In three major speeches in January, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei focused on the upcoming presidential election, the troubled economy and Muslim unity worldwide.
In a speech on January 19, Khamenei charged that the United States and other world powers are trying to prevent Iran from holding its presidential election in June. But he also had tough words for Iranians, warning them against engaging in "illegal actions," an implicit reference to the nationwide protests after the 2009 election. "They created trouble for the people, harmed our country and brought disgrace and humiliation on themselves on earth and in the next world,” Khamenei said.
On the troubled economy, the Supreme Leader claimed that the nation can tolerate the hardships caused by international sanctions. He said sanctions are intended to "provoke" Iranians to pressure their government to compromise on the nuclear program.
At the annual Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Khamenei urged Muslims to not fight among themselves. "Discord among Muslims" has prompted Westerners to try to dominate African nations, he said on January 29, referring to the French intervention in Mali. The following are excerpts from his key speeches and statements in January.
"An analysis of the behavior and speech of the global powers shows that the enemy has focused his attention on the important elections which will be held in five months, in Khordad of 1392…"
"Their primary goal is to prevent the elections from being held. But they know that they cannot do this. Therefore, they are hopeless in this regard… Certain people tried to delay an election for two weeks, but we stressed that the election should not be delayed even for one single day. For this reason, the path of delaying or calling off elections is completely blocked."
"Everybody - even those who may offer general advice about the elections out of care and compassion - should take care not to further the goal of the enemy..."
"It is obvious that there should be free elections. Have more than 30 elections in the last 3 decades not been free? In which country are the elections freer than in Iran? You should take care not to disappoint the people with these words…"
"Which country in the world has no vetting? Why do you try to create the idea in the minds of the people that participating in elections is pointless?..."
"I also stress that the elections should be held in a healthy environment. Executive and non-executive officials of the country should hold healthy elections with strict observance of the law, piety and honesty, and they will definitely do this..."
"Everybody's commitment to these guidelines and laws will ensure the health of the elections. Our elections will be healthy unless certain people commit illegal actions, as some people did in 1388. They created trouble for the people, harmed our country and brought disgrace and humiliation on themselves on earth and in the next world…"
"It is possible that some people will try to create uproar regarding particular economic, political or security issues and keep the people busy with them. This is one of their plots. Of course, I am sure that the Iranian people are wise and clever enough not to be deceived by such hostile plots hatched by the enemies or their agents…"
“Presidential candidates should be deeply attached to the Islamic Republic and the Constitution and they should sincerely act according to the Constitution because the President swears an oath in this regard and it is clear that his oath cannot be a lie." January 19 at a meeting with residents of the holy city of Qom
The United States and the West
"Today, the main policy of the global arrogance towards confronting the Islamic Awakening is to create discord among Muslim peoples in Islamic countries and make them kill one another. Therefore, the great responsibility of religious, political and academic elites is to explain the plots of the enemy to the Islamic Ummah and make a serious effort to implement the slogan of Islamic unity..."
"After decades of pressures and domination of westerners over the world of Islam, now Muslim peoples feel that Islam prepares the ground for them to achieve dignity, glory and independence and that, thanks to Islam, all the dreams of the Islamic Ummah can come true..."
“Since the start of the Islamic Awakening, the global arrogance has tried put obstacles in its way. But if Muslim peoples rely on Allah the Exalted and show a firm determination for moving forward, the enemies' obstacles definitely will not prevent the world of Islam from moving forward and they will achieve more victories step by step."
“The new movement that Westerners have started in Africa in order to dominate African nations is a consequence of discord among Muslims and conflicts that the Muslims busy themselves with." January 29 to the Conference on Islamic Unity in Tehran
Sanctions and the Nuclear Program
"The camp of arrogance has done its best to make the Iranian nation surrender through sanctions and pressures, but our people tolerate all these hardships because they have found out what the plot, the tactic and the strategic goal of the enemy is and they act with wisdom." January 16 to military intelligence personnel
"Unlike the past, the arrogant powers now openly announce that the purpose of sanctions is to exhaust the Iranian nation, provoke the people to confront the Islamic Republic and increase pressures on the officials of Iran, thereby forcing them to revise their calculations."
“But the national dignity and the orientation of the people of our great country towards the principles of Islam and the Revolution are developing on a daily basis and this is exactly the opposite of what the enemies want." January 19 at meeting with residents of the holy city of Qom
Iran’s Armed Forces
"From the viewpoint of Islam, the Armed Forces are not a mechanical organization and a machine. Rather they are an organization with human qualities, rationality, determination, faith and feelings." January 16 to military intelligence personnel
Khamenei Comments is a monthly feature on The Iran Primer. Click here for December's report.