April 5, 2016 Special Dispatch No. 6373

Power Struggle Between Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei's Ideological Camp And Rafsanjani's Pragmatic Camp Intensifies – Part III: Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei Speaks Out Against Pragmatic Camp Leaders Rafsanjani, Rohani

April 5, 2016
Iran | Special Dispatch No. 6373

In two speeches in as many weeks - one on March 30, 2016 marking a Shi'ite religious holiday and the other on March 20, marking Norooz, the Persian New Year - Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei focused on attacking his main political rivals - Iranian President Hassan Rohani, and Expediency Council chairman Hashemi Rafsanjani, the leaders of the Iranian pragmatic camp.[1]

Khamenei's Holiday Address, March 30

In his March 30 address, Khamenei called his old foe Rafsanjani "a traitor" for his March 24 tweet stating that "the world of tomorrow is a world of talks, and not of missiles." Khamenei said that Iran cannot give up its missile capabilities, and termed this call to do so a plot by the Western enemy, headed by the U.S., which seeks to destroy Iran's Islamic regime.[2] Khamenei's statements were along the same lines as his criticism of Rafsanjani prior to the February 26, 2016 Majlis and Assembly of Experts elections, i.e. that Rafsanjani was trying to sell the U.S. to Iran.[3]

Attacking President Rohani as well, Khamenei rejected the latter's call to begin now to work towards economic agreements that he referred to as "JCPOA 2" and "JCPOA 3," as a follow-up to the JCPOA agreed with the U.S. on July 14, 2015. According to Khamenei, the nuclear agreement with the U.S. had failed, and the U.S. administration was still not allowing trade with Iran. He demanded that Rohani not merely use the term "resistance economy" - referring to Khamenei's economic plan for Iran - but also implement it. It should be noted that this economic vision, which calls for establishing Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other domestic elements as an economic force for rehabilitating the country is the opposite of Rohani's and Rafsanjani's economic plan, which is based on foreign investment in Iran and on privatization. 

Elsewhere in the speech, Khamenei attacked the U.S. for not meeting its commitments under the JCPOA, and clarified that the U.S. administration is the enemy of Iran and is even today working to bring down its Islamic regime.

A possible explanation for the increasing hostility in the top Iranian echelon is the reports in the U.S. that it is time for high-level U.S. officials to visit Tehran.[4] In its April 3, 2016 editorial, the Iranian daily Kayhan wrote harshly about a possible such visit, presumably by President Obama and similar to his Cuba visit: "The elements of [the American] infiltration are finding their place among the [Iranian political] leaders, causing some to speak about a cessation of the [Iranian] hostilities towards the arrogance [i.e. the U.S.] and about an Iranian defensive weapons disarmament. This could reach the point where President [Rohani's] advisor will say, 'If only Obama will visit Iran too and solve the issue of relations with Iran, like he did with Cuba."

MEMRI TV Clip - Khamenei Criticizes Top Political Rivals: Favoring Talks Over Missiles Constitutes Treason

Khamenei's Norooz Address, March 20

In his address to the Iranian people for Norooz, the Persian New Year, on March 20, 2016, Khamenei spoke out against the U.S. and attacked President Rohani and his vision of openness towards the West. This speech reflected the great apprehension in the regime about the West's alleged failure to meet its obligations under the JCPOA, and about Iran's distrust of it.

Khamenei delivering Norooz address,, March 23, 2016; one of Khamenei's tweets in the series. Source: @khamenei_ir, March 20, 2016.

The same day, Khamenei tweeted, in English, a summary of his Norooz address. The main themes, as given in the tweets, were, inter alia:

· The alleged U.S. attempts to instill in Iran the mindset that Iran must either get along with the U.S. or face the consequences, and condemnation of those who adopt this mindset - i.e. the pragmatic camp, led by Rafsanjani and Rohani

· The U.S. desire for Iran to relinquish its defense capabilities, such as its missile program and the IRGC

· The U.S.'s violation of its commitments under the JCPOA

· The U.S. presidential candidates' "hostility" towards Iran and the uncertainty that the next administration would meet "even its few commitments" under the JCPOA

· The need for Iran to rely on a "resistance economy."

The following are the main points of Khamenei's March 30 speech,[5] excerpts from the tweeted summary of his March 20 Norooz address,[6] and the text of his Norooz address in English, as published on his website:[7]

Khamenei, March 30: If Rafsanjani's Words "The World Of Tomorrow Is A World Of Talks, And Not Of Missiles" Were "Said Out Of Ignorance, That's One Thing, But If They Were Said Out Of Cognizance, It Constitutes Treason"

"I am not against political negotiations, of course not with everyone... The enemy is using political negotiations, and therefore we must be wary. The enemies use talks, economic deals, economic sanctions, threats of war and weapons. Against all these, we must equip ourselves with defensive might.

"Some people say that the world of tomorrow is a world of talks, and not of missiles. If this is said out of ignorance, that's one thing, but if it is said out of cognizance, it constitutes treason.

"How can this be? If the Islamic regime advances [in the areas of] science, technology, political negotiations, and various commercial and economic activities - [yes,] all of these are essential. But if it does not have defensive might, and has no defensive capabilities, anybody at all or any insignificant government can threaten it, saying, if you do not do thus and so, we will strike you with missiles. If you have no way of defending yourself, you will have to retreat.

"If you see the world powers talking in a loud voice, arrogantly, saying unpleasant things in a forceful manner, [you should know that] for the most part they are relying on the same weapons that they have [that they are asking us to give up]. Should we be emptying our hands [of weapons] as we face them?

"The IRGC presents the progress made in its missiles, and this brings pride not only to the Iranians, but to the freedom-seeking countries around us as well. When the IRGC missiles are displayed in tests with such precision and beauty, it pleases many nations, which have suffered at the hands of the Americans and the Zionist regime. Should we depress them by saying that the era of the missiles is over? No, the era of the missiles is not over.

"When these things take place, should we say, Today the era of missiles is past?! No! The era of missiles is not yet over. The enemy is always upgrading, and preparing itself - so [must] we naively retreat, and say no? ... Today, some say, What are missiles? Why do we need missiles? The world of today is not one of missiles. If that is the case, then what is it of?

"Today's world is one of everything. It is also of talks. We must be strong in the talks and conduct negotiations in a way that will not cheat us afterwards. If we negotiate, we will write it down, and then sign it, and then they will carry out a particular thing so that everyone can see, but the sanctions will not be lifted and there will be no commerce, so obviously there is some kind of problem here. We must not allow such mistakes to happen. In this area too we should strengthen ourselves.

"Also with regard to the domestic economy - I have said that there [is a need for] action and implementation. Enough talk. Two hundred statements are not worth half a deed. When the term 'resistance economy' is reiterated again and again, it loses its value. When it becomes banal, it is wearisome. We must act.

The Main Points Of Khamenei's Address, In Tweets - March 20, 2016

One main theme in Khamenei's March 20 Norooz address, as expressed in his tweets, was the alleged U.S. attempts to instill in Iran the mindset that Iran must get along with the U.S. or face the consequences. Those who have adopted this mindset - meaning the pragmatic camp, led by Iranian President Rohani, who called for a second and third JCPOA agreement - were "yielding to the arrogance" - i.e. the U.S. - and were willing to give way on "committed principles":  

· "Currently, policies of the arrogance, particularly US, demands insertion of a dilemmatic mindset among the elites and public opinion. 1/2; That dilemma is either getting along with the US or suffering US pressures and the consequent difficulties forever 2/2.

· "There are of course some inside #Iran who believe in& accept this moving discourse of arrogance system & try to convince others as well 1/2; They believe ME [Middle East] or domestic problems can be solved by JCPOA 2&3; this means giving up principles & red lines & yielding to the arrogance 2/2.

· "Yielding means Iran would ignore committed principles like supporting #Palestine & resistance in region & the oppressed in #Bahrain& #Yemen.

· "Other meaning of yielding is Iran, like some Arab states flagrantly extending friendship hand to Zionist enemy, reconciles with Zionists."

Khamenei spoke about a U.S. desire for Iran to relinquish its defensive capabilities, such as its missile program, and about the U.S.'s alleged questioning of Iran's need for the IRGC and its Qods Force and its asking why Iran's constitution requires that Iranian policies be Islam-compliant:

· "The US desire is that Iran would even give up on its defensive means as well.

· "They constantly blame Iran's missile program, but US holds joint drills 1000s of miles far from its borders where it has no responsibility.

· "Arrogance will get to question why IRGC & Quds Force ever exist? Why Constitution demands Islamic Republic's policies to comply with Islam.

· "If you surrender to the enemy while you can #resist, the enemy will step forward and will not stop.

· "Arrogance believes if Iranian nation wants to get rid of US, it must give up content of Islamic Republic & Islamic notions & its security."

He also enumerated other alleged U.S. demands:

· "Iran is strategically unique in region & has other resources besides gas & oil. Before Revolution US had full grasp on Iran & looted it. 1/2; US hostility against #Iran ends only when it gains the same rule over the country again. 2/2."

Turning to the Americans' deviousness, he said that the U.S. had violated its obligations under the JCPOA; that the sanctions on Iran are continuing even if they are said to have been lifted; and that U.S. administration officials are the enemy: 

· "In #IranDeal also US didn't fulfill its pledges. As @JZarif said they did something on paper, but by detours barred Iran's objectives.#JCPOA.

· "Today, our banking deals & release of our wealth have problems in west as they fear from US, while on paper they vowed lifting of sanctions.

· "US officials keep sanctions on one hand & give #Nowruz message on other hand & set Haft-Seen table in White House; these are deceptions.

· "US hasn't known our nation yet. Iranians are aware & know enemies. Of course we have no problem with people in US. US officials are enemies."

Underlining the U.S. presidential candidates' "hostility" towards Iran, he spoke of the absence of any guarantee that the next administration would meet "even its few commitments" under the JCPOA - and of the need for Iran to resist by relying on a "resistance economy":

· "In few months US administration will change & there is no assurance next administration would implement even its few commitments in #JCPOA.

· "American presidential candidates are racing in saying bad words against Iran which is their hostility.

· "One of enemy's means of hostility is propaganda and Iranophobia, another is infiltration, and the other is sanction.

· "In facing enemy sanctions we should either tolerate difficulties of sanctions or resist through #ResistanceEconomy."

Khamenei also spoke of the triumph over the U.S. "in the region and beyond":

· "Today many countries in region & beyond say 'Death to US'. Iranian nation showed resilience is possible & others learned.

· "Those with Great Middle East slogan have now failed in Iraq, Syria, Yemen & Palestine & blame Iran. Their enmity toward Iran is fundamental."

Khamenei's Norooz Address - March 20, 2016

"...The reason why I chose an economic slogan for this year is because of a specific analysis and outlook towards the issues of the country. Perhaps some people were thinking that the slogan of this year should be a cultural or a moral slogan. However, considering all the issues of the country, we deemed it necessary, as in recent years, to choose an economic slogan for this year so that it will turn into a discourse among the people and public opinion in the country. I will present this analysis, and I [would] like our dear youth to analyze, dissect, and think about it for themselves."

"At this point in time, the policies of arrogance - specifically and in particular, the policies of America - deem it necessary to inject a specific thought into the minds of our people: first, among the outstanding personalities of society, and later on, and gradually, among public opinion in the country. They want a specific thought to be injected into public opinion. The policy that they have in mind is that they want to pretend that the people of Iran are in a dilemma and that they have no option other than choosing one out of two options. This dilemma is that they either have to get along with America or they have to tolerate the pressures exerted by America and the problems that follow it. The people of Iran have to choose one of these two options. This is what they want.

"Getting along with America is not like getting along with any other government. This is because the American government enjoys wealth, large propaganda apparatuses, dangerous weapons and many resources. So naturally, getting along with America means accepting the impositions of that government. This is the nature of reaching an agreement with America.

"This is the case everywhere in the world. When other countries reach an agreement with America over any matter, this means that they retreat from their positions to the advantage of the other side while the other side does not make any noteworthy retreat to their advantage. In the case of the recent nuclear agreement too, the same situation existed although we approved of it and although we believed in and continue to believe in those who conducted the negotiations.

"In certain cases, our honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs [Javad Zarif] said to us that they [i.e. the negotiating team] failed to keep certain red lines [in the negotiations]. This is what it means: When a government like the U.S. government has propaganda means, resources, money, active diplomacy, and different agents throughout the world, the governments that it pressures are at its disposal. Getting along with him [i.e. the U.S. government] means compromising and forgetting about some of the things that one insists on. This is a dilemma that they want to inject into the minds of our people on the basis of American policies. It is a forced dilemma and an unavoidable duality: either we have to get along with America and her demands or we have to endure her pressures, her threats, and the losses that we will suffer as a result of opposing America.

"They want to promote this thought among the outstanding personalities of society in the form of a discourse and to spread it among the people and public opinion in the country in a gradual manner. They are promoting this thought inside and outside the country and they are expanding it in global media with different forms and with different statements. They appoint some people so that they can promote this thought among our people. Of course, as I said, there are some individuals inside the country who believe in and who have accepted this thought and who are trying to make others accept it as well."

"Pay careful attention to this explanation. I will mention what the other side says and then I will say what the correct thought and opinion is, based on the truth and on reality. The other side - that is to say, that propaganda, thought-generating and orientation-breeding apparatus - says that Iran has many economic capacities and [that] the goal of the nuclear agreement was to help Iran benefit from these capacities. Well, this agreement was reached, but it is not enough. There are also other issues about which the people, the administration, and the officials of Iran should make a decision and take action.

"For example, there are many tumultuous and chaotic situations in the region of West Asia - the same region that westerners refer to as the Middle East - in the present time. This is a problem for the whole region and if you want your country to be freed from these problems, you should try to act in a way that these upheavals will be settled. What should we do to that end? [They say] we should cooperate, hold meetings and negotiate with America, we should think in the same way that the Americans do and should we choose a model according to the wishes of the Americans or according to America's agreement. This is an issue.

"Another issue is that we have many problems and differences of opinion with America. We should resolve these differences. They should come to an end. Now, if in the process of resolving these differences, the people of Iran have to abandon, for example, their principles and their red lines, they should do it. The other side will not abandon its principles and values but if it is necessary, we should abandon our principles so that we can resolve the existing problems and so that the country can consequently benefit from its capacities and turn into, for example, an outstanding economy. This is what they say.

"An agreement was made on the nuclear issue, and we called it the 'Bar-Jaam' [the Persian name for the JCPOA]. However [they say], there should be another Bar-Jaam in the case of regional events and yet another on the issue of the Constitution of the country. There should be Bar-Jaam 2, 3, 4, and other Bar-Jaams as well so that we can 'live comfortably.' This is a logic that they are trying to promote among the outstanding personalities of society and among public opinion in society through outstanding personalities.

"What is the meaning of this? It means that the Islamic Republic should forget about those fundamental issues that it is committed to based on the edict of Islam and its own outstanding guidelines: it should forget about the issue of Palestine, it should forget about supporting the Resistance in the region, and it should stop providing political assistance and support to the oppressed peoples in the region - for example, the people of Palestine, the people of Gaza, the people of Yemen and the people of Bahrain. And the Islamic Republic should get close to what the other side - that is to say, America - wants to achieve and it should do so by bringing about a balance in its own demands.

"This means that the Islamic Republic should act in the same way that some regional countries and governments are acting today. Such countries have gotten along with the Zionist regime contrary to the edict of Islam and contrary to the wishes of their own peoples. And they have allowed other issues to overshadow the issue of Palestine. This means that the Islamic Republic should get along and be reconciled with the Zionist enemy in the same way that some Arab governments have done so. They have extended the hand of friendship towards this Zionist enemy with complete shamelessness.

"Of course, things do not end here. What this political analysis of the enemy means is that if America wishes, the Islamic Republic should even forget about its own defense mechanisms. You see what uproar they have created in the world on the issue of our missiles. They say, 'Why does the Islamic Republic have missiles? Why does it have long-range missiles? Why do the Islamic Republic's missiles aim at and hit the target in a very precise manner?' They say, 'Why have you carried out a military maneuver? Why do you have military exercises and why and why and why!'

"This is while the Americans themselves carry out maneuvers from time to time in the Persian Gulf - which is several thousand kilometers away from their country - and they do so along with some regional countries. They do this while they have no responsibility in the region. However, when the Islamic Republic carries out a military maneuver in its own home, in its own territory and in its own security zone, they create uproar about why we have carried out a military operation, why we have adopted such and such measures and why our Navy and our Air Force have adopted such and such courses of action.

"This analysis of the enemy means that we should forget about all these things. The issue is even beyond this. They will gradually draw the issue towards the reason why the Quds Force and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps have been formed and why the domestic policies of the Islamic Republic should be coordinated with Islam. The matter will come to this!"

"When you retreat in the face of the enemy while you can resist him - later on, I will enlarge on this issue - the enemy will advance. He does not stop. Gradually, he will find the courage to say that our belief that the Islamic Republic's administration, the Islamic Consultative Majlis and the judiciary branch should work on the basis of Islam and Islamic sharia is against freedom and that liberalism does not believe in this. The matter will gradually come to this.

"If we retreat, this will encourage them to question the Guardian Council's role in society. It will encourage them to question the Guardian Council's power to repeal certain laws because of their opposition to sharia. This is the main point. This is what I have said many times: this is changing the inner behavior of the Islamic Republic. The outward appearance of the Islamic Republic might survive, but it will completely be empty of its content. The enemy wants this. On the basis of this analysis of the enemy and on the basis of the analysis that is being injected into the minds of outstanding personalities and public opinion, if the Islamic Republic and the people of Iran want to get rid of America, they should abandon the Islamic Republic's content, Islam, Islamic concepts and their security.    

"What is missing in this analysis and what has been ignored in it are a few issues one of which I would like to refer to: in the agreement that we have made with the Americans on the issue of 5+1 and nuclear energy, the Americans have not honored their promises and have not done what they should have. Of course, as our honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs said, they have done certain things on paper, but they have prevented the Islamic Republic from achieving its goals through many detours and short cuts.

"Notice that today, in all western countries and in all those countries that are under their influence, our banking transactions have been blocked. We have a problem bringing our wealth - which has been kept in their banks - back to the country. We have a problem conducting different financial transactions which require the assistance of banks. And when we pursue the matter, follow it up and ask about it, it becomes clear that they are afraid of the Americans. The Americans have said that they would lift sanctions and they have actually done so on paper, but through other ways and methods, they are acting in a way that the result of sanctions repeal will not be witnessed at all.

"So, those who hope that we will sit and talk to America on such and such an issue with the purpose of reaching an agreement - which means that both we and the other side make certain promises - ignore the fact that [while] we will have to fulfill all of our commitments - the other side will refuse to do so through different means and methods and that he will not fulfill the promises that he has made. This is what we are witnessing in front of our eyes! This means a complete loss!"

"But the issue is even beyond this. I deem it necessary to discuss a few points with our dear youth who have not witnessed the era of the taghuti regime and who do not know what happened in the aftermath of the victory of the Revolution in our country. Notice that in the region where we are living - West Asia -your dear country, Iran, is the flower of the region. It is a peerless country in terms of its strategic position and - as is commonly said today - its strategic location. It has a privilege over the whole region - and in one sense - over the whole world in terms of its abundant oil and gas supplies. And there are many other resources apart from oil and gas. It is a large country with a talented and resourceful population and with a rich history. Our country is the flower of the region.

"However, this flower was once wholly and completely in America's hands. They used to do whatever they wanted to.  In this country they used to loot and take away its wealth and they used to do whatever a colonialist and arrogant government does to a weak country. They had the whole country in the claws of their power. But the Revolution has come and has liberated this country from their claws. This is why the grudge against the Revolution does not leave the heart of American politics. Their enmity will end only when they manage to restore the same domination over our country! This is the goal and they are after this. Of course, they are politicians and diplomats. They know politics and they know that there is a way for every goal and every purpose. They know that they should move slowly and use the right way. And they are acting in that manner. Our eyes should be open and our minds should be focused!

"Not only did the Islamic Republic free Iran from their hands, but it also encouraged other countries with the spirit of resistance and the courage that it showed - I will expand on this issue later on. Notice that today, the people in many regional and even non-regional countries chant 'Death to America' and they burn the American flag. The people of Iran have shown that they can resist. Other nations too have learned this and therefore, America does not have any control over this situation anymore. The Americans announced once that they want to create the 'Greater Middle East' - once, they spoke about a 'New Middle East' and once, they spoke about a 'Greater Middle East.' Their goal was to help the Zionist regime dominate all economic, political, and cultural affairs in West Asia and in the heart of Islamic countries. This was their goal.

"Now, take a look and see that those who chanted the slogan of the 'Greater Middle East' have become desperate on the issue of Syria, on the issue of Yemen, on the issue of Iraq and on the issue of Palestine and they pin all the blame on Iran and the Islamic Republic. Such is their enmity towards the Islamic Republic! Their problem with the Islamic Republic is not about bits and pieces - the problem is fundamental! They are moving towards this direction so that they can re-establish their old domination."

"Our dear youth have not seen the taghuti era. I will tell you dear youth that throughout the past 50, 60 years - during the time of the Pahlavi rule and a little before that - first the English and later on, the Americans had all the affairs of the country in their hands and they used to do whatever they wanted. For example, they brought the Pahlavi regime and Reza Khan to power. Later on, they became angry at him because of some reasons. So, they ousted him and replaced him with Mohammad Reza. In a country with this greatness and magnificence, the Americans and the English used to easily oust the head of our country and replace him with another, based on their own wishes and whims and contrary to the wishes of the people. This was their condition in Iran.

"Well, how had they managed to achieve this domination? They had built some trenches in the country. First the English regime and after that - years and decades after the English domination - the American regime used to use these trenches in order to continue their domination over our country. However, the Revolution appeared and destroyed and annihilated these trenches with its own youth and in place of these trenches, it built other trenches to protect the Revolution, the Islamic Republic and national interests. They want to come and repair those ruined trenches again and to destroy the trenches that have been created by the Revolution, revolutionary individuals and the youth. This is the goal.

"I will refer to some of these trenches for you. The most important trench for arrogant regimes - first England and later on, America - in our country was the installed taghuti regime itself. The installed taghuti regime was their trench. It was through this regime that they used to do whatever they wanted in this country. They used to do whatever economic, cultural, and political activity that they wanted and they used to conduct any transfer of power and adopt any position that they liked. They swayed our country and the government of our country towards any direction that they liked. So, the taghuti regime was the most important trench for America and England in our country. This was one trench.

"Well, the Revolution came and destroyed this trench. It annihilated and uprooted it. It uprooted the monarchic system in the country and it created a people-based system in place of that monarchic government and tyrannical regime. There was one day in our country when they used to say, 'The country has an owner. Who is this owner? His Royal Highness!' This was the case.

"They used to say repeatedly that the country has an owner. Who was that owner? It was the Shah - that is to say, a corrupt, incompetent, and dependent element. Most of those Shahs were empty of national zeal. It was such individuals that owned the country. Well, the Islamic Republic came and put aside this fake and usurping owner and it gave the country to its real owners who are the people! In the present time, the people show their presence, choose, prove, and reject. This was the first trench of the enemy which was destroyed by the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Revolution.

"But this was not the only trench for the enemy. There were other trenches as well: psychological and physical factors. There were certain trenches, two, three of which I will refer to for you. One was fear: the trench of fear, fear of powers. They had acted in a way in the country that fear of America was dominant over the hearts of everyone. As I said, in the last decades before the victory of the Revolution, there was fear of America and before that, there was fear of England. They used to ascribe whatever event that took place in the country to the English. In other words, they used to consider the English as the absolute power.

"This fear was not particular to the people. The leaders of the regime themselves were afraid of America as well. The memoirs that were written by the agents of the regime and that were published later on - after the Revolution - show that in certain cases, Mohammad Reza and elements close to him were angry at the Americans because of their derogatory behavior and their indifferent outlook, but they had no other option and they had to obey. They had to obey them out of fear. They were afraid of them!

"However, the Islamic Revolution came and destroyed this trench of fear. Today, you cannot find one single well-informed individual in the Islamic Republic who is reliant on religious values, but who is afraid of America. The people threw away fear! Not only did the people throw away fear of America, but they also threw away fear of the whole front of arrogance!

"During the eight-year imposed war - unfortunately, our youth did not see that golden and enlightened era - America, NATO, and the Soviet Union of those days used to help Saddam. Arab reactionaries too used to help Saddam despite all their incompetence and weaknesses. Everyone was helping Saddam. The east and the west had become one united front in favor of Saddam and against the Islamic Republic, but the Islamic Republic did not even frown and by Allah's favor, it overcame and defeated all of them! After eight years of war, they could not separate even one inch of Iran's soil!

"This was how they shattered fear. As I said, today, self-reliant and well-informed individuals and those who are attached to Islamic values are not afraid of America. Of course, it is possible that some people are afraid of America today, but this fear is an unreasonable one. If Mohammad Reza's fear of America was justifiable and reasonable, the fear of such people today is unreasonable. This is because that regime did not have supporters like the people, but today the Islamic Republic has supporters like these great people."

"One of the trenches of the enemy for dominating our country was injecting disbelief in oneself and lack of confidence about oneself and one's nation. The people used to witness the luster of western countries in front of themselves. They used to witness the scientific and technological appearance and the civilizational and material luster of westerners, but such things did not exist in their own country. Such things did not exist in the country: there was only backwardness and a feeling of disbelief and distrust in oneself. At that time - during the Pahlavi era - a government official said, 'The Iranians should go and make 'lulahangs.' You do not know what a lulahang is. Lulahang is a mud ewer [for use in bathrooms], not even a metal one. In the distant past, it was common to make mud ewers. He said, 'Iranians deserve to make lulahangs. How can Iranians even think of inventing things?' In those days, they used to say such things.

"Another outstanding personality in those days said, 'If Iranians want to progress, they should become western and European from head to toe. They should copy all aspects of westerners. If they do so, they might move forward.' This means that they did not believe in themselves. Well, the Revolution came and completely turned this lack of trust in oneself into self-confidence and national self-confidence.

"Today, the Iranian youth say that they can. In many cases, when it comes to scientific achievements - apart from the achievements that have thankfully been made in the present time and that are available to us - our youth sometimes put forward such new ideas that organizations in charge cannot deal with them. In the present time, the Iranian youth have self-confidence. When self-confidence does not exist, progress will not exist either. However, when self-confidence and the slogan of 'we can' exist, capability will follow as well and the country and the people become competent. Today, we are witnessing this.

"In the era of taghut and in the pre-revolutionary era, the country had a 50-year history of having universities. And there were committed and good professors in those universities. There were talented students as well although their number was smaller compared to the present time. Compared to today, the number of students was much smaller, but those who existed were Iranian youth in any case. So, they were talented, but no single scientific breakthrough was witnessed throughout those 50 years. Why? Because they did not believe that they had the capability to do so. They did not believe in themselves and they had injected this lack of self-confidence into the minds of the people.

"However in the present time, we have new innovations - including scientific and technological innovations - every day! When our enemies see these innovations, they become angry. Today, our country is among the first ten countries in the world in many fields of advanced sciences despite the existence of sanctions. What the people visibly see are only the military tools and weapons that are available to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, the Army and others. The achievements that they have made in different areas - in the area of nanotechnology and in the area of nuclear energy - originate from belief in oneself. One of the trenches of the enemy in Iran was the people's lack of belief in themselves and one of the greatest trenches of the people's and the youth's victory is belief in oneself and the spirit of 'we can'. This was another trench of the enemy"

"Another trench of the enemy was the separation of religion from politics. They had injected the belief into everyone that religion should not interfere in the environment of politics, social life and social system. They had injected this belief into them. Even the pious and some ulama did not believe that Islam could be involved in political affairs, let alone those who had nothing to do with religion. This is while the essence of Islam's birth was interconnected with political outlook. The first thing that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) did in Medina was to form a government! However, they had injected this belief into the minds of the people and they were using this trench against the Islamic Republic, the country and the people. The Islamic Republic came, and destroyed and annihilated this trench. Today, in the universities of the country, our youth and our students are working in a diligent manner on the issues of the country from an Islamic and Koranic perspective let alone ulama, Islamic seminaries and the like.

"Well, when I speak about 'the enemy,' I mean the government of America and I have no qualms about saying this. Of course, they say that they are not our enemy and that they are our friends. They have issued a message to our people on the occasion of Norouz and they have supposedly shown sympathy for our youth. And they have spread a haft-seen table in the White House! Well these are things that one says when one wants to deceive a child! No one believes such things.

"On the one hand, they preserve sanctions and on the other hand, the U.S. Department of the Treasury acts in a way - with certain methods which have been acknowledged by the Americans themselves - that big companies, agencies and banks do not dare to approach the Islamic Republic and have business transactions with it. On the one hand, they adopt such measures - they impose sanctions and issue threats: there are clear cases of enmity - and on the other hand they spread a haft-seen table in the White House or they say in a Norouz message that they are after creating employment for the Iranian youth! Well, no one believes such things.

"They still do not know our people. They do not know the people of Iran! The people of Iran are a wise and well-informed people. They know their enemies and they know the methods of enmity. We have no problems with the people of America. We have no problems with any nation and any people. Our problem is with policies. Our problem is with politicians. They are the enemies.

"Let us summarize the discussion so that the main points are not lost. There are certain realities: one reality is the many capacities and the numerous resources that exist in our country. We have both natural and human resources, and international opportunities. Today, our country has an extraordinary capacity for progress inside itself thanks to these resources. This is one reality. Today, the Islamic Republic has turned into an influential power on a regional and - in certain cases - international level. This is a reality that exists. We should appreciate our value. We should know our own value and significance. We should know the greatness of our people.

"The second reality is that America is our enemy because of some clear reasons. As I said, by 'enemy' we mean American politicians and policies. They broke their promises on the issue of the Bar-Jaam and they threatened to impose more sanctions on us. As I said, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury is seriously busy day and night so that they do not allow the Islamic Republic to benefit from the results of the Bar-Jaam. Well, these are acts of enmity.

"They continuously threaten to impose more sanctions. The U.S. presidential elections will take place in a few months - in seven, eight months - and in nine months, the current American administration will completely change and there will be no guarantee that the future administration will honor the few promises that the current administration has made.

"At present, when they deliver speeches, the U.S. presidential candidates compete with each other in vilifying Iran. Well, this is enmity. Enmity does not necessarily appear in a strange form so much so that we can easily distinguish it. This is another reality [audience chant referring to the current Rohani administration: 'Administration of acumen and hope! Have insight! Have insight!']."

"Please pay attention. You should not forget that we have said that the people and the administration should have harmony and unanimity. You should not forget this. Everyone should work and help the administration. If anyone has a word of advice, they can offer it to the administration. Everyone should help the administration!

"The third reality is that the instruments that this seemingly powerful enemy uses are not infinite. He has some basic instruments which constitute his active tools: one is propaganda - Iranophobia - another is infiltration and another is sanctions. I have repeatedly spoken about infiltration in the recent months and therefore, I do not want to speak about it here. As for propaganda, this has been discussed in detail. I want to speak about sanctions for a moment.

"One of the three efficient instruments that the enemy uses is sanctions. The enemy has felt that our country and our people are harmed by sanctions. Unfortunately, we ourselves have strengthened this feeling in him. In certain cases and at some points in time, we constantly magnified the effect of sanctions by saying that there are sanctions, there are sanctions and that they should lift them. We said that if sanctions exist, we will be harmed in such and such ways and other such statements. And on the other hand, we exaggerated and magnified the effect of lifting sanctions by saying that if sanctions are lifted, such and such things will happen. But the things that we expected to happen did not happen and if we move forward like this, they will not happen in the future either! However, the enemy has felt that he can pressure the people of Iran with the instrument of sanctions. The enemy has felt this. Therefore, what exists ahead of us in the present time is sanctions.

"What should we do in order to confront sanctions? In the beginning of my speech, I said that the enemy has suggested one fake dilemma to us: he says that we should either give in to America and listen to whatever he says, or pressures and sanctions will continue. This is a dilemma that we said is wrong and false. However, there is another dilemma: we should either endure the problems resulting from sanctions or we should show resistance through the economy of resistance [audience chant 'Oh liberated Leader! We are prepared! We are prepared!']. Very well, your preparedness is very good. However, mere preparedness is not enough for the economy of resistance. We have spoken about 'action and implementation.' Of course, the honorable administration has carried out certain tasks in the area of the economy of resistance. We said that they should form a command center for the economy of resistance and they did so, appointing the First Vice President as the head of that command center.

"And they adopted some measures. They also gave me a report and I explained it for the people today in the new year message. However, these are only some preliminary tasks. They have reported to me that as a result of certain activities, our balance of trade has become positive. This means that our non-oil exports are more than our imports. Well, this is very good news. Another issue is that our imports are less than the previous year. These are very good pieces of news, but they are not enough and the task will not be completed with such measures. A number of fundamental tasks should be carried out. I have written down some tasks that should be carried out in the area of 'action and implementation.'

"The first task is that the honorable executive officials should identify and focus on those economic chains of activities that have priority. Some economic tasks in the country have a priority over others in the country and they are more significant. They are like mother tasks out of which many economic and productive windows will open. They should focus on such tasks. They should identify them, determine the roadmap and make it clear what should be done about all these tasks.

"The second task that should receive attention on the issue of the 'action and implementation' that we spoke about is reviving domestic production. According to the reports that I have received, today, about 60 percent of our productive capacity is untapped and unused. Some [of our industries] work less than their capacity and some do not work at all. We should revive production. We should breathe life into it. There are certain ways for this. Many committed economists know these ways. I have repeatedly said to the honorable executive officials that they should call for these critics so that they listen to them because they sometimes have very good suggestions. It is possible to revive production and get it moving in the country.

"The third issue is that we have foreign trade and that we import. We need certain things that should be imported from abroad. We have to buy them and there is nothing wrong with this. However, we should pay attention that our purchases should not weaken our power to engage in domestic production. Imagine that we want to import and buy airplanes. It is said to me - executive officials themselves say this to me - that if we invest such and such a percentage of the price that we pay to buy airplanes in our domestic airplane industries, we will reap more benefits and the domestic production will be boosted as well. If we buy everything from abroad and if we do not pay attention to the disasters that imports will bring to domestic production, this is a mistake! Therefore, when buying products, we should act in a way that domestic production will not be weakened.

"The fourth task is that we have a certain amount of money outside the country. We have sold, for example oil, but they have not given us the money. On the issue of the Bar-Jaam, it was decided that this amount of money will return to the country. Of course, a large portion of it has not returned. A large portion of it has not returned because of certain problems. We can see the Americans' hands behind this matter. Of course, there are other motives as well, but the malevolence of some American organizations is the main factor behind failure to bring back this money.

"But it will in the end return. When these sums of money return from outside the country - no matter how many billions it is - it should not be used in areas that actually waste it. This is the money that enters the country and the country needs it. Primarily, it should be used in the area of, for example, domestic production. They should take care not to let the money that enters the country be wasted, ruined and spent on unnecessary purchases and measures. It should not be spent in an extravagant manner. This means managing the financial resources that enter the country through foreign banks and centers.   

"The fifth issue is that there are certain areas in our economy that are important and fundamental such as the area of oil and gas or the area of engine production for automobiles, airplanes, trains, and ships. These sensitive and important areas should become knowledge-based. When we speak about knowledge-based economy, this is what we mean. Our youth and our scientists have shown that they can innovate and that they can help us improve our technological level. Well, is it a minor achievement to adjust long-range missiles in a way that they hit the target from a two-thousand-kilometer distance and with a two-to-five-meter margin of error? Well, the brain that can accomplish this feat can accomplish other feats as well!

Another example is that they can improve the level of car engines so that they consume less fuel or build train engines with such and such features. They can do that! Right now, there are some economic and productive agencies in our country whose works and products are either better than or equal to their foreign counterparts. At this very moment, we have such agencies. Well, these areas should be strengthened. So, making the important areas of our domestic economy knowledge-based is one of the tasks that is a prerequisite for the economy of resistance and that should definitely be accomplished."

"The sixth issue is that we have invested in some areas in the past. These areas should be utilized and benefited from. We have made good investments in the area of building power plants in the country. We have made good investments in the area of petrochemicals. Today, the country needs power plants. Other countries too need the power plants that we build at a lost cost. We should not buy and import power plants from outside the country anymore or we should not hire some individuals from outside the country so that they build power plants for us. Those areas that have been invested in and for which great efforts have been made should be revived and benefited from.

"The seventh issue is that we should set strict terms for the transfer of technology in all foreign transactions that we carry out. Of course, our brothers in the administration have said to us that they have done and continue to do so. However, I would like to stress and repeat this so that it will not be neglected. For example, if they want to buy a new product, they should not buy those that have already been produced in the country, rather they should buy and bring those products with their specific technology. They should bring technology to the country. They should pay serious attention to this matter when signing contracts.

"The eighth issue is combating corruption, economic rents and smuggling in a serious manner. These phenomena are damaging the economy of the country.  It is the people who are suffering from this. If we show negligence in the face of those groups that, for example, win special concessions and have particular privileges on economic matters through collusion with others, that reap special benefits for themselves, and that engage in monetary, financial and economic corruption, the country will certainly sustain a loss. Therefore, no negligence should be shown in this regard. Of course, when it comes to talking and creating uproar - in particular, with certain political orientations and positions - beautiful things are said in newspapers, but they are of no avail! If we arrest an economic criminal and if newspapers write about him in detail and publish photos of him and the like with partisan and political motives, these courses of action are of no avail: 'Two hundred words are not like half an action' [from a poem by Ferdowsi]. They should block the way of the corruption that might occur in the present time and they should prevent it. The same is true of smuggling. They should prevent smuggling. They should combat smuggling in the real sense of the word!

"Another issue is energy optimization. Once, I said in one of my new year speeches - that was delivered a few years ago [Supreme Leader's speech delivered on March 21, 2009 at the holy shrine of Imam Ridha (a.s.)] - that it is claimed and said that if we optimize energy, improve the way it is used and economize it, a hundred billion dollars will be saved. This is not a small amount of money. It is huge. Therefore, they should take this seriously. So many different tasks are being carried out in this country some of which are unnecessary and some of which are harmful. Well, they should centralize and concentrate tasks in such areas. This is action and implementation. Action means such things. Of course, I have heard that the Majlis has passed a bill in this regard. Optimizing energy utilization is one of the bills of the Islamic Consultative Majlis. They should really follow it up. If there is such a thing, they should focus and work on it.

"And the 10th issue is that they should take a particular outlook towards medium-sized and small industries. In the present time, there are several thousand medium-sized and small workshops and factories in the country. If the figures that they have given to me - showing that sixty percent of these factories are not working - are true, this is a massive loss. It is these small and medium-sized industries that create employment in the center of society, that engender dynamism and that help lower classes of people. They should strengthen and improve them.

"Well, these are the ten tasks that can be carried out if 'action and implementation' is applied to the economy of resistance. Of course, we can carry out other tasks as well. Officials will look into and investigate this. I have suggested these ten tasks. This is a revolutionary orientation, a revolutionary movement in the country. This is the kind of economy of resistance that will save the country. If we accomplish these tasks, we will be able to stand up against America. Under such circumstances, his sanctions will not have any impact on us."

"We do not need to forget about our values, our red lines, and our principles, so that America will not be able to impose sanctions on us. By pursuing the policies on the economy of resistance in a practical and pragmatic way, we can immunize the country. We can immunize the country so that we will no longer tremble in the face of sanctions and the possibility of sanctions. Well, they can impose sanctions on us. If the economy becomes resistant, the enemy sanctions will not exert a noticeable impact.

"This means a revolutionary and religious movement. If we carry out such tasks, the honorable executive officials can deliver a report to us at the end of the year 1395 saying that they have revived these several thousand workshops, factories, farms, ranches and the like. They can come and say these things and they can report it to the people so that they both see and feel it. When the people feel this, then they will begin to trust.  

"And of course, the people should help as well. I will tell you that the people - whether political and economic personalities or the masses of the people - should help the administration and the officials of the country. Of course, this task [the economy of resistance] is not only the responsibility of the administration. All the three branches should cooperate with one another so that the task moves forward. And the people should help them as well. This assistance is necessary. The seriousness of officials - particularly the officials in the executive branch - is necessary as well. If we can launch this movement, it will be accompanied by both speed and success because as I said, this is a revolutionary movement.

"Whenever we carried out a revolutionary task, we achieved these things. Notice that the task that our nuclear martyrs pioneered in the nuclear area - which is very sensitive - the task that Shahid Tehrani Moqadam pioneered and the task that Shahid Kazemi pioneered in the area of stem cells are very great feats.

"In cultural areas too, the task that Shahid Avini pioneered, which was continued by the late Salahshoor in recent years - these personalities were the pioneers of revolutionary work in our country - should be promoted. The value of these personalities should be appreciated and their names should be commemorated. This is revolutionary work. The reason why I repeatedly say that revolutionary forces should be commemorated and preserved is this. When the task is accompanied by a revolutionary spirit, it will move forward!

"I discussed the issue of the economy of resistance. Now, I want to say a few words about cultural issues as well. As you know, cultural issues are very important from my viewpoint. I attach great significance to cultural issues. What I want to say today is the same thing that I think I said last year or the year before that in the meeting that is held in the beginning of the year [Supreme Leader's speech delivered on March 21, 2014]. At that time, I said that those popular groups that do cultural work voluntarily - in the present time, there are thousands of popular groups that are doing cultural work voluntarily and that are working, thinking and making efforts on their own - should be developed on a daily basis.

"Executive organizations should help them. Executive organizations - those that are in charge of cultural work - should open their arms to religious, pious, revolutionary youth instead of opening their arms to those who do not at all believe in Islam, in the Revolution, in the Islamic Republic and in Islamic values. These revolutionary youth can work, as they are working right now. Valuable cultural tasks are being carried out in the present time. In all areas, our revolutionary youth can work hard.

"Dear youth! The country belongs to you! The future belongs to you! The present time belongs to you as well! You should know that if you are in the middle of the arena, if you move forward with faith in God and with reliance on Him and if you believe in yourselves, America and those greater than America will not be able to do a damn thing against you!..."



[2] Immediately after Khamenei's March 30 speech, Rafsanjani tweeted a correction to his original tweet, stating that "the world of tomorrow is a world of talks with similarity to the Islamic Revolution, and not of ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs." @Rafsanjani_fa, March 30, 2016. On April 4, 2016, Iranian journalist Abas Aslani tweeted, " #Iran's Rafsanjani denied & distanced himself from the tweet attributed to him which had said 'future will be discourse world, not missiles'" @Abasinfo, April 4, 2016.

[4] Foreign Affairs, March 7, 2016.

[5], March 30, 2016.

[6], March 20, 2016.

[7], March 23, 2016. The text has been lightly edited for clarity.

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