Students recitation ...
The following is the full text of the speech delivered on September 21, 2017 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the head and members of the Assembly of Experts.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad, and upon his pure household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth
You are very welcome, dear brothers and honorable gentlemen. One of our pleasant and sweet regular meetings is our meeting with you gentlemen in the Assembly of Experts. The influence that you exert in your social environment and the impact that this lofty and dignified meeting has on the Islamic Republic are all important points. I hope that what you thought, said, wanted and did will benefit from divine kindness and assistance and that they will produce results, God willing.
I am very grateful to Mr. Jannati and Mr. Shahroudi for the statements they made. They made valuable statements which helped us to get familiar with the environment of the meeting on days leading to the Assembly of Expert’s congress. Of course, I had received a report before in this regard. The gentlemen in the meeting raised important matters which are really noteworthy.
I would like to mention the late Hajj Sheikh Ali Asghar Ma’soumi (God’s mercy be upon him). He was one of our old friends and he was a member of the Assembly of Experts for several terms. In the last term, he himself did not want to become a member because he was sick and bed-ridden. Just a few days ago, he passed away and I hope that he will benefit from divine mercy and kindness.
The gentlemen in the meeting – Mr. Jannati and Mr. Shahroudi – pointed to the occasion of Muharram. This is a very important occasion. Muharram is the month of Imam Hussein. It is a Husseini month. It is the month of all the values that are embodied in the existence of the Master of Martyrs (God’s greetings be upon him). It is the month of martyrdom, jihad, sincerity, loyalty and forgiveness. It is the month of attendance to the preservation of religion – God’s religion – and resistance against those powers which confront religion. The auspicious existence of the Master of Martyrs and the events of Ashura, Muharram and other such events are the embodiments of these values.
The belief that it was the uprising of the Master of Martyrs that preserved Islam is really a correct belief. This event has become livelier, on a daily basis, in the course of time and after the passage of many centuries. Today, this ceremony is being held in a warmer and more enthusiastic and comprehensive manner than a hundred years ago when Muharram did not apparently have opponents like today’s opponents. All these matters reveal certain truths and it is suggestive of an orientation which is moving forward in the world with the leadership of Hussein ibn Ali (God’s greetings be upon him). By Allah’s favor, this orientation will move forward and will resolve the problems of nations.
I would like to discuss three issues: one is about this honorable Assembly – the Assembly of Experts – another is a frequently-mentioned point about the affairs of the country and the last one is about regional and global conditions and their relationship with us and with the Islamic Republic.
As for the first issue, this Assembly is truly an exceptional and unique assembly in terms of its structure, its responsibilities, and its performance until today. In my opinion, we can hope that this Assembly will be capable of carrying out another important task as well as the tasks that it has accomplished until today. That task is adopting a fundamental and strategic outlook towards the Revolution and its path. We do not have this outlook in our organizations. We do not have an organization for this.
Of course, this is within the remit of the Leader’s responsibilities. Despite the shortcomings that exist in this humble person, there has been an effort to carry out this task. However, we do not have an organization for it. The three branches of government are in charge of managing the country. They should manage the country, each in certain areas and in different ways. Of course, they should manage the country in a revolutionary manner and there is no doubt about this. However, their outlook is naturally directed at the path that they are already taking. Naturally, they cannot adopt a fundamental and strategic outlook towards the Revolution in the course of the past 39 years and for the decades to follow. It is essential that a certain center adopt this outlook.
Now, what does this mean? I will explain this more. This means that we can envisage an intellectual committee in the Assembly of Experts – thankfully, broad-minded and intellectual personalities in this 70, 80-man Assembly are not few in number – whose responsibility is to adopt a fundamental outlook towards the path of the Revolution from the beginning until today. Well, this Revolution has had a number of goals. A certain movement has begun in the direction of achieving goals. They should look and see how close we have become to these goals, which ones we are very close to, which ones have experienced a hiatus, and which ones have witnessed setbacks.
It is possible that certain goals, after an initial success and development in the beginning of the Revolution, have experienced a retrogression – not even a hiatus. We should identify these cases. If we witness such cases, the Assembly of Experts should coordinate its demands on the basis of this.
Now that there is talk of demands, I should mention that, as I have said before, the Assembly of Experts should have certain demands from different organizations. This had been pointed out before by the honorable gentlemen in the meeting. Today too, they mentioned it. These demands can be adjusted on the basis of this study. I would like to give some examples of the demands that exist in the present time.
For example, one of the important aspects of our Revolution was that it was a revolution of “Neither East nor West.” Today, the east [power] does not exist, but the western one does exist with full power and strength. What does “…nor West” mean? It means that we should not be infatuated with the west, that we should not be influenced by it, and that we should not cherish western culture. It means that we should cleanse the country and its culture of assimilation into the decadent western culture, that we should not be under the influence of the west in the area of politics, and that we should not join the west and be submissive to it. “[N]or West” means this. Of course the first part “Neither East…” has the same meaning, but today the eastern pole does not exist anymore.
Where is the west? The west is America and Europe. European governments have a certain culture and policy. They have a long and fundamental roadmap. And we, as the Islamic Republic, are responsible for saving ourselves from falling into the path of western demands. This is a responsibility! Have we fulfilled this responsibility or not? How successful have we been in fulfilling it? In which areas have we fulfilled it? If this has not been done in certain cases, where does the problem lie? On the basis of identifying this problem, some demands are defined by the Assembly. These demands might be made from this humble person, from the administration, from the judiciary branch, from the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps or from the Majlis. Certain demands are defined on this basis. This is an example of the demands that the Assembly should put forward.
Another example is the economic area. Well, one of the pillars of the country’s power is economic power. One of the main elements which constitute economic power is the power of national currency. This means that national currency should have the power to purchase and it should create sources of wealth for citizens and for those who have any money. If we reach a point where national currency decreases and goes down on a daily basis due to erroneous executive polices, incorrect decisions and various instances of negligence, this is retrogression and moving backwards. We should identify this and then, we should present and define demands on this basis. These demands can be addressed to the administration, the Majlis and all the rest.
Another issue which has been discussed from the beginning of the Revolution is the issue of justice. Justice means narrowing the gap between the poor and the rich, fighting against poverty and distributing wealth in the proper manner in the country. This is different from Marxist notions. This is different from the equality that has been expressed by socialists and communists. This is the viewpoint of Islam. All Islamic sources and documents confirm and stress this issue.
This does not mean that we should focus on the wealth of the rich and take it away from them. This is not the case. What I mean is that we should manage the country in a way that the gap between the poor and the rich will be narrowed. This is a very important matter and it has been highlighted in the world as well. The Gini coefficient, which is popular in the world today and which is among economic criteria and standards, has the same meaning. In one sense, it is the gap between the poor and the rich. We should look and see how far we have moved forward in this area from the perspective of Islam and what the reasons for that are. We should calculate this.
Another example is preserving and protecting revolutionary motives. The condition for the continuation of the Islamic Republic’s life is the existence of revolutionary motives and the revolutionary spirit. If the revolutionary spirit does not exist, the Islamic Republic will not exist either. There will be a government, but it will not be the Islamic Republic. This was the reason behind the people’s movement, the blood that was shed, and the efforts that they made for the sake of reviving Islam and Islamic sharia. These things will be destroyed and trampled upon.
Therefore, revolutionary motivation is absolutely essential for preserving the Islamic Republic. In what condition is this motivation? Has it decreased or increased? Has it continued until today? What confrontations and battles is it facing? What are the ways to respond? We should define demands on the basis of this. When I constantly say in different speeches that you should help revolutionary and hezbollahi youth, it means this. This is a demand on the basis of our outlook towards the revolutionary movement of the country. Of course, the country has fortunately not moved backwards in this area. On the contrary, it has moved forward and this can be proved. This is evident.
Another example is the issue of the people’s piety. Well, we want the people to become pious. This idea has sometimes been repeated that “We do not want to take the people to paradise by force.” Well, in my opinion, this is not a correct idea, rather it is an exaggerated one. No one wants to take anyone to paradise by force, but we should open the path of paradise to the people and we should encourage the people to take this path. The prophets came for this reason. They came in order to take the people to heaven and to prevent them from going to hell. The purpose of sending all messengers and books and going through all that trouble was to prevent the people from going to hell. This is our responsibility. We should carry out this task.
The people should become pious and there is no doubt about this. Of course, this should be done in proper ways. If someone says that there is no compulsion in Islam in this area, this is not a correct statement either. If not, what are these shar’ee limits? If this is not the case, then why do we have these ayahs:”Flog each of them with a hundred stripes” [The Holy Quran, 24: 2] and “Flog them with eighty stripes” [The Holy Quran, 24: 4]? All these are instances of compulsion.
So, these are strategic studies. When your intellectual committee sits and looks at the path of the Revolution and the set of events that have taken place over the course of the past 39 years and when that committee sees that we have had some progress in each of these cases – and in other 10, 15 cases which can be numerated – then we should know that this progress is a source of encouragement. We should do something to continue this progress and to preserve it.
This is because this progress definitely has certain opponents and enemies. And if we have had some pauses and setbacks, we should see what we can do to make up for them. Well, these things create demands. These demands are far beyond the small and executive demands which such and such a province or city has – demands about the problems that they have. Of course, they are problems as well and I do not want to deny them, but the responsibility of the Assembly of Experts is attending to those matters. In my opinion, this is one of the most important and fundamental tasks that the Assembly can carry out.
As for the second issue which I said is about the problems of the country, I would like to mention once more what has been mentioned and repeated many times. In summary, what I want to say is that the officials of the country and the masses of the people should know that resolving the problems of the country is not possible except with the help of the individuals in this country. This includes economic, cultural and all other problems. It is the people who can solve these problems.
I would like to say something about the previous discussion which holds true about this matter as well: when you reach a certain conclusion about an important and fundamental matter of the Revolution, you should turn it into a discourse. For example, you should publish it in various publications. You are a large group of people. Many of the gentlemen in this meeting are Friday prayer leaders, and outstanding personalities in different provinces and in the capital. They have minbar and they can speak to the people. You should repeat these concepts until they turn into a discourse.
A discourse is a common thought among the people and a public demand that is made by the people. When something turns into a public demand and discourse, it will naturally get close to implementation. The same is true of this issue. The issue of paying attention to reliance on domestic hands for the sake of solving the problems of the country should turn into a well-established idea in the people’s minds. This should be repeated, explained and clarified so many times until it turns into a definite discourse.
We have motivated youth and skilled individuals. We have good producers, good entrepreneurs, good laborers, good farmers, good teachers and good professors. Tasks should be improved by such individuals. It is these individuals who should eliminate the problems of the country. It is also they who should solve economic problems and various other problems related to business.
I am not saying that you should break off your relations with the world. This is not my opinion in any way. From the beginning of the Revolution, I have been among those individuals who insist on establishing relations – relations with the world. In the present time too, I have the same belief, but the point that I want to raise is this: we should not exchange our own powerful natural legs for a foreigners’ cane. If we rest on a foreigner’s cane instead of standing on our own feet and relying on ourselves, this is wrong.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with negotiations in international relations. The problem that I had and continue to have with the nuclear negotiations – I have discussed this matter in private and in public with officials – is this: what I am saying is that it was alright to negotiate, there was nothing wrong with negotiating, but those negotiations should have been conducted with care and precision so much so that every short move by us will not be considered as the violation of the Bar-Jaam [the JCPOA] while this is not the case for every wrong move that the other side makes! This is wrong! This should not happen. This happens due to lack of trust in and attention to domestic power. This state of affairs happens due to reliance on the other side and on foreign elements.
I will tell you that we should not pin our hopes on foreigners. We should work with the world and I am not opposed to this. Working with the world naturally has certain requirements. We accept these requirements and we shoulder them, however we are not relying on foreigners. This is because our enemies are too many outside the environment of society and the country. There is a front of enemies against us. Well thankfully, we have delivered blows to this front until today. We have defeated it and pushed it back and this will be the case from now on too, but we should know that we are not faced with a single enemy, rather we are faced with a front of enemies.
As for global and regional issues, this is a continuation of the recent point that I raised. In brief, we are thankfully making progress in the area of global issues. We do not suffer from setbacks in this area, let alone pauses. We are making progress in this area. Some people want to pretend that our reputation is ruined in the world and that we have been belittled in the world. This is not the case. On the contrary, by Allah’s favor, grace and greatness, the Islamic Republic is dear and until now, it has become dearer and more powerful on a daily basis. This is what makes the enemies angry.
You heard the senseless speech that the American president made at the United Nations. You probably heard it directly or indirectly. He used very indecent and cheap language: a language typical of gangsters and cowboys which was rife with meaningless and specious threats, with a hundred percent incorrect analyses. It was a speech full of falsehoods and lies. Perhaps, there were 20 obvious lies in his speech. It was an anxious speech which showed that they are angry, that they are desperate, and that they suffer from serious problems, from retardation and from imbecility. This speech showed these three things: it showed their anger, it showed their desperation – they do not know what they should do with the reality that exists – and it showed their imbecility.
The statements that were made were not a source of pride for a nation like the American nation. In my opinion, American elites should feel embarrassed – and they do feel embarrassed – at having such a president and at these statements. I do not care what he said and how he said it. What I want to speak about is the reason behind their anger. The issue is about our progress. The issue of the Americans’ anger is an important issue. In that speech, what stood out more than everything else was anger. Why are they angry?
Their anger is because of the fact that America had a certain plan for West Asia, which they refer to as the “Middle East”. They had this plan since 15, 16 years ago – and perhaps since before that. The plan might have been devised sometime before that, but it emerged 15, 16 years ago. They sometimes referred to this plan as “The New Middle East” and sometimes as “The Greater Middle East.” They had a certain plan for this region. The main axis and heart of this plan was comprised of Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. These three countries were three axes and centers where the main part of this plan should have been implemented.
How was it supposed to be implemented? Some governments were supposed to come to power in those three countries which would completely obey and serve the US. They would obey and do whatever the US wanted. What would the result be? The result would be that the whole region would turn into a doormat for the Zionist regime and they would somehow achieve “From the Nile to the Euphrates” that they had in mind.
This would not be in the form of installing an apparent political rule, rather it was in the form of virtual and real domination and infiltration. They wanted to do this. They wanted to do something to make Iraq – that historical and magnificent country with all those achievements – fall under the domination of the Zionists and the Americans. They wanted to help the Zionist regime to control Syria – that important center of resistance against the Zionist regime. And it is clear what the fate of Lebanon would be. They wanted to do this.
Now, look at reality and see how distant it is from what they wanted! Notice that they could not do anything to Lebanon. Notice that the thing that happened in Iraq was the exact opposite of what they wanted! And you should look at Syria to see that they could not do anything to that country either. Of course, the US and its allies committed many crimes in Syria. Their hands are dirty – up to their elbows – with the blood of the people of Syria. There is no doubt about this. They created DAESH. They created takfiris – the Nusra Front and other such groups – and they massacred the people in one sense. They did this, but they could not achieve their goals.
Notice that in the present time, the issue of DAESH is actually coming to an end. Takfiris are completely isolated. The state of affairs that they wanted to put an end to in order to replace it with another state of affairs has gained more vigor. What has happened is the exact opposite of what the US wanted to happen. When the Americans look, they find Iran to be an efficient factor in this area. They blame Iran for this and this is why they are angry.
Well, as the late Mr. Beheshti pointed out, “Be angry and die of your anger!” They can be angry. This is the main issue. This is the source of their enmity. No one should make the mistake of thinking that a strong power is confronting Iran. This is not the case. Their reaction is a sign of weakness, retardation and anger stemming from defeat and failure. They have been brought to their knees and that is why they are angry. That is why they make such statements, deliver such ridiculous speeches and carry out such tasks.
So, what I want to say is that the Islamic Republic has succeeded when it comes to the quality of its presence in today’s world: “Honor belongs to Allah and His Messenger, and to the believers” [The Holy Quran, 63: 8]. Thankfully, this holy ayah holds true for the pious Islamic Republic as it enjoys this dignity. We thank God for this dignity and we should preserve it. We should preserve this dignity with wisdom, with acumen, with correct thinking and planning and by avoiding mistakes in the kind of relations that we have, and the kind of decisions and statements that we make. And by Allah’s favor, we should increase this dignity.
This dignity has been achieved because of jihadi endeavors. When I said that the motivation for jihad is better today compared to the past, this is one example. You should look at the dear martyr – Shahid Mohsen Hojjaji. Well, this is one example. We have many youths like Mohsen Hojjaji. Allah the Exalted highlighted this example for certain reasons so that everyone can see it and submit to the holy and dear truth that revolutionary motives are increasing among youth on a daily basis because of God’s favor and grace.
Some individuals write letters to us in a begging tone. They really beg us to allow them to go. This is the case for those who can call and send letters to this place. And there are many more who do not have this possibility. They beg us to send them there so that they can fight against the enemy. Such is the motivation of our youth. And this is a miracle because of the factors that work against this motivation. One of these factors is cyberspace which was pointed out by Mr. Jannati. His statement and warning is completely correct. We are following up this matter in a serious way. However, despite the existence of cyberspace, despite these plots and temptations, you can see that the Islamic Republic benefits from such youth and such motives. This is divine kindness.
I hope that Allah the Exalted will make this kindness permanent and eternal for this country, for this nation and for those who brought about this good condition for the country. I hope that He will include our magnanimous Imam, our dear martyrs and the mujahids of the path of truth in His blessings and mercy.
Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings