United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

Khamenei Comments: Squabbling Is Treasonous

            On October 31, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rebuked officials for publically squabbling to score political points. “From today to election day [for president next June], whoever willfully takes disputes to the people and uses their sentiments to provoke differences has definitely committed treason against the state,” Khamenei said in a televised speech. He was apparently referring to the recent bout between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and judicial chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani over the president’s right to visit Evin prison. The Supreme Leader has grown increasingly impatient with public officials over the past month. He has also spoken out recently on other sensitive issues, including the economy, nuclear negotiations and Syria. The following are excerpts from his statements in October.

Public Disputes
            “The recent exchange of letters and their contents were not important at all but these disputes should not be made public as it gives ammunition to foreign media and enemies to create controversy. From today to election day, whoever willfully takes disputes to the people and uses their sentiments to provoke differences has definitely committed treason against the state.” October 31
            “Before and during the [presidential] election, all of our government officials should focus their efforts on preserving political peace in the country. They should not let the political atmosphere of the country become turbulent.” October 15
            “The country’s officials should know and accept their responsibilities and not blame each other. They should be united and sympathize with each other.” October 10
 
Economy and Sanctions
            “Iran will get through the current difficulties, because of the vigilance of the Iranian nation and Iranian officials.. Are we worse off or you [the West]? In the streets of major European countries there are demonstrations day and night.” October 10
            “During the past 33 years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has faced different pressures including political, security, military and economic ones and sanctions; but the Iranian nation has not only thwarted these pressures through its steadfastness but it has become more powerful, too.” October 3
Family Planning
            “One of the mistakes we made in the ‘90s was population control. Government officials were wrong on this matter, and I, too, had a part. May God and history forgive us.” October 10
 
Nuclear Negotiations
            “When did Iran leave negotiations over different global issues? This is a deception, a propaganda trick…This is Iran's answer: you are not powerful enough to force a revolutionary, resistant, insightful and aware nation to bow to your demands and greed.” October 16
 
Syria
            “We support the Syrian nation and we are opposed to any kind of foreign activity and interference in Syria. Any kind of reform in that country should be carried out by the Syrian people and through completely domestic methods.” October 25
 
The West
            “Corrupt agents of America, NATO and Zionism…are trying to divert the flood-like movement of Muslim youth and turn them against each other in the name of Islam. They are trying to turn the anti-colonialism and anti-Zionism jihad into blind terrorism in the streets of the world of Islam so that Muslims shed each other’s blood.” October 25
            “Unfortunately in spite of all the work we have done since the beginning of the Revolution, a completely wrong idea was established in our culture and the effects have not yet disappeared. This wrong idea is the feeling that we need the West, the feeling that we are inferior to the West.” October 11
 

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