Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei Praises Obama (Full Text)

The USG Open Source Center translates the speech of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reacting to the comments of US President Barack Obama in favor of diplomacy and against a rush to war.

Iran: Supreme Leader Welcomes Obama’s Comments in Assembly of Experts Address
Speech by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamene’i on 8 March addressing the Assembly of Experts in Tehran — recorded
Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran Radio 1
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Document Type: OSC Translated Text

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. I would like to greet you, respected people, great and grand experts of the Islamic Republic system. I would like to express my thanks for the comments made by respected experts during the meeting. These comments show that you are sensitive to the country’s issues and events. In your comments, a person can feel your sense of responsibility before the country’s future. . .

In fact, our beloved people did their best and, in a battle with the front of opposition and enemies of the country and the people, they showed the power of faith and insight. Everyone who knows what kind of efforts the enemies were taking over the past few months in order to devalue and damage the day of 12 Esfand (2 March), would know how much they spent, how many people they recruited, how much they designed and how many sentences they created in their think tank in order to transfer their ideas to the minds of the people and affect people’s practice. Whoever is aware of these actions knows well how great the people’s action was and how enormous their movement was.

First of all, human beings should thank God…

Here I would like to speak about the election issue, this same election, as election is not an event which passes. It is an event which leaves an impact. Thus, we should contemplate this issue. First of all, elections are a firm pillar of the system, the religious democracy system, which relies on elections. There cannot be democracy without elections. Elections are the criteria of reliance on people that can be felt and measured. Thus, whoever believes in the Islamic system and is sincere in this belief, considers it his duty to participate in the election. He may criticize towards some points in the election, however, despite this criticism, he participates in the election. This is a duty, thus all people that enter the arena of elections across the country, carry out their duties.

They showed their real understanding. This real understanding is that elections are the pillar of the system. We cannot abandon them just because we object to someone or something. These objections cannot prevent it. This is the basic point. One of the effects of this election is dispelling illusions, and elections often have such effects. Elections are similar to a slap in the face to awaken and enliven those who are sunken into their own illusions.

They daydream about the future and the concept of the system, about the people, about the country, about the enemy. They have illusions and dreams in their minds and they are drowned in them. The elections relieve them of these illusions, and put the reality in front of them.

Two days ago, we heard the president of America say: “We are not thinking of war with Iran.” This is good. Very good. It is a wise word. This is an exit from illusion.

In addition, he also said: “We will defeat the Iranian people with sanctions.” Not an exact quote. This is an illusion. The exit from illusion in the first part is good. The remaining within illusion, in the second part, will damage them. When one’s plans are based on illusion and not on realities, it is obvious that one will fail in plans based on such illusions. This is the reality.

All right. It is now one year that we have been under sanctions. In fact, we have been under sanctions for 33 years. However, the latest season of sanctions, as they call it “crippling”, has been in fact very hard for one year. They saw the effects. They have said that their goal is to detach the people from the Islamic system. They saw that the people came and voted for the Islamic system. Voting for any candidate, and coming to any polling station is voting for the Islamic system. The people showed this. This is one fact. I said that the election was a slap in the face. There are several types of slaps. One type is awakening, enlivening. The last election did have this effect of slapping. Another fact that I said is that the elections show the people’s trust in the system.

After the much talked-about and eventful 1388 (2009 presidential) election [in Iran], some predicted that people would not trust the system, that people would not vote again. This (election) was a hard and decisive reply to such wrongheaded thinking and calculation and mistaken speculation. The people destroyed such speculations and showed that they are faithful to the Islamic system and trust it. They (people) accepted the system’s call: “I (the system) have set up ballot box, come, and vote and set the plan.” They reply and come forward. As I said, each vote was a positive vote for the Islamic Republic. The real majority that came to the scene, which was one of the highest turnouts during the past 33 years. After 33 years, people act in this way, this shows complete trust (in the system).

Another point that was obvious in the election was the insight and most high-level thinking of the people. People came to the election with an analytical approach. They analysed it. You saw that everyone, from first-time voters to old men and women, when asked about their reason for voting put forward an analysis. They would give a reason. It was not merely for the sake of the elections. No. (They would say) Because our enemy is waiting to attack, because hungry wolves are lying in ambush. I will talk about these hungry wolves in another session. I will explain how they are lying in ambush to swallow and tear apart little lambs, unaware that this is not a lamb but a lion and they cannot get close to it. I will elaborate on this, God willing. The people realized this fact and this shows their insight. They saw the animosities and how the enemy targeted (our people), and therefore entered the scene with insight and thought and this is very important.

Another point relating to this election is that a parliament elected through such an election has a heavy responsibility. It is always so. Our managers who are selected by people, any official at any level who is selected by the people, his responsibility is as heavy as his selection. The Majles-(changes tack) Well, the Majles formed under these circumstances with this, I would say, ballyhoo from the enemy and the people’s appearance on the scene will be a responsible Majles. I would like to warn those brothers and sisters who will enter the Majles, both those who have been elected and those who will be elected in the second round, what a heavy responsibility has been laid on their shoulders.

They should exercise wisdom and prudence in performing their duties. The law should be helpful. The importance of a country depends on its ability to draw up its law. We need helpful laws in all spheres. They should examine the realities, specify the needs and draw up the appropriate laws in accordance with the needs. The law should resolve problems. A law which closes paths, creates obstacles, or is impracticable, or creates lots of problems, or is contradictory, is baseless. It is not enough that we just gather and prepare and create a law. It should be a law-(changes tack) We should know for sure that this law is able to pave the path and is wise. Within the choices that the Majles should make-(changes tack) Formation of governments is the duty of parliaments. They (Majles deputies) should know whom they are electing, for what need, for what purposes, for what privileges, and for what characteristics, when electing the government. They should be attentive and impartial (when electing government members).

I do not advise them to be attentive if in some points this attentiveness and astuteness and other things result in prejudice. I do not advise that, rather (I advise them) to act attentively, impartiality, and wise and sincerely. You see, sincerity in fact is the point of the matter. As the respected Mr Mahdavi (secretary of the Assembly of Experts of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Mahdavi-Kani) mentioned in his talk, the influence of the words of the Imam (Ayatollah Khomeyni) and the fulfilment of all those plans drawn up by the Imam was mainly because of the Imam’s sincerity. That is true. He was a sincere man in his entire essence. If we have sincerity, our work will progress. Authorities in both the legislative and judicial branches, as well as in the religious, military and other fields-(changes tack) What is required from us is that we be aware of our duties and work within these duties and not think about other considerations.

Well, this is our model. Of course, here I definitely would like to thank the executive personnel of the (ninth Majles) election. I have thanked here Mr Yazdi (Member of Guardian Council, second deputy secretary of the Assembly of Experts, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi) from the Guardian Council. That is true. When humankind witnesses closely the amount of the work done, the delicacy of the work, and the difficulty of the work-(changes tack) I told the respected Mr Jannati (Secretary of the Guardian Council Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati) and a group of other individuals that in fact every time I think about the work they do I feel reverence keenly. I pray constantly for them and ask God to give them power and strength, as well as to government members and different authorities in the protection and security fields who have succeeded in ensuring the security of the election. Also officials in the propaganda sector and in the Voice and Vision (state broadcaster) carried out huge and praiseworthy work and succeeded in fulfilling appropriately this huge responsibility, this huge work, and this very important, important and crucial project.

This is our model, the model of the Islamic democracy. Islamic democracy the spirit, the main part and the main source of which consists of Islam. It should never be violated, there have not been any violations and with the help of God there never will be. Islam is our axis in the law, in creating laws and in choosing people. Democracy is the shape of the work, the essence of the work and the method of management. I mean that these are the people who enter the scene and adhere to Islam right down to the bones of their teeth.

Although some people may seem not to be adherent to the system and Islam, they in fact do adhere to it, and they like Islam. The experience of the past 33 years showed that Islam is able to give glory to a country and to make a nation proud, is able to set good aims, is able to pave the path to these aims, is able to initiate a scientific process, is able to initiate a technological and industrial process, is able to initiate moral and pious movement.

These are events that have happened in our country. It can glorify them (presumably the people) in front of other nations. These are huge works carried out in this country thanks to Islam. Islam is the main substance, part and source of the movement of our system. And democracy is its shape. These two are not separable from each other. The same democracy takes its roots from Islam. Those claiming that we learnt about democracy from Westerners are wrong. The appareance is the same, however, our democracy takes its roots from a different religious conception, from different world view than the one they (Westerners) see. We pay respect to the people, we value their votes, and consider their presence to be a tool for fulfilling divine aims, which is impossible to do without them. They (Westerners) act in a different manner.

Well, of course, we have frameworks and they do as well. Their frameworks are tyrannical. In a country where a person who objects to the legend of the Holocaust and says that he does not accept it is being jailed and brought to trial for denying an imaginary historical event-(changes tack) Let us assume that it is a real not imaginary event. Is the denial of a real historical event a crime? A person who knows nothing about it and does not believe it and denies it or even doubts it is jailed. This is the issue today in European countries that claim to be civilized.

This is the today’s issue in European countries that claim to be civilized, where courts try individuals who do not believe, who object and doubt. When people overtly desecrate the Great Prophet (Muhammad), this prominent person of history, and insult the sacred things of 1.5 billion Muslims, nobody has a right to object to these measures and ask why they were done. These are wrong and ignominious frameworks. These are their (Westerners’) frameworks. If someone there appears in hijab in a university or in the work place it would be considered a crime. These are their frameworks. These are wrong and ignominious frameworks which contradict the essence and the right thinking of humankind.

Our frameworks are divine frameworks. We are against corruption, we are against prostitution, we are against different types and kinds of the deviations of humankind which contradict what the Koran and religion teach us. We believe that these deviations should be resisted and withstood, and that the path of living should start from Islam, from God’s inspiration, and from divine teaching.

This is our framework called religious democracy, and this is our model. If the Muslim nations want to know what the Islamic Republic is talking about and what its doctrine is, they should know that our doctrine is that we do not neglect Islam, we consider adherence to God’s orders and Islamic regulations, divine regulations which are Islamic, to be an obligation, in the entire fields of our life. We intend to and we try to fulfil this. Religious democracy is our framework and doctrine for entering this scene. The people should come and elect. People should elect lawmakers who should create laws based on this principle. People should elect executives. Everything should be in the people’s presence and through the people’s votes, glory and power.

I hope that Almighty God helps us to succeed on this path and to continue moving down it in the right way, and will save us from deviations so that we succeed in fulfilling these sublime aims.

Greetings and the blessings of God be upon you.

(Description of Source: Tehran Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran Radio 1 in Persian — Iranian state-run radio, officially controlled by the office of the supreme leader)

Original Persian here.