Imam Khamenei: "We need to make up for shortcomings, weaknesses with our achievements"

Imam Khamenei:

The following is the full text of a speech delivered on February 17, 2021, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, via videoconference with the participation of people from Tabriz and East Azerbaijan, commemorating the anniversary of the Tabriz uprising of February 18, 1978.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): The following is the full text of a speech delivered on February 17, 2021, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, via videoconference with the participation of people from Tabriz and East Azerbaijan, commemorating the anniversary of the Tabriz uprising of February 18, 1978.

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.

I wish to greet the dear people of Tabriz and Azerbaijan and to commemorate the historic and unforgettable 29th of Bahman, which is, unfortunately, being held this way out of necessity [via videoconference]. Every year, we used to meet with you up close at this Hussainiyah and we used to be happy because of the presence of you dear people and because of the enthusiasm generated by your Azerbaijani and Tabrizi sentiments. Unfortunately, this year it is not possible to do so and this is one of the various ups and downs in life. Every day passes in a different way. I hope that these obstacles will be eliminated soon, God willing.

 

The necessity to benefit from the blessings of the month of Rajab

I congratulate all you dear ones, the people of Tabriz and Azerbaijan and the masses of the people of Iran on the arrival of the month of Rajab and I hope that everyone will benefit from the spiritual blessings of this month. Of course, there will be no public gatherings this month and what was possible every year for the people – religious gatherings, spiritual prayers and dhikr – is not possible this year, but you should not forget about the prayers of Rajab at home, as they are very good prayers. This temporary cancellation of gatherings should not make us forget about the blessings of this month and about praying and supplicating before God.

First of all, I will say a few things about the characteristics of Tabriz and Azerbaijan. Although I have discussed these matters at length, I believe that they should be repeated so that the minds of our dear youth, in particular the minds of dear youth from that area, will become more familiar with them. After that, I will raise a few points about the 29th of Bahman event – that very important historic event – and also a few points about the lesson that we should learn from it so that by benefiting from this great lesson, we will be able to eliminate the shortcomings that we have today. I will also briefly discuss the issue of the elections.

 

The characteristics of Tabriz and Azerbaijan:

1: Azerbaijan is a producer of outstanding personalities

As for Tabriz, well, the 29th of Bahman of 1356 was a glorious event in terms of its jihadi and operational significance. It was an important endeavor and it is really a source of pride for the people of Tabriz, but the glories of Azerbaijan and Tabriz are not confined to this jihadi accomplishment and other such accomplishments. The scope of this city’s and this area’s glories is much wider. I will cite some examples:

One is the cultivation of outstanding personalities. Azerbaijan, in particular Tabriz, is a producer of outstanding personalities in science, arts and politics. During the past 150 years – I have not studied the eras before that – in both religious and natural sciences, this area is an exemplary and truly elite-generating area because of cultivating great faqihs, scholars, orators and scientists in natural sciences. So, Azerbaijan is known for cultivating outstanding personalities in scientific and artistic areas. As an example of Tabrizi poets and artists – of all genres – they mention the late Shahriar (God’s mercy be upon him). I also believe that this is true, but it is not only him. There were many poets in Tabriz who composed poems either in Farsi or in Turkish. Azerbaijan also offered many outstanding personalities in the area of politics. Therefore, cultivating outstanding personalities is one of the characteristics of this area that should be preserved.

 

2. Channeling historic developments in the past two centuries

Another characteristic is channeling the historic and political developments of the country. In the past 150, 200 years, Azerbaijan has been an influential factor in channeling developments. Sometimes, a person only joins a movement and sometimes, a person creates an orientation and causes a development and they influence its formation and its continuation. Tabriz and Azerbaijan are like this. In the era when the late Mirza Shirazi issued the famous tobacco fatwa [against the attempt by colonial powers to monopolize Iranian tobacco], the late Hajj Mirza Javad Mujtahid – an outstanding scholar in Tabriz whose family is well-known for introducing mujtahids  – was an influential personality. Well, at that time, Mirza Shirazi was in Samarra. If it had not been for the scholars in Iran – figures such as Mirza Ashtiani in Tehran, Hajj Mirza Javad Mujtahid in Tabriz and other ulama in other cities – that fatwa would not have become comprehensive and would not have produced the desired effect. In Azerbaijan, the late Hajj Mirza Javad entered the arena in an active manner. The same is true of the Constitutional Era – later on, I will expand on this matter. Therefore, in the historic and political developments of the country, generally Azerbaijan and specifically Tabriz created a wave of influential orientations.

 

3. Azerbaijan a strong fortress against foreign attacks

The next point is that Azerbaijan was Iran’s strong fortress against foreign attacks. We were always subject to attacks launched by aggressive neighbors – Tsarist Russia, the former Ottoman Empire and former Soviet Union. If it had not been for Azerbaijan and Tabriz and for their resistance, steadfastness and sacrifices, it would have been possible for those attacks to be drawn into the central areas of the country. Azerbaijan has been a strong dam and fortress which has always repelled and frustrated those attacks.

 

4. Azerbaijan’s attachment to Islam and zeal for Iran

A very important point is that Tabriz and Azerbaijan have always had two permanent and eternal qualities and identities: one is deep attachment to Islam and to Islamic piety and the second is strong zeal for Iran. These two qualities have always existed in Azerbaijan in different eras: They have attached so much significance to Islam and Iran. This is a really important quality. The people of Azerbaijan have always stood up against those foreigners who wanted to dismember various parts of Iran in that region and they managed to preserve the country’s integrity.

 

5. Introducing personalities who were influential in the affairs of the country

Another characteristic is the important role played by outstanding personalities. There are many personalities in this area who played a leading role in all the matters of the country. As I mentioned, in the event of tobacco, the late Hajj Mirza Javad played an important role. In the beginning of the Constitutional Movement, Sattar Khan and Baqir Khan -Baqir Khan lived in the same neighborhood as my father and my father knew him in the Khiyaban neighborhood – played a prominent role and in another era, when the Russians had entered Tabriz and were present there, the late Siqatul-Islam Tabrizi and other great ulama fought and were martyred. Yet in another era, Sheikh Muhammad Khiyabani and Mirza Isamael Nobari entered the arena and did certain activities that led to the martyrdom of Khiyabani.

And during revolutionary activities, when the movement began in the year 1342, there were three well-known ulama from Tabriz among the ulama who had been arrested by the regime. Later on, during various events on days close to the Revolution, we witnessed the move made by the late Qazi [Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Ali Qazi Tabatabai] and others. After the Revolution, we witnessed the activities of Shahid Madani and Shahid Qazi and during the Sacred Defense Era, the activities of Shahid Bakeri. There are tens of such outstanding personalities who played an important role. They are unforgettable personalities. I will tell you that we should not let this glorious history be consigned to oblivion. This history should be preserved. Undoubtedly, without a correct analysis of the history of Azerbaijan, every analysis of the history of Iran is incomplete and defective. Those who are experts and who are enthusiastic should embark on presenting a correct analysis of the issues of Azerbaijan. These were a few short points about Azerbaijan and Tabriz.

 

The qualities of the people of Azerbaijan that helped create the 29th of Bahman event

As for the 29th of Bahman of 1356, after that event, Imam issued a message in which he cited three characteristics of the dear people of Tabriz. The word “dear” also existed in the message issued by Imam: “The dear people of Azerbaijan”. He mentioned three characteristics: courage, zeal and piety. Our magnanimous Imam mentioned these three characteristics in his message to Azerbaijan. All three characteristics are really important criteria for evaluating a group of people and assessing their activities and endeavors: courage, zeal and piety in the right place and right time.

When the people of Tabriz staged an uprising – in my opinion, this is an important point which should receive attention – they had already seen the 19th of Dey event in Qom. They had already seen how savagely the regime entered the arena to kill the people. And the regime thought that it had managed to take away the people’s courage from them after the Qom incident and that no one would dare enter the arena. Under such circumstances, the people entered the arena with a participation several times larger than what had occurred in Qom and they introduced an innovative ceremony: The 40th-day anniversary of the Qom incident. When other 40th-day ceremonies were held leading to those great popular movements, it all began in Tabriz. In other words, the people of Tabriz were the frontrunners for commemorating the martyrs before them. Well, it was their courage, piety and zeal which brought them to the arena and created those great events.

I believe that if it had not been for the valorous movement launched by the people of Tabriz on the 29th of Bahman, the people of Qom’s bloody movement might have been gradually consigned to oblivion, just like the 15th of Khordad of 1342 which was gradually being passed to oblivion. Of course, after the Revolution, it was revived, but before the Revolution, the people were gradually forgetting what had happened in Tehran, Qom, Varamin and other cities on the 15th of Khordad of 1342. The 19th of Dey event by the people of Qom might also have suffered the same fate if the people of Tabriz had not entered the arena. However, the people created the 29th of Bahman valor, thus reviving the Qom incident and giving a fresh impetus to the revolutionary movement.

Well, these three qualities – courage, zeal and piety – showed themselves both during and after the Revolution. In the beginning of the Revolution, when foreigners were after disintegrating the country, the people of Tabriz entered the area. During the Sacred Defense Era too, the “Ashura Army” was a courageous and innovative army and Shahid Bakeri is also an unforgettable personality who will never be forgotten. His close friends – f course, I saw him many times as well – and those who were with him narrate such things about his enlightenment, his spirituality and his warmth that one really envies him.

Later on, during the sedition of Khalq-e Musalman, it was the people of Tabriz themselves who responded. Those who had caused the sedition of Khalq-e Musulman used to have the notion that they were going to do something for Azerbaijan, but it was the people themselves who stood up against the sedition and it was they who  prevented them from succeeding. At that time, Imam said the same thing. He said that no one needed to do anything as the people of Tabriz would respond to them on their own. Also in subsequent years, in the sedition of the year 1388, the people of Tabriz entered the arena and foiled the plot one day sooner than the people of Tehran and one day sooner than other people throughout the country.

 

 The reason why the enemies show hostility towards the Islamic government

These were some points about the 29th of Bahman of 1356 and about the significance and greatness of that event. We should never forget it. Now, what lesson should we learn from that event? This is my main discussion. What is the lesson that we should learn from it today?

Well, from the beginning, the Islamic Revolution faced the enmity of superpowers and a certain front came into being. When I say, “superpowers”, I mean the Soviet Union of those days as well as the US. They had disagreements with one another over hundreds of matters, but they had an agreement with one another over the issue of confronting the Islamic Republic, the Islamic Revolution and the system established by Imam. The same was true of European powers. The same was true of their cohorts -regional reactionaries and others. A front against the Islamic Revolution came into being. Well, what was the reason for their enmity? This is a point that we should never forget.

The only reason for their enmity was that the Islamic government had rejected the norms established by the system of domination. The system of domination war ruling over the world. What does the system of domination mean? It means the division of the world into two parts: the oppressor and the oppressed. The oppressor should be dominant. Its politics, its culture and its economy should be dominant. And the oppressed should give in to the oppressor. Countries in the world were thus divided into oppressor and oppressed countries. That was a completely established norm in the world. They had divided the whole world like that.

One part of the world was in the hands of the Americans. One part was in the hands of the Soviet Union of those days and another part was in the hands of second-tier powers which were following their lead. That was the condition of the world, but the Islamic Republic, the Islamic government and the Islamic Revolution rejected this system. Well, that was the vein that gave life to arrogance. The norms established by the system of domination were like a vein that gave life to arrogance. The life of arrogance depended on that, but the Islamic Republic and the Islamic government rejected that and therefore, superpowers stood against it.

Of course, they always fabricated some excuses in order to justify their enmity. One day, they brought up the issue of human rights, one day, they painted a dark picture of religion’s unrestrained domination and they did so in various ways, one day, they brought up the issue of the nuclear issue and another day, they brought up the issue of missiles and Iran’s regional presence. These are all excuses. The essence of the issue is that the Islamic government is not willing to be a partner to the global system of domination and it does not wish to cooperate with it in the oppressor-oppressed division of the world. The Islamic government is standing up against oppression and hegemony.

 

Confronting the enemy by:

1. Strengthening national identity

Well, in the face of this enmity and this front, our dear and eternal nation needs to strengthen its identity, its personality and its identity elements and it should increase its inner power as well. This is a definite need. What gives identity and power to a nation and a movement?  First of all, having a firm ideological infrastructure. The reason why many countries which conducted a revolution and made moves against hegemony, arrogance, oppression and tyranny returned from their path after a short time – some after five years, some after ten years – and took the path of their predecessors and behaved like them was that they did not have a firm ideological infrastructure.

When you see foreigners use certain terms – unfortunately, some people inside the country repeat it as well – such as “combating ideology”, this is what it means. The main enemy of hegemonic powers is this fundamental ideological infrastructure which is an Islamic one. This infrastructure is based on Islam and it has been explained in detail in Imam’s statements. If you look at the large volume of books containing Imam’s statements, this Islamic ideological infrastructure is completely radiant there and our late Imam’s wealth of statements is a rich source of information in this regard.

Besides, valuable lessons by our revolutionary thinkers are available to us: thinkers such as Shahid Motahhari, Shahid Beheshti and others up until the present time. These thinkers have derived this infrastructure from the Holy Quran and Islamic documents. Of course, I firmly believe that the intellectual forces of the Islamic government should complete and continue this path. They should improve, promote and update this ideology on a daily basis as with the emergence of new issues, new responses are needed. They should provide these responses for those who desire it, for researchers and youth.

2. Refusing to help the enemy, showing fearlessness and being tireless in action

Well, these statements were about the ideological infrastructure. This is necessary, but in practice, we need certain things as well because the mere existence of this infrastructure is not enough. What do we need in practice? Fearlessness, tirelessness and the refusal to become hopeless and lazy and to unconsciously play the enemy’s game and help him. These are needed in the area of action. And we need to be ready to make sacrifices in the right place. When we say in the right place, this means that in certain cases, we need to make sacrifices and risk our lives: “They risk their lives and save the country from ignominy” [From a poem by Mehrdad Avesta].

Just like Shahid Soleimani who was prepared to sacrifice his life. That was how he entered various arenas. The same is true of other dear martyrs such as your own Shahid Bakeri. When he departed for the other side of Tigris to participate in that very important, complicated and difficult operation, he called his friends before his martyrdom, saying to them, “Come see what is happening here!” I do not know what he saw there. I do not know what appeared in front of him from the spiritual world, urging him to invite his friends – as narrated by Shahid Kadhimi and others – to go and see what was happening there. Well, these are personalities who were prepared to lay down their lives. Sometimes, making sacrifices is necessary, but what we always need are the things that I already mentioned: tirelessness, hope and refusal to help the enemy and to be lazy. We need to reject idleness and inactiveness in our lives.

Of course, the Iranian nation fortunately possesses these qualities. To be fair, the Iranian nation did not become tired. Well, you have witnessed an example of this during the astonishing burial ceremony of Shahid Soleimani and also during this year’s 22nd of Bahman rally. Despite the existence of health protocols, they enthusiastically used new innovations to prevent the 22nd of Bahman rally from being cancelled. There are also various other events supporting this. The same characteristics were witnessed in the Tabriz uprising: The same fearlessness, hope and the willingness to enter the arena and make sacrifices.

In the days leading to the 22nd of Bahman, the same qualities existed in Tehran and in many other cities. It was Imam (May God bestow paradise on him) who was walking ahead of everyone else. If Imam had not been brave, if he had feared and lost hope, if he had become tired and showed laziness, that great event would not have occurred. In the last days leading to the victory of the Revolution, Imam watched everything carefully and meticulously and he was attending to all details until he rejected the martial law curfew and invited the people to pour onto the streets and the issue was resolved. Secondly, the people showed courage and fearlessness, entered the arena and showed their presence in the true sense of the word.

 

Steadfastness and resistance: qualities needed to resolve the problems of the country

Whenever this diligence exists, it will be followed by divine Guidance. In other words, whenever diligence and self-sacrifice exist, Allah the Exalted will not leave us alone: “And those who strive in Our cause, We will certainly guide them to our paths” [The Holy Quran, 29: 69]. When His servants show diligence, Allah the Exalted bestows His guidance on them. As well as divine guidance, one will benefit from success and progress: “If they had remained on the right way, We should certainly have bestowed on them rain in abundance” [The Holy Quran, 72:16]. The Arabic word, “ma-an ghadagha” means quenching one’s thirst with fresh and abundant water. Scholars say that this phrase means resolving all the problems in life. If you show steadfastness and resistance – meaning that you will not deviate from the path – and if you take the straight path, the problems in life will surely be resolved and shortcomings will be eliminated. We should always pay attention to this point. The path that the Iranian nation has taken until today is very significant. We should be aware of its significance.

 

The achievements of the Islamic Revolution for Iran

The achievements of the Revolution are truly great and amazing. Of course, we have not worked enough on delineating these achievements. Sometimes, certain things have been said in a speech or on television, but there is much more room for speaking about the achievements of the Revolution. The Revolution has made extraordinary and great achievements in the most vital parts of social life. I will cite two, three examples in this regard:

 

1. The scientific progress of the country

One of the achievements is that the Revolution managed to change our country into a free, independent and dear country which benefits from great scientific achievements in vital areas in the present time. That was while before that, Iran was a scientifically backward country. Iran used to be at the bottom of the list of backward countries, scientifically speaking. And politically speaking, it was tied to global powers’ apron strings. Economically speaking, it was dependent on big powers. In other words, our economy was in the control of the Americans and in one era, in the control of the English. However today, Iran is among the first five, six, ten countries in important scientific fields. These are very important fields. The country has progressed in these areas and it has turned into an independent, free and dignified country. This is one of the most important tasks that the Revolution has carried out.

 

2. Turning the Iranian nation into an energetic and proud nation

The second achievement is that it has changed the Iranian nation from an apathetic and purposeless nation which follows others’ lead to an energetic, fresh, purposeful, proud and dignified nation in the world. Before the Revolution, these qualities did not exist. The people used to lower their heads and busy themselves with their everyday affairs. There was not a lofty goal, a great endeavor and a broad outlook towards the issues of the world in any way. Of course, a limited number of people might have benefited from these qualities, but the country overall was not like that.

However, today, the nation is energetic and proud with so many energetic youths. Once I said in one of my speeches that there are thousands of young scientific nuclei in the country today. There are various groups of people who are busy doing scientific, technical and social work, an example of which was cited by the honorable Friday prayer leader today: the participation of youth in the area of anti-coronavirus activities and offering pious help to the needy. Youth are entering these arenas and working, but these things did not exist in the past in any way. The nation changed. It changed from a state of apathy to a state of energy and enthusiasm. This is another achievement.

3. Changing the government from a tyrannical to a popular government

The third point which is very important is that the Islamic Revolution changed the management of the country from a dictatorial, monarchic and individualist government to a popular, republican and democratic government. Today, the people are the ones in charge of their own destiny. It is they who choose. They might choose badly, but it is they who choose. This is a very important matter!

However, on that day, this right did not exist and the country was a dictatorial country. Everything was in the hands of the regime. A well-known American personality who was a friend of Mohammad Reza, says that when he went to Iran, he said to Mohammad Reza that such and such a prime minister was an incompetent person, but Mohammad Reza said, “Do not worry, I am doing everything on my own.” And that was the truth of the matter. Everything was in the hands of one person and he was in charge of all decision-making. The people did not have any role whatsoever. Even government officials did not have any role to play. This is another point.

4. Rendering construction services in the country

The next achievement is the Revolution’s services in building the country. I am really surprised because some people say other things. Do they not see these services? Do they not see this important service to the people which is building basic infrastructures? So many fundamental infrastructures have been built in the country such as roads, dams, water, electricity and gas transfer systems, the development of industries, the modernization of agriculture and the astonishing development of universities. In every small city, there is a university! There are many universities and many students.

Notice that we have come from 150,000 students in those days to 10, 15 million students in the present time. Today, we have students and graduates in universities 30, 40 times more than those days. These are very important infrastructural tasks. This is an amazing feat accomplished by the Revolution. An ordinary and non-revolutionary government would not have been able to accomplish so many tasks.

5. Strengthening the defensive and military forces of the country

Moreover, the Revolution strengthened the military and defensive forces of the country. Iran used to be a country which could not resist more than a few hours in the face of an attack launched by a limited number of English and non-English forces in World War II. However, all global powers – the US, the Soviet Union, England, France, Germany and reactionary countries, with the money that they provided – fought for eight years against Iran under the name of Saddam and it was a world war in the true sense of the word.  But they could not do a damn thing after the passage of eight years as they were expelled from our borders by our military forces and our people! This is not a minor achievement. This great move was made in the first decade of the Revolution. Today, our military forces are thankfully tens of times better than those days. Today, in the eyes of public opinion in the world, our country is thankfully a regional power in terms of defensive capability.

The reason why the US and Zionist regimes and some European countries hatch various plots every day against the country is that they see that the country and the Revolution do not stop and they advance and progress continuously. This makes them hatch a new plot every day. Of course, by Allah’s favor, the power of the Iranian nation and of officials and representatives of the country will foil their plots.

 

The necessity to behave in a revolutionary manner to make up for shortcomings

Well, these are the achievements of the Revolution which are significant. We should know what these achievements are. Of course, we have never hidden and will never hide the fact that we have some shortcomings in certain areas. These shortcomings are not acceptable in any way. It is we who are to blame for these shortcomings. We officials are to blame and the people might also be partially to blame in certain areas. These shortcomings should be made up for. This is because of the failure to behave in a revolutionary manner. Whenever we acted in a revolutionary manner, we did not witness any shortcomings and whenever we abandoned our revolutionary principles and made a non-revolutionary move stemming from laziness and negligence, we witnessed a shortcoming. The primary shortcoming is the issue of the livelihood conditions of underprivileged classes. We have shortcomings in this regard and there are class inequalities and rifts. Of course, I should add that despite our shortcomings in this area, we are a long way ahead of pre-revolutionary era. If someone thinks that the pre-revolutionary era was like the present time, this is not at all the case.

In those days, I was in contact with various groups of people, including underprivileged classes, in Mashhad and other cities. I was also aware of the conditions in other cities. The conditions were very different from today. Things were really bad, but today, we have progressed in that sense. Nonetheless, the position which we are in does not befit the Revolution’s status. We should have made much more progress. We should put an end to class inequalities and administer social justice in the country in the true sense of the word. This is our responsibility. This is our job and we should accomplish it. Before the Revolution, the population of the country was 35 million people, but today, it is 85 million. In those days, oil revenues were several times larger than today – we used to sell oil and benefit from it – but today, in addition to the sanctions, we have never sold oil as much as those days – before the Revolution, as they said, the country used to sell six million barrels every day. Nonetheless, good tasks have thankfully been carried out, but they are not at all enough.

 

The enemy’s psychological warfare in order to disappoint the people

Pay attention to this point: The enemy is highlighting our shortcomings. This is his psychological warfare. He mentions them in an emphatic manner and magnifies their importance. Of course, he does not speak about our achievements and accomplishments in any way and he does so on purpose. His goal is to disappoint our youth and to make our people pessimistic about the future. We should pay attention to this. They do not have any scruples about telling lies. They exaggerate about certain facts and tell lies about certain others. And some people inside our country repeat and reflect what they say out of negligence – of course, some might have ulterior motives, but most do it out of negligence. We have these setbacks. There are shortcomings that should be eliminated.

 

The necessity to strengthen the people’s sensitivity about problems and about corruption

Today, our people are more sensitive about these setbacks. Today, they are sensitive about corruption. Today, they are more sensitive about class inequalities than the beginning of the Revolution. This is not a bad issue, rather it is a very good phenomenon as it shows that the people have become familiar with the ideals of the Revolution and that they are pursuing them. That is why they complain about corruption. Whenever, there is a fight against corruption, the people show interest and advocate the move in an enthusiastic manner. Whenever there is an endeavor to help underprivileged classes and to administer justice, the people show their support for it. This is very important because it shows the people’s orientation. This should be strengthened.

 

The necessity to make up for the shortcomings by utilizing the achievements

We need to make up for the shortcomings and weaknesses with the achievements. Notice that this is an important point. We have certain achievements such as the existence of enthusiastic and creative youth and prepared manpower. This is one of our achievements. We should make up for shortcomings with the help of achievements. However, the enemy says the opposite things. He puts forward the failures and says that we should focus on them, forget about the achievements and abandon the path of the Revolution. This is what the enemy is saying. On the contrary, we say that we must make up for the failures and shortcomings with the help of the achievements. We should see this wealth of achievements and utilize them in order to eliminate the shortcomings, God willing.

Fortunately, revolutionary enthusiasm is alive in the people. As I mentioned, an example is that astonishing and really unique burial ceremony. In the history of other countries, we never witnessed such a burial ceremony with the participation of millions of people from throughout the country. It was unique. We have other magnificent events such as this year’s 22nd of Bahman rally which indicated the people’s revolutionary zeal. Therefore, we should benefit from the past in order to smooth the path of the future and move towards our destiny.

 

The cure for the serious problems of the country lies in holding enthusiastic elections and make a good choice

I wish to raise a point about the elections as well. In our country, elections are a great opportunity which should not be missed. Of course, the opponents of the Islamic Republic do not want the Islamic Republic to seize this opportunity. Elections have these characteristics: they are a good possibility for the nation, they are a great capacity for the progress of the country and they show the people’s revolutionary enthusiasm. When the people participate in elections and show their revolutionary enthusiasm, this will bring about security for the country. It will cause the enemy to step back and to be less greedy about the country. The more enthusiastic the elections are and the higher the turnout is, the more benefits and advantages it will have for the country and for the people themselves.

Of course, as I mentioned, the enemies do not want this. Whenever election time approaches – in all terms: we have held about 40 elections in the course of all these years – they begin to say things against it. Sometimes, they say that there is no freedom, sometimes they say that such and such people interfere in it, sometimes they claim that the elections have been engineered by such and such people and sometimes, they say other things in order to discourage the people from participating in it. This is what the enemy does.

However, the truth of the matter is that elections are a source of pride for the country. They are an opportunity, a possibility and a provision. If the people participate in it in large numbers, this will certainly help the future of the country. Of course, if this enthusiastic participation is accompanied by a correct choice through which a really competent, pious, motivated and enthusiastic group of people are elected, this will be even better as it will guarantee the future of the country. Well, in the following months, if I am alive, I will have many things to say about the elections, but today, I wanted to say this. I want to say that the cure for the serious problems of the country lies in holding an enthusiastic election with the large participation of the people and after that, in choosing the right person for the presidential elections.

 

The Islamic Republic’s decision on the JCPOA: Actions not words

The last point is about the Bar-Jaam [JCPOA]. Well, I have spoken recently about the Bar-Jaam and I have spoken in detail about it. We have already spoken about the Islamic Republic’s policies on the Bar-Jaam. Certain things are said and certain promises are made here and there. Today, I only wish to say this: We have heard many nice words and promises, but in practice, they have not been honored and on the contrary, they have acted against those promises. It is no use talking. It is no use giving promises. This time, only actions matter! If we see actions on the part of the other side, we will take action too. This time, the Islamic Republic will not be satisfied with hearing such and such words and promises. Things will not be like the past.

Dear Lord, by the blessedness of Muhammad and his household, shower Your blessings, kindness and grace on the people of Tabriz and the people of Azerbaijan – both East and West Azerbaijan as well as Ardabil.

Dear Lord, by the blessedness of Muhammad and his household, associate the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam, who opened this path to us, with Your saints.

Dear Lord, make the pure souls of our dear martyrs pleased with us.

Dear Lord, make the holy existence of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) satisfied with us and help us benefit from the prayers of that great Imam.

 

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings




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The following is the full text of a speech delivered on February 17, 2021, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, via videoconference with the participation of people from Tabriz and East Azerbaijan, commemorating the anniversary of the Tabriz uprising of February 18, 1978.

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.

I wish to greet the dear people of Tabriz and Azerbaijan and to commemorate the historic and unforgettable 29th of Bahman, which is, unfortunately, being held this way out of necessity [via videoconference]. Every year, we used to meet with you up close at this Hussainiyah and we used to be happy because of the presence of you dear people and because of the enthusiasm generated by your Azerbaijani and Tabrizi sentiments. Unfortunately, this year it is not possible to do so and this is one of the various ups and downs in life. Every day passes in a different way. I hope that these obstacles will be eliminated soon, God willing.

 

The necessity to benefit from the blessings of the month of Rajab

I congratulate all you dear ones, the people of Tabriz and Azerbaijan and the masses of the people of Iran on the arrival of the month of Rajab and I hope that everyone will benefit from the spiritual blessings of this month. Of course, there will be no public gatherings this month and what was possible every year for the people – religious gatherings, spiritual prayers and dhikr – is not possible this year, but you should not forget about the prayers of Rajab at home, as they are very good prayers. This temporary cancellation of gatherings should not make us forget about the blessings of this month and about praying and supplicating before God.

First of all, I will say a few things about the characteristics of Tabriz and Azerbaijan. Although I have discussed these matters at length, I believe that they should be repeated so that the minds of our dear youth, in particular the minds of dear youth from that area, will become more familiar with them. After that, I will raise a few points about the 29th of Bahman event – that very important historic event – and also a few points about the lesson that we should learn from it so that by benefiting from this great lesson, we will be able to eliminate the shortcomings that we have today. I will also briefly discuss the issue of the elections.

 

The characteristics of Tabriz and Azerbaijan:

1: Azerbaijan is a producer of outstanding personalities

As for Tabriz, well, the 29th of Bahman of 1356 was a glorious event in terms of its jihadi and operational significance. It was an important endeavor and it is really a source of pride for the people of Tabriz, but the glories of Azerbaijan and Tabriz are not confined to this jihadi accomplishment and other such accomplishments. The scope of this city’s and this area’s glories is much wider. I will cite some examples:

One is the cultivation of outstanding personalities. Azerbaijan, in particular Tabriz, is a producer of outstanding personalities in science, arts and politics. During the past 150 years – I have not studied the eras before that – in both religious and natural sciences, this area is an exemplary and truly elite-generating area because of cultivating great faqihs, scholars, orators and scientists in natural sciences. So, Azerbaijan is known for cultivating outstanding personalities in scientific and artistic areas. As an example of Tabrizi poets and artists – of all genres – they mention the late Shahriar (God’s mercy be upon him). I also believe that this is true, but it is not only him. There were many poets in Tabriz who composed poems either in Farsi or in Turkish. Azerbaijan also offered many outstanding personalities in the area of politics. Therefore, cultivating outstanding personalities is one of the characteristics of this area that should be preserved.

 

2. Channeling historic developments in the past two centuries

Another characteristic is channeling the historic and political developments of the country. In the past 150, 200 years, Azerbaijan has been an influential factor in channeling developments. Sometimes, a person only joins a movement and sometimes, a person creates an orientation and causes a development and they influence its formation and its continuation. Tabriz and Azerbaijan are like this. In the era when the late Mirza Shirazi issued the famous tobacco fatwa [against the attempt by colonial powers to monopolize Iranian tobacco], the late Hajj Mirza Javad Mujtahid – an outstanding scholar in Tabriz whose family is well-known for introducing mujtahids  – was an influential personality. Well, at that time, Mirza Shirazi was in Samarra. If it had not been for the scholars in Iran – figures such as Mirza Ashtiani in Tehran, Hajj Mirza Javad Mujtahid in Tabriz and other ulama in other cities – that fatwa would not have become comprehensive and would not have produced the desired effect. In Azerbaijan, the late Hajj Mirza Javad entered the arena in an active manner. The same is true of the Constitutional Era – later on, I will expand on this matter. Therefore, in the historic and political developments of the country, generally Azerbaijan and specifically Tabriz created a wave of influential orientations.

 

3. Azerbaijan a strong fortress against foreign attacks

The next point is that Azerbaijan was Iran’s strong fortress against foreign attacks. We were always subject to attacks launched by aggressive neighbors – Tsarist Russia, the former Ottoman Empire and former Soviet Union. If it had not been for Azerbaijan and Tabriz and for their resistance, steadfastness and sacrifices, it would have been possible for those attacks to be drawn into the central areas of the country. Azerbaijan has been a strong dam and fortress which has always repelled and frustrated those attacks.

 

4. Azerbaijan’s attachment to Islam and zeal for Iran

A very important point is that Tabriz and Azerbaijan have always had two permanent and eternal qualities and identities: one is deep attachment to Islam and to Islamic piety and the second is strong zeal for Iran. These two qualities have always existed in Azerbaijan in different eras: They have attached so much significance to Islam and Iran. This is a really important quality. The people of Azerbaijan have always stood up against those foreigners who wanted to dismember various parts of Iran in that region and they managed to preserve the country’s integrity.

 

5. Introducing personalities who were influential in the affairs of the country

Another characteristic is the important role played by outstanding personalities. There are many personalities in this area who played a leading role in all the matters of the country. As I mentioned, in the event of tobacco, the late Hajj Mirza Javad played an important role. In the beginning of the Constitutional Movement, Sattar Khan and Baqir Khan -Baqir Khan lived in the same neighborhood as my father and my father knew him in the Khiyaban neighborhood – played a prominent role and in another era, when the Russians had entered Tabriz and were present there, the late Siqatul-Islam Tabrizi and other great ulama fought and were martyred. Yet in another era, Sheikh Muhammad Khiyabani and Mirza Isamael Nobari entered the arena and did certain activities that led to the martyrdom of Khiyabani.

And during revolutionary activities, when the movement began in the year 1342, there were three well-known ulama from Tabriz among the ulama who had been arrested by the regime. Later on, during various events on days close to the Revolution, we witnessed the move made by the late Qazi [Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Ali Qazi Tabatabai] and others. After the Revolution, we witnessed the activities of Shahid Madani and Shahid Qazi and during the Sacred Defense Era, the activities of Shahid Bakeri. There are tens of such outstanding personalities who played an important role. They are unforgettable personalities. I will tell you that we should not let this glorious history be consigned to oblivion. This history should be preserved. Undoubtedly, without a correct analysis of the history of Azerbaijan, every analysis of the history of Iran is incomplete and defective. Those who are experts and who are enthusiastic should embark on presenting a correct analysis of the issues of Azerbaijan. These were a few short points about Azerbaijan and Tabriz.

 

The qualities of the people of Azerbaijan that helped create the 29th of Bahman event

As for the 29th of Bahman of 1356, after that event, Imam issued a message in which he cited three characteristics of the dear people of Tabriz. The word “dear” also existed in the message issued by Imam: “The dear people of Azerbaijan”. He mentioned three characteristics: courage, zeal and piety. Our magnanimous Imam mentioned these three characteristics in his message to Azerbaijan. All three characteristics are really important criteria for evaluating a group of people and assessing their activities and endeavors: courage, zeal and piety in the right place and right time.

When the people of Tabriz staged an uprising – in my opinion, this is an important point which should receive attention – they had already seen the 19th of Dey event in Qom. They had already seen how savagely the regime entered the arena to kill the people. And the regime thought that it had managed to take away the people’s courage from them after the Qom incident and that no one would dare enter the arena. Under such circumstances, the people entered the arena with a participation several times larger than what had occurred in Qom and they introduced an innovative ceremony: The 40th-day anniversary of the Qom incident. When other 40th-day ceremonies were held leading to those great popular movements, it all began in Tabriz. In other words, the people of Tabriz were the frontrunners for commemorating the martyrs before them. Well, it was their courage, piety and zeal which brought them to the arena and created those great events.

I believe that if it had not been for the valorous movement launched by the people of Tabriz on the 29th of Bahman, the people of Qom’s bloody movement might have been gradually consigned to oblivion, just like the 15th of Khordad of 1342 which was gradually being passed to oblivion. Of course, after the Revolution, it was revived, but before the Revolution, the people were gradually forgetting what had happened in Tehran, Qom, Varamin and other cities on the 15th of Khordad of 1342. The 19th of Dey event by the people of Qom might also have suffered the same fate if the people of Tabriz had not entered the arena. However, the people created the 29th of Bahman valor, thus reviving the Qom incident and giving a fresh impetus to the revolutionary movement.

Well, these three qualities – courage, zeal and piety – showed themselves both during and after the Revolution. In the beginning of the Revolution, when foreigners were after disintegrating the country, the people of Tabriz entered the area. During the Sacred Defense Era too, the “Ashura Army” was a courageous and innovative army and Shahid Bakeri is also an unforgettable personality who will never be forgotten. His close friends – f course, I saw him many times as well – and those who were with him narrate such things about his enlightenment, his spirituality and his warmth that one really envies him.

Later on, during the sedition of Khalq-e Musalman, it was the people of Tabriz themselves who responded. Those who had caused the sedition of Khalq-e Musulman used to have the notion that they were going to do something for Azerbaijan, but it was the people themselves who stood up against the sedition and it was they who  prevented them from succeeding. At that time, Imam said the same thing. He said that no one needed to do anything as the people of Tabriz would respond to them on their own. Also in subsequent years, in the sedition of the year 1388, the people of Tabriz entered the arena and foiled the plot one day sooner than the people of Tehran and one day sooner than other people throughout the country.

 

 The reason why the enemies show hostility towards the Islamic government

These were some points about the 29th of Bahman of 1356 and about the significance and greatness of that event. We should never forget it. Now, what lesson should we learn from that event? This is my main discussion. What is the lesson that we should learn from it today?

Well, from the beginning, the Islamic Revolution faced the enmity of superpowers and a certain front came into being. When I say, “superpowers”, I mean the Soviet Union of those days as well as the US. They had disagreements with one another over hundreds of matters, but they had an agreement with one another over the issue of confronting the Islamic Republic, the Islamic Revolution and the system established by Imam. The same was true of European powers. The same was true of their cohorts -regional reactionaries and others. A front against the Islamic Revolution came into being. Well, what was the reason for their enmity? This is a point that we should never forget.

The only reason for their enmity was that the Islamic government had rejected the norms established by the system of domination. The system of domination war ruling over the world. What does the system of domination mean? It means the division of the world into two parts: the oppressor and the oppressed. The oppressor should be dominant. Its politics, its culture and its economy should be dominant. And the oppressed should give in to the oppressor. Countries in the world were thus divided into oppressor and oppressed countries. That was a completely established norm in the world. They had divided the whole world like that.

One part of the world was in the hands of the Americans. One part was in the hands of the Soviet Union of those days and another part was in the hands of second-tier powers which were following their lead. That was the condition of the world, but the Islamic Republic, the Islamic government and the Islamic Revolution rejected this system. Well, that was the vein that gave life to arrogance. The norms established by the system of domination were like a vein that gave life to arrogance. The life of arrogance depended on that, but the Islamic Republic and the Islamic government rejected that and therefore, superpowers stood against it.

Of course, they always fabricated some excuses in order to justify their enmity. One day, they brought up the issue of human rights, one day, they painted a dark picture of religion’s unrestrained domination and they did so in various ways, one day, they brought up the issue of the nuclear issue and another day, they brought up the issue of missiles and Iran’s regional presence. These are all excuses. The essence of the issue is that the Islamic government is not willing to be a partner to the global system of domination and it does not wish to cooperate with it in the oppressor-oppressed division of the world. The Islamic government is standing up against oppression and hegemony.

 

Confronting the enemy by:

1. Strengthening national identity

Well, in the face of this enmity and this front, our dear and eternal nation needs to strengthen its identity, its personality and its identity elements and it should increase its inner power as well. This is a definite need. What gives identity and power to a nation and a movement?  First of all, having a firm ideological infrastructure. The reason why many countries which conducted a revolution and made moves against hegemony, arrogance, oppression and tyranny returned from their path after a short time – some after five years, some after ten years – and took the path of their predecessors and behaved like them was that they did not have a firm ideological infrastructure.

When you see foreigners use certain terms – unfortunately, some people inside the country repeat it as well – such as “combating ideology”, this is what it means. The main enemy of hegemonic powers is this fundamental ideological infrastructure which is an Islamic one. This infrastructure is based on Islam and it has been explained in detail in Imam’s statements. If you look at the large volume of books containing Imam’s statements, this Islamic ideological infrastructure is completely radiant there and our late Imam’s wealth of statements is a rich source of information in this regard.

Besides, valuable lessons by our revolutionary thinkers are available to us: thinkers such as Shahid Motahhari, Shahid Beheshti and others up until the present time. These thinkers have derived this infrastructure from the Holy Quran and Islamic documents. Of course, I firmly believe that the intellectual forces of the Islamic government should complete and continue this path. They should improve, promote and update this ideology on a daily basis as with the emergence of new issues, new responses are needed. They should provide these responses for those who desire it, for researchers and youth.

2. Refusing to help the enemy, showing fearlessness and being tireless in action

Well, these statements were about the ideological infrastructure. This is necessary, but in practice, we need certain things as well because the mere existence of this infrastructure is not enough. What do we need in practice? Fearlessness, tirelessness and the refusal to become hopeless and lazy and to unconsciously play the enemy’s game and help him. These are needed in the area of action. And we need to be ready to make sacrifices in the right place. When we say in the right place, this means that in certain cases, we need to make sacrifices and risk our lives: “They risk their lives and save the country from ignominy” [From a poem by Mehrdad Avesta].

Just like Shahid Soleimani who was prepared to sacrifice his life. That was how he entered various arenas. The same is true of other dear martyrs such as your own Shahid Bakeri. When he departed for the other side of Tigris to participate in that very important, complicated and difficult operation, he called his friends before his martyrdom, saying to them, “Come see what is happening here!” I do not know what he saw there. I do not know what appeared in front of him from the spiritual world, urging him to invite his friends – as narrated by Shahid Kadhimi and others – to go and see what was happening there. Well, these are personalities who were prepared to lay down their lives. Sometimes, making sacrifices is necessary, but what we always need are the things that I already mentioned: tirelessness, hope and refusal to help the enemy and to be lazy. We need to reject idleness and inactiveness in our lives.

Of course, the Iranian nation fortunately possesses these qualities. To be fair, the Iranian nation did not become tired. Well, you have witnessed an example of this during the astonishing burial ceremony of Shahid Soleimani and also during this year’s 22nd of Bahman rally. Despite the existence of health protocols, they enthusiastically used new innovations to prevent the 22nd of Bahman rally from being cancelled. There are also various other events supporting this. The same characteristics were witnessed in the Tabriz uprising: The same fearlessness, hope and the willingness to enter the arena and make sacrifices.

In the days leading to the 22nd of Bahman, the same qualities existed in Tehran and in many other cities. It was Imam (May God bestow paradise on him) who was walking ahead of everyone else. If Imam had not been brave, if he had feared and lost hope, if he had become tired and showed laziness, that great event would not have occurred. In the last days leading to the victory of the Revolution, Imam watched everything carefully and meticulously and he was attending to all details until he rejected the martial law curfew and invited the people to pour onto the streets and the issue was resolved. Secondly, the people showed courage and fearlessness, entered the arena and showed their presence in the true sense of the word.

 

Steadfastness and resistance: qualities needed to resolve the problems of the country

Whenever this diligence exists, it will be followed by divine Guidance. In other words, whenever diligence and self-sacrifice exist, Allah the Exalted will not leave us alone: “And those who strive in Our cause, We will certainly guide them to our paths” [The Holy Quran, 29: 69]. When His servants show diligence, Allah the Exalted bestows His guidance on them. As well as divine guidance, one will benefit from success and progress: “If they had remained on the right way, We should certainly have bestowed on them rain in abundance” [The Holy Quran, 72:16]. The Arabic word, “ma-an ghadagha” means quenching one’s thirst with fresh and abundant water. Scholars say that this phrase means resolving all the problems in life. If you show steadfastness and resistance – meaning that you will not deviate from the path – and if you take the straight path, the problems in life will surely be resolved and shortcomings will be eliminated. We should always pay attention to this point. The path that the Iranian nation has taken until today is very significant. We should be aware of its significance.

 

The achievements of the Islamic Revolution for Iran

The achievements of the Revolution are truly great and amazing. Of course, we have not worked enough on delineating these achievements. Sometimes, certain things have been said in a speech or on television, but there is much more room for speaking about the achievements of the Revolution. The Revolution has made extraordinary and great achievements in the most vital parts of social life. I will cite two, three examples in this regard:

 

1. The scientific progress of the country

One of the achievements is that the Revolution managed to change our country into a free, independent and dear country which benefits from great scientific achievements in vital areas in the present time. That was while before that, Iran was a scientifically backward country. Iran used to be at the bottom of the list of backward countries, scientifically speaking. And politically speaking, it was tied to global powers’ apron strings. Economically speaking, it was dependent on big powers. In other words, our economy was in the control of the Americans and in one era, in the control of the English. However today, Iran is among the first five, six, ten countries in important scientific fields. These are very important fields. The country has progressed in these areas and it has turned into an independent, free and dignified country. This is one of the most important tasks that the Revolution has carried out.

 

2. Turning the Iranian nation into an energetic and proud nation

The second achievement is that it has changed the Iranian nation from an apathetic and purposeless nation which follows others’ lead to an energetic, fresh, purposeful, proud and dignified nation in the world. Before the Revolution, these qualities did not exist. The people used to lower their heads and busy themselves with their everyday affairs. There was not a lofty goal, a great endeavor and a broad outlook towards the issues of the world in any way. Of course, a limited number of people might have benefited from these qualities, but the country overall was not like that.

However, today, the nation is energetic and proud with so many energetic youths. Once I said in one of my speeches that there are thousands of young scientific nuclei in the country today. There are various groups of people who are busy doing scientific, technical and social work, an example of which was cited by the honorable Friday prayer leader today: the participation of youth in the area of anti-coronavirus activities and offering pious help to the needy. Youth are entering these arenas and working, but these things did not exist in the past in any way. The nation changed. It changed from a state of apathy to a state of energy and enthusiasm. This is another achievement.

3. Changing the government from a tyrannical to a popular government

The third point which is very important is that the Islamic Revolution changed the management of the country from a dictatorial, monarchic and individualist government to a popular, republican and democratic government. Today, the people are the ones in charge of their own destiny. It is they who choose. They might choose badly, but it is they who choose. This is a very important matter!

However, on that day, this right did not exist and the country was a dictatorial country. Everything was in the hands of the regime. A well-known American personality who was a friend of Mohammad Reza, says that when he went to Iran, he said to Mohammad Reza that such and such a prime minister was an incompetent person, but Mohammad Reza said, “Do not worry, I am doing everything on my own.” And that was the truth of the matter. Everything was in the hands of one person and he was in charge of all decision-making. The people did not have any role whatsoever. Even government officials did not have any role to play. This is another point.

4. Rendering construction services in the country

The next achievement is the Revolution’s services in building the country. I am really surprised because some people say other things. Do they not see these services? Do they not see this important service to the people which is building basic infrastructures? So many fundamental infrastructures have been built in the country such as roads, dams, water, electricity and gas transfer systems, the development of industries, the modernization of agriculture and the astonishing development of universities. In every small city, there is a university! There are many universities and many students.

Notice that we have come from 150,000 students in those days to 10, 15 million students in the present time. Today, we have students and graduates in universities 30, 40 times more than those days. These are very important infrastructural tasks. This is an amazing feat accomplished by the Revolution. An ordinary and non-revolutionary government would not have been able to accomplish so many tasks.

5. Strengthening the defensive and military forces of the country

Moreover, the Revolution strengthened the military and defensive forces of the country. Iran used to be a country which could not resist more than a few hours in the face of an attack launched by a limited number of English and non-English forces in World War II. However, all global powers – the US, the Soviet Union, England, France, Germany and reactionary countries, with the money that they provided – fought for eight years against Iran under the name of Saddam and it was a world war in the true sense of the word.  But they could not do a damn thing after the passage of eight years as they were expelled from our borders by our military forces and our people! This is not a minor achievement. This great move was made in the first decade of the Revolution. Today, our military forces are thankfully tens of times better than those days. Today, in the eyes of public opinion in the world, our country is thankfully a regional power in terms of defensive capability.

The reason why the US and Zionist regimes and some European countries hatch various plots every day against the country is that they see that the country and the Revolution do not stop and they advance and progress continuously. This makes them hatch a new plot every day. Of course, by Allah’s favor, the power of the Iranian nation and of officials and representatives of the country will foil their plots.

 

The necessity to behave in a revolutionary manner to make up for shortcomings

Well, these are the achievements of the Revolution which are significant. We should know what these achievements are. Of course, we have never hidden and will never hide the fact that we have some shortcomings in certain areas. These shortcomings are not acceptable in any way. It is we who are to blame for these shortcomings. We officials are to blame and the people might also be partially to blame in certain areas. These shortcomings should be made up for. This is because of the failure to behave in a revolutionary manner. Whenever we acted in a revolutionary manner, we did not witness any shortcomings and whenever we abandoned our revolutionary principles and made a non-revolutionary move stemming from laziness and negligence, we witnessed a shortcoming. The primary shortcoming is the issue of the livelihood conditions of underprivileged classes. We have shortcomings in this regard and there are class inequalities and rifts. Of course, I should add that despite our shortcomings in this area, we are a long way ahead of pre-revolutionary era. If someone thinks that the pre-revolutionary era was like the present time, this is not at all the case.

In those days, I was in contact with various groups of people, including underprivileged classes, in Mashhad and other cities. I was also aware of the conditions in other cities. The conditions were very different from today. Things were really bad, but today, we have progressed in that sense. Nonetheless, the position which we are in does not befit the Revolution’s status. We should have made much more progress. We should put an end to class inequalities and administer social justice in the country in the true sense of the word. This is our responsibility. This is our job and we should accomplish it. Before the Revolution, the population of the country was 35 million people, but today, it is 85 million. In those days, oil revenues were several times larger than today – we used to sell oil and benefit from it – but today, in addition to the sanctions, we have never sold oil as much as those days – before the Revolution, as they said, the country used to sell six million barrels every day. Nonetheless, good tasks have thankfully been carried out, but they are not at all enough.

 

The enemy’s psychological warfare in order to disappoint the people

Pay attention to this point: The enemy is highlighting our shortcomings. This is his psychological warfare. He mentions them in an emphatic manner and magnifies their importance. Of course, he does not speak about our achievements and accomplishments in any way and he does so on purpose. His goal is to disappoint our youth and to make our people pessimistic about the future. We should pay attention to this. They do not have any scruples about telling lies. They exaggerate about certain facts and tell lies about certain others. And some people inside our country repeat and reflect what they say out of negligence – of course, some might have ulterior motives, but most do it out of negligence. We have these setbacks. There are shortcomings that should be eliminated.

 

The necessity to strengthen the people’s sensitivity about problems and about corruption

Today, our people are more sensitive about these setbacks. Today, they are sensitive about corruption. Today, they are more sensitive about class inequalities than the beginning of the Revolution. This is not a bad issue, rather it is a very good phenomenon as it shows that the people have become familiar with the ideals of the Revolution and that they are pursuing them. That is why they complain about corruption. Whenever, there is a fight against corruption, the people show interest and advocate the move in an enthusiastic manner. Whenever there is an endeavor to help underprivileged classes and to administer justice, the people show their support for it. This is very important because it shows the people’s orientation. This should be strengthened.

 

The necessity to make up for the shortcomings by utilizing the achievements

We need to make up for the shortcomings and weaknesses with the achievements. Notice that this is an important point. We have certain achievements such as the existence of enthusiastic and creative youth and prepared manpower. This is one of our achievements. We should make up for shortcomings with the help of achievements. However, the enemy says the opposite things. He puts forward the failures and says that we should focus on them, forget about the achievements and abandon the path of the Revolution. This is what the enemy is saying. On the contrary, we say that we must make up for the failures and shortcomings with the help of the achievements. We should see this wealth of achievements and utilize them in order to eliminate the shortcomings, God willing.

Fortunately, revolutionary enthusiasm is alive in the people. As I mentioned, an example is that astonishing and really unique burial ceremony. In the history of other countries, we never witnessed such a burial ceremony with the participation of millions of people from throughout the country. It was unique. We have other magnificent events such as this year’s 22nd of Bahman rally which indicated the people’s revolutionary zeal. Therefore, we should benefit from the past in order to smooth the path of the future and move towards our destiny.

 

The cure for the serious problems of the country lies in holding enthusiastic elections and make a good choice

I wish to raise a point about the elections as well. In our country, elections are a great opportunity which should not be missed. Of course, the opponents of the Islamic Republic do not want the Islamic Republic to seize this opportunity. Elections have these characteristics: they are a good possibility for the nation, they are a great capacity for the progress of the country and they show the people’s revolutionary enthusiasm. When the people participate in elections and show their revolutionary enthusiasm, this will bring about security for the country. It will cause the enemy to step back and to be less greedy about the country. The more enthusiastic the elections are and the higher the turnout is, the more benefits and advantages it will have for the country and for the people themselves.

Of course, as I mentioned, the enemies do not want this. Whenever election time approaches – in all terms: we have held about 40 elections in the course of all these years – they begin to say things against it. Sometimes, they say that there is no freedom, sometimes they say that such and such people interfere in it, sometimes they claim that the elections have been engineered by such and such people and sometimes, they say other things in order to discourage the people from participating in it. This is what the enemy does.

However, the truth of the matter is that elections are a source of pride for the country. They are an opportunity, a possibility and a provision. If the people participate in it in large numbers, this will certainly help the future of the country. Of course, if this enthusiastic participation is accompanied by a correct choice through which a really competent, pious, motivated and enthusiastic group of people are elected, this will be even better as it will guarantee the future of the country. Well, in the following months, if I am alive, I will have many things to say about the elections, but today, I wanted to say this. I want to say that the cure for the serious problems of the country lies in holding an enthusiastic election with the large participation of the people and after that, in choosing the right person for the presidential elections.

 

The Islamic Republic’s decision on the JCPOA: Actions not words

The last point is about the Bar-Jaam [JCPOA]. Well, I have spoken recently about the Bar-Jaam and I have spoken in detail about it. We have already spoken about the Islamic Republic’s policies on the Bar-Jaam. Certain things are said and certain promises are made here and there. Today, I only wish to say this: We have heard many nice words and promises, but in practice, they have not been honored and on the contrary, they have acted against those promises. It is no use talking. It is no use giving promises. This time, only actions matter! If we see actions on the part of the other side, we will take action too. This time, the Islamic Republic will not be satisfied with hearing such and such words and promises. Things will not be like the past.

Dear Lord, by the blessedness of Muhammad and his household, shower Your blessings, kindness and grace on the people of Tabriz and the people of Azerbaijan – both East and West Azerbaijan as well as Ardabil.

Dear Lord, by the blessedness of Muhammad and his household, associate the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam, who opened this path to us, with Your saints.

Dear Lord, make the pure souls of our dear martyrs pleased with us.

Dear Lord, make the holy existence of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) satisfied with us and help us benefit from the prayers of that great Imam.

 

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings


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