The following is the full text of the speech delivered on April 30, 2018, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a gathering with laborers on the occasion of Labor Day.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Al-Mustafa Muhammad, and upon his pure, immaculate and chosen household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.
You are very welcome my dear people. You have enlightened our Hussainiyah with your sincere, pious, and revolutionary presence and with your statements and comments. You have given us a sweet taste of being in the presence of a great class of diligent, pious and self-sacrificing people. Indeed, as the gentlemen in the meeting pointed out and as I myself have said many times, our society of laborers is a pure, pious, sincere and diligent society. This diligence is not only manifested in our factories, but also in the environment of the Revolution; its aim is to strengthen the essence of the Revolution, defending the Revolution and the Sacred Defense Era.
Today, we are close to the 15th of Sha'ban [the birth anniversary of the awaited Imam Mahdi (aj)]. I would like to say something about the Eid of the 15th Sha'ban: the 15th of Sha'ban is the embodiment of our hopeful outlook towards the future. All the hope that we invest in something may or may not have the outcome that we hoped for; however, the hope towards the final salvation by the absolute wali [representative of God] of the Almighty God— the Imam of the Time (may God hasten his reappearance, and may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) — is an inviolable hope. "Greetings be upon you God's promise, such promise that has been guaranteed by him." He is the guaranteed a promise that God has given.
"Greetings be upon you the hoisted flag, you abundant source of knowledge, you protector of the weak, you endless mercy and you manifestation of God's truthful promise." [Ziyarat Al-e Yassin] —This is an inviolable promise that God has given.
It is not only Shi’as that have made this claim; it is not only Muslims that have made this claim: all religions of the world are waiting for such a day to come. Our privilege is that we know him: we feel his existence; we believe in his existence; we speak to him; we address him; we make requests to him and he grants our requests. This is the difference between us and others. Others —non-Shia Muslims and non-Muslim believers — believe in something that is vague; however, this is not the case with us Shi’as. It is clear what we want and whom we speak to. The 15th of Sha'ban is a day of hope. My dear ones, dear young people, dear laborers, you should appreciate the value of hope; you should preserve it in your hearts. You should nurture the hope of changing the dark, gloomy, and ruined face of a world which is under the domination of superpowers today.
You should know and be sure that this situation will change. You should be confident that this environment of oppression and cruelty, which is witnessed in the world today and which is imbued with bullying, slandering, malice and viciousness — this environment is embodied by leaders of the U.S. and Zionist regime, others are like this, more or less, as well — will undoubtedly change. This change is what we hope for. We should help. We should ask God for help, and we, ourselves, should try hard to hasten that day, God willing.
The next point is about the month of Sha'ban. The month of Sha'ban should not be ignored. This month is an Eid, from start to finish, just like the month of Ramadan. The month of Ramadan is an Eid too, from start to finish. It is the Eid of friends of God. Every day which gives people the opportunity to attend to the purity of themselves and the enlightenment of their hearts is a valuable day which can be celebrated. The month of Sha'ban is the month of these opportunities, from the beginning to the end.
Asking for God's forgiveness, praying, reciting supplications [duas], supplicating before God, reading the Quran and saying daily prayers in this month are all opportunities. We should do our best to build a better world: there is no doubt about this; but, we should also endeavor to build our own hearts up. We should build up our own hearts. By tending to our hearts we can build a great world. If our hearts are impure, dull, dark or sinful, we might be able to improve technology to a level which is even greater than today, but the world will not be a kind world. The world will be a bitter and unjust world. A sweet world will be built only when the decision-makers, activists, forerunners, and possibly the masses of the people will build upon and enlighten their own hearts. Therefore, you should not show negligence towards the month of Sha'ban.
I would like to raise certain points about labor issues, and after that I will discuss — briefly — the global issues we are involved with. As for labor issues, manpower is one of the greatest sources of wealth for every country. That is to say, the existence of laborers, designers, engineers, and activists for production in every area of the country is much more valuable than underground resources: gold, oil, diamonds and the like. These are the things which can develop a country.
In the present time, there are some countries which provide all or most of the diamonds in the world, but they live in misery and poverty. Why is that? It is because they do not have enough manpower; they do not have active and intelligent manpower. Manpower is the greatest source of wealth for every country. And you are the manpower of our country. You, laborers, entrepreneurs, engineers, designers and activists, from various areas of the labor force, are the manpower [of Iran]. This accounts for the lofty value of manpower; a society of laborers is part of this lofty value and this great wealth.
The effort that our laborers make is an extraordinary effort, one that is higher than the global average in terms of creating value. I have said this many times about the various classes — students and researchers — and studies confirms this. I hold the same beliefs towards laborers. Iranian laborers are among the best in the world. Their artistic hands and insight, and their immense motivation, are greater than the global average. This is while, in the era of suppression, during the Pahlavi reign of cruelty, and before that — during the eternal slumber of the Qajar dynasty — labor, laborers, the society of laborers, production and national affairs used to be ignored. Of course, during the era of the Qajar dynasty, this happened because of foolishness and backwardness, but in the era of the Pahlavi dynasty, this occurred because of treachery.
However, after the Revolution, labor and laborers have become dynamic: they have gained fresh impetus; they have moved forward in terms of quantity and quality. Thus, we witness capabilities and qualities of Iranian laborers that are higher than the global average.
Yesterday, a small exhibition for domestic products was organized—which I could go and visit it. I went there and saw the highlights of the exhibition for several hours. I saw the wonderful products that you have made. The artistic hands of Iranian laborers should really be appreciated. Your hands should all be kissed. Despite all the difficulties that we face, and despite the sanctions that prevent certain ingredients, substances, and advanced machinery from entering our country — the arrogant front in this world create all sorts of problems for Iranians — when we see these valuable and quality products, we are impressed with their excellence.
Everything was available at the exhibition. Yesterday, tens of companies presented their products — which have been crafted by you — for us. Those products ranged from clothes, shoes, textile items, various tools, chinaware and crystals to medication, cosmetics, utensils, electronic devices, refrigerators and stationery. There was just about everything, and they showed all that was available to us. This event lasted for several hours. All of the items were outstanding and excellent. One must really bow, out of respect, for the domestic workforce. That is while, when I speak about supporting Iranian products, some people either do not believe it or they do not confirm and act on it. Well, supporting Iranian products means supporting laborers, labor, and production. This support is comprehensive. All the people should show their support, including the administration and the people of Iran.
The gentlemen at the exhibition pointed to certain problems which are related to both entrepreneurs and laborers: the problem of insurance, lack of resources, lack of capital, tax obstacles and problems related to banks, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and various other places. These problems should be eliminated. They should be eliminated with firm determination and comprehensive action. When these problems are eliminated, when Iranian products are supported, and when the value of Iranian laborers is appreciated, then we will not see one factory worker say, "I am working within one-third of my capacity."
Yesterday, some people were informing me that despite our resources and capabilities, we are working with only one third or half of our capacity. Well, why? Where are the other two-thirds of laborers? This will lead to extensive unemployment inside the country. When we speak about supporting Iranian products, this means creating labor and employment. This means that we should not have one unemployed laborer and our educated youth should not only seek office jobs. They should know that they can work in various other areas in line with their dignity and position. If Iranian products are supported, this can happen.
Why do some people insist on putting their money in the pockets of foreign companies? What is this bad habit to use foreign products? Sometimes, we do not have the Iranian counterpart of a specific product; well, there is no argument about this. There are some products which cannot be manufactured in the country because it is not economical to produce them. Very well, we do not have the counterparts inside the country. However, when the Iranian counterparts are produced in the country, and when they are equal or even better than the foreign counterparts, why should some people insist on using the foreign counterparts and brands? What kind of poor habit is this? What causes this ignorance that some people are suffering from?
We should consume (buy) Iranian products. We should make a choice to do so (when deciding between foreign and Iranian products). Big organizations — including the administration and others — and everyone else should make the decision to support Iranian products. Now, we do not have any prejudice against others; we do not want to express enmity: we only want to encourage our own children, youth, and laborers to work. We want to engage them in employment; we want to save them from the detriments of unemployment. Unemployment is harmful in different ways; it leads to social defects, insecurity, immoral behavior and all other types of harm. We want better for our people, and the way to do so is to support Iranian products. Iranian products and Iranian production should be advocated for and supported. And this is the best way to confront the enemy.
My dear people, notice that our enemies have understood that they will not accomplish a single thing in a difficult military war. A few years ago, another U.S. president — who was as bad-tempered, nonsensical, and foolish as this one — made certain statements against us [Iran]. That same year, I said in a speech that the time of hit and run is over. If you strike, you will receive a strike back. They know this. They [the U.S.] know that if they engage in a military confrontation against us, they, themselves, will fail. Of course, they will manage to deliver some light blows against us, but they will be harming themselves several times more than they harm us: they have understood this. The solution that they have found is to wage economic, cultural, and other such wars against us. If we exclude the cultural war, what is important to our enemies is waging an economic war.
America’s war chamber against us is comprised of the US Department of the Treasury, which is the same as the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance. That department constitutes the war chamber against us. Well, what is the way to confront this economic war [waged against Iran]? The way [to overcome] is to tend to our domestic economy. When our economy is dependent, problems arise. Of course, I do not believe that our economic relations with the world should or could be cut off. It is obvious that this cannot be done. Today, the entire world is connected and linked with other parts of the earth, but reliance on areas outside our borders is completely erroneous. We should not be reliant upon them [other countries].
Our officials can go and interact with the world expressing their intelligence, acumen, correct policies, proper follow-up and seriousness. The world is huge, and it is not only comprised of the U.S. and a few European countries. The world is vast. They can go and establish relations as much as they see fit, but they should not pin their hopes on any foreign force. On the contrary, they should pin their hopes on domestic elements. They should pin their hopes on this great value: domestic manpower.
When the people see that we, officials, insist on resolving the problems inside the country and on utilizing domestic capacities, they will endure the conditions, and they will help us, even if they face certain difficulties. The honorable officials of the country should pay attention to the fact that foreigners should not be relied upon.
A method of the US is to confront the freedom-seeking and independent system of the Islamic Republic by pursuing this economic war. They are opposed to the Islamic Republic's pursuance of freedom and its independence. They [U.S.A.] say that we should be under their flag and under their umbrella; they say that we should obey their orders and we should formulate our policies on the basis of their demands. They say that we should do things their way because they have more weapons, more power, and more money: this is what they want. So, one of their methods is to wage an economic war [against Iran] and another is, this is for your information, provoking some ridiculous —what should we call them? — and inconsiderate governments within our region to create discord, causing conflicts, battles, and the like.
The Americans will go and sit next to the Saudis so they can provoke them to work against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Well, why do you — who wish to provoke a war — not choose the Zionists who are your servants in one sense and your masters in another sense? Why do you provoke those wretched individuals of the Saudi monarchy? They say that they want to wage wars between Muslims. One of their plans is to encourage, entice, and provoke such countries — I mentioned the Saudis as an example — to confront and wrestle with the Islamic Republic. If they have any wit, they should not be deceived by this enemy. If they wrestle with the Islamic Republic, they will certainly receive a harsh blow from a strong force, and they will be defeated. They [the Americans] do not want to bear the cost of confronting the Islamic Republic; therefore, they make such governments pay the price for their confrontations.
America’s goal is to cause insecurity [wherever they go in West Asia.] Wherever the Americans went in recent years, they caused insecurity in those areas. Wherever they went —including West Asia, our region, and other areas in the world — they caused insecurity: they waged domestic wars, they initiated fratricide, and they brought disaster to innocent people. —This is why America’s footprints should be erased from West Asia. The Americans [war mongers, soldiers, gov. officials, etc.] should get out of West Asia. The one who should retreat from this region is the US, not the Islamic Republic. The Islamic Republic is comprised of Iranians, we are from this region! The Persian Gulf is our home; West Asia is our home: this is our home and you are invaders! You [U.S.] have come from a distant place, and you have malicious goals [in West Asia]. You want to cause sedition; therefore, you should go. You should know that the Americans [U.S.] and others like them will be thrown out of this region.
One of the issues, which I would like to stress, regarding the issue of supporting Iranian products — I have said this many times and the Minister is present here: By Allah's favor, this issue, which should be seriously pursued in the administration and other places, is the issue of preventing unnecessary imports and smuggling—in a serious manner. Many officials and others who are active in the area of Iranian products — entrepreneurs, investors, skilled laborers and others — have complained that foreign products enter the country and compete, in an unfair and unbalanced way, with domestic products; while most of them are low-quality products; in this manner, they prohibit the popularity of domestic products. Smuggling is one of the mishaps which should definitely be prevented. Of course, the statements that the Minister made here, today, and the tasks that have been carried out, or are being carried out, are valuable. By Allah's favor, they should pursue these matters so that they will be accomplished, and we can see the output. One should feel the results of these tasks.
I hope that by Allah's favor, our society of laborers, particularly, our young laborers will become more optimistic about the future on a daily basis.
Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings