Revolution at 42: Leaders on the Anniversary

Khamenei visits Khomeini's mausoleum on Feb. 1
Khamenei visits Khomeini's mausoleum on Feb. 1 

On the 42nd anniversary of Iran’s revolution, its leaders focused heavily on the future of the nuclear deal and potential new diplomacy with the United States. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei demanded that Washington lift sanctions before Tehran would fully comply with its obligations, including limiting the enrichment of uranium. “After they have done this, we will check if the sanctions have truly been removed. Once this is done, we will resume our JCPOA commitments,” he told military officers on February 7. On February 10, President Hassan Rouhani supported prospects of new diplomacy, even with Iran’s enemies. But Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned that time was running out to engage again.

In a televised speech, Rouhani compared Iran’s current struggle against U.S. sanctions to its revolutionary fight against the U.S.-backed monarchy. “We are celebrating the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, while our nation is winning after three years of resistance against sanctions and economic war,” he said on February 10.

Rouhani delivers a speech on Feb. 10
Rouhani delivers a speech on Feb. 10
But Rouhani said that Iran should follow the example of past religious leaders who chose diplomacy over war. "Negotiation is one of the tools of a government and modern governance in today's world, which is the legacy of the great Prophet of Islam,” he said. "We are proud that we negotiated and made a pact with our enemies as the way that the Prophet and Imam Hassan have taught us.”

Zarif echoed the president’s call for new diplomacy. “On the anniversary of our revolution, I reiterate Iran’s invitation to make use of the current window of opportunity to embrace dialogue and do away with the futile hostility towards the Iranian people,” he said in an online video. The following are remarks by Iranian leaders on the 42nd anniversary of the revolution.


Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei

Speech to Air Force officers on Feb. 8: “If they want Iran to return to its JCPOA commitments, the US should remove all sanctions in action. After they have done this, we will check if the sanctions have truly been removed. Once this is done, we will resume our JCPOA commitments.”

Khamenei speaks with officers on Feb. 8
Khamenei speaks with officers on Feb. 8

“One of these miscalculations concerned the sedition that took place in the year 1388 AH. At that time the U.S. President officially supported the sedition thinking that it would put an end to the Islamic Republic.”

“One of those “first-rate fools” said that they would celebrate New Year 2019 in Tehran. That person has been sent to history‘s trash can, and his boss has also been kicked out of the White House with disgrace, but the Islamic Republic is still standing strong on its feet, with God’s grace.”

“If something similar to what occurred in the US had occurred in any other part of the world – particularly in countries with which the US is at odds – they would not have stopped covering it in their news, but the mass media empire is in their control. So they try to show that the conflict has finished, but it is far from over.”

"Carrying out such great, impressive maneuvers, despite the existence of sanctions, gives us confidence that national security has been ensured by the children of the country who are in the Armed Forces. This is truly a source of pride.”


President Hassan Rouhani

Televised speech on Feb. 10: "The beginning of the 40th year of the Islamic Revolution of Iran is special this year due to the implementation of health protocols."

"This year, we are celebrating the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, while our nation is winning after three years of resistance against sanctions and economic war."

"During these 100 years, people witnessed two coups. One was the coup d'état of Reza Khan in 1921 and the other was the coup d'état of Mohammad Reza Shah on 1953, the first coup was led by the British and the second coup by the Americans."

"From 2018 until today, the Iranian people are engaged in an economic war. The imposed war [with Iraq] was a military war in which we achieved a great victory. In this economic war, we will also win by the power of God, and the end of the night of darkness and the dawn of the true morning is evident to all those who understand."

"If the Iranian nation had not stood up to the tyrant of the White House and had not defeated him, and if it had not been for the tact of the elected government of the people after he left the JCPOA, Trump would have won without any effort or expense."

"If we had left the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), all sanctions would have returned and it would be a victory for the Zionists, regional reactionaries and extremists, but the resistance of the people and the government's tact humiliated Trump."

"In the face of the outbreak of coronavirus, the Iranian people stood on their own two feet and all needs, including food, hospital equipment and production, were produced by knowledge-based companies in the country."

"The Iranian people stood firm and today, thank God, are in better conditions than last year."

"Dear people should know that if it were not for foreign conspiracies and hostility of the Zionists, American extremists and reactionaries in the region, and the imposed economic war against the Iranian people, we would be in a much better situation today and achieved all our dreams."

"The whole plot of the enemies is to take us away from this important asset with lies and slander, but in the shadow of faith, ethics and culture, we will win."

"We are the greatest military, defense and missile power today, but all this power must be in the shadow of the main power, which is social capital and the trust of the people."

Remarks on the anniversary of Khomeini's return to Iran on Jan. 31: "Today is a very happy day for the history and the great nation of Iran and all the freedom-seekers and Muslims of the world."

"On such a day, Imam Khomeini (RA) entered the country and was greatly welcomed by millions of the Iranian nation, and with the wisdom and prudence that the late Imam had, when he entered the country, he immediately went to visit the graves of martyrs, and this is very important."

"Some thought that the Islamic Revolution had only a political aspect and was for the independence of the country and the fight against the Arrogance and tyranny, while others thought that the Islamic Revolution had only spiritual aspect and was only to establish Islam, but the statistics show that the Islamic Revolution, in addition to political and spiritual issues, also attached importance to the material aspects."

"In 1979, we witnessed an unprecedented unity and integrity in the country, and today, if we have some shortcomings in this field, we must make up for it to reach the same position, because we need to stand together with unity, self-sacrifice and empathy."


Foreign Minister Javad Zarif


Remarks in an online video on Feb. 9: "Dear Friends; 42 years ago, our people triumphed in a great popular revolution. Unlike similar uprisings in world history, our Islamic revolution succeeded without reliance on any external power or the leadership of any armed group.

"[The] Iranian people’s 100-year-long quest to determine their own destiny and establish accountable rule came to fruition in spite of all odds – including outside plotting – and through a sole reliance on people power. We have come a long way since, and we do not relent in striving towards achieving our ideals. 

"Among our key achievements is the harnessing of the talents and capabilities of our own people. This has allowed us to develop the most extensive local industrial base and homegrown scientific and technological prowess.

"We have achieved this and much more in the face of the longest and most extensive campaign of economic terrorism in recent history. Not even the COVID-19 pandemic compelled the previous U.S. regime to cease its lawless assault on ordinary Iranians. Donald Trump betted on the myth that Iran is a nation that can be forced to choose between collapse and submission. We have all seen the outcome of that bet.

"But Trump was not the first, nor the second but, in fact, the seventh consecutive U.S. president who has made – and lost – the exact same wager. With a new administration in Washington, there is an opportunity to try a new approach.

"But the current window is fleeting. Soon, my government will be compelled to take further remedial action in response to the American and European dismal failure to live up to their commitments under the nuclear deal. This remedial action—as directed by our Parliament, and in accordance with our rights within the JCPOA—entails an enhancement of our nuclear program and a reduction in our cooperation with IAEA inspectors. It can be averted only if the United States decides to learn from Trump’s maximum failure rather than lean on it.

"Iran has time and again proven its readiness for engagement and cooperation toward shared goals and objectives with our neighbors. Our consistent aim in all our endeavors has been to build a more stable, peaceful and prosperous region, and we have proposed initiatives in this regard.

"I hope that our neighbors will have learned that they cannot bank on outsiders to provide them with security. We need to rely on each other, as geography promises that we will remain neighbors forever.

"We Iranians do what we say. And most importantly, we always keep our word. On the anniversary of our revolution, I reiterate Iran’s invitation to make use of the current window of opportunity to embrace dialogue, and do away with the futile hostility towards the Iranian people."


Revolutionary Guards

Statement on Feb. 9: "The IRGC and other Armed Forces and defenders of the Revolution and the country view generation of power and deterrence proper for regional and international conditions and growth to strengthen sustainable national security as their serious and uninterrupted mission...Any threat and aggression will face a decisive and crushing response to make enemies regret their deed.”


Foreign Minister Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh



Photo credits: All photos via Tasnim News Agency (CC by 4.0)