Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in a Ramadan meeting on Tuesday with heads of three branches of government together with senior officials and managers, touched on the positive ramifications of and challenges to the Economy of Resistance as well as approaches to realizing it. He also mentioned key points about ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and six global powers.
Making Iran’s nuclear redlines clear, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “The Americans are seeking to dismantle Iran’s nuclear industry, but Iranian officials, while underscoring the red lines, are looking for a good agreement, which means a fair and just and honorable agreement [which would be] in compliance with Iran’s expediency and interests.”
At the beginning of his speech, the Supreme Leader pointed to the fact that the fasting month of Ramadan is the month of piety. Elucidating individual and social piety, he said: “Individual piety is in fact the state of permanent prudence which safeguards mankind from lethal spiritual blows and, of course, it would also have very important effects on his worldly affairs.”
Ayatollah Khamenei said social piety could be generalized to include social and economic affairs too, noting: “Social piety in economic issues is the same as Economy of Resistance which protects the country against tremors stemming from global events or against the poisonous shots coming from hostile policies in the world.”
Reminding his frequent warnings in the past years regarding the need to strengthen the country against the “economic leaps” taken by world powers, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Over these years, officials made good efforts to the best of their abilities, but the issue of the Economy of Resistance should be followed up and realized by tapping into all capacities and potentialities of the country.”
The Leader underscored the point that the model of Economy of Resistance has already been implemented in some other countries and ensued by positive effects, noting that the focal point of the Economy of Resistance is its endogenous and inward-looking properties. “This endogeneity does not mean isolationism, but it means reliance on internal potentialities and capabilities while having an outward look [as well]” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
Ayatollah Khamenei underlined the fact that the adoption of the policies of the Economy of Resistance has been the product of collective wisdom and longtime consultations, saying: “After the announcement of these policies, many economists have endorsed them and the Economy of Resistance has now entered the common economic literature and culture of the country.”
The Leader said the Economy of Resistance stands opposite to the hackneyed model dictated by world powers to Third World Countries, adding: “This outdated model is based on a view toward the outside, but the model of Economy of Resistance is a forward-looking model which relies on domestic potentialities.”
“Some may imagine that the model of Economy of Resistance is a favorable model, but its realization is impossible. But I say firmly that under the current circumstances and in light of the existing potential, the implementation of the Economy of Resistance is completely possible,” the Leader said.
After this introduction, Ayatollah Khamenei touched on some of the country’s many potentialities which can set the stage for the implementation of the policies of the Economy of Resistance. Ayatollah Khamenei referred to young university graduates who are self-confident and have specialized in their fields as the first potentiality of the country, saying: “The existence of so many young university graduates in the country is one of the blessings of the [1979 Islamic] Revolution, on condition that wrong policies would not chip away at the society and the young manpower.”
The Leader underlined that currently there are 10 million alumni and more than 4 million university students in the country, and added the figure is 25 times higher than that in the early days of the Revolution,
“This number of young and specialized graduates is a source of honor for the Islamic establishment and represents a very big opportunity.” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the country’s economic status is another potentiality of the country, adding: “According to global statistics, the Islamic Republic of Iran ranks 20th among world economies, and could move up to the 12 place if untapped potentialities are utilized.”
The Leader said Iran’s first position in terms of oil and gas reserves are among these capacities. Referring to the country’s unique geographical position as a bridge connecting North to South and East to West, he said: “Being a neighbor of 15 countries, with a population of 370 million as a very close foreign market, and also the country’s more-than-70-million-strong population as a vast domestic market, are among other potentialities. The production status will see a big change if only the domestic market is taken into account.”
Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the country’s infrastructure in energy, transportation, communications, power plants, dams and management experience as other such potentialities, saying: “We have to use these potentialities properly and correctly because the country’s problem is not lack of plans or authentic words and expertise, but the main issue which is repeated in the gatherings of the elite, is insufficient use of plans and authentic words.”
The Leader said some problems stem from internal challenges in the country and referring to some of these challenges, he said: “The big challenge in our country is negligence in action and a superficial look at issues.” The Leader noted: “Verbal and intellectual debates do not push plans ahead. The resolution of issues requires action and long-term follow-up upon affairs.”
To see some big jobs produce the desired outcome requires the passage of as long a time span as a generation, Ayatollah Khamenei said, ading: “At the time when there was talk of scientific movement in the country, at universities, nobody might have believed that after 10 to 15 years, the current scientific movement in the country would emerge under the aegis of professors and talented youth, but today, compared with those years, we are witnessing significant progress and in some sectors we are witnessing stunning progress.”
The Leader also referred to parallel and easy but lethal options as another internal challenge, saying: “Sometimes, procurement of some commodities and meeting needs are possible through two ways. One way would be through Europe, which is easy, and the other is a way other than Europe, which is hard. The first path would put one in a bind, weaken his friends and strengthen his enemies.”
Ayatollah Khamenei added: “Another internal challenge, which is a very big and major error, is to imagine that all ways would be unlocked by distancing oneself from the ideological principles and tenets of the Islamic establishment.”
“Officials in the administration [dedicated to] serving [people] believe in the fundamentals and principles of the [Islamic] Revolution and I don’t have any complaint against them, but among the executives, some imagine that the doors would open by backing down from the principles, while we have seen the result of this big error in some countries in recent years,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Supreme Leader said: “The only way for progress is perseverance and insistence on fundamentals and principles.”
Ayatollah Khamenei said another internal challenge is that some imagine that the people would not tolerate hardships. He said: “If the realities of affairs are expressed with honesty and accurately to people, people would stand and resist.”
The Leader said casting doubt on the country’s internal capabilities is another challenge, adding: “We should trust our youth and people in economic affairs and benefit from their capabilities.”
Ayatollah Khamenei said the main condition for the realization of the Economy of Resistance is firm and serious determination and refraining from negligence and easygoingness and reliance on industrious management, adding industrious management constitutes trust in God and applying insight and wisdom and at the same time pushing ahead with plans with firm determination and without any fear for marginal issues.”
Ayatollah Khamenei said promotion of the culture corresponding to the Economy of Resistance is necessary along with the application of industrious management, adding: “The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, media, officials, Friday Prayers leaders and all those whose words are influential on people should get involved in promoting the culture of the Economy of Resistance.”
Ayatollah Khamenei said economization, consumption of domestically produced commodities, particularly by state institutions, serious action against unreasonable imports, serious fight against smuggling, paying special attention to small- and medium-sized manufacturing workshops and revision of monetary policies and the activities of banking system are among the necessities of execution of the policies of the Economy of Resistance. He said: “The main condition for the realization of all these cases is empathy, rapport and internal solidarity.”
The Supreme Leader reiterated the fact that everyone should help the government and officials, saying: “Diversion [from main issues to minor issues] by any party is unacceptable and must be avoided.”
Summing up the issue of the Economy of Resistance, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “We can do big jobs in the field of the Economy of Resistance and cross this sensitive pathway.”
In his important remarks about the nuclear issue, the Leader highlighted three points before outlining the details of the negotiations and clarifying Iran’s demands and nuclear red lines.
The first point is that whatever the Leader says in public meetings is exactly the same issues he shares with the president and other relevant officials in private meetings, Ayatollah Khamenei underlined. Therefore, he aded, this untrue propaganda that some red lines have been renounced in private meetings is unrealistic and false.
The second point Ayatollah Khamenei expressed as an introduction to the nuclear issue was the reliability, zeal, courage and piety of members of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team.
Ayatollah Khamenei said this team is zealously and very carefully making efforts in talks with numerous negotiators on the opposite party in order to undo knots and push plans ahead, and fairly speaking, it (the team) is declaring Tehran’s positions and following up on them with courage.
Ayatollah Khamenei said anyone who keeps abreast of the details of the talks will definitely confirm whatever was said about the nuclear team. He noted that the nuclear negotiators may make a mistake in action, but they are faithful and zealous.
The Supreme Leader’s third point was addressed to the critics of the nuclear talks.
He said: “I’m not opposed to criticism and consider it as necessary and helpful, but that is a fact that criticism is easier than practice, because seeing the faults of the opposite party is easy, but understanding its difficulties and concerns is difficult.”
The Leader said: “My words should not block the continuation of criticisms, but we should bear in mind that the nuclear team is aware of some issues which are being criticized, but some necessities may make them take certain actions.”
Ayatollah Khamenei went on to present a brief history of negotiations with the Americans, which would significantly help understand the process of talks.
He said: “The issue of negotiations with the Americans dates back to the previous administration and is related to the dispatch of a mediator to Tehran to request talks.”
Ayatollah Khamenei added: “At that time, one esteemed official from [a country in] the region came to us as a mediator and clearly said that the US president has requested he travel to Tehran and tell us of the Americans’ request for negotiations. The Americans had told this mediator that they wanted to settle the nuclear issue while recognizing Iran as a nuclear power and lift the sanctions in 6 months. Of course, we told the mediator that we do not trust the Americans and their words, but due to the insistence of that mediator, we agreed to try this issue once more and the negotiations started.”
The Leader highlighted two important points in global rivalries, saying: “In any diplomatic confrontation, there are two fields which should be taken into account. The main field is one of truth, action, generation of assets and diplomatic chiefs that [should] turn these assets into concessions and guaranteeing of national interests.”
“The empty hand of every country in this first field would limit its flexibility in the second field, and [it was] based on this very logic [that] Iran entered the field of negotiations with important and strong achievements [from before]. The ability to produce 20% [enriched nuclear] fuel was one of them,” he said.
Ayatollah Khamenei said all nuclear powers refused to supply 20% fuel to the Tehran Nuclear Research Center for producing radiopharmaceuticals and they even blocked Iran’s purchase of fuel from other countries, but Iran’s young and honorable scientists produced this fuel and converted it into fuel plates and the opposite party was checkmated.
He said: “In addition to 20% fuel, we had another realistic and field achievement and in fact the strategy of Iran’s perseverance against pressures paid off and the Americans reached the conclusion that the sanctions would not leave their desired impact [on Iran] and they had to find another solution.”
Referring to Iran’s suspicious look at the American side, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “However, we were ready to pay a price if the Americans were ready to deliver on the pledges and promises through that regional mediator because in negotiations, it would be possible to make U-turns based on logic and calculations, but a few times after negotiations, they (the Americans) started [making] excessive demands and showed unfaithfulness.”
Noting that for Iran, a good agreement is a just and fair agreement, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Throughout negotiations, the Americans first changed the six-month period promised for the removal of the sanctions to one year and then they lengthened the talks by repeatedly making excessive demands and even threatened more sanctions and spoke of militarism, [options] on the table and [options] under the table.”
In summing up his remarks about the negotiations, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Reflecting upon and studying the US demands indicate that their objective is to eradicate Iran’s nuclear industry, destroy Iran’s nuclear identity and change it into a meaningless cartoon and painting.”
The Leader pointed to Iran’s need for 20,000 megawatts of nuclear electricity, saying: “While making efforts to dismantle [Iran’s] nuclear industry and depriving Iranians of the myriad advantages of this industry, they (the Americans) also intend to sort of keep the sanctions in place while continuing to [pile] pressures [on Iran].”
Regarding the realities of complexity of talks with the Americans, the Leader highlighted another important point, which was the US government’s need for a nuclear agreement.
“If they can achieve their objectives in the negotiations, they will gain a big victory because they have managed to subdue the independence-seeking Iranian nation and have defeated a country that can serve as a model for other countries. All of their haggling and unfaithfulness are [aimed at] realizing these objectives,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
Reiterating Iran’s logical demands since the start of negotiations to date, the Leader said: “We have said from the very beginning that we want the cruel sanctions to be lifted. Of course, we are ready to give things in return on the condition that the nuclear industry is not stopped, nor harmed.”
Ayatollah Khamenei went on to sketch out Iran’s nuclear read lines.
As the first red line, he said: “Contrary to the Americans’ insistence, we do not accept long-term 10-year and 12-year restrictions and we have told them the acceptable number of years for restrictions.”
The Leader said continuation of research and development and manufacturing work even during the period of time that restrictions are applied is Iran’s second red line, adding: “They tell us: You should not do anything over these 12 years. But that is excessive bullying and extra unreasonable rhetoric,” he said.
Explaining the third nuclear red line, the Leader said: “The economic, financial and banking sanctions, whether related to the [UN] Security Council or the US Congress or the US administration should be lifted immediately when the agreement is signed and the remaining sanctions should be lifted within reasonable time intervals.”
Ayatollah Khamenei said: “The Americans express a complicated, multi-layer and strange formula about the sanctions and it is not clear what the output would be, but we express our demands clearly.”
Continuing his remarks about the red lines in the nuclear talks, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “The removal of sanctions should not be tied to the fulfillment of Iran’s obligations, they should not say ‘you first live up to tour obligations and then the [International Atomic Energy] Agency would verify [Iran’s nuclear work] for the sanctions to be lifted’. We do by no means accept this issue.”
Ayatollah Khamenei added the manner of lifting the sanctions should correspond to the manner Iran makes good on its obligations.
The Leader said Iran would not like to see the fulfillment of the other side’s commitments subjected to the IAEA report because the agency has time and again shown that it is not independent and just and therefore we are pessimistic about it.”
“They say the agency should be convinced. This is unreasonable word. How can it make sure unless it inspects this territory inch by inch?” said Ayatollah Khamenei.
The Leader said firm opposition to “unconventional inspections, cross-examining Iranian figures and inspections of military centers” are among other nuclear red lines.
Ayatollah Khamenei pointed out: “In Iran, everyone, including me, the government, Majlis (parliament), the judiciary, security and military organs and all institutions want a good nuclear agreement, an agreement that would be drafted honorably, fairly and in compliance with Iran’s expediency and interests.”
“Although we are looking for the removal of the sanctions, but from another aspect, we consider them as an opportunity because they have caused us to pay more attention to domestic manpower and potentialities,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
At the start of his speech, the Leader advised officials to benefit from the blessings of the holy month of Ramadan, particularly the prayers revealed in this fasting month. He said: “The holy month of Ramadan is the month of humbleness, seeking forgiveness and the month of return to God, self-purification and moralities.”
Prior to the Leader’s speech, President Hassan Rouhani said since taking office 22 months ago, his administration has pursued mutual confidence, adopted a peaceful behavior, sought to narrow gaps and steered clear of extremism.
“The government’s approach in foreign policy has been constructive interaction with the world, while respecting this red line: ‘Preserving independence, honor and national pride’, and on cultural issues, giving more space to all those active in the fields of culture and arts with respect for moral red lines and Islamic teachings,” said the president.
President Rouhani said the resolution of the nuclear issue within the framework of regaining nuclear rights and meeting the country’s needs are two priorities of his administration, adding: “What brought powerful countries to the negotiating table was the resistance of the Iranian nation to pressures by ill-wishers and the failure of the sanctions.”
Noting that the sanctions will never succeed and that the Iranian nation is able to deal with its social, economic, political and cultural challenges even under the conditions of sanctions, the president said: “Under the conditions of sanctions, we managed to curb the inflation with people’s help and get out of stagnation. It was again under the same conditions of sanctions when investment grew.”
The president said increasing strategic commodities’ stocks, removing hurdles to exports, submitting a motion for leading the country out of stagnation, reducing wheat imports, modifying farming models, offering healthcare services, helping low-income classes, paying commodity subsidies, reducing dependence on oil in the budget, reducing spending, launching 8,000 industrial production units and taking useful steps in the environmental sector were among his administration’s measures under the conditions of sanctions.
President Rouhani said a drop in oil revenues was a specific condition of the current calendar year, adding: “We have to weather the problems by making efforts and exercising unity, empathy and solidarity. We will do it with people’s help.”
He noted that unnecessary attrition should not be allowed in the society, saying: “If the opposite party [in the nuclear talks] does not make excessive demands, an agreement would be within reach and we will cross this historic bottleneck.”
Elsewhere in his speech, the president said nations in the region are today facing extra pressure in the face of intervention by some countries and terrorists, adding: “The Islamic Republic of Iran is at the forefront of fight on terrorism and support for regional nations and it will continue this path.”