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memri
September 23, 2009 No.
2531

Khamenei in Friday Sermon: Iran Tolerates Constructive Criticism – But Whoever Threatens Iran's Security and Principles Will Be 'Confronted'

Most of the Iranian news agencies gave only very brief coverage to the September 11, 2009 Friday sermon by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei; their reports consisted mainly of stating that it had taken place. This is unusual, particularly because of the importance of the occasion - i.e. the Friday sermon by the Supreme Leader himself - and also because of the challenges Iran is facing right now. [1] Iran’s official news agency IRNA reported in brief on Khamenei’s threat to respond forcefully to anyone who threatens the regime domestically, while the other agencies noted only Khamenei’s demand that the demonstrations and activities for the upcoming Qods (Jerusalem) Day maintain their traditional focus on the Palestinian plight and against Israel, and that they not be hijacked for other issues.

A few hours later, however, Iran’s Press TV posted a more comprehensive report, which follows. [2]

"Those Who Draw Swords Against the Regime Will Be Confronted"

In his Friday, September 11, 2009 sermon as Tehran Friday prayer leader, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei Islamic Revolution said that the Iranian establishment welcomed constructive criticism, within the guidelines of the establishment, and that it can tolerate differences of opinion but will confront threats against its security.
"Those who clash with the establishment and turn their backs on the Islamic establishment become enemies," said Khamenei.

"Of course, if someone has a different opinion but leaves the system to itself, then the establishment has nothing against him or her."

The establishment must deal with those who threaten security under the guise of seeking the revolution's principles, he said, adding that the revolutionary principles are not a matter of taste.

Khamenei said that a harsh answer awaits anyone who dares to draw a sword against the Islamic Republic, and that the establishment has a right to defend itself. "Those who draw swords against the regime will be confronted," he said.

He said that even figures with revolutionary backgrounds must not let their differences of opinion lead to conflict, and warned political movements against trying to undermine the pillars of the establishment.

He then went on to urge piety, advising the people and the country's top figures to avoid corruption, as it can alter their hearts and turn them against the system.

Saying that the establishment must retain its Islamic qualities, he added that it must not be turned into a "fake" Islamic Republic that is "secular" at heart.

Positive movements are those that push the country toward growth, justice, and religious values while negative ones are those that try to create economic gaps, spread impiety and give into foreign pressure, he said.

"If We Give Up Our Rights, Whether Nuclear or Other Rights, This Will Lead to Decline"

Khamenei said that the enemy would be emboldened if Iran were to back down from its various rights, including its nuclear stance. "We must stand firm on our rights. If we give up our rights, whether nuclear or other rights, this will lead to decline (of the society)... We will walk the path of decline if, instead of using freedom for scientific and ethical progress, we use it to spread sin; instead of standing against arrogance, aggressors and international looters, we feel weak in front of them and retreat; and if instead of frowning at them, we smile at them."

He added that the West accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weaponry, but Iran says it seeks civilian applications of the technology and has called for the removal of all weapons of mass destruction around the globe.

He said that the Islamic Republic is proud to have the Zionist regime as an enemy, while faithful and oppressed nations are Iran's friends.

Stressing that Iran was not afraid of the Western powers, especially the U.S. and Britain, he said, "The U.S. government and the British government have two hundred years of wicked attitude towards Iran. So be it. This will not intimidate anyone."

Qods Day Demonstrations Must Focus On Core Issue

Finally, Khamenei urged Iranians to attend next Friday's Qods (Jerusalem) Day demonstrations, but stressed that these must focus on the core issue - the Palestinian plight - and that the establishment would not allow the demonstration to be used as an opportunity to create division.

Endnotes:

[1] See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 546, "The Iranian Regime Faces Challenges from Within and from Without - Qods Day and the Nuclear Issue," September 13, 2009, The Iranian Regime Faces Challenges from Within and from Without - Qods Day and the Nuclear Issue .

[2] Press TV, IRIB (Iran); Almanar.com.lb, September 11, 2009