United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

Khamenei Comments: Iran on the Rise

            In November, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised Iran’s influence and growing power in the region. He challenged Arab governments to follow Tehran’s example by assisting the Palestinians in Gaza. On Iran’s Navy Day, Khamenei encouraged navy commanders to expand operations in the Sea of Oman. He tried to maintain Iran’s image by stopping lawmakers from grilling President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the economic crisis. “The enemy” wants to see infighting, he told members of parliament.
           
Khamenei also called on the Syrian opposition to lay down its arms and warned of the dangers of Western-style freedoms. The following are excerpts from his statements in November.

Arab Response to Gaza Unacceptable
            “Islamic countries, especially Arab governments, should reform their behavior on this issue and they should try to make the enemies [Israelis] lift the siege of this region by helping the innocent and brave people of Gaza. The Islamic Ummah should follow the example of the victorious resistance of the people of Gaza, and it should realize that resistance is the only way to defeat the enemies of Islam…
            The behavior of Arab and Islamic governments regarding the events of Gaza was unacceptable because some of them only condemned the Zionists in words and some others did not even condemn the Zionists in words.” November 21
 
Enough Infighting
            “We demand that the respected representatives not continue [with the summons]… The two sides may be emotional…but all officials need to be calm… The legislative branch proved that it has a strong sense of responsibility and the executive branch proved that it has enormous confidence in its decisions and actions. This was a good test for both braches, but I believe it is enough and the efforts should not be continued… The people are also wise, and they know that the continuation of this issue is exactly what the enemy wants.” November 21
 
Upper Hand in Foreign Policy
            “If we take a look at regional and global matters, we see clearly that the Islamic Republic of Iran has the upper hand in these developments… Given the West's policies in the Middle East, it is quite obvious that Iran is closer to reaching its goals than the West.” November 27
 
Expand Iran’s Naval Presence
            The Sea of Oman and Makran region can provide “great national wealth” for Iran. “If executive and other officials try to adopt a strategic view on the issues concerning coastal regions, this vast and important region can provide the Islamic Republic of Iran with great opportunities.” November 27
 
Syria and the Chain of Resistance
            “The truth of the Syrian issue is that the camp of the arrogant powers is trying to destroy the link that connects the chain of resistance in the region and is located next to the borders of the usurping Zionist regime…If the Syrian opposition forces put their weapons down, there will be an opportunity for them to demand of the government to listen to them and let them announce their positions.” November 19
 
Dangerous Freedoms and Western Hypocrisy
            “[Western-style] freedom in the economy, political scene and moral issues…reflect terrible, bitter, heinous and in some cases abhorrent realities in the Western society. The results are discrimination, bullying, warmongering and double standards towards noble issues like human rights and democracy.” November 14
            “The leaders of global arrogance– such as the American government, which supports the crimes of the brutal Zionists– shamelessly claim that they defend human rights and they put themselves in the position of prosecutors of other peoples and countries.” November 21
 

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