- Oct 2, 2011
The enemies have failed in their attempts to isolate Iran
The following is the full text of the speech delivered by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Imam Reza's (pbuh) shrine on the occasion of the beginning of the Iranian New Year 1402 (March 21, 2023).
(Most of economic parts )
Another sign is the Iranian nation’s great advancements. They do not want these words to be repeated — mentioning and repeating these things makes the enemy extremely upset, but it is the truth. We have had achievements which I will briefly mention that were all accomplished during the sanctions under economic siege and under the most severe, unprecedented economic pressures. This is what the Americans claim themselves. They say the economic pressure that we have put on Iran is unprecedented in history. They are right. Despite all their lies, they are right about this, it is the greatest and most unprecedented economic pressure.
The Iranian nation made progress under these conditions. It advanced in science, it advanced in technology and reached the top ranks of the world in some scientific fields. Some places it is among the top 5 countries, in other areas it is among the top ten countries, and some other places it is among the top 3 countries — out of 200 countries! This is how our scientific and technological advancements are — in nanotechnology, in biotechnology, in different areas.
For example, in the field of health, Iran has had more achievements than many of the world’s most developed countries. This proved to be true during the coronavirus pandemic. [We have succeeded] in the nuclear sciences, in aerospace, and in defense. They are all talking about and acknowledging our progress in the field of defense. In order to bring up an excuse to use against Iran, they admit that Iran has progressed in the field of defense and weapons. We have had many achievements in the field of biotechnology. The world praised us. The world’s scientists praised our scientists, they praised our young scientists.
We have made progress in the country’s infrastructure, such as roads, railways, dam constructions, and water supplies, such as the Ghadir water supply which was recently inaugurated. [We have made progress] in building oil refineries and hospitals, many of which were achieved during the past year. For example, one section of the South Pars Refinery Complex is completely Iranian-made from start to finish. These advancements took place. When? During all these sanctions and economic pressures. The production of liquid gas was also a very important achievement that happened recently and, God willing, it will open doors for the country. Many other things were also accomplished in previous periods.
We have also made progress in foreign relations. The West applied pressure to isolate Iran. The US and Europe applied pressure so Iran would become isolated. In foreign relations, the term “isolation” means cutting all ties with other countries. When countries do not have any relations with a certain country, they say that country is isolated. What happened in reality was the opposite. Yes, our relations with the West weakened. We had no relations with the US to begin with, and our relations with Europe weakened as well. But our relations with Asia became one-hundred percent stronger, and we will continue to strengthen it. We will continue our political, economic, technological, and scientific relations with the prominent Asian countries.
We became a member of some very important organizations. The enemy wanted to isolate us. But the efforts and abilities of the people of Iran led us to become members of important and influential organizations in the region. Not only did we not become isolated, but, on the contrary, our relations with the governments and nations in the region were strengthened.
Having strong relations with Africa and Latin America is one of our definite plans and, God willing, we will follow up this plan. We have not refused to have relations with Europe and we are ready to cooperate with any European country or government that does not blindly follow US policies.
We have made these advancements. These advancements show the strength of the foundation of the Iranian nation and the Islamic establishment. These advancements were made possible with faith, national pride, and the need for internal strength. Our people and our officials felt the need to strengthen our internal powers. They understood that depending on others and depending on foreign countries is not something that we can count on — one day they are there, the next day they are not. We need to depend on our own strengths inside the country.
When I announced that the we need to have an Economy of Resistance, I mentioned that it should be “endogenous” and “extroverted.” Being endogenous means that internal abilities, skills, and capabilities should be used to help the economy, and being extroverted means we are ready to have economic relations with all countries. We have felt this, that is, the people of Iran have felt it, our youth have felt it, and our officials have felt that they need to depend on their own internal strengths.
Therefore, we have many strengths. I mentioned our internal strengths, and I also spoke about the progress we have made. These exist and there are many other things which now is not the time to be discussed here. These things are our strengths. They should not be damaged. The Islamic system is the “Islamic Republic.” Neither the “Republic” nor the “Islamic” should be damaged. These are our strengths. In any transformation, these strengths need to be emphasized, they should be increased, the strengths need to be highlighted and expanded.
However, there are also weaknesses alongside these. Transformation refers to changing the weaknesses. I will briefly speak to you about the weaknesses and present two to three points on it.
Let’s say our country happens to have four or five important weaknesses. At the top of these weaknesses lies the issue of the country’s economy. The country’s economy is truly one of our weaknesses. [Of course], many of the economic policies are the legacy of our predecessors. By “predecessors” I mean those [who held power] before the [Islamic] Revolution, and some that appeared after the Revolution. Some of the existing economic problems and economic infrastructures are related to before the Revolution, while others are related to after the Revolution.
Perhaps it can be said that the most important problem concerning our economy, is the issue of governmental management [of the economy]. In the 1980s, the main thing on our mind was to hand over the keys of the country’s economy to the government. This harmed our economy. This issue is related to us. We did it ourselves. Perhaps the most important weakness that is gripping our economy is excessive governmental management.
When people are kept away from economic management and economic activities, big works, important companies, and wealth-creating production for the country are left at the disposal of the government and not those active in the economic field. When these things are not available to the people, we are faced then with the same problems that we are witnessing in our economy today. Our most important problem is that we have a government-controlled economy.
We worked carefully on this with the help of many experts while presenting and announcing the economic policies of Article 44 [of the Constitution related to the privatization of the economy]. The experts worked on it and the policies were announced. The basis of these policies was to hand over the management and economic activities needed by the people to the people.
Of course, there are some sectors that either the people do not want [to be involved in], or there are some that must definitely remain under the authority of governmental organizations. Putting those aside, the important parts of the economy should be at the disposal of the people.
I have repeated this many times before that state-owned enterprises, state-owned companies, quasi-state companies which are referred to by the ugly term “khosoolati” [a combination of the words “private” and “governmental” in Farsi] — it is not a good term, [rather] they are quasi-state companies — should not compete with private enterprises, and they should leave production up to the people.
The day when we handed over all tasks to the government, we did it with the intention of establishing economic justice; however, economic justice was not established. They mistakenly thought that economic justice would be created if the keys of the economy were in the hands of the government. It was a mistake and such a thing did not happen. The government should reduce governmental management and increase governmental supervision. It should reduce interferences and increase monitoring. It needs to practice vigilance.
One of the biggest flaws, or perhaps the biggest flaw of our economy is this. All of the administrations that came to office were told to implement this handover [to the people]. Some handovers happened, others took place in an incorrect manner. Instead of being handed over for the benefit of the people, in some cases it was handed over to the detriment of the people! This prevented it [the handovers] from happening. Even today, one of the essential tasks that the honorable administration should do is to handover economic management to the people with care, vigilance, and with appropriate monitoring.
Another important flaw of our economy is that it is dependent on crude oil exports. We export crude oil even though we have no authority over it. The one who imports our oil — back when the Europeans used to purchase and import our oil — they made more profits from oil importation than we did from the oil that belonged to us and that we had taken out of our oil wells and sold to them.
The taxes that they received and the uses they got out of it were more than what the owners of the oil received.
It is the same now. We need to eliminate the dependence of the economy on the exportation of crude oil and focus more on activities that are not related to or dependent on oil which, fortunately, as is stated in the reports [that we have seen], we are moving toward increasing non-oil exports and non-oil economic activities, and good things are being done.
One of the problems of our economy is its dependence on the dollar. Some of the countries that had been sanctioned cut off their dependence on the dollar and their situation improved. We know of some countries currently — I do not wish to name them — that have been heavily sanctioned by the West. They cut off ties with SWIFT, which is an international Western mechanism. They stopped using the dollar and conducted transactions and imported and exported goods using their local currencies. This resulted in an improvement in their situation. We need to do the same.
One of the things that I must say about the economy — these are our fundamental issues and I would like public opinion to pay attention to them, to approve and spread these issues — one of the most important issues that we need in order to improve the country’s economy is continuous and rapid growth. We have had weak economic growth. In the economic policies that we announced to the administrations, we announced an eight-percent growth, this is while in many years in the previous decade our growth was below zero.
In general, when the handover and change of the administration took place, growth was very low. I’m not going to mention the exact numbers, but it was around one percent or less. We need rapid and continuous economic growth. We don’t want to have growth in one year and then have a standstill the next. When will we be able to achieve this rapid, continuous growth? When — with the help and guidance of the people — we increase production!
Our respected government officials and also the people’s representatives in the Islamic Consultative Assembly (majlis), should encourage people to play a productive role in the economy and guide them in this matter. They need to create trust for the private sector so it can make investments and create jobs. The private sector can do this.
In Bahman [January], I met with some of the country’s important technologists in the [Imam Khomeini] Hussainiyah. Some of them spoke and the things they said, the facts they spoke about and the examples they showed there were truly amazing. What this shows is the capabilities of the Iranian nation.
We have many capabilities. We are capable of doing great things. If the nation’s potentials are used in economic issues, people’s living conditions will definitely improve, and so will the inflation situation. I announced that the slogan of the year is “inflation control and growth in production.” Controlling inflation depends on increasing production, and increasing production is in the hands of the people. If people take action, if they make an effort, this task is achievable and it can be done.
One of the major flaws that we have is that we have not thought about the manner in which people can take part in things. I would like to call on our respected officials, experts in the economic field, and those who are concerned about the country’s fate to sit down and find ways in which the public can participate in economic issues.
Whenever the people have joined in, we have made progress. People took part in the Holy Defense and we won. Whenever people participated in the country’s political issues, we won, and it is the same with economic issues. If people participate, if the public takes part in it, we will be victorious, we will succeed.
But how can people participate? They need to be shown the outline and plan of how they can enter the economic field. I have, of course, over the years advised and stressed the importance of [creating] and helping small businesses. There were some unsuccessful experiences in this area. Some things that were done, were not complete or well-considered. These sorts of things need to take place.
One of the problems that our economy is facing is the lack of activity in foreign trade. We have a high domestic production capacity in both the agricultural sector and also the industrial sector. There is also a very vast international market. We can increase and advance foreign trade and, God willing, we can do the work that is really and directly related to people's livelihood and needs.
This is one of the important things that needs to be done. At present, we are not very active in foreign trade. The methods we use are incorrect at times. These things need to be transformed. They need transformation. One of the things that needs transformation is the issue of foreign trade.
I made a recommendation last year that knowledge-based companies should be supported. Fortunately, this was achieved. It was not done to the extent that we had hoped for but, nevertheless, developments were made. Knowledge-based companies have done many things. Their efforts increased, and so did their products and incomes. [Creating] small enterprises and making larger factories knowledge-based are useful measures that can aid this transformation.
Another sector that needs transformation, which should be paid attention to by the dear brothers and sister of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, is transformation in the legislative sector — in legislation. The general policies of legislation have been announced. These policies should be taken into consideration, and legislation should be done in a more complete and measured way than what is done today.
One of the things that has often been a source of debate between the executive and legislative branches in different administrations and in all periods — thank God the two branches are cooperating and are close to each other in the current period — is this complaint that sometimes in the annual budget law in majlis, definite expenses are approved, but revenues are indefinite. This leads to a budget deficit and, as I said before, a budget deficit is a great economic disaster! These things should not happen. We also have other weaknesses in different fields which I will leave for another time, God willing.
The opposite of this transformational movement in the country — the purpose of which is to consolidate strengths and to eliminate weaknesses — is the politics of the enemies of Islam and the enemies of the Islamic Republic. They strive and work and take action at the exact opposite point of this transformational movement, and their goal is to strike at our strengths, as I mentioned before. We have no choice but to share these things with the public. People must know about them.
On the day when Saddam attacked us [at the beginning of the Imposed War], we informed the people that same day that the country is at war. So, public opinion was involved in the great event of the war. Of course, in this hybrid war that is currently taking place, there is no military attack. The enemy is not attacking militarily. It is doing other things instead. Informing [the people] is necessary here as well, so that the people become aware of the enemy’s tactics and policies, and so that they can see events with clarity. Once our dear people become familiar with what is happening, if an incident happens, they will see it with clarity.