It is clear what its role is. The council is comprised of six just faqihs and six outstanding legal experts which represent the Islamic Consultative Majlis in the Guardian Council. How can they so easily accuse the Guardian Council of rejecting or accepting such and such individuals, through the vetting process, with ulterior motives? Well, this is slander and slander is a major sin which should be repented for. They should repent.

Elections are important. In my Friday prayer address which I delivered a few weeks ago, I said to the Iranian nation that the cure for our problem with sharp-clawed, cruel international enemies is to become strong. One of the elements for power is to benefit from a strong Majlis. The Islamic Consultative Majlis, which is a legislative center, should become strong. When will it be strong? It will be strong only when it is formed with a high turnout. When it has such a strong source of support, it will be strong.

The people’s complaints have nothing to do with the elections. The people have certain complaints which are related to livelihood problems. Part of this problem stems from some of our laws, part of it is related to some of our executive managers which give cause to these legitimate complaints. In most cases, these complaints are legitimate, but they have nothing to do with elections. The people have complaints about certain individuals, but they appreciate the value of the Majlis which belongs to the system, the country and the masses of the Iranian nation and they will show strong presence in forming the future Majlis, by Allah’s favor and grace.

I will tell you that anyone who is interested in Iran should vote. I have said this before as well, but I wish to repeat it again. There may be someone who does not like this humble person. That’s alright, but do they love Iran, their country, or not? Therefore, they too should participate in elections. Anyone who loves the security of the country, who loves to see the problems of the country resolved, who loves to see a proper cyclical change of elites in the country should participate in the elections. Everyone should participate.

Of course, I am sure that pious and revolutionary people who are interested in the fate of the Revolution participate with more motivation, but even those who do not have revolutionary and religious motives should participate in the elections because they too love their country. Well, this was about the essence of elections.

As for which people we should elect, well, I do not want to mention names. I have never mentioned anyone in elections so that they be elected, but I think these qualities should exist in MPs-elect: first of all, they should be religious. You should vote for those who are religious. It is faith that prevents deviation and setting foot in the wrong places. It is faith that prevents temptation from influencing you. Some people are good in the beginning, but when they set foot in certain arenas, various temptations sway them here and there. If they have strong faith, they will be immune from these deviations. So, they should be pious.

Secondly, they should be revolutionary. They should be really attached to the Revolution in the true sense of the word and they must accept the Revolution in the real sense of the word. You should vote for such people. After that they should be brave. An MP who is afraid of speaking against such and such a foreign power does not deserve to represent the people of Iran who are so dignified and brave. Of course, the current MPs did a good job. Recently, after the martyrdom of Shahid Soleimani, they made a good move against the US.  One should act with courage. This is because no task will move forward with fear, trembling and anxiety. One should act in a courageous and of course, intelligent and wise manner.

They should enjoy a jihadi spirit and they should work day and night. They should be efficient and advocate justice in the true sense of the word. Our country needs justice. Humanity needs justice as well. However, justice has been oppressed and abandoned in the world. The Islamic Republic has raised the flag of justice. We should not let this flag be lowered. We should advocate justice – economic, legal and political justice - in the true sense of the word. Justice should be implemented in all these areas.

Well, if we can identify these individuals, we will vote for them. If not, we should benefit from insightful and trustworthy individuals. No one should say, “Very well, these are the conditions for parliamentary candidates, but I do not know such individuals. Therefore, I would better not vote.” No, you should certainly vote, but you should refer to insightful and trustworthy individuals in whom one has confidence. You should ask for their opinion and if they provide guidance, you should accept it so that all the people will enter the arena with pure intentions and with reliance on Allah the Exalted, God willing.

As for the issue of Palestine, you have certainly heard what has happened. The whole world heard that American bullies and bandits have recently inaugurated a project named “the deal of the century.” They want to please themselves by giving it a big name so that it might catch-on. In my opinion, what they have done and what they are after is firstly stupid, secondly malicious and thirdly, it will prove to their disadvantage from the beginning [Audience chants, “Allahu Akbar and Death to America”].

Well, before I explain why it is stupid, you said takbir, showing that all of you know why it is stupid [Audience laughs]. Nonetheless, I wish to reiterate why it is stupid. It is stupid, why? Because it will certainly not achieve any result. This plan will die before Trump dies. Therefore, coming and going, spending huge sums of money, inviting this and that, kicking up a fuss in the world about it and showcasing a plan that will obviously not achieve any result is a stupid move.

Secondly, it shows the Americans’ malice and deception. Well, it is clear where the Zionists stand, but by doing so, the Americans too showed how malicious and deceitful they are. Why? That is because they did a deal with the other side – the Zionists – while the deal is about something which does not belong to them. They did a deal about Palestinian property and they exchanged another man’s belongings between themselves. Is that not malice? Is that not deception? Palestine belongs to the Palestinians. What right do you have to make decisions about Palestine, about Bayt ul-Moqaddas, about such and such a region and about the capital of the Palestinian government? What is that to you? Who are you to make such decisions?

Palestine belongs to the Palestinians and making decisions about it falls on the Palestinians themselves - I will expand on this later on. The only solution for Palestine’s problem is the plan that we presented a few years ago. I will speak about it today. Therefore, if others – the US – come and make decisions about other peoples’ property, land, country and home, this indicates the deception, malice and evil nature of those who are doing it.

I said that this plan would be to their disadvantage from the beginning. Why? Because the apparatus of arrogance did its best to consign the name and memory of Palestine to oblivion and to erase it from memory. However, on the contrary, what they did, helped revive the issue of Palestine. In the present time, the whole world is speaking about the innocence of the Palestinians and the fact that they are right and they are condemning the measure adopted by the US.

One should not take into account the few treacherous Arab rulers who went there and clapped for them as they are of no significance, they have no merits and they do not have a good reputation among their own people. Therefore, this proved to be to their own disadvantage. In the present time, Palestine has become livelier, Palestinian groups have become recognized more than the past, the name of Palestine is on everyone’s tongue and the innocence of the Palestinians is easy to see. So, this is the condition of the plan. Well, they will make certain efforts to further the plan. In order to do so, they will rely on weapons and money. They will buy some people by bribing them and they will intimidate some with their weapons. They tempt one and threaten another. This will be their practical moves.

What is the cure? The cure is steadfastness and bold resistance. The Palestinian nation, Palestinian elements and Palestinian organizations should put the Zionist enemy and the US in a tight corner with their self-sacrificing jihad. That is the only way and the entire world of Islam should help all of them. All Muslim nations should support the Palestinians. This is the cure. Of course, I believe that Palestinian armed organizations will stand firm and they will continue to resist. Resistance is the only way.

Today, this resistance is fortunately not particular to Palestine. It exists in a much wider circle and it will continue to widen on a daily basis, God willing. As representatives of the Islamic Republic, we consider our duty to be supporting revolutionary Palestinian groups and we will support them in whichever way and as much as we can and we will back them up with all our hearts and souls. This is the desire of the Islamic Republic and the desire of the Iranian nation. By Allah’s favor, they will be strengthened and they will make their enemies weak.

The main and fundamental cure for the issue of Palestine is what we discussed a few years ago which has been recorded in international centers: a poll should be conducted asking all originally Palestinian people – not those who come from other countries and who reside in Palestine, rather the poll should concern those who are originally from Palestine no matter what religion they practice: whether Islam, Christianity and Judaism– to choose a government which they all accept so that that government will rule over the entire Palestinian land. And the Palestinian land does not only include what they refer to as the occupied lands. They refer to some parts of Palestine as “the occupied lands.” That government should rule over the entire Palestine with the votes of the people so that it will make decisions about Palestinian issues and about the likes of Netanyahu and others. It is the Palestinians who have the power to decide this. This is the only solution for peace in Palestine and for resolving the issue of Palestine.

I hope that this cause will move forward and I hope that you youth will see that day and by Allah’s favor you will see it. By Allah’s favor and grace, you will say your prayers in Bayt ul-Moqaddas which is such an important issue for them. I hope that Allah the Exalted will not deprive us, our country and our people of the blessings of jihad in the way of God and of the mujahids in the way of God.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings




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