Iran: Friday-prayer leader says US wants control of Middle East energy
Publication date: 2003-01-04
The acting Friday-prayer leader of Tehran, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi has criticized US policy towards Iraq and the Middle East. Speaking at Tehran Friday-prayer sermons on 3 January, Yazdi said: "I said here once before that the objective is to take control of the region's energy including oil, gas and other mineral resources. Their objective is to secure the region's market for their own products. Moreover, their objective is to destroy the sovereignty of Islam in this country and in some other states where the people follow Islam. Their objective is to halt the progress of Islam. They are pursuing all these objectives. However, they are pursuing one more objective and that is, to cover up Israel's unprecedented crimes." In another part of his sermons, Yazdi commented on reports on disputes between the Majlis and the Guardian Council. He argued that the Majlis and the Guardian Council were not in dispute, adding: "We have never had any dispute with the Islamic Majlis and we shall not have disputes in future either. I have said in this platform before that our disagreement with the Majlis as to whether a proposed bill is contrary to the constitution and Shari'ah or not cannot be interpreted as a dispute. According to the honourable Majlis Speaker's interpretation, the Majlis and the Guardian Council are two departments of the same establishment. In other words, they complement each other. The Majlis cannot work without the Guardian Council." The following is excerpt from the sermons broadcast by Iranian radio on 3 January In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate... The main secret behind the victory of your Islamic revolution was the solidarity and unity of the people of this country. It hould be said that the secret behind existence and the foiling of enemy plans is again the unity and solidarity of Muslims and the country's people. This is why the enemy is persistently in pursuit of undermining this unity and causing differences amongst us.
You saw that there was not a time when the late Imam [Khomeyni] did not advise us, the officials and people to maintain unity and solidarity. In most of his speeches, he advised us to remain in solidarity.
Ayatollah Khamene'i, the supreme leader, has given us advice in this regard many times, especially during a recent meeting he had with a number of the clerical members of the Islamic Consultative Assembly. My interpretation is that the leader is not talking solely about those specific gentlemen, but about the Majlis as a whole.
Naturally, the question is raised about the status of the Majlis as the venue of debate and discussion in favour or against various subjects. It is quite natural for Majlis deputies to differ on draft bills and proposals. I must say that it is a privilege in the Islamic state that the people can express their views, reason with one another and debate various subjects. The people's representatives need the opportunity and a platform to be able to express their views properly.
When the esteemed leader, His Eminence Ayatollah [Ali] Khamene'i, calls on some of the Majlis deputies to observe unity, he does not mean that they should form a faction to challenge other factions. He means all the Majlis deputies should stick together and serve the country's lofty interests. He means the Majlis deputies should work together to tackle the problem of unemployment, poverty and many other problems that the cabinet and the Majlis deputies are more aware of than others. They are dealing with these problems in the midst of society and know about them. The leader recommended that the deputies should tackle these problems.
But what about the principle of debating various issues in the parliament? The late Imam [Khomeyni], may God be satisfied with his deeds, and the esteemed leader [Khamene'i] have said that the Majlis is an open platform for debating issues. The Islamic Republic is proud of this fact that such a platform is placed at the disposal of the people's representatives. However, any debate must resemble the discussions among religious students in seminaries...
The recommendation for unity is an Islamic and divine recommendation. Unity is the main secret behind our past successes. The enemy always pursues the objective of creating division among us. In particular, the enemy targets our senior authorities and the heads of the three branches of the state in particular. Any division among the senior authorities will be exploited by the enemy immediately. The enemy will exaggerate the issue by saying, for instance, that the reformists are opposing the conservatives who monopolize power. Or it says that the reformists are retreating. He may also say that the conservatives are retreating. Afterwards, the Persian service of a foreign radio tries to exploit such issues.
Some of you listen to foreign radio broadcasts from time to time. Occasionally, I listen to such radios too. When I hear a summary of their analyses of various developments, I can see how adamant they are about exaggerating our problems. On occasion these radio stations add some false reports in between their analyses so as to pretend that there is division in Iran. They say that two systems of government exist in Iran and one of them no longer supports Islamic rule. How presumptuous, shameless, unfair and ignorant the analysts of these foreign radio stations are. I do not know how to interpret their analysis.
Naturally, this has been insinuated by the enemy, and sometimes, some individuals inside the country fall for that insinuation and think that yes, there are people in the country who do not want Islam. It is possible that this system could have some faults and weaknesses, but it does not mean that the people do not want Islam... Our people staged an uprising because they wanted Islamic rule. Our people staged an uprising to ensure that Islam safeguards the system and, in fact, manages society. And they tolerated all sorts of problems. To this day, as you have seen, whenever there is an opportunity, we can see that almost all of our people enter the arena. Naturally, every time there could be a handful of individuals who do not want Islam, like in the era of the Prophet, the Lord of the Faithful [the first Shi'i Imam Ali], and even when the 12th Imam Mahdi appears on the day when Islam will take over the entire world, there will still be people who will be hostile to the Imam and perpetrate offences. But, this does not mean that we should say society and the people. For this reason, I strongly advise officials and statesmen to resolve problems among themselves.
And now, I know you would perhaps like me to speak a little on the meeting between the honourable members of the Majlis Presidium and the Guardian Council. Of course, they were reported in the newspapers... You have probably read the reports yourselves, but perhaps I should elaborate a little. The honourable Majlis Speaker had wanted joint meetings [between the Majlis and the Guardian Council] so that the two sides could hold discussions and in that way resolve some issues between them or lessen the number of bills sent to the Expediency Council. This is a very logical and correct objective... In any case, finally such a session was held, and the formal discussions lasted nearly one and a half hours, as reported by some newspapers.
Firstly, it was the formalities, where the honourable Majlis Speaker declared the aim of the joint session... Some newspapers gave it the big headline of a reconciliation session, and I don't know what their intention was. Every newspaper gave it a title according to its own tendency. This is, as they say, a journalistic issue.
After the remarks made by the honourable Majlis Speaker, the honourable [Guardian] Council secretary welcomed everyone and also spoke about the issue which had been raised by the honourable Speaker Mr Karrubi. Then the second Majlis deputy Speaker spoke, very eloquently and clearly, and, finally, he summed up his account by saying that the differences between the Majlis and the Guardian Council were of two kinds. One regards an understanding of issues, and that, naturally, such differences could be resolved through expert analysis - which was, and is, the right thing to say. And the other concerns the rulings. But always in disputes if the issue has been understood, then the ruling is not so important, as it can then be determined easily...
The articles of the constitution are the main aspects of our work. We cannot do anything without the constitution. The Majlis has a free hand, but we do not. Majlis thinks about expediencies, and can decide what is or is not expedient for the country. Yes, that is the natural right of the Majlis. But we do not have the right to think about expediencies. That is nothing to do with us. The Guardian Council does not have the right to decide what is in the interest of the country. The Guardian Council has to decide whether or not a bill is consistent with the articles of the constitution and the Shari'a. So, it returns it to the Majlis, where it is debated. A Guardian Council representatives also goes to the Majlis and they come to some kind of an agreement... And I will repeat what I have said on many occasions from this very sacred platform; the Guardian Council has never been, and will never be, involved in political deeds. It is involved in legal work. That is its only duty.
It is indeed very bad to say that after 22 years, one does not know the Islamic system. Everyone knows what an Islamic system is... When we arrive at a deadlock, and the Majlis considers something to be important and the Guardian Council says it is against the Shari'a - and I see that as being good for the country. Then the way is very clear. What the Majlis deems very important is referred to the Expediency Council...
I must not keep you any longer as time is short. I only would like to say that I agree with the right of the Islamic Majlis to legislate and pass laws. No other authority has the same right. However, the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council was set up at the time of our late Imam [Ayatollah Khomeyni]. This council debates and approves its own relevant issues. The Imam used to say that such approved issues must be regarded as laws. He did not mean that the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council was a legislative organ. No, it is not. But, its ratified bills are valid as approved laws. In accordance with the instructions of the late Imam and the esteemed leader, one must not overrule the approved issues of this council...
We have never had any dispute with the Islamic Majlis and we shall not have disputes in future either. I have said in this platform before that our disagreement with the Majlis as to whether a proposed bill is contrary to the constitution and Shari'ah or not cannot be interpreted as a dispute. According to the honourable Majlis Speaker's interpretation, the Majlis and the Guardian Council are two departments of the same establishment. In other words, they complement each other. The Majlis cannot work without the Guardian Council. Let me leave this topic as well because it took longer than I expected. Please accept my sincere apologies for taking up too much of your time.
Every day, you hear disconcerting and harsh news on the Israeli crimes. Truly I do not know what America's objectives are. I do not understand Mr Bush's war-mongering policies. In fact, the entire world has expressed views against his attitude. There have been demonstrations even inside America against these war-mongering policies. You have heard this on the news and the people with appropriate means [satellite dishes] have managed to watch the rallies. At any rate, you see that the world public opinion is drawn to the Iraqi problem.
I said here once before that the objective is to take control of the region's energy including oil, gas and other mineral resources. Their objective is to secure the region's market for their own products. Moreover, their objective is to destroy the sovereignty of Islam in this country and in some other states where the people follow Islam. Their objective is to halt the progress of Islam. They are pursuing all these objectives. However, they are pursuing one more objective and that is, to cover up Israel's unprecedented crimes.
They attack [refugee] camps. [Chants of death to America]. You know very well what a camp is. It is a place where refuges are living under extraordinary circumstances because they have been deprived of their homes. Is attacking a camp and beating, killing and torturing women, children, men and the minors and assassinating and kidnapping their elders and destroying their homes a humane act?
It must be said that both Mr Bush and Mr Sharon are the worst criminals of the world and history. [chants of indistinct slogans]
Under such circumstances, talking about human rights is ridiculous. These Western countries talk about the condition of women, religious minorities, the Baha'i religion and other religions in Iran.
But one does not want to talk about these issues from this sacred venue. And anyway, there is no more time...
©Copyright 2003, BBC (UK)