Our problems with America are not solved by negotiations: Leader of Islamic Ummah and Oppressed Imam Ayatollah Khamenei
The following is the full text of the speech delivered on August 1, 2016 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with people from various social backgrounds.
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 and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem al-Mustafa Muhammad and upon his immaculate, pure and chosen household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth
Welcome dear brothers and sisters, you who have come from different provinces of the country and who have imbued our Hussainiyah today with the scent of martyrs’ names and memories and with revolutionary spirit. I thank the dear brothers who sang a song and who recited the Holy Quran in chorus. Of course, there was too much noise in the meeting with the result that some people did not hear the very beautiful recitation of these dear brothers. You missed it, but I listened very carefully and I benefited from it. Wherever and whenever the holy ayahs and words of the Holy Quran are recited, they are a source of spirituality and blessing, particularly the ayahs that these dear brothers had chosen: the ayahs of Sura al-Ahzab which represent the clear and straight path of the Islamic Ummah at difficult moments and amid the complicated chains of time.
These ayahs clarify the path of the Islamic Ummah. They make it clear what we should do if the Islamic Ummah faces certain problems – like the problems that are referred to in these ayahs – in every era: “Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah” [The Holy Quran: 33: 23]. When one’s covenant with God – the covenant that believers have reached with God – is sincere, all tasks will move forward and all problems will be eliminated. Of course, life involves certain obstacles and problems. There is no paved road ahead of any nation. Nations should smooth the path with their determination and endeavor and they should move towards their goals. The nations who achieved the peak of spirituality, civilization, welfare and bliss moved like this. These ayahs teach these things to us.
Well, the month of Dhul-Qa’da, which is imminent, is the first haraam month. A haraam month means a month in which we should show respect. From the viewpoint of the God of the World, “Of them, four are haraam” [The Holy Quran, 9: 36]. Allah the Exalted has made four months dearer than others with certain religious rules which specify the things and the affairs for which we should show respect. Muslims should learn a lesson from these divine teachings.
A great mystic – the late Hajj Mirza Ali Aqa Qazi (Allah the Exalted’s paradise be upon him) – said that the months of haraam, which are months of divine respect, are months in which Muslims should prepare themselves for entering the sensitive and important arenas of life by paying more attention to Allah the Exalted and by worshipping Him more. Today, what is important to the people of Iran – these great and glorious people – is to move forward on this glorious path that they have taken with power, with speed, with dignity and with honor.
The meeting that we have today is a special meeting. Different groups of our dear people have come from the four corners of the country and from various provinces and they have gathered in this place. People from the southeast to the northwest of the country and from various tribes – Fars, Turk, Kurd, Baluch – are present in this meeting. This has a certain meaning. It means that united Iran with its various and numerous tribes has one goal and one path. Languages and religions might be different from one another, but the lofty goals of these people are similar to one another. Everyone wants to introduce dear Iran to the world as a model of an Islamic country.
Being a model of an Islamic country does not mean that everyone in this country is busy saying daily prayers and duas, and fasting. Of course, these things exist and they define spirituality, but as well as this spirituality, there is material progress, scientific growth, expansion of justice, a decrease in class differences, and elimination of examples and peaks of aristocracy. These are the characteristics of an Islamic society.
Moreover, the people in this Islamic society are happy, they have a feeling of happiness and security, they move towards their lofty goals, they worship God and they benefit from worldly achievements. The people of Iran are after creating such a society. Everyone wants such a society. There is no disagreement between Shias and Sunnis, Kurds, Baluch, Fars and Turks in this regard. Everyone is after creating this society. This is a model. When it becomes a model, then other Muslim nations will find the path as well.
Today, this is our problem. Since one or two centuries ago, global arrogance and colonialism has found its interest in creating discord among Muslim nations. It has found its interest in that. Why? It is because if it did that, it could loot the sources of wealth in the world, it could prevent them from making the achievements that they deserved and it could exploit them. Global powers set themselves this goal thanks to the scientific and technological power that they had gained and the weapons that they had built and unfortunately, they succeeded in doing so to a great extent. This is why from the beginning of the Revolution until today, we have been extending the hand of friendship towards Muslim nations and Muslim governments and this is why we have been inviting them to unity, solidarity and resistance in the face of the enemy plots.
When the people of Iran manage to reach the point where they can introduce themselves to the world as a Muslim nation in the real sense of the word, this will be the greatest promotion for Islam. If that happens, other nations too will take that path and the formation of the great Islamic Ummah, which is a source of dignity for Islam and a source of promoting it throughout the world, will become a reality. The Islamic civilization that we expect to have the power to overcome the deviating and corrupt material civilization of the west, will be achieved on that day. The prologue is here. The prologue for that to happen is that we people of Iran find the power to move towards becoming a role model.
Well, everyone should work hard. Both officials and the masses of the people should work hard. This issue will not take one, two years. It is a long-term issue. It will take time. If you take a look at Islamic civilization, you will see that the peak of Islamic civilization occurs during the fourth and fifth centuries. Those centuries were the peak of science. It was during those centuries that great ulama, researchers, philosophers and scholars in the area of worldly sciences emerged in the world of Islam. Those personalities managed to move the world forward. Many of the achievements that westerners have made originate from that movement. Of course, today, we will move at a faster rate. By Allah’s favor, we can achieve those results sooner today. However, this is a process that takes time.
We have moved forward in a satisfactory manner during the 37, 38 years that have passed since the beginning of the Revolution. If one takes a fair-minded look, one sees that today dependent, backward and humiliated Iran that used to be trampled upon by America and England has changed in a way that America, England and others form a line in order to somehow confiscate the resources of the Islamic Republic in the region- although their efforts are of no avail. This means that Islamic dignity and the dignity of the Islamic Republic and Islamic Iran has developed in a way that those who used to despise nations including the Iranian nation – just like what they did in the taghuti era – have to in the present time face our country like a powerful opponent. This is the general progress of the people of Iran.
We have made progress in science, in politics and in various areas that are important to Islam. In terms of social justice too, today, things have dramatically changed compared to the past. Of course, we are far away from that Islamic justice. We are far away from the ideal Islamic justice. Unfortunately today, the signs of an aristocratic and luxurious lifestyle and various other deviations are not few in number in our society. However, when we compare it to the pre-revolutionary era, we see that the progress of the people of Iran and our Islamic country is a very outstanding progress compared to those times. Of course, you youth did not witness the pre-revolutionary era, but we and those who witnessed it know this.
Well, if we want to reach the point where we can become a role model, what is the way to do so? I would like to say briefly that the way to do so is to rely on the domestic possibilities, resources and capacities of the people. We have many capacities. This nation has many untapped capacities. When we thought of an eight-percent growth in formulating the policies of the [sixth] plan and when we said that the country should achieve an eight-percent growth throughout the plan, this is because of the countless capacities that exist inside the country. In the beginning, some people used to say that achieving an eight-percent growth in the area of economic matters is not possible. Later on, officials themselves came and said to us that what we had written is correct and that achieving an eight-percent growth is possible.
However, this requires work, correct policies and well-organized strategies. This cannot be done with laziness, idleness and reliance on others. We should move forward by planning. This is because of the capacity of the country. The capacity of the country is very high. Out of our approximately eighty-million population, more than 30 percent are between 20 to 35 years old. They are at the peak of their youth. Youth is a representation of dynamism and enthusiasm. We have so many youth in the country. Among these youth, there are millions of educated, knowledgeable, skilled and creative personalities. Our infrastructural resources during the past 37 years have become many. In different areas, we have created extraordinarily efficient and valuable infrastructure in the country. Of course, I should say that it was the officials of the country who created them. I have not done anything. So, everything is prepared for movement and for progress.
Well, this progress has thankfully been made. You should compare these 30 years after the Islamic Revolution with the 30 years of some of the countries whose names I do not want to mention. Such countries lived under the influence of America for 30 years. They even received cash from America. They received such and such amounts of money – several million or billion dollars – from America. But what was the result? After 30 years, they released some figures and it became clear that there are two million homeless individuals in their capital city and that these individuals live in graveyards! The result of America’s influence and domination over a country is this. Therefore, what is important is reliance on domestic capacity.
Sometimes, the enemies create some obstacles. It is a wise course of action for us to go and eliminate these obstacles with acumen. But the enemy cannot be trusted. One example of this is the nuclear negotiations and the Bar-Jaam [JCPOA]. Today, the officials in charge of our own diplomacy and those who were present in the nuclear negotiations from the first day to the last are saying that America has broken its promises. With its calm appearance and with the soft and glib tongue of its officials, America is damaging us from behind the scene. It is preventing our country from establishing economic relations with other countries. This is being said by the officials in charge of the Bar-Jaam. Of course, this is something that I have been repeatedly saying since a year, a year and a half ago. I have been saying that the Americans cannot be trusted. It was difficult for some individuals to accept this, but today, our officials themselves are saying this.
Just last week, our honorable negotiators had a meeting with the other sides in Europe. Our officials said the same things to them and they had nothing to say in response. Our negotiators said to them that they have broken such and such promises, that they have committed such and such wrongdoings, that they have failed to do what they were supposed to do and that they have stabbed us in the back in such and such ways, but they had nothing to say in response. Six months have passed since the Bar-Jaam was signed, but no tangible and palpable effect has been witnessed in the living conditions of the people. This is while the goal of the Bar-Jaam was to lift the sanctions. Its goal was to lift the oppressive sanctions. Was its goal something other than this? Well, those sanctions have not been lifted.
Now, they are saying that things are becoming better gradually and little by little. Was the issue about little by little? On that day, officials said both to us and to the people that in the negotiations, the goal is to lift the sanctions at once when Iran fulfils its commitments. In other words, the goal was to eliminate the obstacle that America had created on the path of the people of Iran in an oppressive and vicious manner. Now, six months have passed from that day, but that obstacle has not been eliminated yet. Is six months a short time for an eighty-million country? During these six months, if it had not been for this American viciousness, would the honorable administration have done little work?
The Bar-Jaam became an example and an experience for us. Last year – it was last year or a year and a half ago: I do not remember the exact date – I said in a public speech that that the Bar-Jaam and the nuclear negotiations will serve as an example for us to see what the Americans do [Supreme Leader’s speech delivered on April 9, 2015, in a meeting with the panegyrists of Ahlul Bayt]. I said that we should see what these people – who use soft and glib words, who sometimes write a letter to show their respect and their cooperation and who speak to officials with a glib tongue in consultative meetings and in negotiations – do in practice.
Now, it has become clear what they do in practice! On the face of it, they give promises and they speak with a soft and glib tongue, but in practice, they hatch plots, damage us and prevent the progress of our affairs. This is America and this is an experience. In the present time, the Americans are asking us to go and speak to them about regional matters. Well, this experience tells us that this is a deadly poison for us.
This experience showed us that we cannot speak to them, on any matter, like a trustworthy party. Sometimes, you speak to your enemy, but you do it with an enemy who is committed to his statements so much so that you can be sure that he will not violate his promises and his commitments with any excuse. You can speak to this enemy. However, when it is proved that the enemy is malicious, one that has no scruples about breaking his promises, that smiles and speaks with a soft and glib tongue, and that justifies his actions when you ask him why he has broken his promises, then you should know that it is not possible to negotiate with this enemy. The reason why I have been repeating for many years that we will not negotiate with America is this. This shows that our problems with America and the likes of America on this matter, on regional matters and on various other matters are not solved through negotiations. We ourselves should choose a path and then take it. You should make the enemy to run after you. You should make him to run after you.
The officials of our political and diplomatic affairs are explicitly saying that the Americans want to take everything, but give nothing in return! If you take one step backward, they take one step forward. When we constantly say that we will not negotiate, some people say, “What is wrong with negotiations?” Well, this is the problem with negotiations. Such negotiations will make you deviate from your correct path and they will take concessions away from you. When you negotiate, this means that you should give a concession and get another in return. This is the meaning of negotiations. Negotiation does not mean gathering somewhere to engage in a friendly chat and to tell jokes. Negotiation means giving something and taking something else in return. However, he takes from you what you should give, but refuses to give what he should give to you. He acts in a bullying manner.
“Arrogant” means this. “Global arrogance” means this. It means bullying, considering oneself as superior, refusing to be committed to one’s promises and regarding oneself as free of any commitment. This is the meaning of arrogance. Arrogant individuals go back on their promises. Well, our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) said that America is the Great Satan. This description is really an excellent description. Allah the Exalted quotes satan saying to those who followed him, “And Satan will say when the matter is decided, ‘It was Allah Who gave you a promise of truth. I too promised, but I failed in my promise to you” [The Holy Quran, 14: 22]. On Judgment Day, Satan says to his followers, “God gave you a true and genuine promise, but you did not follow His promise and you did not stick to it. I gave you a false promise and you followed me! I broke my promise to you. I gave you a promise and I violated it.”
Satan blames his followers on Judgment Day like this. Then, Allah the Exalted quotes Satan saying to his followers, “Then reproach not me, but reproach your own souls” [The Holy Quran, 14: 22]. He says to them that they should blame themselves, not him. In the present time, this is completely true in the case of America. Satan says this on Judgment Day, and the Americans say it today in this world. They give promises, but they do not act on them. They take a concession that is in cash, but they do not give the one that is on credit. This is America’s condition. Therefore, others should not be trusted.
Our dear youth should sit and think about the statements that are made about the fundamental matters and policies of the country. These statements originate from experience and from knowledge about the enemy and the present conditions. These statements are not made without thinking with the result that someone says something and others reject it completely. This is not the case. Our dear youth should pay careful attention to these statements. Fortunately, we have many intelligent and talented youth in the country. They should sit and analyze things. Then, the path will become clear.
What is the path? The path is what I said before: reliance on domestic talents, on the domestic capacities of the country, on these youth, on their creativeness, on the tasks that they follow, on the knowledge that they acquire, and on the knowledge that they turn into technology. We have many capacities. Statistics show – of course, these statistics were released a few years ago – that we have several hundred thousand small production units. This is very important! I have said many times in my speeches that in the area of economic matters, the dear officials of the country should attend to small and middle-sized production units. We have several hundred thousand of such units in the country. They should revive them so that employment and innovation are created.
We have relied on knowledge-based economy: the important tasks that have fortunately begun since a few years ago in the country. However, these tasks should develop. We have relied on domestic production. I have placed great emphasis on the consumption of domestic products. Now, I would like to say this to you and to the dear people of our country as well. You should use domestic products. You should promote Iranian laborers and Iranian labor. Unfortunately, things are not like this in reality. Domestic factories are busy working in different areas – for example, in the area of household appliances – and they produce good and quality products which are equal and sometimes even better than their foreign counterparts, but when you go to the market, you see that all products are foreign. Why is that? Where do such products come from? This is why I have been emphasizing that the importation of those products that have a domestic counterpart should be prevented. This is the way to do so.
On the issue of smuggling, I have said to officials that when they find a smuggling gang and when they bring their large smuggled products – which weigh several thousand tons – into the country, they should burn them in front of everyone’s eyes in order to damage smugglers and those products that have a domestic counterpart. Well, it is clear that when foreign products enter the country whether through legal procedures such as customs and the like or through smuggling which is unfortunately very common, domestic production witnesses a slump. When domestic production witnesses a slump, the same situation that exists today will arise: our youth will become unemployed, our employment rate will decrease, recession will rule over the country and the living conditions of the people will become difficult. These things cannot be resolved through establishing relations with America and with Europe! It is we ourselves that should resolve them. These are tasks that fall on us. This is the path that we should take.
The country has many capacities. It has a great capacity for innovation. This eighty-million country with this capacity and with the four-season resources that it enjoys can make material progress with the result that the livelihood problems of the people will be solved. This is the way to do so. Of course, the population of our country can reach 150 million. By Allah’s favor, as I have frequently said, they should prevent this increase in the number of youth from being hampered. They should not stop reproduction and they should not do something to make the population of the country move towards aging in the long run.
I think about the livelihood problems of the people a lot. I am very concerned about the issue of the people’s livelihood problems, but whenever I think and whenever I consult with experts and well-informed personalities, I see that there is no way other than relying on domestic capacities in a determined manner. If foreign businesspeople come and go without doing anything to help – so far, they have not helped in any way – what is the use of this? It is about a year now that they have been coming and going without doing anything. Even if they intend to do anything, that will be conquering the Iranian market which is completely to our disadvantage.
The coming and going of these foreign associations should serve us with investment, with production and with new technologies in those areas where we need new technologies. This is how they should help, but such help has not been provided or it is not enough. The honorable officials should take these issues into consideration and they should pursue them. When I spoke about action and implementation, [action and implementation involve these issues]. Of course, they are busy working in the present time. By Allah’s favor, the result of their work should become tangible and palpable so that the people feel and touch it. This is the way to do so.
There are many things to be said about cultural and spiritual matters. I do not want to enter into these discussions. They should be discussed in the right place. These were the discussions about economic matters and livelihood problems. If we want to resolve the livelihood problems of the people – the problems and the class inequalities that exist in the present time – we should pay attention to these tasks.
One of the most important issues is preventing domestic corruption. The task that has been brought up and that has been spoken about recently should become comprehensive and it should be pursued. It should not be left unfinished. Corruption should be combated. Thankfully, officials have explicitly announced that they will prevent such corruption, greed, avarice and high salaries. This was thankfully done in some areas. According to the reports that have been delivered to us, this course of action was adopted in some divisions and organizations.
Aristocratic lifestyle should be prevented. An aristocratic lifestyle is the ruin of our country! When an aristocratic lifestyle is created at the peaks of society, it will flow down to the foot as well. Under such circumstances, you will see that even those families that are not in good living conditions will have to adopt an aristocratic lifestyle when they want to marry their son or their daughter or when they want to have a gathering. When an aristocratic lifestyle becomes a culture, this will be the result. Aristocratic lifestyle should be prevented. Officials’ behavior and words and the lessons that they teach should be against this aristocratic orientation. Islam has the same outlook as well.
These were related to the issues of the country and these were my viewpoints. These were my viewpoints about economic matters. I have constantly discussed these viewpoints with the people and with officials. I say that we should rely on ourselves, and that we should identify our inner power. The country’s maladies have been identified. Its cures have been identified as well. We should plan on these cures and we should move forward.
As for regional matters, the region has become a turbulent region today. When we take a look at it, we see America’s footprint again. The Saudi government has publicly established relations with the Zionist regime and it has made its comings and goings official. This is stabbing the Islamic Ummah in the back. There is no doubt that what the Saudis have done – overt relations with the Zionist regime – is really a dagger that has been pushed into the body of the Islamic Ummah from behind. They have committed high treason. They have committed a sin. However, on this matter too, America’s hand is involved. Because the Saudi government follows America, because it is possessed by it, and because it obeys its orders, it has made this grave mistake. America is involved on this matter too.
Or when you witness that it is almost a year and a half now that Yemen has been under bombardment, is this a minor event? They are constantly bombarding a country. And they are not bombarding its military centers, rather they are bombarding its markets, hospitals, public squares and schools and the people’s houses and gatherings. This is not a minor event, rather it is a very grave crime. They do not understand what the month of Ramadan and a month of haraam are and they do not differentiate between children and adults. They have murdered so many children! Well, this is a grave crime as well which has unfortunately been committed by the Saudi government. However, they have done so with the support of America, with its approval and with its weapons – the weapons and ammunitions that are from America.
It is they who are providing them will all the resources. Even when the United Nations wants to say something in this regard – now, after a lifetime of silence, it has decided to say something true and to condemn this course of action – they shut its mouth with money, with threats and with pressure. This poor and infamous Secretary General of the United Nations acknowledged that they have exerted pressure on him. Well, if they pressured you and if you cannot fulfill your duty, why do you not resign? Why do you stay there and betray humanity? This is betraying humanity! America is involved on this matter as well.
On the issue of Bahrain, when a foreign army comes to Bahrain from another country in order to pressure the people of Bahrain, here too, America has given its green light. The Saudi government is a government that is being managed by children: by silly children in the real sense of the word. The Saudi government is in their hands. However, what one understands after analyzing and witnessing all the issues is that this is really being done by the Americans and with their support.
The same is true of these takfiri groups. In the present time, they claim that they have formed a coalition against takfiri groups. Of course, even right now, they are not doing anything against them. According to the reports that we have received, they even help them in some places. However, the creation of these groups goes back to America. Some American officials have acknowledged this. They have acknowledged that they have helped create DAESH in order to create discord inside the Islamic Ummah and in order to promote Umayyad and Marwani Islam. This Wahhabi and takfiri Islam is the same as Umayyad and Marwani Islam! It is a kind of Islam that is miles away from real Islam. They have made Islam disreputable. Of course, they themselves are suffering from the consequences of their actions as well. It is well-known in Farsi that “Anyone who plants a wind will reap a storm.” Now, they are gradually reaping a storm. But this is their fault anyway. It was they who did so.
The same is true of other matters. The Americans claim that they want to solve regional problems, but in reality, it is the opposite of this. They themselves have created or intensified these problems. They are a barrier to solving the problems. If things are in the hands of regional peoples, they will resolve the problems on their own. Once more, we would like to invite the Islamic and Arab governments which are around us to avoid trusting America. They should know that America is not trustworthy. America looks at them as a tool: a tool for preserving the Zionist regime and their own arrogant outlook and interests in the region. In reality, America is not interested in them in any way. It uses their money and their resources for its own interests. It uses them in order to create a rampart for itself, to preserve the Zionist regime and uphold its own arrogant goals in the region. This is what they are doing.
On the issue of regional events, in my opinion, the solution is that Muslim nations and Muslim governments become united and show resistance in the face of the goals of arrogance, America and some European governments. Some European governments made themselves disreputable by following America. This way, they made themselves fall out of favor with regional nations. Well, some European governments were even respected by our people – the people of Iran – but they made themselves disreputable by following America. Their goals should be identified and then our movement should be launched against their goals. Nations can do so. And of course, our nation has stood firm.
I should add that despite all these statements and analyses, America is becoming weaker in the region on a daily basis. Its plans have been revealed and it is clear what it is after: It is after interfering in the affairs of different countries. And it is not the case that it only shows enmity towards us and that it is friends with others. This is not the case. You witnessed what happened in Turkey. Of course, in our opinion, it has not been proved yet that America was involved there, but there is a serious accusation that the coup d’état that was launched in Turkey was masterminded by the Americans. If this is proved, this will be a big scandal for America.
Turkey was a country that had good relations with America. It used to say that it is America’ ally in the region, but they are not even prepared to get along with Turkey. This is because there is an Islamic orientation there. They are opposed to Islam and to an Islamic orientation. This is why they launch a coup d’état even in that country. Of course, it was put down. They were defeated and they fell out of favor with the people of Turkey as well. The same is true of other places. Thankfully, they are becoming weaker on a daily basis in Iraq, in Syria and in different other countries as well.
If we people of Iran are optimistic about the promise that Allah the Exalted has given and if we prepare the ground for that promise, then problems will be solved. God has said, “If you help the cause of Allah, He will help you” [The Holy Quran, 47: 7]. If you help God’s religion and if you strengthen and aid divine motives, Allah the Exalted will undoubtedly help you. No creature in the world can weaken a person who is helped by Allah the Exalted. Such a person will become stronger and more victorious on a daily basis. I hope that Allah the Exalted will help the people of Iran to succeed in all arenas – security, economic, military, political, cultural and scientific arenas – God willing. I hope that He will make you dear people happier and more victorious on a daily basis.
Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings