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Enemies of Iran have always opposed elections in the Islamic Republic

The following is the full text of a speech delivered on May 27, 2021 by Imam Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the members of the eleventh Parliament. The speech was delivered via videoconference with the participation of the speaker of the Parliament and other members.

In the Name of God, 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 pure, immaculate and infallible household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.

I thank Allah the Exalted for having given us the opportunity to hold this meeting at the end of a full year of continuous activity on the part of you honorable representatives of the people, although it would have been sweeter and better if I could see you up close. The circumstances are unfortunately like this, and I have to speak and listen to you from a distance.

Today, I will speak about the Parliament and I will also raise some points about the elections.

An acceptable performance of the Parliament in the first year

Thankfully, in the year that passed, the Parliament showed that it is diligent, determined and competent. The points raised by the honorable Speaker of the Parliament [Muhammad Baqir Qalibaf] in his eloquent and informative speech really make one happy. Of course, we have received reports from other places that confirm this. Thankfully, the presence of young and energetic individuals alongside the veteran individuals who have a legislative or executive background has helped this Parliament to make good accomplishments both in the area of ratifying bills on important matters and in the area of showing presence among the people and seeing the realities of their lives.

The provincial trips of the honorable Speaker of the Parliament, the heads of parliamentary commissions and some honorable members is really a good move and it should continue, God willing. My dear ones, you should not stop showing your presence among the people. One of the greatest accomplishments is to be able to stand beside the people.

Do not help the cause of the opponents of this Parliament with your words or actions

Well, since the formation of this Parliament, some people have set themselves the task of portraying a negative picture of the Parliament. These people have made certain statements and they continue to do so. They say certain things in various media which everyone has access to: statements that do not smell of sympathy. Sometimes, one criticizes another person in order to correct and improve that person’s behavior and sometimes, they do it on the basis of emotions or personal viewpoints devoid of any sense of sympathy. Therefore, one feels that there is no pure intention in such hostile moves. One can easily witness this. I want to tell you that you should take no heed of them and you should not be concerned about them. You should just do your job and pursue good plans.

The people, the intellectual society and youth perfectly understand who is doing what. Ingenuine propaganda reveals its true colors sooner or later and its untruthfulness becomes evident. However, the word of advice that I have for you is that you should take care not to help the cause of the opponents with your own actions and words. This is a piece of advice which I wish to stress. One’s words and actions in the eleventh Parliament should not lead to the strengthening of the words and position of this Parliament’s opponents. Now, I wish to offer some words of advice on the basis of these statements:

Persistence in good qualities and preserving them with piety

One important piece of advice is that you should preserve the good qualities you have: you are revolutionary, diligent, energetic and serious. You should preserve these qualities until the end of your term. One should say that you should preserve them util the end of your lives, but at least, you should have them with you until the end of your term.

There used to be many people who had these characteristics in the beginning: They were revolutionaries, they were energetic and they would speak and work in an enthusiastic manner, but they could not resist temptations in the course of time – the temptation of money, position, fame and various ambitions. They could not resist and their path grew askew and their behavior changed. In some cases, their behavior changed to 180 degrees. That is why Allah the Exalted says in the Quran, “In the case of those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah’, and further stand straight and steadfast, the angels descend on them” [41: 30]. The angels of divine mercy descend on those who stand by their words: “And further stand straight and steadfast.” They resist and stand firm. You should stick to your good qualities.

Now, what should we do in order to keep being revolutionaries? My advice is that we should take care of ourselves: We should ask ourselves to explain our actions. Constant care is necessary. We people are weak and are subject to danger and to slip-ups. Therefore, we should take care of ourselves. This self-care is referred to as piety according to Quranic and Islamic terminology. Piety means taking constant care of oneself so that one’s robe does not get stuck in the surrounding thorns. Well, this was one piece of advice which is the main one in my opinion.

The Parliament should behave in a reasonable and calm way

The next piece of advice is that this Parliament should show that it is competent. You are revolutionary elements. You are recognized as revolutionary elements: this is the Parliament of the Revolution and it is a revolutionary Parliament, and the enmity of some people stems just because of this quality of yours. Therefore, this revolutionary Parliament, which possesses a revolutionary attitude and which is blessed with revolutionary values, should show that it is competent, that has the necessary qualifications and credentials for managing legislative affairs, that it can create efficient guidelines. Of course, the news broadcast here and there, the reports that I have seen or heard about and the things mentioned by the honorable Speaker of the Parliament are good. These things are good, but the guidelines for improving the affairs of the country requires more extensive measures. We should work diligently and endeavor hard. If we want these qualities to exist in the Parliament, this requires rationality and tranquility.

The necessary tranquility and rationality should exist in the Parliament. When I speak of tranquility based on reasonability, this is in contrast with doing things out of excitement. Being carried away and making decisions based on feelings should not be given free rein. The Parliament is one of the main manifestations of collective wisdom in the country. Well, if the Parliament is the manifestation of collective wisdom, it needs to behave in a reasonable way when it does its job.

Some people have a wrong attitude in this regard. You should take care not to be like this. I am not referring to people inside the Parliament, rather we had these cases outside the Parliament in the past. Today too, there are such individuals. They confuse revolutionary behavior with overenthusiastic behavior and with statements showing lack of responsibility. This is not revolutionary behavior. Revolutionary behavior is having a correct and firm mentality in a direction that is marked by the kind of rationality which is based on revolutionary spirit.

Our magnanimous Imam [Khomeini] is a role model. He was more revolutionary than anyone else. Well, people like us used to serve the cause from the beginning, but we sometimes could not carry on. However, Imam never failed to carry on. He was more revolutionary than anyone else. Similarly, he was wiser than anyone else and acted in a more reasonable way than others. So, this is another point: the performance of the Parliament should be an intelligent, well-calculated and wise one.

The Parliament should identify the harm that might come its way and avoid it

My next word of advice is this: my dear ones, the Islamic Consultative Parliament is naturally subject to some types of harm. I will explain this. You should identify the kinds of harm that exist and you should hold them at bay. They are dangerous. I have been in the Parliament. I used to be in the Parliament for many years and since then, I have been in contact with different Parliaments. The Parliament is subject to various kinds of harm. If they are not identified and if you are damaged as a result of them, then the Parliament will be in a different situation and will move otherwise. This harm is of various kinds and I will refer to two, three of them:

 Members abuse of their legal powers

One kind of harm is that members use the powers granted to them by the law to safeguard their own personal, ethnic and tribal interests. What are these powers? The power to impeach, to question, to research. These are your powers and they make the members of the Parliament powerful. These powers should only be utilized within the framework of the law and to pursue the truth. One kind of harm is that members might, God forbid, be tempted to use these powers in different ways.

Members getting involved in executive matters

One type of harm is members involvement in executive matters, for instance involvement in deciding who should be the manager and governor in a city or in a province and such decisions. Of course, sometimes an emergency might come up which requires your involvement, but these are exceptions. Generally speaking, the honorable members should not concern themselves with such executive matters. Getting involved in such matters and negotiating and coming to an agreement with executive officials over these matters involve certain dangers and this should be avoided.

Going to extremes in expressing one’s personal viewpoints

One kind of harm is being careless in using the medium available to you. Your statements are broadcast live in the country or they will be broadcast later by the media. This possibility is not available to everyone, it is available to Parliament members. Therefore, you should take care not to go to extremes in using this possibility. You should be careful in voicing your criticisms and viewpoints. Sometimes, one has strong viewpoints, but these viewpoints could be expressed in two, three, five-person meetings. However, if you express them in public, it might be harmful rather than useful. Some individuals think that they should publicly announce every critical viewpoint they have about any place whatsoever, but not only are public announcements sometimes not beneficial, they are sometimes harmful in many ways. Therefore, one should be careful in using media and avoid carelessness in this regard.

Trying to use the Parliaments as a ladder to executive positions

One kind of harm is that since the very moment they enter the Parliament, members make plans in their head to hold such and such an executive position – for example, a ministerial and managerial post. This should not be the case because parliamentary membership is very important. If we work for God and do a good job, this position is more important than executive positions or at least is equally important in certain cases. It should not be the case that as soon as we enter the Parliament, we think of doing something to achieve an executive post in the next stage of our career. These are the kinds of harm which the Parliament is subject to.

My dear ones, you should be careful. You are in the beginning of your work and such types of harm have not threatened you yet and will not threaten you in the future either, but you should be careful. The supervisory board [of the Parliament] should be active in this regard. The supervisory board that exercises supervision over the behavior of the members should be active in this respect, but above supervision, it is your inner piety and self-care that could come in handy and could protect you from these types of harm. Well, this was another piece of advice.

The importance of expert work in improving the quality of ratified laws

Another piece of advice is an emphasis on expert work. I have said this frequently before as well. I think I have said it to you as well as to previous Parliaments. Expert work is really significant. The quality of laws should be improved. Laws should be ratified in a way that their executors will be interested in executing them and being committed to them for many years. The quality of the law lies in the power of the law, in the realistic and practical aspect of it, in its transparency and lack of ambiguity and in its stability. Raising the quality of the law depends on this and this is possible with expert work. Therefore, the level of expert work should be raised. 

Well fortunately, the Parliament has the research center which is a good center. It is a good place to do expert work. Specialized commissions themselves do expert work. Besides, members themselves should conduct research and work on this. You should study and think on the bills that reach your hands. If you have access to experts, you should consult with them so that the level of expert work goes up.

Of course, in certain cases – on important and sensitive matters – executive bills are preferred to parliamentary bills. This is because executive bills are backed up by executive experts since the administration too has an extensive expert system. Executive bills benefit from this advantage: they are examined by both the administration and by you members. Besides, because it comes from the administration, it will be implemented with more consensus because the administration itself is the executor of the bill. This is another point.

The importance of considering priorities and the fundamental matters of the country

Another word of advice is the necessity to observe priorities and the fundamental matters of the country. In last year’s meeting, I presented a list of these matters to you. Fortunately, these matters have been included in your plans, and the eleventh Parliament has pursued them, as pointed out in your report. You should seriously pay attention to and observe these priorities.

This year, we chose the slogan of supporting production and eliminating the obstacles ahead of it, which is an important point. In my opinion, production is the main pivot of the economy in the country and if we manage to revive production, a fresh impetus will be given to the economy of the country and it will blossom. Many things depend on production. The obstacles ahead of production should be eliminated and production should be supported. You should include this in your agenda.

Solving the problem of “law density”

Another piece of advice that I have always offered to various Parliaments is about resolving the problem of law density. We have many laws that have been piled onto one another. The expiration date of some of them is over, some are a repetition of others and some contradict other laws. There should be a solution for this. When laws become compressed like this, those who wish to get around your ratified law will find a way out by rummaging around the existing laws. One of the disadvantages of various laws is that if someone wishes to find a way around the laws – I have said this before about law-breaking law experts – they will look for a way out. These laws are unwieldy and bulky, preventing the task in hand from moving forward. I believe that one of the necessary tasks is to set a timeline and appoint a group so that they will sit and polish the laws.

Parliament should prove to be the extract of the peoples’ virtues in practice

Well, these were the matters that I had in mind to discuss about the Parliament. The last point about the Parliament is the meaningful comment that our magnanimous Imam made about the Parliament. Well, there are certain quotations by Imam (May God bestow paradise on him) about the Parliament. One of these quotations is, “The Parliament is the extract of the peoples’ virtues.” What does this mean? It means that the Parliament should prove to be the extract of the peoples’ virtues. This is what it means. Otherwise, it is not the case that the Parliament is naturally the extract of the peoples’ virtues. The Parliament should be developed in a way that it will be the extract of the peoples’ virtues.

What are the peoples’ virtues? In the present time, what virtues do our people have? Diligence, dignity, self-confidence, hope, sacrifice, power and the ability to endure problems. These are the capabilities of our nation and our nation has many of them. The people have put them on display in the course of the past 41, 42 years after the Revolution. They have shown them during the imposed war, in the face of sanctions and in the face of the bullying of western and non-western powers. These are the peoples’ virtues.

You should be an extract of these virtues. In fact, with that comment, Imam determined the plan of all of our Parliament from the first to the last: that our Parliament have the duty of being the extract of the nation’s virtues. Well, these statements were about the matters related to our dear Parliament. Of course, there are many things to be said, but I do not want to spend too much time discussing them. This much is enough.

The upcoming elections will be a source of dignity and honor for the country

As for elections, three weeks are left before elections. I seriously hope that with the determination of the people of Iran, these elections will become a source of credit for Iran despite the wishes of the enemy. Our enemies are using all resources at their disposal. This is being done by both our enemies and those inside the country who knowingly or unknowingly repeat what they say. They are trying to make the elections a source of disgrace for the nation. I hope that the people show determination and that Allah the Exalted bestows His blessings so that the upcoming elections will be a source of honor and dignity for the country, God willing.

A word of gratitude to those candidates who did not pass through the vetting process

Well, it is clear who the candidates are now. The honorable Guardian Council did what it did according to its duties and it announced the vetted candidates. First of all, I deem it necessary to thank all those who entered the arena of candidacy. Many of those individuals surely entered the arena because of their sense of responsibility and because they thought that they could be of assistance and could render services to the country. I deem it necessary to thank all those who entered the arena of candidacy.

Secondly, I wish to especially thank those whose eligibility was not verified by the Guardian Council and who behaved in an honorable and noble manner. They behaved in a noble way. Some of them even encouraged the people to participate in the elections and to go to the ballot boxes. It was a very good and Godly move on their part.

Of course, not verifying someone’s eligibility does not mean incompetence and non-eligibility. Not verifying someone’s eligibility means that the Guardian Council could not determine with certainty if that person was eligible or not, but it does not mean that they are non-eligible. They might be highly eligible, but the Guardian Council has not managed to verify it with the reports and resources. Therefore, not verifying someone’s eligibility does not mean that they are incompetent and non-eligible.

The motives behind the protests against the Guardian Council over the vetting process

Well, the Guardian Council was unfairly criticized in this regard and some people protested. The motives behind the protests are not the same. Some people protest to the Guardian Council because they say that the rate of participation will drop. They are worried about participation rates – I will raise a point in this regard later on. Some people have this motive. And some people are upset because one of the candidates who they believed is eligible has not passed through the vetting process. They are upset at the Guardian Council’s decision to not verify their eligibility despite the fact that they believe they are eligible. In my opinion, they are not to blame as they have complaints anyway. Of course, they are not the same. Some of them are worried because they think that candidate A is eligible, but candidate B is not – and both the eligibility of A and B was not verified – and some might think the opposite: They believe that A is not eligible and candidate B is eligible. So, they are the opposite of one another, but they are similar in that the eligibility of the desirable candidate of both groups has not been verified. Well, this is not a problem.

However, there is another group which is essentially opposed to the Guardian Council and they have grasped this opportunity to take revenge on the Guardian Council. They should answer to God.  One can see that – I myself am aware of the developments in cyberspace – they want to take revenge on the Guardian Council in some newspapers and in some media. The Guardian Council has enemies, arch-enemies, and this has become an opportunity for them to take revenge. Allah the Exalted will not forgive these people.

The people’s criterion for voting is candidates’ competence and capability in solving problems

Regarding the issue of the people’s participation, as some people are worried that the turnout might be low, I believe that the masses of the people – I am not referring to certain groups because groups might want to vote for a special name or a special party, but I am not referring to them – are not looking for a special name. The masses of the people want to see who has a managerial capability, who has firm willpower and who is competent enough to solve the problems of the country. They are after this.

For the masses of the people, it is not important who with what name and title and from which party enters the arena. This is important to certain groups, but to the masses of the people, it is not important. If the candidates who are present at the scene today can show the people that they have such competence, they will go to ballot boxes and there will be a high turnout, God willing. What is important is that candidates should be able to convince the people and help them come to the conclusion that they can run the country because they are good and honest managers. Their honesty should be verified and they should be individuals who are aware of the maladies of society.

The economy, unemployment and livelihood problems are the main issues of the people

I have heard some people say that presidential candidates should express their viewpoints on cyberspace or on foreign policy in televised debates, but the people’s main issue is not cyberspace, foreign policy and the relationship with this or that government. The people’s main issue is other things. Their main issue is youth unemployment, the livelihood problems of underprivileged people and the import mafia who are destroying domestic production!

The people’s main issue is the wrong policies that disappoint such and such creative youth who are capable of doing work. I have received many reports showing that a person or a group of people start an important production project, but later on, instead of helping that production center and of buying its products, we suddenly see that the gates of imports opens and the product’s foreign counterpart enters the country, thus destroying that production center.

These moves ruin farmers as well. Recently, I pointed this out to the honorable officials. Farmers who produce onions or potatoes, for instance, go through a lot of trouble to produce them but some people and some policies destroy them. It is dealers and third parties who reap the profits at the expense of the farmers and the farmers get nothing. These are the main issues of the people.

People should get involved to tackle these problems. The country will become happy and blissful, in the true sense of the word, if the person at the top of the executive branch is a person capable of resolving these matters. Of course, cultural and political matters are important in their own respect and they should attend to them, but currently, the main and the most urgent issue of the country is to resolve economic matters with a serious approach. The honorable candidates should attend to this matter: they should talk to the people and convince them so that they know what is going to happen.

The enemies’ various propaganda campaigns to damage the elections

Obviously, the enemies are opposed to our elections. Since the beginning and over the course of many years, this has been the case. Of course, in the time of Imam (May God bestow paradise on him) – in other words, in the 1360s – the form of the administration, the combination of a president and prime minister, would not allow these enmities to show themselves, but after the law changed with the result that the president became the head of the administration and undertook executive tasks, it has always been the case that before elections, the enemy focuses his propaganda on discouraging the people from participation because the elections might be “rigged” and “tampered with” and other such things.

They propagandize this in order for the people not to participate. However, after the people participate and the election proves to be an enthusiastic one, they say, “it is obvious that they have been engineered. It is evident who will emerge out of the ballot boxes.” This has always existed and it is not just today.

They always said the same thing about different candidates. After a person was elected – whether the one whom they guessed would win or another person – they would say, “what is the use of it? The president has no powers.” This has been the enemy’s propaganda policy in the course of these years and today is the same. Today too, they are doing something to possibly reduce the people’s participation and if the people do participate, they will say that your participation is of no use because it is evident who will be elected. And when a person emerges as the final winner – no matter who, whether the one whom they expected to win or the one whom they did not expect – they will say that it is of no use. The enemy is pursuing this policy.

Unfortunately, inside the country, I see that some people are repeating their words. I know people. It is 42 years now that I have been in contact and worked with the people whose names are mentioned here and there. I know people and I see that some of them are repeating the enemy’s words. And they diffuse these viewpoints and “theorize” them – as they themselves put it – in media and cyberspace.

Well, our duty is to see what Allah the Exalted wants from us and where divine satisfaction lies and after that, we should pursue it. Everyone should pursue divine satisfaction, God willing. Those who have a responsibility are after their religious obligation. They want to have answers for God and they are not willing to sell their religion for the sake of this and that person’s demand and for the sake of pleasing them. I hope that all of us will be able to do our duty, God willing.

I have some words of advice for presidential candidates and for their supporters. I also have some points to discuss with our dear people.

Words of advice to presidential candidates: Avoid slandering other candidates

As for candidates, I advise you not to turn the elections into a war of power. You should not look at typical American and European elections because they are notorious due to their insulting behavior. In our own country too, whenever candidates adopted the method to insult, slander and accuse other candidates during televised debates with the goal of frightening the people of other candidates, the country was harmed in one way or another. This has happened in the past. It should not be the case that we frighten the people of another candidate, saying that if he wins, such and such a thing will happen. The arena of elections is a competition for rendering services. The Holy Quran commands us, “So strive as in a race in all virtues” [The Holy Quran, 5: 48]. You should compete over doing good deeds and move like this. You should adopt such an outlook towards election. There should not be any kind of mudslinging and levelling accusations at others.

Avoid chanting unrealistic slogans

You should not chant unrealistic slogans either because such slogans might sometimes be construed as an act of deceiving the people. One should use slogans and give promises on the basis of the resources and realities of the country. One should act like this.

Observe moral principles

Moral considerations should seriously be observed. If our presidential candidates observe Islamic morality both in their debates, and in their interviews and questioning and answering sessions, this spirit will run over into society, and the masses of the people will learn and will observe moral principles because it will be an instructive lesson for them.

Avoid breaking norms

And they should not break the norms either. In order to be seen and heard more than usual, some people break the norms and “the redlines of the system”, as they themselves call it. This should not be the case. The Islamic Republic is a well-established and thriving system and the main lines of the system are clear. This well-rooted establishment does not originate from this humble person and other such people, rather it originates from God and it is reliant on the masses of the people. It is by relying on this firm establishment that the Islamic Republic has managed to resist all this enmity in the course of all these years. It should not be the case that they try to achieve an important position and status for themselves by violating these norms and limits. Of course, they will not able to achieve that position either. They should make their intentions Godly.

Advice for supporters: Avoid clashing with supporters of other candidates

As for the supporters of candidates, if the supporters of every candidate make their intentions Godly, Allah the Exalted will bless their affairs. Either their desired candidate will succeed in winning the election or if he does not win, Allah the Exalted will be pleased with them and this will become a blessed occasion for them. Sometimes, supporters cause certain frictions while the candidates themselves are not aware of them at all. In other words, as the expression says, the become ‘more Catholic than the Pope’. I strongly request that the esteemed supporters of candidates take note of these issues.

The enemy’s plan – we are adequately informed in this regard – is to set supporters against one another. They want the supporters of one candidate to fight against those of another candidate. They want them to speak ill of each other. They are using cyberspace to that end. In cyberspace, someone in one party speaks ill of another person in another party, thus setting individuals against one another. This is a preplanned scheme and you should be careful. The enemies’ motives to disrupt and to do sabotage work are deep-rooted motives and they are pursuing this plot.

Well, in cyberspace, some issues take center stage while they are not necessarily a reflection of the people’s demands. It is not the case that every matter that becomes highlighted in cyberspace is definitely the people’s demand. Sometimes, they magnify an event, making it look important. And everyone should be committed – between themselves and God – to honorably accept the results of the election, whatever they are. It should not be the case that we say that we accept the elections only if the results are to our advantage. In other words, we believe in the Republic as long as it works to our advantage, but if the Republic works to the advantage of another person, we will say that we do not believe in it. Unfortunately, this is a bitter test that has become established in the history of our elections since the year 1388.

The people should participate in the elections

As for the masses of the people, I advise our dear people that the elections will be held in one day, but its effects will remain for many years. You should participate in the elections and you should understand that elections belong to you – as they do belong to you – and you should ask God to guide you towards the correct direction and towards the truth. And you should go to ballot boxes and vote for the right person. You should take no heed of those inside and outside the country who promote the idea that participating in the elections is of no use and that we should not go to ballot boxes. They do not care for the people. Even if they speak about the people, they are lying and they have no sympathies for the people. He who has sympathies for the people does not prevent the people from going to ballot boxes.

The significance of city and village council elections

The last point is that you should not forget about the local council elections either because they are very important. Everyone is paying attention to presidential elections, but the council elections greatly influence the management of cities and villages and civil and rural life and it should not be forgotten, God willing.

I hope that Allah the Exalted will guide the people and all of us so that we can carry out our duties. The duty of those who are influential and who can influence the people is to use their influence to promote the elections. Everyone from different social backgrounds who is influential among the people should definitely use their influence to satisfy Allah the Exalted, God willing.

Dear God, draw our hearts to you, make us pursue the ideal of pleasing you. Make us succeed in satisfying you. Make the Islamic Republic more honorable and more glorious on a daily basis, God willing.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings

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