The Office of the Supreme Leader

The Leader’s remarks in meeting with Iranian laborers on the occasion of the Labor Day

In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
(Arabic prayer)
You are very welcome my dear ones. You illuminated the space of our Hosseiniyeh with your honest, faithful, [and] revolutionary presence, with your remarks, [and] with your statements, and gave me a sweet taste of meeting with a large group of an endeavoring, faithful [and] sacrificing [social] class. Our labor community – as they noted [and as] I have frequently said – is indeed a devoted, faithful, honest, [and] endeavoring class, [which] not only [endeavors] in factory, [but also] endeavored under conditions of the revolution for the essence of the revolution, to defend the revolution, and to [defend the country during the] period of the [Iraqi] imposed war [against Iran].
Today is close to the middle [of the lunar month] of Sha’ban. Let me make a comment about the festive occasion of the middle of Sha’ban and that comment is that the middle of Sha’ban is the symbol of hope in the future. I mean, all hopes that we pin on something may be realized [and] may not be realized; however, hope in the final reform [in human affairs] by the absolute guardian [chosen by] God, [namely] Hadhrat Sahib az-Zaman (May God Hasten His Reemergence and May Our Souls Be Sacrificed for Him) is a hope which will be certainly fulfilled. [When addressing him in the prayer, we say,] “Peace be upon you o the [great] promise of God, He has guaranteed [its realization];” [therefore, his return from occultation] is the guaranteed promise of God. [Elsewhere the prayer says] “Peace be upon you o raised flag and accumulated knowledge and he who responds to the call of the helpless and hopeless and o unlimited mercy and the promise that is not false.” It emphasizes that this is an incontrovertible divine promise. It is not only us – Shias – who say this, [and even] it is not only us Muslims who say this, [but] all religions in the world are waiting for such a day. The positive point about us is that we know who he is, we feel his existence, believe in his presence, talk to him, address him, ask him [what we want] and he answers us; this is the difference [between us and them].
Other people – [including] non-Shia Muslims and non-Muslim believers [in other religions] – put their faith in an ambiguous concept; this is not true about us, Shias. It is clear what we want, [and] with whom we speak. [Therefore, the middle of Sha’ban] is the day of hope. My dear ones, dear youths, [and] dear laborers! Know the value of this hope; [and] hold [this] hope [alive] in your hearts; [I mean,] hope in change of the bleak and dark and distorted countenance of a world, which is at the present time under domination of superpowers. Know this and be sure that this situation will change. Have no doubt that this atmosphere of oppression and despotism, which you see in the world at the present time, from bullying, slandering, wickedness and meanness – whose symbols are the leaders of America and the leaders of Zionists and others more or less like them – this [state of affairs] will undoubtedly change; this is the hope that we have. We must help [each other and] ask God and [also] endeavor ourselves to bring forward that day and, God willing, bring it close. 
Another point is about the month of Sha’ban; the month of Sha’ban must not be neglected. The month of Sha’ban is full of festive occasions from its beginning to its end, [and from this viewpoint is] similar to the month of Ramadan. The month of Ramadan is also full of festive occasions from its beginning to its end, [which are] festive occasions for the Chosen Ones of God. Any day in which there is an opportunity when a human being would be able to focus on purity of his soul [and] on the illumination of his heart, that day is an opportune day and a festive day. The month of Sha’ban is a month for such opportunities, from day one to the last day. Asking for [God’s] forgiveness in this month, praying in this month, doing pilgrimage in this month, supplication [before God] in this month, recitation of the Quran in this month, [and] saying one’s [daily] prayers in this month, these are all opportunities. We must do our utmost in order to develop our world and there is no doubt about this, but we must also work to help our hearts prosper as well; we must help our hearts prosper. It is through prosperity of heart that one can create a good world. If the heart is not prospering, if the heart is full of grudge, [and] if the heart is dark and sinner, it is possible [for us] to make technology advance and take technology to where it has reached at the present time and [even] further, but the world will not be a desirable world; the world will be a bitter world, [and] the world will be a world devoid of justice. A desirable world will be [realized] when all decision-makers, those who take steps, those who move, and if possible the body politic, have prosperous hearts, [and] have illuminated hearts. [Therefore,] do not neglect [the spiritual value of] the month of Sha’ban
 [Now] I [want to] say a few words about labor issues, [and] a few words – of course briefly – about global issues that afflict us. As for the labor issues, manpower is one of the biggest riches of any country. I mean, existence of laborers, designers, engineers, [and] people active in production in any field in the country is much more valuable for the country than underground reserves and gold and oil and diamond and the likes of these. This [manpower] is that [factor], which can develop a country. Now, [if] you look [you will see that] there are countries in the world, which produce all or most of the diamond in the globe, but they themselves are living in misery and poverty; Why? Because they lack adequate manpower, do not possess active manpower, [and] do not have manpower that can think [creatively]. [This is why] manpower is the biggest wealth of a country and you are the manpower; you laborer, you entrepreneurs, you engineers, you designer, [and] you who are active in various labor sectors, are [the country’s] manpower. This is the high value of manpower, and the working class is part of this high value and this huge wealth
In terms of value creation, the efforts made by our laborers are above conventional and average [norms] of the world. I have frequently said this about various sectors, about [university] students, [and] about scientists and researchers. Then all studies, which have been reported, confirm this issue; this is also what I believe in bout laborers. The Iranian laborers are among the best in the world; I mean their artistic hand and ideation and thinking and high motive are higher than the world’s average. And this comes as during the repressive era under the tyrannical Pahlavi rule, [and] before that during the period of permanent neglect and slumber of the Qajar [dynasty due] attention was not paid to labor and laborers and the labor community and production and national issues. Of course, during the Qajar period, it was due to imbecility and mental retardation, [but] under the Pahlavi rule, it was due to treason. Meanwhile, during the [post-]revolution period, when the labor force and laborers have become active and found a new fervor and have progressed in terms of quantity and quality, we see that average abilities and prominence of the Iranian laborers is higher than the world’s rate.
Yesterday a small exhibition of domestic products was arranged here for me to visit. I went and visited this exhibition for a few hours, [and] saw [the result of] your work. The artistic hands of the Iranian laborers must be really kissed, [and] your hands must be kissed. This domestic production is [very] valuable in terms of quality despite all the problems that we have, despite these sanctions, which block [the import of] raw materials, [and] block [the import of] advanced machinery, [and despite] all sorts and kinds of problems, which the arrogant [powers] of the world create for us. However, when one looks at a [domestic] product, he sees how prominent it is. And [there was] everything [on display in that exhibition]. Yesterday, scores of [Iranian] companies had brought their products – which are the very works of your hands – here and I visited [them]. From textile and shoes and ready-made clothes and furniture and chinaware and crystal [products] to medicines and cosmetics and home appliances and refrigerators and stationery and everything, which they showed me here yesterday – it took a few hours – were all prominent [products and] were all excellent. One really feels humbled in the face of domestic workforce. Then when I say that supporting the Iranian products [is a must] some people either do not believe or do not confirm or do not act [along this line]. Well, supporting the Iranian products means to support these laborers, means to support [domestic] workforce, [and] means to support [domestic] production. This support is overarching; [I mean,] people must support and the government must [also] support, [and] everybody must support [domestic production
They brought up problems, which are related to both entrepreneurs and laborers: the problem with insurance, the problem with shortage of facilities, the problem of liquidity, the problem of tax impediments, the problems caused by banks, the problems related to the Ministry of Economic Affairs [and Finance], [and] problems caused by various [related] places. These problems must be resolved, [and] a resolved and complete measure must be taken for the resolution of these problems. When problems are resolved, when Iranian products are supported, [and] when the work done by the Iranian laborers is appreciated, then we will no more witness that [officials of a] factory would say “we are working at one-third of the capacity.” Some people told me this yesterday [and noted that] we have this much potentialities and are working like this: [I mean] at one-third of the capacity [or] at half the capacity. Well, why? Where are laborers for [activating] that remaining two-thirds [of the factory’s capacity]? This amounts to that accumulated unemployment [which exists] in the country. [The fact] that I say [we must] “support Iranian products,” it means that [new] jobs must be created, [and new] job opportunities must be provided; it means that we must not have jobless laborers; it means that our educated youth must not simply think about [getting a] desk job; they must know that they can work in different sectors in accordance with their status. If an Iranian product is supported, this will happen. Why some people insist on pouring their money into the pockets of a foreign company?
What sickness is this that [we] must consume foreign products? Sometimes, we do not have a similar Iranian product, [in which case,] well, yes [consumption of foreign products] is of no objection. There are [also] some products, whose production inside [the country] does not conform to economy, [and] is not economical; very well! We [can also use foreign products in case] we do not have a similar product inside [the country]. [However, when] there is domestic counterpart of a product inside [the country], is produced and in terms of quality some of them have a quality comparable to the foreign products, [and] some even top the quality of their foreign counterparts, why some people must insist that they must certainly consume a foreign product and that given foreign brand and the likes of these? What sickness is this? What misunderstanding and misconception is this that some people have? [We must] consume Iranian products. Let us decide; [in the meantime,] big institutes, the administration itself, others [and] everybody [must] decide [to support Iranian] products. We have no prejudice against others, [and] do not want to be hostile [to others]; [we just] want to make our own children, our own youths and our own laborers to work; we want to occupy them with a job, [and] want to save them from the harmful effects of unemployment. Unemployment has many harmful effects; it causes social harm, causes security harm, causes ethical harm, [and] causes all kinds and sorts of harm. We want this; [and] the [best] way [to achieve this goal] is to support Iranian products. Iranian products [and] Iranian production must be backed and supported
This is also the best way of countering the enemies. Look my dear ones! Our enemies have understood and come to realize that they will get nowhere through hard military war. A few years before this, another American president – who was also bad-tempered and made nonsensical remarks and talked nonsense like the current one – made certain comments against me. In a speech those few years back, I said, “Mr., the period of hit and run is over; you will be hit back if hit [us].” They know this. They know that if they embark on hard and military conflicts and confrontation with us, they will be trapped. Yes, they will deal a blow to us, but they themselves may be dealt many more blows; they have understood this. The solution that they have come up with is [to launch] an economic war and a cultural war and the likes of these [against Iran]. Now apart from the cultural issue, what is currently of significance to our enemies is the economic war. America’s war room against us is America’s Department of Treasury, which is their ministry of economic affairs and finance; it is the war room [which makes decisions] against us. Well, what is the [best] solution to counter the economic war? [The solution] is that we focus on our own economy inside [the country].
When our economy is reliant [on other countries and] when it is dependent, we face problems. Of course, I do not believe that [Iran’s] economic relations must be or can be cut off from the world; it is clearly impossible [to do this]. At the present time, all countries across the world are related to one another and interconnected, but relying on [what exists] outside our borders is totally wrong; [we] must not rely [on others]. Yes, [officials must establish] relations with the world through [their] cunning, with [a good] plan, with correct policymaking, through correct follow-up, [and] with seriousness. The world is big; the world is not limited only to America and a few European countries; the world is very vast. [Therefore, officials] must establish relations [with other countries] as much as is needed, but [they] must not set their sights on any foreign force; [they must] set their sights on the domestic elements and eye this great value: domestic manpower. When people see that we, officials, insist on solving our problems inside [the country] and take advantage of domestic potentialities, even if we have to face some difficulties, they will tolerate [difficulties as well and] will help us. The esteemed officials of the country must pay attention that reliance must not be made on [what is] outside [the country].
One way used by Americans to counter the freedom-seeking [and] independent establishment of the Islamic Republic is this economic work, [because] they are opposed to its freedom seeking, are opposed to it being independent, [and] they say [to Iran that you must] come under our flag, come under our umbrella, obey our orders, [and] make policy according to our will, because we have more arms, because we have more power, [and because] we have more money; this is what they want. Another [way to counter the Islamic Republic] – [and I say this] so that you would be informed and pay attention to– is to instigate some of these less understanding governments, [which I really do not know] how to describe them, [and] these inattentive governments in our own region to cause differences and conflicts and fighting and such things. Americans sit with these Saudis in order to instigate them against the Islamic Republic; well, if you want to instigate, why you do not instigate Zionists, who are your own stooges, [because] in a certain way, they are [US] stooges, [but] in another way, they are masters [of the US government]? Why you instigate those miserable ones – Saudis? They say we want a war to be waged among Muslims. One of their plans is to encourage and incite and instigate some countries like [this] – as I mentioned Saudi [Arabia] as an example – to counter and face and come to blows with the Islamic Republic. If they are sane, they must not be duped by this enemy; [because] if they come to blows with the Islamic Republic, they will be certainly dealt a blow and defeated. They [Americans] do not want to undertake the cost of confrontation with the Islamic Republic establishment and the powerful nation of Iran by themselves and [aim to] transfer its cost to such governments in the region.
What America does is to create insecurity; wherever Americans have set foot on during these [past] years, they have created insecurity. At any point – both in West Asia, where we are, and in other parts of the world, [and] wherever they have set foot on– they have created insecurity. [They have] either triggered civil war, or triggered fratricide, [and] brought people misery wherever they went. It is for this reason that America’s foothold in the West Asia region must be erased; Americans must get out of the West Asia region; that the party, which must be driven out of here, is America, not the Islamic Republic. We are the Islamic Republic, we hail from this [region], the Persian Gulf is our home, West Asia is our home, [and] here is our home. You are aliens, you have come from afar, it is you who pursue wicked goals, it is you who want to stoke sedition, [and] it is you who must leave [this region]. And know that Americans and the rest of people who are like them will be driven out of this region.
One of those issues on which I put emphasis with regard to supporting Iranian products and have said this many times – now Mr. minister is also here – and, God willing, this issue must be seriously pursued by the administration is the issue of preventing excessive imports and seriously preventing smuggling, because [the main] complaint and grievance that many of these officials and those who are active with regard to issues related to Iranian products, [including] entrepreneurs, investors, skilled workers and others, have is that foreign products enter the country, [and] mostly with low quality, and compete – in an unequal and imbalanced competition – with domestic products and limit popularity of domestic products. This is one of those things, which must be certainly prevented. Of course, the comments, which were made by Mr. Minister here today and steps that have been or are being taken, these are valuable [comments and] steps. God willing, they will follow up [on this goal] so that it will be realized and the output of these works should be seen; I mean, the output of [these] works should be tangible. And, God willing, our labor community, especially the dear young laborers, will become more optimistic and hopeful about the future on a daily basis.
Peace be unto you and so may the mercy of Allah and His blessings