At the end of the eighth session of the fifth term of the Assembly of Experts for the Leadership, members of this Assembly met with the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khamenei, on Monday, February 22, 2021.
AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): The following is the full text of the speech delivered on February 22, 2021, 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 at the end of the eighth session of the Assembly.
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, honorable gentlemen. I am meeting with you almost after a year, but I wish I could see you in better circumstances – that is, speaking to you up close – but the present circumstances do not allow it. I wish to congratulate you on the birthday anniversary of the Imam of the Pious and the Commander of the Faithful (God’s greetings and peace be upon him) – which is in two days – and also on the birthday anniversary of Hazrat Jawad-ul Aemmah (greetings be upon him).
A number of good brothers, dear friends and outstanding personalities in the Assembly of Experts passed away in the course of the past year and we ask God to forgive them. They gave me a list of all the deceased in the fifth term of the Assembly, but I will not read the list as Mr. Raissi mentioned their names. I hope that God will raise their status, bestow rewards on them and help us fully appreciate the value of these outstanding personalities in scholarly and pragmatic areas.
I have prepared two points to discuss: One is about an ideological need of society which will be good to discuss at this meeting because of the presence of ulama and scholars. These statements are in fact addressed to Islamic seminaries, and scholars in seminarian, academic and other such environments. Another issue concerns an international political matter, which I will discuss after that.
The necessity to put ideological values of Islam into practice
As for the first issue, one of the needs that all Islamic societies and countries have – in particular our dear country which is thankfully run by an Islamic government – is to put Islamic concepts into practice. The epistemological and ideological system of Islam is a set of concepts that should be introduced to the people and brought to the arena of action. This is a very great and important task. Whenever we put an Islamic concept into practice – I will briefly explain this matter later on – it proved to be valuable to the nation and to the country in terms of earning reputation for Islam and the Islamic Republic. And whenever we showed negligence, we deprived ourselves of very good things. What I want to say is that the ideological concepts of Islam should be given an operational aspect and implementing these concepts should become common practice, but this will not happen on its own and it requires hard work. I will cite two, three examples in this regard:
Launching the movement of offering pious help to the needy
For example, on the issue of the coronavirus, the concept of “movasat” [assisting others] is a key concept in the ideological and epistemological system of Islam. With a little clarification and promotion, this concept brought about a movement in society: the movement of offering pious help through which a great endeavor was made. In other words, the people put “movasat” – a valid religious concept and idea – into practice. You witnessed how much work was done throughout the country and how many values were created thanks to the work done by the youth, the people, various groups, governmental organizations and revolutionary associations. A good endeavor was made and a good movement was launched which untied certain knots and accomplished certain tasks. In other words, the concept of movasat had the magnetism and the capacity to influence society in such a magnificent manner.
The concepts that Imam promoted in society
Let us take a step forward: the important concepts that Imam (May God bestow paradise on him) utilized – concepts such as reliance on God, religious obligations, altruism, martyrdom and jihad: These are all religious concepts - became important in society and entered the people’s everyday life thanks to Imam’s presence, dynamism, explanations and demands, which reflected the divine will. The result was that we managed to defeat our opponents in a truly global war lasting for eight years. The people’s great movement in the arena of war originated from those concepts. It was Imam who promoted them among the people and who changed their status from concepts used in the Holy Quran, hadith and the like – we used to read and discuss them, but they were not present in the people’s lives in practice – to concepts used in the arena of action. This was one example.
Another example which in my opinion is more important than the others is this holy ayah: “We sent not an apostle, but to be obeyed, in accordance with the will of Allah” [The Holy Quran, 4: 64]. The purpose of sending prophets is that people obey them and this obedience is absolute. That is, it should be applied in all aspects of life. This ayah implies that people’s lives – whether their personal and private life or their public life – should be run by religion. Some people might want to confine religion’s role to personal matters such as saying daily prayers, fasting and the like, but this is not the case.
First of all, this is because of the ayah’s tone and secondly because of other ayahs such as “How many of the prophets fought in Allah’s way, and with them fought large groups of godly men?” [The Holy Quran, 3: 146]. Well, fighting alongside God is not a personal matter, rather it is a social, public and governmental one. So this ayah has such implications. Imam brought this concept to the arena of action. He utilized the ayah “I admonish you on one point: that you rise before Allah: It may be in pairs, or it may be singly” [The Holy Quran, 34: 46] in that direction. “It may be in pairs, or it may be singly” does not mean saying daily prayers, rather it means establishing a government and an Islamic system.
Imam utilized this concept and launched a movement with it in the year 1341. Later on, thinkers, enthusiasts, Imam’s supporters and pupils and at the top of them, Imam himself promoted this thought in the course of time until it led to the establishment and victory of the Revolution and the government based on the Revolution. Notice that Quranic and Islamic concepts and the ideological concepts of Islam can exert such an influence in life once they are implemented in practice. So, this is an example of the miraculous effects of such a procedure and endeavor. How we should carry out this task is another issue.
The Islamic government’s need for certain tools in order to achieve its ideals
Then, the Islamic government was established. What I want to say is that when the Islamic government was established, it brought up certain ideals derived, once again, from Islam and the Holy Quran. Before the formation of the Islamic government, they used to be mentioned in the form of a dream. Some people might have thought about them as unattainable dreams: ideals such as administration of justice, lack of tolerance in the face of oppression, the non-existence of arrogance and oppression, leading a pure life, the moral transcendence of humans and other such virtues and ideals. These are Islamic ideals and they have been brought up by the Islamic Republic, but before the Revolution, they could not be implemented in practice.
Well, in order to attain these ideals, certain tools are needed. The tools needed to help us attain those ideals exist undoubtedly in the ideological system of Islam because it is impossible for Islam to introduce us to a certain destination and to encourage us to reach that destination without showing us the path. Such a thing is impossible. The path has been shown to us in the Book and in the Sunnah. Now the Islamic government wants to reach those ideals. Therefore, it should look for and find the tools and instruments for achieving that goal – which are part of the spiritual and ideological concepts of Islam. Then, it should use them and move forward. In fact, they are a software for the hardware of the Islamic government. If you consider the Islamic government as a hardware, without a suitable software, it will not be of any value. The software is the ways and methods for achieving the ideals and the continuation of the path.
The necessity to update the Islamic philosophy and ideological system as the software of the Islamic government
Therefore, what I want to say today is that the Islamic government needs such a software. The more the Islamic government expands, the wider the scope of the Islamic government’s activities becomes, the more arenas open to the Islamic Republic and the more challenges it faces – challenges that did not use to exist in the past as with the passage of time, there will be new challenges, arenas and tasks for the Islamic government – the more it needs to update that software and that spiritual system. This is what I want to say. This is what should be seriously demanded from intellectual and bright scholars and this should be done. When we speak about updating the Islamic philosophy and about renewing and modernizing the Islamic ideological system, this does not mean tampering with that spiritual system in any way, rather it means that there are certain truths in the Book and in the Sunnah to which we do not pay careful attention as long as we do not need them. Only when we begin to need them, we become aware of them. There are many examples in this regard and I will cite a few ones here:
For example, the Islamic government is faced with “conditional pressures” imposed by the enemy. By “conditional pressures” I mean that they exert a pressure such as sanctions and later on, they say that they will lift them provided that such and such a thing will be done. It is not the case that they thwart us completely, rather they say that they will lift them if such and such a thing is done. Well, this is a very dangerous and important issue. These conditions might be extremely misleading and lethal conditions. What should we do in such circumstances? In such situations, we notice that the cure for this is to act on this ayah: “Therefore stand firm on the straight path as you are commanded, you and those who with you turn unto Allah” [11: 112]. This is a public matter, not a personal matter.
In the Holy Quran, the terms patience and stand firm sometimes refer to the Holy Prophet himself, not people. For example, the ayah “But, for your Lord's cause, be patient and constant” [74: 7] is addressed to the Holy Prophet, but in this case, it concerns people as well: “Therefore stand firm in the straight path as you are commanded, you and those who with you turn unto Allah.” Everyone should stand firm and resist. In other words, it asks us to make a public move – showing patience and standing firm. Therefore, we understand from this ayah that in such circumstances, we should act like this: “Therefore stand firm in the straight path” or “Except such as have faith… and show patience and constancy” [103: 3]. We should show patience and encourage one another to stand firm, to resist and to have patience and constancy.
So, when such an issue arises, the concept of “Therefore stand firm in the straight path as you are commanded, you and those who with you turn unto Allah” becomes completely clear to us. Before the emergence of such issues, it is not completely clear to us. The phrase “And those who with you turn unto Allah” – meaning that the people should stand firm - is a general rule, but when such a situation arises, we understand its meaning specifically and exactly. Today, we are faced with such an issue: Our people have certain problems part of which results from the pressures exerted by the enemy. Therefore, we want the people to stand firm in the face of these problems. This is a great and important movement that is thankfully being launched in our country.
Another example is that as long as the enemy’s miscellaneous front – the camp of the shaytan composed of various devils – does not confront us and as long as we are not besieged from all sides, we do not correctly understand the meaning of this ayah: “When the believers saw the Confederate forces, they said: ‘This is what Allah and his Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger told us what was true.’ And it only added to their faith and their zeal in obedience” [33: 22]. It means that when we face a difficult circumstance, we should not become agitated and we should not make others agitated: “This is what Allah and his Messenger had promised us.” They had already told us that if we move on the path of the truth, we should expect this: “Likewise did We make for every Messenger an enemy - evil ones among men and jinn - inspiring each other with flowery discourses by way of deception” [6: 112]. We should not be surprised at these things because they have already told us about them and we knew it in advance. When such circumstances arise, this ayah manifests itself to us and show us the path we should take in life. There are many other ayahs and examples in this regard as well.
One of the issues that occupies my mind as an official in the system is the ayah addressed to Hazrat Yunus [Jonah] (God’s greetings be upon him). He made a move out of desperation and exhaustion as his people did not respond to his invitation. Then, Allah the Exalted said to that prophet, who had gone through a lot of trouble for a lifetime and who had worked tirelessly all his life, “And remember Zun-nun, when he departed in wrath. He imagined that We had no power over him” [21, 87]. He thought that God would not be strict with him, but God was indeed strict with him as a result of which, Hazrat Yunus was disciplined like that. When I feel inactive and passive – whether I get this feeling myself or feel that other officials suffer from it – I remember this ayah: “He imagined that We had no power over him.” We think that such negligence and inactiveness will not receive a harsh response from Allah the Exalted, but this is not the case because this might happen to us and show itself in reality.
The necessity to strengthen the intellectual camp of the Islamic government with the help of competent and knowledgeable personalities
To put it briefly, the more the Islamic government expands and moves forwards, the more new issues – domestic and international – challenges, and situations it will face. This will make it necessary for the intellectual camp, which feeds the system, to be expanded as well. The intellectual camp that is moving the system forward, that is feeding it and preventing it from deviation should be strengthened. New concepts should be brought up. As I mentioned, these new concepts do not come from the outside, rather they come from within the Islamic concepts: from the Quran and the Sunnah.
Of course, this task – finding and discussing new concepts – cannot be accomplished by just anyone. It should be pursued by those scholars and thinkers who are completely familiar with Islamic principles, who have studied and deliberated on the Holy Quran carefully and who avoid intellectual fossilization. This is because on the one hand, there is a danger that some incompetent, semi-literate and deviant people might try to derive new concepts from divine ayahs and on the other hand, there is the danger that some reactionaries for whom the issue of religion’s role in the social life, in politics and in government has not been resolved yet might want to enter the arena. This should not be allowed. Such tasks should be accomplished by intellectual and outstanding personalities. This was the first issue that I wanted to discuss. The issue has great potential for further study and research.
The administration and the Majlis should cooperate with one another in order to avoid discord and disharmony
The second issue, which is a political one and which I will discuss briefly, is about the nuclear issue. Well, a certain law was passed by the Majlis. The administration welcomed the law and until yesterday, it did what it was supposed to do for its enforcement. Another part of the law will be enforced tomorrow and by Allah’s favor, they will do it. Of course, I heard today that there is a difference of opinion between the administration and the Majlis over what the administration has done and the Majlis’s interpretation of it. They should resolve this difference of opinion. They should not leave such differences of opinion on their own, nor should they intensify them which might sound like disharmony. These disputes are resolvable and they should be settled. After all, the administration is committed to the implementation of the law and this law is a good one. Moreover, they should act carefully. The two sides should cooperate with one another so that the law will be enforced. This matter was about the legal side of the issue.
European countries should honor their JCPOA commitments and avoid using arrogant language
The language used by the other sides – those four countries including the three European countries [England, France and Germany] and the US – in their recent statements and manifestos was an arrogant language: they spoke from a position of power and made thuggish and unfair statements. The language used by them is a wrong one. They constantly discuss Iran’s reduction of JCPOA commitments, questioning us for cancelling some of them, but they do not at all speak about the violation of their own commitments from the first day. In other words, the first people who should be chastised and questioned are them.
The Islamic Republic fulfilled all its commitments for a long time based on Islamic teachings. Later on, when it saw that they were acting like that – first the US withdrew from the deal and then others cooperated with it – the Islamic Republic acted on the Holy Quran: “If you fear treachery from any group, throw back their covenant to them, so as to be on equal terms” [8: 58]. This is a Quranic command. However, our honorable administration did not abandon its commitments and it only gradually reduced some of the commitments which could be restored to the prior state. If they fulfill their commitments, this reduction of commitments could be restored to the prior state. However, they do not at all mention this. They constantly speak about the issue of Iran and use an arrogant language. It is clear what issues we have with the US, but these three European countries should know that speaking in such an arrogant and conceited manner will seriously incite the hatred of the Iranian nation and the Revolution. Such a language will make them more hated than the present time in the eyes of our public opinion.
Enrichment levels can vary according to the needs of the country
Well, some people -including that international Zionist clown – constantly say that they will not let us build a nuclear weapon. Who are you to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon? If we decided to build a nuclear weapon, then you and powers greater than you would not be able to stop us, but we decided not to do so because this is our Islamic thinking. Our Islamic thinking says that a weapon which is used for killing civilians, non-military people and ordinary people is forbidden. It is forbidden, be it nuclear or chemical. Such weapons are forbidden. It is because of the Islamic viewpoint that we do not want to build a nuclear weapon. However, if we wanted to do so, who are you to prevent us?
You yourselves do not observe these principles. In one day, the US massacred 220,000 people [referring to America’s use of nuclear bombs]. It is five years now that in Yemen, airplanes, equipped by westerners, have been bombarding the people in the streets, in the market, in mosques, in the hospital and at school. They are killing ordinary people and lay siege to the people. This is their doing. However, the Islamic Republic does not accept this method and outlook and therefore, we are not thinking about building a nuclear weapon, but we will do other things. Our enrichment is not limited to 20%. If need be, we might bring it to 60% for our nuclear cycle or other things. We will move according to our needs. Now, they have signed a deal with a specific timeline. If they honor the deal, we will honor it as well, within the timeline specified, but not generally.
The enemies do not want the Islamic Republic to have elements of power in order to blackmail it
They say that they are opposed to nuclear weapons, but they are lying because this is not their issue. Perhaps many or all of them know that we are not after a nuclear weapon, but they are even opposed to us having conventional weapons. They are opposed to us having defensive weapons because they want to take away Iran’s elements of power. Otherwise, the essence of the country’s need for enrichment is clear.
Undoubtedly, in a few years, nuclear power plants will be one of the most important sources of energy in the world. The day when we run out of oil or the day when there are other functions for it, nuclear power plants will become common practice in all countries because they provide a healthier, cleaner and cheaper energy. On that day, we will be needing that energy, but we cannot start enrichment on that day, rather we should start it today in order to prepare ourselves, but they do not want this. Arrogant westerners do not want this. They want Iran to be dependent on them the day when it needs the nuclear energy so that they well be able to impose their demands and to bully and blackmail us. This is what they are looking for.
Iran should rely on the capacity of the Iranian nation in order to stand up against bullying
In the present time, they buy oil in barrels at a cheap price – the price of oil is really a bargain – but they have extravagant claims. If oil were in their hands – for example, if England, France and Germany were oil producers and if we Iranians were buyers – they would not give it to us even in bottles and they would demand a fortune in order to give us some oil! They wish to do something similar to the nuclear energy. But this will not be allowed, because enrichment is our need and we will continue to have. It is not an issue which they can use as an instrument for bullying us. What is clear to us is that just like other issues, some people who consider themselves to be powerful and who wish to bully and blackmail the Islamic Republic want to force it into retreat with the nuclear issue, but the Islamic Republic will not retreat. By Allah’s favor and grace, we will embark on satisfying the needs of the country, whether in the present time or in the future, within the scope of our capability – thankfully, we have many capabilities: the Iranian nation has many capabilities and capacities – God willing.
I hope that Allah the Exalted will purify our intentions for His Own cause and that He will make our officials succeed so that they will carry out their responsibilities in a diligent and tireless manner and so that they will pursue divine satisfaction. I hope that our nation and officials will benefit from the prayers of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) and that the immaculate soul of Imam and the pure souls of our dear martyrs will be satisfied with us. I hope that your session will be a successful one, enabling the Assembly of Experts to make progress in its work.
Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings