[05 Sep 13] Speech in Meeting with Members of Assembly of Experts - Sayed Ali Khamenei - [English]

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The following is the full text of the speech delivered on September 5, 2013 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the chairman and members of the Assembly of Experts.The meeting was held on the occasion of the 14th Congress of the Assembly of Experts which was held on the 12th and 13th of Shahrivar. In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful I would like to welcome the honorable gentlemen and the ulama and seminary scholars who are outstanding personalities from throughout the country and who have thankfully gathered in this meeting. Although the responsibilities of the Assembly of Experts have been defined in the Constitution, the arrangement of this meeting has resulted in the generation of different discussions about different arenas of the country and the expression of different opinions by the gentlemen. Well, executive officials are also present in this meeting. Fortunately, the esteemed President and a number of other honorable officials are also members of this assembly and this has boosted the hope that the opinions of the gentlemen in this meeting will receive more attention. I hope that this will be done and we too will help, within the scope of our capabilities and responsibilities, for the gentlemen to achieve the stated matters. I deem it necessary to point out that your participation in the funeral procession of the [unknown war] martyrs - which was held in the beginning of this congress - was very valuable and constructive. When the people see that honorable and great personalities, such as the esteemed chairman of the Assembly of Experts and other personalities, pay their respects to the bodies and graves of martyrs - whom they do not know - and participate in their funeral procession because of the fact that they are the martyrs of the path of the Revolution and the path of righteousness, this will be a lesson for our society. And I will say that our country and our society will be in need of keeping the memory of the martyrs alive and preserving their path for a very long time. The point that I would like to make is that on different levels of decision- making for the Islamic Republic, it is our responsibility to adopt a comprehensive outlook towards the issues of the country. It is obvious that different events - on regional, international and domestic levels - occur which are beyond our power to prevent. The Islamic Republic, the officials, the people and those who protect the foundations of the Islamic Republic have certain responsibilities. These responsibilities cannot be defined on the basis of the events which occur. That is to say, when something happens, we cannot make a certain move and adopt a certain position in an inactive way. This should not be done. This means that the Islamic Republic is being dragged into different events. It is necessary to preserve our comprehensive outlook towards the issues of the country and we should adopt positions and identify events with this comprehensive outlook. Thankfully, this comprehensive outlook has dominated the country until today. It is not the case that officials have ignored this issue since the beginning of the Revolution until today. The Islamic Republic was formed amid a whirlwind of events. This has been repeatedly mentioned, but we should not forget that the heart of this statement is the preservation of God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s religion in people\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s lives, in society and in our country. The heart of this statement is the formation of our social lives on the basis of sharia, the divine religion and the divine values and rules. The formation of such a government in a world which was quickly moving towards materialism was like a miracle and this miracle happened. When the Islamic Republic was formed, there was an opposition to the issue of reliance on Islam. We should not say that their opposition and enmity was because of our independence or because our policy of fighting against global arrogance. Of course, this is true and this is one reason for their enmity, but fighting against global arrogance grew out of the heart of Islam. Our democracy grew out of the heart of Islam as well. It has been said many times that when we speak about religious democracy, this does not mean an unusual combination between democracy and religion. This is not the case. Our democracy has originated from religion and Islam has shown us this path. We managed to form the Islamic Republic with the guidance of Islam. By Allah\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s favor, it will be the same in the future. As a result of this belief in Islam, the enemies have focused their attention on Islam. If they can take Islam away from the Islamic Republic, the products of Islam will naturally be destroyed and undermined. Issues should be analyzed by adopting this outlook. There are certain deployments in the world and we are always one side of things in many of these deployments. We should see who and what our opposing side is. We should see why it shows hostility towards us and why we put up a resistance against it. We should take a look at these things with a comprehensive outlook. Allah the Exalted says, \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Is then one who walks headlong, with his face groveling, better guided- or one who walks evenly on a straight path?\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" [The Holy Quran, 67: 22] The meaning of \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"walks evenly on a straight path\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" is that we should see - with open eyes, with wisdom and foresight and by considering all aspects - what the goal is, how we should achieve it and what the existing realities are. We should make a decision and move forward by paying attention to these things. Today, you can see that different events are happening in our region. For several years up until today, global arrogance has chosen West Asia as a place where it can launch its attacks. But despite the presence of arrogant powers in the region and despite their activities, Islamic Awakening has emerged. And I will tell you that Islamic Awakening has not come to an end. It is not the case that we can think Islamic Awakening has been destroyed by the events which have taken place in a number of countries. Islamic Awakening is not like a mere political event or a coup d\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'état. It is not like a process in which power is transferred from one individual to another. Islamic Awakening means the emergence of a kind of awareness and self-confidence which is based on Islam. Under certain circumstances, this Islamic Awakening created certain events in North Africa, Egypt, Tunisia and, before these countries, in Sudan. In other countries too, there is an enormous potential for such events. We should not think that Islamic Awakening has been destroyed. Islamic Awakening is a reality which is hidden beneath the outer layers of Islamic societies. This is why the people in any country which claims to be oriented towards Islam vote for an Islamic government. This is a sign of people\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s orientation towards and attention to Islam. Therefore, Islamic Awakening is a very great event and despite the efforts of global arrogance, this event has taken place. It was not what global arrogance wanted. Therefore, it is natural for the opposing side to react to it. Today, we are witnessing the reactions of the camp of the enemies. These reactions and responses can be seen in East Asia - that is to say, in Pakistan and Afghanistan - and the farthest corners of West Asia such as Syria and Lebanon. Arrogant powers - the government of the United States of America being the outstanding power among these arrogant powers - have defined certain interests for themselves based on their colonial outlook. This outlook is the same as the colonial outlook which they adopted in the 19th century, but it has a different form. And they are trying to solve all the regional issues by promoting the interests which they have defined for themselves. They are doing the same thing in Syria and Bahrain. The presence of global arrogance in the region is one which is based on transgression, oppression and greed and which wants to destroy every resistance which is put up against arrogant powers. Of course, thankfully, they have not managed and will not manage to do this. This region has enormous wealth and it has a very important geographical and natural location. Therefore, it is natural for them to pay attention to this region. If one takes a look at what they say and what they have already done, he will see that their goal is to possess and establish their domination over the region by making the Zionist regime play a pivotal role. They are after achieving this goal. As you can see, on the issue of the latest events in Syria, the excuse which they have recently made for their interference is the use of chemical weapons in this country. Of course, with sophistry and clever use of reasons, they are trying to pretend that they want to interfere on humanitarian grounds. Who in the world does not know that this is a false claim? Undoubtedly, what is not important at all for American politicians is humanitarian needs. These are the people who kept, for many years, thousands of prisoners in Guantanamo prisons and, before that, in Abu Ghraib in Iraq while there were not any trials for these prisoners. They were imprisoned just because of certain allegations. A number of them are still in prison. Well, is this humanitarian? These are the people who saw the heavy bombardment [with chemical weapons] of the region - whether what happened in Iraq\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Halabja or what happened in our cities such as Sardasht and other cities - which was conducted by Saddam, but who did not at all react. Not only did they not react, but they also helped Saddam. Given that the Americans did not help Saddam by giving him chemical weapons - of course, westerners gave him chemical weapons and there is no doubt about this because we have the information which is related to this issue - they at least saw what happened. They became aware of this, but they did not express any opposition. This is the way they show their humanitarian support. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, they fire a volley of bullets at wedding caravans and kill many people. In Iraq, they killed hundreds of thousands of people with oppressive measures. Today too, their agents are still doing the same things, but they behave in an indifferent way. No one in the world believes that the Americans care about humanitarian issues. Of course, they use sophistry and give clever reasons, but they say such things to justify their own moves. We believe that they are doing is a mistake. On this issue, they will receive a serious blow and they will feel it. They will definitely suffer a loss in this regard and there is no doubt about this. Well, this is the condition of the region. The Islamic Republic was formed amid a whirlwind of events. At that time, it stood up against different hostile groups for many years. Not only was the Islamic Republic and its slogans not weakened and undermined, but it also became stronger, in the real sense of the word, on a daily basis. Today, the Islamic Republic is completely different - in terms of power, influence and domestic capabilities - from the Islamic Republic which existed 25, 30 years ago and today, its slogans are firm. Therefore, it should know what it wants to do by taking a look at its miraculous background and paying attention to the plots of the enemy in the region. Our responsibility, the responsibility of all the officials of the country and the responsibility of the Islamic Republic\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s government is to pay attention to three great criteria for all decisions and actions: The first criterion is the ideals and goals of the Islamic Republic. These ideals and goals should never be ignored. We can refer to one of the most important ideals of the Islamic Republic in a short phrase: ‘Creating an Islamic civilization\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'. Islamic civilization means an environment in which we can achieve growth in spiritual and material areas and in which we can attain the ultimate goal for which Allah the Exalted has created us. It means living a good and dignified life. Islamic civilization means building a dignified, powerful, confident and innovative individual who can improve the natural world. This is the goal and ideal of the Islamic Republic. The second criterion is the methods and guidelines which help us achieve these goals. These are general guidelines and they should be identified. These guidelines are relying on Islam and taking care not to become the oppressor or the oppressed in different interactions. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Be an enemy of tyrants and oppressors and be a friend and helper of those who are oppressed and tyrannized.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" [Nahjul Balaghah, Letter 47] This is a responsibility. This is a general guideline. Reliance on the votes of the people and reliance on what helps us establish democracy and other such things constitute the main policies and the major guidelines of the Islamic Republic for achieving ideals. Other guidelines are communal work, communal effort, communal innovation, national unity and other such things. And the third criterion is taking realities into consideration. We should see realities. In a meeting which was held in the auspicious month of Ramadan, I said to officials of the Islamic Republic that what we need is a kind of idealism which takes realities into consideration. We should gain a proper understanding of realities. We should take a look at realities and see what our weak and strong points are and we should know what prevents us from moving forward. We should gain a proper understanding of realities. In that meeting, I referred to a number of sweet realities which exist in our country. We should not always take a look at our weak points and shortcomings. The emergence of outstanding ideas and thoughts, the existence of active and innovative elements, the promotion of religious teachings and spiritual concepts among many youth, the preservation of religious and Islamic slogans, and the increasing influence of the Islamic Republic in the region and in the entire world constitute a number of the existing realities. These realities should be seen. Of course, besides these sweet realities, there are a number of bitter realities. This is similar to our [personal] lives which is a combination of sweetness and bitterness. By relying on and strengthening sweet realities, we should try to decrease bitter realities or make them fade away. These three elements should receive attention. Ideals and the guidelines which are necessary to achieve these ideals should not be ignored. Of course, realities should be taken into consideration as well. If we do not take realities into consideration, we will not tread our path in the right way. However, realities should not prevent us from treading our path. If the existence of a rock makes us turn back from our path, we have made a mistake. Also, if the existence of this rock is ignored and if we tread the path in a careless way, we have made another mistake. But if we take a look and see what ways we can find around this rock or how we can take the rock away from our path, make a hole in it or find an alternative path, then we have adopted the right outlook on realities. This is what our magnanimous Imam did in the first chapter of the Revolution - that is to say during the first 10 years of the Revolution which were very fateful and sensitive years. Our magnanimous Imam did not close his eyes to realities, but he did not back down and did not forget about the guidelines either. You should take a look at Imam\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s life and slogans. Our magnanimous Imam was a person who was not afraid of anyone on the issue of the Zionist regime. The idea that the Zionist regime is a cancer and should be destroyed was expressed by Imam. He was not afraid of anyone on the issue of the evil, arrogant and meddling moves of America. It was Imam who said, \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"America is the Great Satan.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" It was Imam who said, \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"The attack of Muslim youth and Muslim students on the U.S. embassy and taking their documents and tools - which were used for spying - is like conducting a second revolution and is perhaps better and more important than the first revolution\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\". These are the methods of Imam. One the issue of the war, he said, \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"We fight until we end the fitna.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" This is what Imam said. Other people used to say, \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"We should continue fighting until we can achieve victory.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" But Imam said that \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"We fight until we end the fitna.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" It was such resistance which strengthened the foundations of the Islamic Republic. You can see what happened to those people who did not know this path, who acted in a different way in their own countries and who compromised their principles and forgot about their main slogans in order to please arrogant powers. If the slogan of fighting against Israel had been advocated in Egypt and if they had not accepted the false promises of America and its agents, the situation would definitely not have been like this. Today, the dictator of the Egyptian people, who destroyed their dignity for 30 years, has been released from prison and those who had been elected with the votes of the people may be sentenced to death. If they had not done these things, such a situation would never have been brought about. If the elected officials had adopted proper positions, those who gathered around Tahrir Square and chanted slogans against the elected officials- half or more than half of them would have started to support these elected officials. That is to say, they were not the kind of people to confront and oppose the elected government, but when one stops adopting correct and appropriate positions, such things happen. These are things which should receive attention. What we feel we should do to solve problems is that we should strengthen the Islamic Republic from inside the country. It is not only in this era that problems exist. Problems have always existed. Problems exist in all countries. If anyone thinks that there are no problems in such and such an advanced country, or in such and such a wealthy European or western country which is densely or sparsely populated, then they are wrong. Problems exist everywhere. Naturally, each nation faces certain problems when it wants to do something. The officials in such a country should solve the problems and move forward. Now, some people may want to solve problems by asking for help, by relying on others, by bribing other people and by suffering humiliation. And a number of people may want to solve problems with their own power and with the capabilities which exist in their own country. We believe that we should strengthen the Islamic Republic from inside the country. This is the essence of our work. We should strengthen ourselves from the inside. It is possible to strengthen ourselves from inside the country by thinking rationally and adopting a wise outlook. It can be done by making scientific progress and by building economic infrastructures and managing economic issues in the right way. In my opinion, these are things which are possible. Today, you can see that when they exert pressures on our oil industry, we will face certain problems. What is the reason for this? This is because since the war ended until today, we have not managed to reduce our dependence on oil. If we had reduced our dependence on oil, such pressures would not have brought about this situation. Therefore, we should take a look at ourselves and we should want to solve problems with our willpower. Thankfully, there is a new administration in our country today. One of the advantages of the current condition is that a fresh administration has entered the arena. With new ideas and thoughts, with new innovations and with a competent group of people, it wants to carry out its responsibilities and move things forward. It wants to move towards the goals which it has highlighted. The honorable President is a cleric who is active and experienced in different revolutionary arenas. This is also one of the advantages which we enjoy today. Naturally, all of us should help the administration. I think it is my responsibility to help. As we helped and supported all administrations, we will definitely help and support this administration as well. And officials will do this too. Of course, my support for different administrations does not mean that I agree with all the things that they do. In different eras, there were different administrations. We both supported and criticized all these administrations. But, such criticisms should not make us think that the administration is an outsider and it should not make us withdraw the support that we should provide to all administrations. It is necessary to provide such support and help. It is also necessary to pray for all administrations and offer our advice to them. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Advice is necessary for all believers\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" [speaking in Arabic]. A friendly piece of advice may sometimes be offered in a harsh and severe way. I believe that if the officials who receive such a harsh and severe piece of advice think carefully, they will be happy to have received such advice. Even this harsh and severe piece of advice is to their advantage. Anyway, when I take a look at the current conditions in the country, I see that the future is very promising despite the problems which were referred to by the friends in this meeting - of course, they did not refer to many of the existing problems. I see that we have a clear path ahead of us and we have clear and definite ideals. We know what we want to do. Also, the path to achieving these ideals is clear and well-defined and there is no ambiguity and confusion in our guidelines and it is clear what should be done. During the recent years, it has become clear where alignments - on a regional and international level - lie. Of course, flexibility and clever maneuvers in all political arenas are good and acceptable, but such maneuvers should not make us cross certain red lines, stop pursuing the main guidelines and ignore ideals. These things should be observed. Of course, each administration and each individual uses specific methods and implements specific ideas and they move things forward with these ideas. I am completely optimistic and I believe that all the existing problems - including economic, political and security problems and cultural problems which are deeper and more important than economic problems although a number of economic problems have a higher priority - can be solved and the path to achieving this goal can be taken. I ask Allah the Exalted to help us do this. There is a certain point that I have written down to discuss. You should pay attention to the fact that one of the main methods used by the enemies of Islam, particularly the enemies of the Islamic Republic in the region, is to create sectarian and denominational discord between Shia and Sunni Muslims. You should pay attention to this issue. There are two groups of people who have turned into the agents and mercenaries of the enemy. The first group is made up of a number of Sunni Muslims and the second group is made of a number of Shia Muslims. The first group engages in takfirism and has deviated from the essence of religion and the second group is made up of people who work for the enemy. In the name of Shia, these people provoke the feelings of other Muslims, justify their enmity and fuel the fire of fitna. Each group, each institution and each government which is deceived by this great plot, which involves itself in this issue and which makes a mistake in this regard will certainly harm the Islamic movement and the Islamic government. Our country in particular will be harmed if this happens. I insist that outstanding ulama - whether Shia or Sunni ulama and whether those who live in Iran or those who live in other countries - should pay attention to the fact that differences between Islamic denominations should not make us create a new camp against ourselves. Such differences should not make us ignore the main enemy which is the enemy of the essence of Islam and the enemy of the independence and welfare of the people of the region. I hope that Allah the Exalted will help all of us and I hope that all of you and us benefit from the blessings and prayers of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). Greetings be upon you and Allah\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s mercy and blessings

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