In a speech on May 1, the Rahbar of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, addressed the centralty for the Islamic movement. We present an extract from his speech
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate...
The issues of the Islamic world are very important. It should not be imagined that there is no connection between our domestic issues and the problems of the Islamic world, Palestine and the Middle East. No, today the issues of the world are all interconnected. The problems of nations are all interrelated. The powers that formulate policies that lead to problems for the peoples of the world do not distinguish between this or that nation in their bid to achieve their objectives and interests.
The Palestine issue is not merely an issue for a single nation. The issue is in effect about the sovereignty of international dictatorship and the domination of force and coercion. Look at events in Palestinian lands today. We are witnessing some of the most tragic events in the history of Palestine. The usurping and counterfeit government of Israel — relying on its military power, tanks and aircraft, and their ruthless and oppressive firepower — has besieged Palestinian towns. It is occupying these towns one after another, and continues to massacre people and destroy their homes. One day it is Ramallah, and the next day it is the turn of Jenin, Nablus and al-Khalil [Hebron] and other cities.
One cannot even begin to describe the tragedies that have taken place in these towns. We have seen military forces entering these towns, killing, wounding or arresting many innocent people. There are many thousands of wounded people and thousands of martyrs in these towns now. Moreover, they have kidnapped thousands of young people and taken them to unknown locations. They have also destroyed hundreds or thousands of homes.
I have heard that 70 percent of Jenin [refugee-camp] was destroyed by Israeli forces. What is the meaning of these crimes that are committed before the eyes of humanity? It means a government that is tyrannical, not caring about any humanitarian, religious and divine law. Such a government is creating these tragedies to satisfy its own greed and to continue its tyranny of the past several dozen years. Despite its doing so, the American government offers total and unstinting support to Israel.
In the midst of these developments, all the international slogans in support of human rights, defence of nations, democracy, freedom and the rest are forgotten. Despite the fact that the world’s consciences were moved, the conscience of the American leaders and the White House administration was not distressed in the slightest.
They, the American administration, intend to make the world understand the following two points: that they intend to keep this cancerous tumour [in the Middle East] at any cost; and that they insist the world realize that they are going to resort to force. They say: We intend to force and bully the rest of the world and we do not care what is said against us. In other words, they wish to convince the people of the world that no word and no action will be able to stand up to America’s military might. That is what they are trying to prove, but they have failed so far. Despite all their demonstration of might, they have not reached their objectives so far. Why? Because the people of Palestine have not surrendered.
They [the Americans and Israelis] — by exerting pressure, by resorting to massacres, by demonstrating lack of compassion and by trampling all humanitarian principles — intend to force the Palestinians to surrender. They intend to force them to submit totally to their demands and abandon their own aspirations. They have failed to realize this objective. Contrary to the assumptions of America and Israel, force will not win. The final word in all problems is uttered by the people’s determination and faith. This is true here too.
In response to the horrendous tyranny that the people of Palestine are subjected to these days, there are two solutions. These two solutions are inevitable and must be accepted by everyone. The first is to continue the intifada. The people of Palestine must continue their resistance.Alhamdulillah, they have stood firm so far. The climax of this resistance can be seen in the martyrdom-seeking operations.
It is the zenith of honour for a man, a young person, boy or girl, to be prepared to sacrifice his life in order to serve the interests of his country and his religion. This is the zenith of courage and bravery. This is what frightens the enemy. We have therefore seen that everyone, from the American president to the lowest rank of officials who work to serve American policies all over the world, has tried to put a stop to these martyrdom-seeking operations by censuring and denouncing them. On the contrary, martyrdom-seeking operations demonstrate the pinnacle of a people’s honour.
Are there not martyrdom-seeking operations when a military force is offering to sacrifice everything to defend its homeland? Are there no martyrdom-seeking operations when a belligerent and ruthless army commits an aggression against another country, whose people resist the invading army? In such cases, who can condemn such operations? Who can mar the value and esteem of such operations in the minds of fair and conscientious people?
Martyrdom-seeking operations are the pinnacle of the Palestinians’ greatness. This is the truth although some people may censure a people that has been suffering for [more than] 50 years because of the failure of past generations to pay attention to its long-term interests, and is now left with no option but to sacrifice its blood to claim its rights. The Palestinian people are alive, alert and moving forward. This is the first solution.
The second solution is support. The entire world should support the Palestinians. Of course other peoples have lent their support. Even in Europe people have given support and staged demonstrations. They have used different vehicles to express their heartfelt support. Even inside the United States there has been expression of support. These trends will continue. Nonetheless, the governments must also fulfill their duties. In particular, the governments of Muslim countries, and specifically the Arab states, must do their duties.
Suspending oil exports for a month is a fundamental issue and cannot be approached superficially. This action need not merely be a theatrical move that one government alone says oil-exports will be suspended and it is not clear whether that has happened or not. It is a real and serious action. Everyone must make this decision. Some arguments against are that such a move would be detrimental to those cutting off their oil supplies. This is not true; this is an error in calculations. Cutting off the oil supplies is not disadvantageous to the countries doing it. It will in the end prove beneficial to them.
At the moment, one day the price of oil is $24 or $25 per barrel and then within a few days it comes down to $15 or $16. You can see that our countries are coming to harm because of the dramatic fluctuations in the oil price. This is because someone else holds the reins. By cutting off oil exports for a month, the Muslim nations will demonstrate their decision-making ability. The Muslim governments will prove their ability to take action against the system of international dictatorship, and against the will of bullies who rely only on the power of their bayonets. They should do it; this action is unavoidable.
Some governments, such as Syria and Lebanon, have adopted good positions on this issue. All the Muslim governments, and the oil-producing and oil-exporting countries, must attach a lot of importance to this historic duty. History will judge them by their ability to take decisive steps. Even today the world’s peoples are going to judge them and decide about their sincerity on this basis.
Of course, this is only one of the ways in which help can be given to the Palestinians. There are also other ways. The governments and people must provide financial aid too. I said this to our people and others in a recent Friday khutbah. One should support the oppressed people who are fighting in defence of their homeland, Bayt al-Muqaddas and the identity of a Muslim people, and who are seeking to end the presence of global arrogance in this region. The governments that neighbour Palestine and all the liberation movements and popular resistance forces must help the Palestinians. Anyone who is able to render such assistance must do so promptly. This is a duty for everyone.
The American government is standing firm behind the Israeli government, despite all the deceptive claims that the American media relentlessly put forward about the leadership of the world, human rights, and so forth. One is really astonished at the shameless audacity of some arrogant statesmen.
They consider their actions to be the embodiment of justice, although in fact they do not understand the meaning of the concept. The American government does not know what justice means. Which of their actions can be called just? They consider the Israeli action a just war and a war against terrorism. However, they themselves are openly supporting the most cowardly terrorists. Humanity’s brow is covered with the sweat of shame. Today the Americans have totally lost the respect of the world by their irrational behaviour. They are despised. They have attracted the hatred of all the people who have pure hearts and clear conscience.
In the eyes of the American government any state that opposes their actions in Palestine is a forsaken state. They bear a grudge against the Islamic Republic because the Islamic Republic speaks of justice, because the Islamic Republic is not influenced by fear of America, because it is not scared of America, because it refuses to abandon its will just to please America’s statesmen, and because it is not prepared to lose its independence. That is why they are hostile to the Islamic Republic. In the past, whenever they wanted to say something against the Islamic Republic, they used to make allegations that human rights are not respected in Iran. But now everything is obvious. The reason for their opposition to the Islamic Republic is clear: the Islamic Republic has not submitted to bullying, and never will do so.
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s stances are very clear and completely rational. The state authorities have mentioned these stances on many occasions. The esteemed president has repeatedly reiterated these stances during his recent visits to other peoples and at international organisations. These are the completely reasonable stances of the Islamic Republic.
When you look at the Muslim world, you will see that every single member of the Muslim peoples praises these stances. The nations are after justice. The basic strategy for a global system of arrogance and bullying is to force the nations to accept the logic of coercion, oppression and injustice. They [the Americans and Israelis] are seeking a world that is based on oppression and tyranny. They want to run this world to the advantage of large companies and capitalists and the Zionist or non-Zionist managers of the world’s huge resources, and to the detriment of the world’s peoples.
Moreover, they demand that everyone cooperate with them. But how can this ever happen? It is possible that some governments may give in because they want to safeguard the interests of their officials. However, a justice-seeking government or people that speaks and acts under the banner of Islam, and adopts policies on the basis of its independence and identity, is never going to succumb.