Supreme Leader Khamenei’s Friday Address on the Presidential Elections

The USG Open Source Center Translates Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s sermon on Friday regarding the finality of the presidential election results and the impermissibility of further protest.

Iran: Leader Urges End to Protests, Says Poll Results Can Be Investigated Legally
Second Friday sermon delivered by Ayatollah Ali Khamene’i, leader of Iran’s Islamic revolution, at Tehran University — live
Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television (IRINN)
Friday, June 19, 2009
Document Type: OSC Translated Text

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. (Introductory prayers in Arabic) In this sermon I call on all dear brothers and sisters who are participating in the prayers to observe piety.

The issue which I would like to raise in this sermon concerns the (presidential) election which is currently the issue of the day in our country. I will mention three points to three groups. I am going to address our dear people. I would like to mention a few points to our dear nation wherever they may be. Another point concerns the political elite, presidential candidates, and the election officials. I will also mention a point to the leaders of the arrogant powers, a number of Western governments and the media that they control.

The first point that concerns you dear people is a world of praise, admiration and appreciation. In my speeches, I do not like to address my audience using flattery (tamaloq), however in the issue of election I will tell you dear people that whatever I say, even if it sounds like flattery it is fine because you have accomplished a great deal.

The 22 Khordad (12 June) election was a massive display of our nation’s responsibility in determining the country’s destiny. It was a huge display of the spirit of cooperation among the people in managing their country. It was a great display of the people’s fondness for their system.

Indeed, a similar event to what happened in this country I have not seen in the world, in various democracies, be they pretend, false democracies or democracies based on people’s votes.

(Chants of: “God is great, Khamene’i is the leader, other indistinct slogans)

Last Friday’s elections were unprecedented in the Islamic Republic apart from the referendum which was held in Farvardin 1358 (March 1980) [on having an Islamic Republic]. Around 85 percent (of eligible voters), around 40 million people, (took part in election). One can see the auspicious hand of the Lord of the Age (12th imam) behind such great events. That is a sign of the blessing of God.

Cont’d (click below or on “comments”)

I deem it necessary to pay my respect and tell you of my humbleness towards you dear people in the entire country from the bottom of my heart. That is indeed befitting.

Our young generation particularly showed that it still possesses the same political enthusiasm, awareness, and commitment that we saw in the first generation of the revolution. However, with one difference, that the hot furnace of the revolution created emotions in the hearts of people, later during the war in a different manner, but today those (emotions) do not exist and we still see such commitment, feeling of responsibility, and enthusiasm in our present generation. Those are not small things.

Of course people have differences of opinion and tastes. Some accept a certain person, a theory, others accept someone else and have a different theory. Such things exist and it is natural for them to exist. However, one feels a collective commitment among all these individuals despite their differences of opinion. A collective commitment aimed at protecting their country and to protect their system.

Everyone participated in cities, in villages, in small towns, in big towns, from different ethnic groups, different religions, men, women, old, young all entered the arena. All took part in this massive move.

This election, my dear ones, was as a political earthquake for your enemies and a real and historic celebration for your friends in different parts of the world.
As the revolution is experiencing its 30 years of age, the manner in which the people expressed their commitment towards the system, the revolution and the honorable imam (Khomeyni) was a general and popular movement aimed at repeating their allegiance with the imam and the martyrs. It was a breath of fresh air for the Islamic Republic, a fresh movement, a great opportunity.

These elections showed our religious democracy to the entire world. All those people who are ill-wishers towards the system witnessed what religious democracy really is.

This is a third way different from dictatorships and tyrannical systems on the one hand and democracies removed from spirituality and religion on the other. This is religious democracy. This is what attracts the hearts of people and brings them to the center of the arena, and it just passed its test. That was one point about the election.

The second point about the elections is that the 22 Khordad elections showed that the people live in an atmosphere of trust, hope, and enthusiasm in this country.

This was a response to many of your enemies’ remarks expressed in their biased propaganda. If the people have no hope for the future they would not take part in elections. If they do not trust their own system they would not take part in elections. If they do not feel free, they would not welcome the elections. Trust in the Islamic Republic became evident in these elections. I will tell you later that the enemies have targeted this very trust. The enemies of the Iranian nation intend to undermine this trust. This trust is the biggest asset of the Islamic Republic and they want to take it away. They want to create doubt about elections. They want to cast doubt on the trust of the people.

The enemies of the Iranian nation know that when trust is gone, participation will weaken. When participation and presence on the scene is weakened, the legitimacy of the system will be questioned. This is what they want. They want to undermine trust to weaken participation to deprive the Islamic Republic of legitimacy. The harm inflicted by this is far worse than setting fire to buses and banks. This cannot be compared with any other loss. The enemy wants to see the people come forward in such a move and participate so enthusiastically in elections and then get told that they have made a mistake in trusting the system, the system is not trustworthy. This is what the enemy wants. They started this line (of attack) before the elections. Two to three months ago, I said in Mashhad in early Farvardin (month beginning 23 March 2009) that they (the enemy) kept repeating and drumming it in that the elections were going to be rigged. They were preparing the ground. I cautioned our good friends inside the country not to repeat the enemies’ propaganda.

People trust the Islamic Republic system. This trust has not been achieved easily. The Islamic Republic, by its officials, performance and immense efforts has been able to deepen this trust in the hearts of people over the past 30 years. The enemy wants to take the trust away and dishearten people. That was another point.

The third point is about the (election) race. The race between the candidates was completely free, serious, and transparent. Everyone has witnessed that. The race, dialogues, and debates were so transparent and open that some individuals complained against that. As I will mention, they were somehow right to do so. It created some anxiety whose outcome we are witnessing.

Let me tell you something. My assumption was and is that the race between the four candidates was the race between the individuals and trends affiliated to the Islamic system. The enemies in various media, which mostly belong to the malicious and evil Zionists, tried to portray that the disputes were between the advocates and opponents of the system. No, that was not the case. How dare they say such things. It is not true. The four candidates who stepped in the field of the serious election were and are all members of the system and affiliated to it.

One of them was the president (Mahmud Ahmadinezhad) of our country, who is assiduous, deserving, and trustworthy. Another one was the prime minister for eight years (Mir-Hoseyn Musavi) during my tenure as the president. He was my prime minister for eight years. Another one was the commander of the Guards Corps (Mohsen Reza’i) for many years, and was one of the main commanders during the Holy Defense (Iran-Iraq war, 1981-1988). Another one has served as the head of the legislative pillar and the Islamic Consultative Majles (Mehdi Karrubi) for two terms. They are the members of the system. All of them belong to the system.

Of course, they have different opinions. They have different plans. They have a range of differences in their various political stances. But all of them belong to the system. All of these four people are members of the system. This race took place within the system. Despite what the Zionist radio and the radio of America and the evil Britain and others are trying to portray, it was not a race between the insiders and outsiders of the system. It was a race inside the system between the members affiliated to the system, who have such records. I know all of them closely. I am familiar with their thoughts, ideas, and traits. I have worked with them closely. I know all of them.

However, I do not accept all of the viewpoints of these gentlemen. In my view, some of their viewpoints and performances can be undoubtedly criticized. I believe that some of them can serve the country better than others. However, the people are those who should make the choice. The people have opted so (by electing Ahmadinezhad). My wish and understanding was not told to the people and it was not necessary for the people to observe it. People, based on their own criteria, have decided, moved and acted in millions here and there. Therefore, it is a domestic issue. It will be a biased and malicious move if some want to change the appearance of the issue. The dispute is not between the system and outside the system. The dispute is not between the revolution and counter-revolution. The dispute and difference is between the members who are within the framework of the system. The people who have voted for these individuals, believed in the system. The people voted for him (Ahmadinezhad) since they recognized that it would be better for the country and he is more committed to the system. They voted for the person who they thought is more capable to serve the system. People have acted within the framework of the system.

Well. The campaigns and debates were good and interesting initiatives. The debates were very open, transparent and serious. The debates were a slap in the face of those who had tried to insinuate from outside that the campaign was a trumped-up show and unreal. They realized that the debates were real and serious. The candidates came face to face and debating with each other. The debates were positive from this respect. It had positive points as well as shortcomings. I will mention both of them.

The positive side was that during these televised debates and dialogues all of them (candidates) spoke their minds transparently. A flood of criticism started and everyone had to respond. Criticism was leveled against them and they had to respond and defend themselves. Without any vagueness and complication, the stances of individuals and groups were exposed before the eyes of people. They (the candidates) expressed their policies, plans, and commitments. These were exposed before the people and the people have been able to judge. The people felt that they are not considered as aliens in the Islamic system. The country’s system does not have us and them. Everything is clear for the people. All ideas were expressed to the people. It was clarified that the people’s vote results from such considerations and contemplations. People’s votes are not for decorative (formality) purposes. People have certainly the right to choose. People want to elect vigilantly and prudently.

The debates revealed such things. Certainly, one of the reasons that ten million more votes were cast – as compared with the previous records during the past elections – was that the people and their ideas participated on the scene. They realized the reality and stepped forward. These debates were spread to street level and houses. Such things increase people’s power of choice. These kinds of debates strengthen the minds of people and increase their ability to elect. It is an appropriate thins from the viewpoint of the Islamic Republic.

Of course, I would like to make a point from here. Such debates should not lead to hostility and grudges. If it happens, it will have an opposite impact. If they remain at that stage (during the election campaign), it would be good. But if such debates are extended afterward and turn into squabbles, it will lead to grudges.

It would of course be very good to continue such debates at managerial levels. However their deficiencies – that I will refer to – should be removed. Individuals should be exposed to criticism. They should be accountable and should respond to criticism. They should clarify issues.

In many instances, criticism provides an opportunity for an individual to clarify issues and facts. But the deficiencies that I will refer to should be removed. If such debates would continue in the course of four years, then at the time of elections, debates will not create such an explosive milieu.

All what is to be said has already been said and heard during the year. Criticisms, responses are all then heard. These were the positive aspects of the debates. There were some flaws in the debates too which need to be removed.

One sometimes could see that the logical aspect of the debates became weak. Emotions sometimes prevailed and ruined things. During the debates, some tried to portray the situation as worse than it is. They even tried to question the situation during previous governments. Both were unacceptable.

Certain accusations were leveled against individuals that have never been proved anywhere. They relied on rumors. There were certain unfair statements made both against the present government with the huge volume of its service, as well as against previous governments of the past 30 years.

The gentlemen became emotional during their statements. While they raised good things, they also mentioned issues that were not acceptable.

Similar to other people in the country, I watched the debates on the TV. I enjoyed the freedom of speech. I enjoyed seeing that the Islamic Republic state has come to the assistance of the people to make a better choice.

But the negative aspect of the debates depressed me. The negative aspects of the debates and the accusations leveled were distressful. Both sides made such accusations.

During the Friday prayer sermons and the sermons which are part of the prayers I should say the truth. Both sides unfortunately made similar mistake. On the one hand, the official president of the country was insulted in the worst manner. I was receiving copies of the speeches even two to three months before the debates. I used to see the text of the speeches and hear things. Sometimes, certain accusations were leveled and statements were made against the official president of the country – the individual who relies on the votes of the people.

They wrongly accused him. They accused the president of the country – who is being trusted by the people – of being a liar. Are these good things to do? They made fake records for the government and distributed them here and there. We – who are aware of issues – see and know that they are against the truth. They insulted the president and said that he was superstitious and a fortune-teller. They accused him of such shameless attributes. They trampled on ethics, law and fairness. This was done by one side.

On this (Ahmadinezhad) side similar things were done in another manner. The 30-year outstanding record of the revolution was questioned. The names of some individuals were mentioned.

It has never been my tradition that I name names in the course of Friday Prayers. But as names have been named (during the televised debate between Musavi and Ahmadinezhad) I am compelled to give names. Especially, I have to name Mr Rafsanjani and Mr Nateq-Nuri; I have to name names. Of course, nobody has accused these gentlemen of financial corruption. As for the next of kin, anyone who is making an accusation, he has to prove it through legal channels.

Before proof, one cannot publicize these issues. If it is proved, then there are no differences between individuals in society (before the law), but before it is proven one cannot air these and make a definite charge against anyone.
When such statements are made, wrong impressions are given to the people. The youngsters believe something else and have a different take on issues.
Everyone knows Mr Hashemi (Rafsanjani). My understanding of this gentleman is not limited to after the Revolution and the responsibilities after the revolution. I’ve known him personally since 1957, in other words, 52 years.

Mr Hashemi was one of key figures of the movement during our struggles. He was one of the most serious militants before the revolution and after the victory of the revolution; he was one of the most effective figures of the Islamic Republic next to Imam (Khomeyni). And after the Imam passed away, he continued to be by the side of the leadership up until today. He was almost martyred on many occasions. Before the revolution, he spent his belongings and properties for the revolution and militants. Our youth should know that. He has held many positions after the revolution. He was the president for eight years and was the Speaker before that. After his presidency, he held even more positions and during all those times, we have not seen even one instance of him amassing wealth for himself from the revolution.

These are the truths which should be known. In the most sensitive time, he has always been at the service of the revolution and the system.

Of course, Mr Hashemi and I have differences of opinion on various issues, which is natural. There are different issues (over which there are differences). However, people should not harbor any illusions and think otherwise.

Of course, since the 1384 (2005) elections, there have been differences between Mr Hashemi and Mr President. The differences still continue. They have differences of opinion on foreign issues, on how to implement social justice and on certain cultural issues. The viewpoints of the President are closer to those of mine.

(Chants of slogan, God is great).

The same goes for Mr Nateq-Nuri. He is one of the sincere servants of the revolution. He, too, has rendered a great deal of services and there is no doubting his love for this system and the revolution.

Well, live TV debates are good but such damages should be avoided. At that time, after the debate, I gave a notice to the president because I knew he would listen.

As for financial corruption, the system’s position is clear. Similarly, the position of the state is clear regarding social justice. We should fight corruption wherever it is. (Chants of slogan, God is great)

I want to say that we do not claim that financial corruption does not exist in our system. Yes, it does, otherwise I would have never written that 8-article guideline to the heads of the branches of power a few years ago. I would never have insisted on the guideline otherwise. Yes there is corruption. But I want to say that the Islamic Republic system is one of the healthiest political and social systems in the world today.

It will not be right if we cite a report by some Zionist centers and accuse the system of corruption. This is not right at all. Accusing officials and figures of corruption unreasonably is not right either. Financial corruption is an important issue in the Islamic Republic system and we should seriously fight it at all levels of executive, legislative and judicial branches of powers. We are all duty-bound to fight it and if it is not contained, it will spread. Many countries of the world, including Western countries, that claim to fight corruption and money-laundering, are corrupt to their core. You have all heard about the (expenses scandals in the) British government and the parliament. The whole world heard the story and those were just parts of the story, it was a lot bigger (than what you have heard).

Well now I’d like to finish my address to the Iranian nation. My dear ones, the Iranian nation, 22 Khordad was an epic election and it was registered in history, although some enemies in the world tried to undermine this definite victory lower it to a dubious and doubtable victory.

Some of them even tried to portray it as a national defeat. They wanted to sour the sweet taste in your mouth. They wanted to stop the world from registering the biggest turnout in the world in your name. They wanted to do all that, but they failed. It was registered in your name. They cannot manipulate (the result). (Chants of slogan, God is great).

The rivalry has ended. All those who voted for the four candidates are rewarded by God, God-willing. They are all part of the revolution front and belong to the system. They have even worshipped God if they voted with sincerity. The path of revolution has 40 million votes, not 24.5 million who voted for the president-elect. Some 40 million voted for the path of revolution.

People know it and some supporters of some candidates should rest assured that the Islamic Republic does not betray votes of the people. (Chants of slogan, God is great)

The legal structures for elections in our country do not leave us room for vote-rigging. Anyone who is involved in elections will know this. And they talk about a difference of 11 million votes?

Sometimes the difference is 100,000, 500,000 or even 1 million. In that case, one could say that there might have been vote-rigging, but how can they rig 11 million votes? (Chants of slogan, God is great)

At the same time, I said – and the Guardian Council agrees with me – that if there are some people who have doubts and have documents, those doubts should be investigated, of course through legal channels.

Investigations should be carried out only through legal channels. I do not submit to illegal precedents. (Chants of slogan, God is great)

Today, if legal frameworks are ignored today, there will be no guarantees for the health of the elections in the future. In every election there will be some who win and some who lose. No elections will be safe or trusted any longer (if the law is ignored). Therefore, everything should be processed and carried out based on the law. If there are really doubts, there are legal ways. The law is perfect in this respect and there are no flaws in the law, just as it has allowed the right for the candidates to supervise, complain and call for investigation. I have told the esteemed Guardian Council that if they need to recount the ballot boxes, they should do so in the presence of the representatives of candidates. They (representatives) should be present to register and sign. Therefore there are no problems in this respect. That was my point regarding the election that I wanted to tell the nation.

And now I would like to address politicians, candidates, and party leaders. I want to tell them that today marks a sensitive historic moment for the country. Take a look at the situation of the world, the Middle East, the economic situation and our neighboring countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

We are at a sensitive juncture. We are all duty-bound to be vigilant and careful at this historic juncture and make no mistakes.

In these elections the people truly performed their duty. Their duty was to come to the polls and this duty was performed in the best possible way. However, we and you have more serious duties to attend to. Those — from politicians, heads of parties and directors of political currents — who can exert some influence on the public and are listened to by some groups, should be very careful of their conduct. They should be very careful of what they say. If they show the slightest extremism, the repercussions will be felt by the body of the people and can lead to a very sensitive and dangerous situation which even they cannot control. We have seen examples of it. When extremism starts in a society, any extremist move can fuel other’s extremism. If the political elite ignore the law, or cut off their noses to spite the face, whether they want or not, they will be responsible for the bloodshed, violence, and chaos (that will follow).

I urge old friends and brothers to be patient and keep control of yourselves. Please see the hands of the enemy. Please see the hungry wolves in ambush, who are gradually removing their mask of diplomacy and showing their true faces. Be aware of them. Today, senior diplomats of some Western countries, who addressed us diplomatically up until today, have now removed their masks. They are showing their true faces.

They are showing their enmity against the Islamic Republic system and the most evil of them is the British government. (Crowd chants “death to Britain”)

I advise our brothers to think about their responsibilities before God. You are responsible before God. You will be questioned. Remember the last will and testament of the late Imam, law is the last word. We should consider law as the last word. What are the elections for? Elections are for resolving all differences at ballot boxes. It should be at the ballot boxes that it is determined what the people want and what they do not want — not on the streets.

(Crowd chanting, God is great, Khamene’i is the leader, death to hypocrites, death to Israel).

If after every election, those who do not win start street rallies and mobilize their supporters in the streets, then those who have won start street rallies in response, then, what is the purpose of holding elections? What is the fault of the people? The people, who have businesses on the street, commute on the streets and live there. What is their sin to witness you wanting to show off your supporters, one side like this and the other side like that. For the infiltrated terrorist, the individual who intends to deal a terrorist blow, the issue is not the political aspect of the matter. What is better for him than to hide among the people, who want to hold gatherings and rallies? If such gatherings provide a cover for him, then who is responsible? Who is accountable for the death of the few people from the public and the Basij in these incidents? There will be reactions and sentiments after they (agitators) exploit the chaos and assassinate members of the Basij or the Law Enforcement Force. Who is accountable for these reactions? One’s heart is torn apart when one sees such events, when one sees that they raid university dormitories and harm young students, not rioting students but the pious students, and then chant slogans in support of the leader too. One’s heart is torn apart by such events. (Crowd chanting)

Street challenges after the elections are not the right thing to do. This is, in fact, challenging the principle of elections and democracy. I want everyone to end this sort of action. If they do not end it then the consequences of this lie with them (street protestors).

It is a wrong perception, please note, a wrong impression that through their street presence they will be creating a lever of pressure against the system. It is wrong to think that the officials of the system will concede out of expediency. (Chants in support from the congregants)

Giving in to demands under pressure is itself tantamount to the start of dictatorship. This calculation is wrong and if a precedent is set in this way, the behind-the-scenes commanders will also be affected. The people will come to recognize them when the opportunity presents itself. (Chants of support)

I am asking my friends and brothers to respect brotherhood, law and togetherness. The legal channels are open. The channels of love and friendship are open. You should use legal and friendly methods. I hope God helps them. They (all candidates) want the country to make progress. The 40 million-strong victory should be appreciated. Do not let the enemy come and spoil the party as indeed it is wont to do. Of course, if there are those who wish to choose a different path, then I will come and speak again to the nation but in a more explicit way.

(Crowd chanting: Dear leader, we are ready for your commands)

I am now addressing the heads of (global) arrogance and their media. In the past few weeks I have observed the behavior of the American and some European officials. I have studied their behavior before and after the election. Before the election they were questioning the election itself in order to reduce participation. However, both Europeans and Americans were able to predict the results. They still could not believe the magnitude of the turnout. They could not believe 85 percent turnout signifying some 40 million people. They were shocked. They realized what a big incident happened in Iran. They knew they had to adapt to this new situation. They were shocked at every instance, in international developments, in the Muslim world, in the nuclear issue. They knew that tables have turned. They have to accept the new realities. From here, through their agents, they continuously communicated and expressed their surprise. Those comments started from Friday (12 June) morning and we could see the feedback in the West.

But when they saw the complaints of some candidates, they realized that it could be an opportunity for them and used the opportunity to get a ride on the wave of the people. Their tone changed on Saturday and Sunday. Gradually, they saw a few popular protests, which were reportedly called by certain candidates. They started to remove their masks gradually and showed their true faces. Some foreign ministers and leaders of European states and America made some comments which revealed their true colors. The American president was quoted as saying that he expected the people of Iran to take to the streets. On the one hand, they write a letter to us to express their respect for the Islamic Republic and for re-establishment of ties and on the other hand they make these remarks. Which one of these remarks are we supposed to believe?

Inside the country, their agents were activated. Vandalism started. Sabotaging and setting fires on the streets started. Some shops were looted. They wanted to create chaos. Public security was violated. The violators are not the public or the supporters of the candidates. They are the ill-wishers, mercenaries and agents of the Western intelligence services and the Zionists.

(Crowd chanting death to America, death to Israel)

The amateurish behavior of some people inside the country made them (the West) greedy. They have mistaken Iran with Georgia. (Crowd laughing)

A Zionist-American millionaire claimed that he spent $10 million to change the regime in Georgia through a velvet revolution. This claim was published in the papers. Those fools thought the Islamic Republic is like Georgia. To which countries do you compare Iran to? The enemy’s problem is that they do not yet understand the Iranian nation.

(Crowd chanting death to America, death to Israel)

The ugliest of all were the so-called caring comments of the American officials. They talked about leniency towards people. The Americans said they are worried about the mistreatment of people. (To Americans) Do you even believe in human rights? Who is responsible for all the bloodshed in Afghanistan? Who has humiliated Iraq under the boots of its military forces? Who was supporting the tyrant Zionist regime in Palestine? It is astonishing.

In the US, in a Democrat administration, when the husband of this lady who is making comments (Khamene’i refers to Bill Clinton) was in charge, more than 80 people, members of the [Branch] Davidian sect were burned alive. They cannot deny it. Democrats did it. The Davidian sect angered the American government for some reason. The followers of the Davidian sect were staging a sit-in protest in a house. The authorities asked them to come out. The Davidians refused. More than 80 men, women and children were burned alive in this house. The Americans have no understanding of human rights.

I think the American officials should take it upon themselves feel ashamed. The Islamic Republic is the flag-bearer of human rights. The way we defend the suppressed people of Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan shows our commitment. It shows the human rights flag is flying high in Iran. We do not need the advice of others on human rights. That was my take on the election.Finally I want to pray for the hidden Imam.

(Crowd crying)

We will fulfil our duty. We said what had to be done and we would continue. All I have is my life. I am disabled also. I will sacrifice all I have for Islam and the revolution. Our master [Hidden Imam]! Please do pray for us . . . . You are the real owner of this country and the revolution. You are our true backer. We will continue this path strongly. Please do support us.

(Description of Source: Tehran Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television (IRINN) in Persian — State-run 24-hour news channel in Persian, Arabic and English; presenting up to the minute domestic and international news. It offers exclusive interviews on a variety of topics, as well as information on universities, labor, and economic developments from the capital and the provinces.)

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