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Addressing officials in charge of this year's hajj pilgrimage (15.2.2000)

The following translation of an important speech by the dear Leader of the Islamic Revolution on the Majlis election was done by a foreign news agency, although the translation seems to be more or less OK, its accuracy has not been checked with the original text. As long as we have no better translation, we publish this one.

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate...

I hope that this year, God willing, the Hajj is performed as in previous years, or even better than before. This is an important religious duty...

The Hajj on the one hand is the symbol of spirituality, of the relationship with God, of the understanding of the people's hearts of divine verses and of the people getting closer to God. On the other hand, it is the symbol of unity and solidarity of the Islamic ummah, of the removal of barriers among the ummah and of the putting away of differences and splits created either by the enemy or by fanaticism. The Hajj is a step towards the establishment of a single Islamic ummah...

I consider it to be my duty here to thank our dear people from the bottom of my heart for the glorious epic that they created on 22nd Bahman 11th February, revolution anniversary this year. This is very important: when all the enemy's propaganda mouthpieces were trying their utmost to alienate the people from their past, from their revolution and separate them from their Imam Khomeyni and make them forget their imam - believing they could create certain new values among the people - you could see that when it came to 22nd Bahman, in Tehran and in every large city and small town, even in remote areas and villages, the people came onto the streets. No-one had to invite them, neither were there financial gains to be made. They people come onto the scene here, and this is because of that very same spirituality. Let me say this: those who are plotting against us, those who are lying in ambush, they are waiting to see a small sign from the people of Iran to make them hopeful that the people no longer care about the revolution. They are really lying in ambush. They are, however, confused: on the one hand, they listen to certain remarks and read certain newspaper headlines which may show that spirituality has ended in this country, show that no-one talks about the revolution or the imam; show that everything has been forgotten. They become happy when they see this, they think this is the case. But when it comes to the people's presence on the scene, when it comes to 22nd Bahman, they suddenly see a great popular flood shouting the slogans of Islam and the revolution; remembering the imam; honouring their glorious past. They get confused, they don't know what to do next. They are, therefore, constantly going to and fro, not knowing what to do...

I think I should say a few words about the elections on this occasion. Elections are not just political phenomena. Elections symbolize the people's participation and restoration of their rights. Elections symbolise a country's national capability and power. That is the meaning of elections. Today, throughout the world - it does not make any difference whether it is our country or any other part of the world - it is important what percentage of people who could vote take part in the elections and vote. From the point of view of the people of the world, analysts, and world policy-makers, a system in which the largest number of people go to the ballot box and cast their votes has stronger foundations than others. This shows the strength of a system. Praise be to God, we have always demonstrated this in the various elections which have been held over the years. The people maintained a strong presence.

Our people have the right to determine the fate of their country themselves. That is their right as well as their duty. They have the right because the country belongs to them. The people must form their own legislature and choose their own law-makers. They must have a free choice and they must make the right choice. They must choose their officials in accordance with the law. That is their right. It belongs to the people. However it is their duty as well. One cannot say that one does not want to use one's right. No, the fate of the system depends on using and acquiring that right. That is their duty. Everyone must participate. That is the divine right which the Islamic republican system has been able to provide to our people. We did not have this right in the past. In the systems we had in the past, the people were deprived of such a right and they could not use it. The Islamic republican system has enabled the people to acquire it. Sometimes even a single vote can play an effective role. No-one must say: What is so special about my vote? What effect is it going to have? Yes, sometimes one vote or a few votes can have an impact on the fate of a country. It means that you can send a faithful and honest person to the Majlis by voting for him. At sensitive junctures, that is when the vote of even one deputy can determine the fate of the country, or a particular class or the future of the economy, a person who goes to the Majlis can cast his vote and influence the situation. Thus no-one must ever say: What is the influence of my vote?

God willing, the people will do the most important thing that they can do on election day. All the people must do that - women, men and all those who are legally entitled to vote. In this way, they must be enthusiastic about taking part in the elections and make the election process dynamic. Whoever likes the Islamic system will take part in the elections. Whoever is interested in the glory of the Islamic republican system will take part in the elections. My own prediction is that, God willing, as we have seen, this great nation which is aware and intelligent, will take part in the elections enthusiastically. In this way, the people will announce their presence. In fact, they will demonstrate their support for Islam and the Islamic state.

The second point is that the elections must be held in a tranquil and friendly atmosphere in which there is no agitation, altercation, hatred. There must be no such things. Obviously, there are candidates everywhere who make their own decisions and who have different views and tastes. The people will take a look at the situation and, God willing, they will make their choice and act adroitly after getting to know them the candidates . They will vote for them. This must be done in a tranquil atmosphere. That is what we are proud of. You see, a few days ago, we celebrated the 21st anniversary of the victory of the revolution. In a few days, we will be holding the 21st election in our country. That is not a trivial matter. It is a very important thing.

Now, others can sit and feel sorry for our nation and say that this nation should move towards establishing democracy. What is democracy? If by democracy they mean the people's presence, involvement, participation and choice, then, would you please tell us where else you can see such a thing in this world [similar to the level of democracy present in Iran]? Were those who ruled over this country by relying on the Americans' money and political power for years and destroyed everything in this country, able to hold such nationwide elections even on a single occasion? Twenty-one elections have been held over a period of 21 years. Is that a joke? In all those 21 tests, the atmosphere in this country has been like this. It has had a tranquil and friendly atmosphere. Of course, some people run their own publicity campaigns and say things.

An environment in which there is violence, political agitation, political violence, hatred and such things harms the election process. Firstly, it will make a group of people hate the process of participating in the elections. It will lead some people to have doubts. It will make people despondent. It will disappoint people. Unfortunately, I can see that through their remarks, writings and some of the things which are published, certain people are trying to ensure that an atmosphere of hatred prevails over our society. Why? Someone insults the left and another person insults the right. Where are they heading? Where are you going? What do you want? What are these interpretations they have made up? More often than not, the enemy has put words in their mouths. It has thrown a bunch of ignorant people - now we are not saying that they are biased, of course, some of them are undoubtedly biased - in there and they are constantly chattering and saying such things. What is left and right?

This nation is a Muslim nation, a religious nation, a united one. This nation has brought about the revolution as a result of its joint efforts and safeguarded the system for 21 years also as a result of its joint efforts. They, the Iranian people, thwarted the great danger, that is the Iran and Iraq war which was imposed on us for eight years. The nation is united. What is the meaning of artificial divisions? Certain people come along under a certain name and some people come along under another name. They keep trying to create division and split among the people. The people also demonstrated that they do not pay any attention to these kinds of words. This is also obvious. The people are going about their own business. Those who create division too can go about their own business. The climate should be a calm climate. Some people bend on spreading rumours about violence and tension; thus creating confusion in the people's minds. No. People are not going to resort to such things.

I want to say that as from now on and during the next couple of days which are left before the election day, and may be in other stages, our dear people, especially the young generation, should control their emotions and use their logic. They should view things with open eyes, and vote, assess and move on. There are various political preferences. It has been as such so far. People have their own preferences. The only thing to which we must pay attention is that when we vote for someone we have to be able to have an answer for our decision before God...

The next point is that the Majlis must be a kind of Majlis which is able to stand up to coercion, scare-mongering, excessiveness and avarice of world powers, and assess the problems of the country and the nation...

Some are easily intimidated. I have said on several occasions that the core of the operations carried out by arrogance, in other words these hegemonistic world powers who interfere in this and that country bringing governments and nations under their control, is done through intimidation. Their real power is not as much as they make out. Well, it is clear, if they had as much power as they claim to have, then considering how they dislike our revolution and our country, then if they had any power this revolution would not have grown to this extent; it would not have lasted the way it has. Is this not reason enough? That the hegemonists, America and the Zionists in the world are not as powerful as they claim to be. The core of their operations is done by virtue of threats. Threats and acts of intimidation. A Majlis deputy should not allow himself to be intimidated by them. He must be a person who is not intimidated. A person who is not intimidated is one who relies on God. When a person puts his trust in God, then that person will not be intimidated by anyone. We saw a prominent example of that in our very era, in the shape of the imam Khomeyni , and we also witnessed thousands of other examples in the course of the Iran-Iraq war. On the battlefield and in the arena of politics, these faithful and self-sacrificing youth were not afraid of anything but God...

The second point is that a deputy should not become infatuated. Some are infatuated and are allured. Naive people fall for imaginary economic, political or security solutions which are presented to them in great style; they suffer for years as a result of it and finally make life miserable for themselves and others. They must not be infatuated. The correct solution, the independent solution, a solution which has been adopted after taking the special circumstances of this nation and country is that which has been presented by Islam.

Islam has provided a solution for everything, in all issues. It is up to us to go in search of those solutions. If we do not understand something well, or do not go in search of it, then it is not the fault of Islam. One should not be greedy either. Some forget everything the moment their mouth is sweetened by the enemy. If you want a deputy not to be intimidated; infatuated or fall prey to greed, then you must go in search of a person who is righteous and faithful. It is a well-known fact that individuals who are not righteous place their wealth in the hands of righteous people for safekeeping. Trust is a virtue. Of course, an righteous and faithful person can also make mistakes, but then on realizing his mistake he then seeks to redress it. This is a great virtue. Not like those who make mistakes, head for a fall - head for a descent into hell - but on realizing their mistake, they stubbornly deny it, and stand on their word and sink in even deeper.

Therefore the election of a deputy is important...One must conduct research and inquire from righteous people before making a choice. God will reward those who have done their research, even if they have made a mistake. The Almighty will not question you about it. One must conduct research in order to do this task in the best possible way. This is a test before the Iranian nation. This is a big test before the nation, the government and officials. Recently, some of these Americans have again made disparaging remarks about the elections. One has said that we are carefully looking at the situation and are hoping that such and such type of people enter the Majlis. The people should smack them in the mouth. Another has said that we will pursue the case of those who were deemed ineligible by the Guardian Council . The country's officials must be extremely vigilant. What happens when an enemy who is against the interests of Iran seeks to restore its hegemony over this country? Why is it that they are concerned about whether or not someone has been disqualified? Is this not a sign that the manner in which our legitimate bodies have disqualified an individual is in exact contravention of the hegemonists' interests? Those who do not know what they are saying, or are not aware of what they are saying, must show a bit more care. The enemy has opened its mouth. There was a time when this country, with all its resources, was under the control of America and American agents. The revolution erupted and totally altered the situation. It made the country, the nation, and the resources of the country independent. They are lying in ambush, waiting for an opportunity to take over this country and this nation's vital resources and interests once again. The nation must be vigilant, and it is vigilant. With the blessings of the Almighty, the people's presence in these elections and their correct choice in the elections will once again defeat the Americans, the arrogance and the centres of Zionism wherever they may be in the world.

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