Imam Ali KhameneiAfghanistanAsia-PacificLeaders of UmmahNorth America

US occupied Afghanistan for 20 years and brought all sorts of oppression against Afghan people

On the occasion of the National Government Week, President Raisi and the Cabinet members met with Imam Khamenei in the Imam Khomeini Hussainiyah during the first days after the formation of the 13th Administration. In this speech, besides offering important pieces of advice to the 13th Administration, Imam Khamenei spoke about the current situation in Afghanistan and remarked, “In any case, we support the nation of Afghanistan. Governments come and go.” He also referred to the destructive role of the US in Afghanistan and stated, “They [the US] occupied Afghanistan for 20 years and brought all sorts of oppression against the Afghan people.” In addition, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution stressed that in regard to the nuclear negotiations the Americans have passed all limits in impudence and brazenness. The following is the full text of the speech delivered on August 28, 2021 by Imam Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in meeting with President Raisi and cabinet members.

In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to God, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad, and upon his pure household, especially the one remaining with God on earth

You are very welcome dear brothers. I congratulate all of you for the blessing to be present in the main centers of serving the people. God the Exalted has bestowed on you the blessing to be present in the main centers of serving the country, the nation and the Islamic Republic. You should appreciate the value of this blessing. I also wish to thank the Islamic Consultative Majlis for having carried out its duty on time. I hope that this will be a good and auspicious beginning for you and the country.

Government Week is ornamented with the names of Shahid Rajai and Shahid Bahonar. In others words, it is ornamented with the name and remembrance of martyrdom. God’s mercy be upon those two great, outstanding and active men who were blessed with martyrdom. They truly intended to serve. Although their term of service was short, they showed that they had entered the arena with purity and with the intention of rendering services. They had an Islamic, popular and jihadi mentality. This is a lesson for all existing officials.

You dear brothers have accepted your responsibility in a difficult time. I hope that God will help you. I too will pray and I hope that you succeed. These are difficult circumstances considering the high rate of inflation, the people’s livelihood problems, the issue of coronavirus and the various other problems that exist. If on the one hand, you work in a diligent, untiring and round-the-clock way and if on the other hand, you rely on God the Exalted as a reserve and as an investment, you will definitely win and succeed and you will overcome problems.

You should make your intentions divine, and divine intention in this position of yours means having the intention to serve the people. If you enter the field with the genuine intention of serving the people, this is a divine and pure intention, one that will become blessed by God.

I always offered a piece of advice to all officials in previous terms and I would like to offer it to you as well: time passes quickly and these four years will be over very soon! Therefore, you should grasp every hour and every opportunity and you should not allow the time that belongs to the people and to Islam to be wasted. So, you should take advantage of all resources–all temporal resources.

Of course, I seriously believe that as well as working hard and diligently, you should attend to your families. I advise everyone to definitely attend to the needs of your families. It should not be the case that you drift away from your families during your term of service and responsibility.

And you should focus your efforts on carrying out a revolutionary yet rational and wise reconstruction in all managerial areas, God willing. This reconstruction means moving on the revolutionary path in different managerial areas in the country. There should be a revolutionary dynamism in all areas including in the areas of economy, construction, foreign policy and diplomacy, public services, science, culture and the like. As I mentioned before, being revolutionary should be accompanied by rationality because this has been the correct method adopted by the Islamic Republic from the first day until today. This revolutionary movement should be accompanied by a rational and reasonable conduct.

I have a few important pieces of advice that I wish to offer. They are a few keywords about which I will provide a brief explanation. One of them is popularity which is the slogan adopted by Mr. Raisi’s administration. The other keywords are the administration of justice, combating corruption, reviving trust and hope in the people – in particular in youth – and governmental solidarity, power and mastery. These are the important keywords about which I will provide a brief explanation.

As for popularity, well, popularity is an extensive issue with different aspects to it. One aspect of it is showing one’s presence among the people and listening to them directly. The very good and praiseworthy move made by Mr. Raisi yesterday – going to Khuzestan and listing and talking to them – is one aspect of popularity. This is a very good course of action.

Another aspect of popularity is the adoption of a simple lifestyle, like that of the people. This means avoiding acting in an ostentatious and pompous manner and refraining from an aristocratic lifestyle and looking at the people in a condescending manner. This is another aspect of popularity. One should avoid adopting an aristocratic attitude – the kind that is common in the world and which has afflicted all governments and officials – looking at the people in a condescending manner and leading such a lifestyle.

Talking to the people and discussing problems and solutions with them is another aspect of popularity. You should discuss your issues with the people. Sometimes, there is a problem for which a solution exists. Of course, you should take care not to let your words disappoint the people. Some individuals ignore this point, saying improper and untrue things which make the people disappointed. There is a solution for every problem. You should open up to the people, talk to them and ask for their help on various matters – help in terms of thoughts and practical solutions.

Sometimes, a mistake is committed. Well, all of us make mistakes and we are actually not short of mistakes. You should apologize to the people, acknowledging explicitly that a mistake has been made and you should apologize for it. Popularity has all these aspects. You should also present a report about the services rendered: a sincere report without exaggerations. You should genuinely say what has been accomplished. Popularity includes these things. These are its different aspects.

In his very important governmental decree to Malik al-Ashtar, the Commander of the Faithful (God’s greetings be upon him) considered all these aspects. I advise all you friends to go take a look at it. He says, “Then, do not keep yourself secluded from the people for a long time.” Of course, scholars have put forward other variations and other suggestions for this part: “Falaa tutavalana” [Arabic: do not be secluded]. It means that a ruler should not be absent from the people for a long time. Officials cannot, of course, be constantly present among the people, but in some periods of time, they should certainly be present. “Falaa tutavalana” means, “do not lengthen your absence from among the people.”

After expanding on this, the Commander of the Faithful says, “If the subjects suspect you of high-handedness, explain to them your position openly.” If there is a doubt in the minds of people about you, you should present your explanations to them and speak to them openly. Notice that the relationship between the ruler and the people should be like this. This relationship is a brotherly and friendly one. “And remove their suspicion with your explanation” [Nahjul Balaghah, Letter 53]. If they have a doubt, you should dispel it with your words and your explanations. These were explanations about popularity. Therefore, you should really try to observe these aspects of popularity. Officials in all sectors should have these qualities. 

The next keyword is the administration of justice which is the basis of the Islamic government and the Islamic Republic. Actually, all religions are based on the administration of justice. God the Exalted says that He sent prophets and heavenly books “That people may maintain justice” [The Holy Quran, 57: 25]. The goal was to encourage the people to rise for justice so that society will be a just society. Well, we are behind in these areas and we have to work a great deal. In my opinion, every resolution that you pass and every bill that you draft in the administration and every directive that you issue in your organization should have a section on justice. You should take care not to let your decrees and your methods damage justice and violate the right of underprivileged classes. This caution should always exist. You should ensure this with a written addendum or you should prepare your draft in a way that justice will be ensured.

Sometimes, a managerial method and a common practice do harm. We have really seen these cases. Today too, there are some habits in our affairs that should be corrected. These habits exist in various areas, primarily in the area of justice in distributing the resources of the country. These resources should really be distributed in a fair manner. However, in the present time, this is not the case in some areas. Of course, when I say this, it does not mean that there is an ulterior motive in play, but for example in the area of energy and oil, an official in the previous administration delivered a report to me recently, showing that the hidden subsidies for oil in the year 1399 amounted to 63 billion dollars!

Well, who receives these subsides? Who benefits more from the country’s oil and petroleum resources? A significant and important number of the people do not benefit from this subsidy at all. However, officials have calculated that 63 billion dollars – that is, 1,500 billion tomans – are allocated to this subsidy, which is more than the budget for the year 1399!

Well, this is only an example that I cited. Of course, I am not offering advice on oil. You should examine it on your own and see what you can do. What I want to say is that such a situation sometimes exists. These are actions against justice and measures should be adopted. We should do something to bridge the gap between underprivileged and wealthy classes. In other words, the resources of the country should be distributed in a fair way.

As for the issue of combating corruption, this is a complement to the administration of justice. Corruption should be confronted. One of the grave plights that exists in the country and that is the antithesis of justice is the existence of corruption, economic rents, abuse of power, embezzlement and unnecessary privileges. Sometimes, a person does an important job and you reward him for that. This is alright, but sometimes, some individuals have many special privileges. Well, why? The issue of extremely huge salaries is only a small part of this problem.

Fortunately, in his responsibility as the head of the judiciary branch, the honorable President dealt with this matter, earning him the people’s trust and popularity. However, the main place to address this issue is the executive branch. The main place for combating corruption is the executive branch so as to cut out the main roots of corruption. The judiciary branch plays a secondary role. After you make your efforts and adopt preventive measures and after you destroy the origins of corruption, then it is the judiciary branch’s turn to get involved if something happens. The conflict between personal profits and public interests, bribing, embezzlement and the like should be resolved in the executive branch.

One of the important aspects of corruption is the wrongdoings committed in implementing the policies on Article 44. During his time in the judiciary branch, Mr. Raisi pursued many of these wrongdoings and at that time, he delivered a report to me. The policies on Article 44 – which could have helped the economy of the country to blossom in the true sense of the word – were implemented in a way that such wrongdoings were allowed to appear. Of course, there are instruments for confronting these wrongdoings including the information databases that have become legal for a few years. I frequently advised officials to set up these databases and to link them together because it will give the administration a complete control, in the true sense of the word, over the fight against corruption, but this has not been done yet. It has not moved forward. You should endeavor to establish these databases since they completely enable the government and the administration to have mastery over these affairs.

The issue of reviving the people’s trust and hope is very important as well because the people’s trust is the greatest investment for the administration. When the people trust you and are hopeful about you, they will get along with and help you. The greatest investment for the administration is to earn the people’s trust, but this has been damaged to some extent and you should fix this. The way to do this is to harmonize your words and your actions. If you make a promise and fulfill it, the people will trust you. If you make a promise and fail to act on it or if you claim that something has been accomplished but that the people see has not been accomplished, the people’s trust will be lost. You should really be careful about this.

Mr. Raisi, yesterday, you made certain promises to the people in Ahwaz, Khuzestan and you issued some governmental decrees. You should be careful to seriously follow them up so that the people see that what you want and what you say is realized in practice. These are necessary actions.

There is another quotation from the Commander of the Faithful (God’s greetings be upon him) in his decree to Malik al-Ashtar: “Avoid showing (the existence of) obligation on your subjects for having done good to them or praising your own actions.” First of all, you should not think that the people are obliged to thank you for what you have done and secondly, you should not exaggerate about what you have done. “Or making promises and then breaking them.” This means making promises and then failing to honor them. Imam Ali warns Malik al-Ashtar not to act like this. And this is very important.

Of course, sometimes you make a promise, but later on, you see that there is no possibility to fulfill it. For example, there might be a natural problem. It is alright, you should explain this to the people, saying that although you made that promise, a certain problem arose which prevented you from fulfilling it and ask for their forgiveness. This is another case of speaking to the people. This is another example of popularity, as explained before. However, generally speaking, you should be careful about the promises that you make.

You should impose a deadline for your promises. You should estimate the time that it will take to carry out a task and set a deadline for it and then you must follow it meticulously. I have said many times among executive officials that we have no shortage of rules and regulations. We have an abundance of laws, projects and rules and regulations. What we lack is serious follow-up. This is another point.

It is very important for the administration to have solidarity, power and mastery. The solidarity of the administration means that executive officials should not say contradictory things. If one official says something and another says the opposite of it, the people’s mind and public opinion will change unfavorably. There should be solidarity both in words and action. The affairs of a sector might be interrelated with many other sectors. Your agricultural sector is naturally connected with a few other sectors. There should be cooperation so that the task in hand will be accomplished properly. The same is true of the industrial and many other sectors. So, solidarity is necessary so as to accomplish the task.

Having strength is necessary as well. The administration should show that it has the power to carry out its plans and its decisions. It should not be the case that people feel there is a state of abandonment. If you do not show governmental power in practice and if individuals witness a state of abandonment, your policies will certainly not move forward. This is important. As for mastery, it means that you should be aware of all the details in the administration. Therefore, the administration should carry out its duties with power, solidarity and complete mastery.

And this is part of the endeavor to bring about transformation in the judiciary branch. One of Mr. Raisi’s plans and those of other presidential candidates was to bring about a transformation in the executive branch. A transformation in the executive branch is an important endeavor. This transformation is a perpetual need which should always be placed within sight. Of course, a transformation directed towards progress depends on relying on the law, enhancing transparency, having financial discipline, destroying the roots of corruption, preventing a clash of interests and being serious in implementing decisions and bills.

Of course, it is very important to rejuvenate the administration. The rejuvenation of the administration is an important task for the administration. You should employ youth, as much as you want, in the body of the administration and in mid-management positions as we thankfully have no shortage of skilled youth. This will extinguish the feeling of hopelessness in the country. When the youth see that they can enter the arena and make decisions, there will be no feeling of hopelessness in the country. Moreover, by doing so, you are providing the country with a valuable provision for the future – veteran and experienced managers. The youth who enter the field today will be experienced managers in ten years and this is an important reserve for the country. These competent managers will truly be a valuable provision for the country.

An important point regarding transformation is benefiting from collective wisdom and relying on rationality. You should benefit from experts outside the administration. Whenever you can, you should benefit from the viewpoints of experts and outstanding personalities and you should never pay attention to their political orientations and the like. You should not say that their political orientations are different from or the same as yours. Of course, inside the administrations, there are already experts whose viewpoints are benefitted from. So, you should benefit from the viewpoints of experts.

These are general recommendations. Of course, you should formulate practical plans for them. If you only keep these points in mind or write them down, thinking that this is enough, this is of no use. To think of these points as mere pieces of advice is of no avail. These should be turned into practical plans. When they become plans, they can become implementable.

There are some priorities in the affairs of the country. I wish to stress that the priority of these issues should receive due attention. Perhaps the most important priority is the issue of the economy and other priorities are culture, the media and science. These are the main priorities of the country. We have an urgent matter, namely coronavirus and the issue of health. This has turned into an urgent matter that should be dealt with. Of course, the previous administration made good efforts in the area of health. They carried out good tasks and followed up the matter. They both worked on the production of vaccines inside the country and on the importation of vaccines. There are some rumors here and there, most of which are not true. Good things were done. These measures should be pursued and insisted on. Treatment, preventive measures, healthcare and testing – testing the possibly infected patients is very important – should receive attention. These issues should definitely be dealt with.

Public vaccination is a very important issue which should definitely be carried out. Another issue is imposing a smart lockdown. I have heard that some western countries, which have managed to control their infection rates and whose death and infection rates are lower than ours, have closed their borders in a way that they do not even allow the people in their neighboring country, which is also a developed country but whose rate of infection is high, to come visit their country. In other words, they are careful. We should be really careful about controlling our borders and about preventing the new variants of this disease or other diseases from entering the country because this is a very important matter.

Of course, the people have certain responsibilities as well, as I have frequently said before. Our dear people should undertake these four important responsibilities: one is wearing a mask, another is observing social distancing, the third is using good ventilation systems and the last one is washing hands with soap. These are not difficult tasks. They are all easy. If they observe these, it will definitely be effective in reducing infection, and the high figures of death that ache one’s heart will not occur.

As for the issue of economy, culture, cyberspace, diplomacy and the like, there are some points that cannot be explained in detail in this meeting. Later on, if there is an opportunity, God willing, and if I live long enough, I will raise certain points.

In the present time, there are certain economic problems in the country: the high rate of inflation is one of the major problems. Other problems include budget deficiency, the livelihood condition of people with low incomes – these are the important problems – as well as the devaluation of national currency. This is one of the issues which makes one really embarrassed. We could equally mention a reduction in the people’s purchasing power and the problems in the trade and business environment. Despite the fact that we and officials of economic matters have placed so much emphasis on this matter, there are problems in the area of the business environment. We could also refer to the problems with the banking system. These are the economic problems of the country. There are other problems as well for each of which we should have plans and work hard because resolving these matters is important.

A fundamental point is that our economists and our officials of economic matters in this administration should work in harmony in resolving these problems. An important example of the solidarity mentioned before could be applied here. In other words, they should come to agreement about these important economic matters and work in harmony. Mr. President mentioned that the First Vice President [Mr. Mokhber] is in charge of coordination. This is a very important task. It is very important. There should be coordination in economic areas. I hope that this responsibility will be carried out perfectly, God willing.

If there is a disagreement, I strongly advise you gentlemen not to discuss it among the people. This is because when a disagreement on economy is discussed in public, it will show its real impacts in the business environment. In other words, those imaginary problems will turn into real problems in the market and in the people’s economic environment. If there is a disagreement and a problem, they should resolve it in the administration and avoid discussing it with the people.

An important point about economy is paying attention to the leading economic sectors. Some sectors play a leading role in the true sense of the word. For example, housing is a leading economic sector. Experts say that if housing gets moving, other sectors will get moving as well. Other leading economic sectors include important industries such as steel, car manufacturing, energy, petrochemicals and the like. When these areas begin to work, they play a leading role. These areas should be set in motion. Coordination between the officials in charge of these areas is very important.

Another important economic problem is the issue of monitoring the banking system – specifically, printing money and producing cash. According to economic experts, producing cash should be done in proportion with production. If this proportion does not exist, printing money and producing cash should be stopped. Officials should attach great significance to this matter. If this is done properly, it will have many blessings such as curbing inflation, boosting production, stimulating employment, strengthening the national currency and other such blessings. This is an important point that in my opinion, should be insisted on.

Well, there are other things to be said about economy as well. In my opinion, two points are important here: one is that in solving economic problems, we should not seek temporary solutions, painkillers and the like. This is because such problems sometimes aggravate the problem. These painkillers and temporary cures sometimes worsen the situation. In order to overcome these challenges, we should think of fundamental solutions and begin to take firm steps by relying on God and by adopting good measures.

The next point is that you should not make the resolution of these problems contingent upon the removal of sanctions. The removal of sanctions does not depend on us. It depends on others. Planning on the resolution of problems should be done by assuming that sanctions will be there. You should plan like this so that one can move the task forward. These problems should and will be resolved with your own determination and with your own jihadi effort.

On the issue of culture and media, I believe that the cultural structure of the country needs a revolutionary reconstruction. We have a problem in the cultural structure of the country. And a revolutionary move is necessary there. Of course, “revolutionary move” means a wise and rational move. Being revolutionary does not mean moving rashly and ill-advisedly. The move should be revolutionary and fundamental, but at the same time it should originate from thinking and wisdom. Culture is really an infrastructure. Some of the mistakes that we commit in different areas stem from the wrong culture that dominates our minds. If we consume extravagantly, if we copy others blindly, if we lead a wrong lifestyle, these result from cultural problems and from the culture ruling over minds. That is why these problems emerge in practice. Copying others and leading a flashy and aristocratic lifestyle is rooted in cultural matters. In fact, the software for these events is the culture of the country and the wrong and deviant culture that dominates the minds of some people.

You should significantly improve cultural instruments such as the cinema, art and audiovisual media. The press, books and the like are also cultural instruments. They should blossom in the true sense of the word. Today, a large army of enthusiastic youth are thankfully busy working on cultural matters and in a diligent way.

If administrations and the cultural organizations of the administration help these young enthusiastic groups, great feats will surely be accomplished and ingenious steps will be taken. There are hundreds of innovative projects available to youth. When we sometimes meet with youth, we see that they are capable of accomplishing great things. Well, they need resources and resources are at the disposal of the administration. They should be supported smartly. You should discover talents, support them and ensure their freedom. Of course, I mean freedom within the framework of the law.

And you should confront and fight against moral and cultural corruption without any consideration. The confrontation should be carried out this way. The main way to confront the enemy’s soft war is to support, encourage and appreciate proper moves in the area of culture and to stand up against wrong moves. The arena of media and culture could be and indeed is a great university and on the other hand it is a battle between good and evil, truth and falsehood. It is a cultural battlefield for fighting against those whose culture is to generate corruption in the world. We should look at it from these two perspectives.

I wish to raise a few points about foreign policy as well. Of course, there are many issues that need to be raised about foreign policy, which will be discussed in the right time and place. Briefly, foreign policy is very important and it greatly influences the affairs of the country. We should be more active in the area of diplomacy. In diplomacy, the economic aspect should be strengthened because economic diplomacy is a very important matter. Today, one can see that although many countries have a foreign minister, presidents themselves discuss economic matters with other countries or with a specific country. In other words, economic relations with other countries are very important. Therefore, the economic aspect of diplomacy should be strengthened.

And foreign trade is very important, especially with our neighbors. We have about 14, 15 neighbors, comprised of large populations and offering a big market, but we should not confine ourselves to these countries and we should establish such relations with other countries as well. There are about 200-plus countries in the world. We do not intend to establish relations with only a few countries–one, two countries. We might not be able to establish relations with some countries, but the possibility exists to establish good and constructive relations with most countries. Diligence is necessary to that end.

Another point is that diplomacy should not be overshadowed by the nuclear matter. It should not be the case that the diplomacy of the country is dependent on the nuclear matter. The nuclear matter is a separate matter that should be resolved in a proper manner, but diplomacy is much wider in scope.

On the nuclear issue, the US has truly passed all limits in their brazenness. They have truly passed all limits in brazenness. They withdrew from the JCPOA in front of everyone. Now, they speak as if it was Iran that withdrew from the JCPOA. And they make demands as if we are the ones who violated our commitments. For a long time, Iran did not react to this move made by the US. But after a while and having announced it, we deliberately stopped fulfilling some of our commitments. We only stopped some, not all of our commitments. They did not fulfill their commitments.

European countries went along with the US too. From the point of view of breaking promises and showing malice they are not any less than the US. They are like the US, but they have glib tongues and make extravagant demands. They are always making demands. They talk as if it was us who were mocking the negotiations for a long time and dishonored our commitments. This is what they did. And the current US administration is no different from the previous administration. In other words, what they want at the present time concerning the nuclear issue from Iran is the same thing that Trump wanted. At that time, the high-ranking officials of the country said that it was impossible, unreasonable and such. Today, they want the same thing. There is no difference. Trump said it one way and the current administration says it another way. We should pay attention to this.

Behind the diplomatic scene, the US is truly a predatory wolf. In appearances it is diplomacy. They smile, speak, and sometimes talk with self-righteousness. But in reality, they are a savage, vicious wolf that shows itself in many parts of the world. Of course, they sometimes appear in a wolf’s clothing and sometimes in a fox’s clothing. They take on many forms. One manifestation of this today is the situation in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is our brother country, sharing the same language, religion and culture. The crises and sufferings in Afghanistan truly move one. The incidents that are taking place one after another, the incident that took place on Thursday [at the Kabul Airport], the killings, the problems and the hardships they are going through are the US’s doing. They occupied Afghanistan for 20 years and brought all sorts of oppression against the Afghan people. They bombarded their mourning ceremonies and their weddings, they killed their youth, they imprisoned many individuals without any reason in different prisons and they increased the production of addictive drugs in Afghanistan by tens of times. They did all of these but refused to take one step to help develop Afghanistan. In other words, if today’s Afghanistan in terms of civil rights, construction and other such developments is not worse than those days, it is not better either. So, the US did nothing. Now that they are leaving, it is in such a disgraceful way. Look at the situation in the Kabul Airport, the large crowds and the problems. They only take those who have cooperated with them over all these years and they wish to take. But there are reports showing that their situation is worse than those who stay. There are numerous problems for them in the centers where they are being kept. This is how the US is.

In any case, we support the nation of Afghanistan. Governments come and go. All sorts of governments held power in Afghanistan over these years. So, governments come and go. It is the people of Afghanistan who are permanently there. We support the nation of Afghanistan. The nature of our relations with governments depends on the nature of their relations with us. May God bring the best situation for the nation of Afghanistan, liberating them from this situation and putting them in the best of conditions. I hope that He bestows His blessings on them and on us, God willing.

I hope that God bestows success on the Iranian nation and eliminates the problems. I pray that you honorable officials of the new administration will succeed in the tasks that you have undertaken and overcome the problems. I hope that you fulfill your promises, help the people with their problems and satisfy the people, God willing.

The people’s satisfaction will lead to the satisfaction of God the Exalted as well. Having pure and divine intentions and having the intention to serve will help you. God’s mercy be upon our dear martyrs, upon our magnanimous Imam and upon all those who worked for the sake of God and on the path of the truth. 

Greetings be upon you and God’s mercy and blessings

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