Ayatollah Khamenei designated the new Iranian calendar year of 1402 as the year of “Controlling the Inflation and Growth of Production”.
The following is the full text of the Leader’s New Year message:
In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
O’ Changer of hearts and sights,
O’ Director of nights and days,
O’ Transformer of situations and circumstances,
Transform our circumstances to the best of circumstances
I would like to congratulate each and every member of the Iranian nation on the arrival of Nowruz, especially the respected families of the martyrs, the wounded and the veterans of the war and those who are serving the people, as well as all other nations who honor Nowruz and place importance on it. May God bless all of you on the occasion of this noble Eid.
This year, the spring of nature coincides with the spring of spirituality – the month of Ramadan. Regarding spring, it is said that one should not cover one’s body from the spring breeze. Similarly, regarding the spiritual spring of Ramadan, we should also adhere to this sentence [by the Prophet (pbuh)]: “Expose yourself to them” – “Indeed, during your life [you encounter] fragrant breezes, expose yourself to them” [Awali al-Laali, Vol. 4].
The breeze of spirituality that exists in the holy month of Ramadan embraces everyone and we must prepare ourselves for it. We should expose our hearts to this spiritual, divine, and sweet-scented breeze.
In this speech and at this hour, I will briefly look at the year 1401 SH, and I will also take a quick look at the year that will begin from now, the year 1402 SH. The year 1401, was a year full of various events – economic events, political events, social events – some were sweet, some bitter, like all the years of a person’s life, and overall, like the years that the Iranian nation has experienced, especially after the Islamic Revolution.
In my opinion, in 1401, the most important issue for the nation was the issue of the country’s economy, which is directly related to people’s livelihoods. On the matter of the economy, there were bitter moments but also sweet ones. There was bitterness in some sectors which I will mention, and there were also sweet moments in some cases concerning the economy. These matters should be seen together, alongside each other, and then an overall evaluation can be made about them.
The bitterness was mainly because of inflation and high prices, which is truly upsetting, especially the increase in the price of food and the basic necessities of life. When there is a significant increase in food prices and the prices of basic necessities, the economically weaker sectors of society are the ones who are impacted the most, because food items and the main, essential living supplies have the largest share in their household basket. As a result, the pressure is mainly on them, and this of course, was one of the bitter occurrences. In my opinion, regarding the major economic issues of the country, this issue was a more fundamental, significant matter that was bitter.
Of course, good work has also been done in the economic field and the achievements that affect the economy, which I will talk about. These achievements should be pursued so they can affect and be linked to people’s lives and their livelihoods. There was support for production. Based on the information I have received, production was supported in the country in the year 1401. Thousands of factories that had been shut down or were semi-operational started operating again.
There was an upsurge in knowledge-based companies. Of course, it was not as much as what I had asked for in the previous year, but there was still a significant increase in the numbers of these companies. There was also an increase in the product value of these companies.
The issue of employment improved. That is to say, unemployment decreased by a percentage – even though it was a small percentage – and employment increased a bit, which is something that should be valued. The exhibition that was organized by governmental and non-governmental manufacturers, as well as the meeting in the [Imam Khomeini] Hussainiyah, where the country’s major manufacturers gathered and spoke, was truly a pleasing event.
I pass positive judgement on the products that the country’s manufacturers have produced, they have performed well. There has been growth in several economic indicators. We have had a good growth index in the insurance industry and we have performed well in the field of construction, water, gas, roads and environmental sectors. Of course, as I mentioned before, and I say this with emphasis now, these tasks must be linked to people’s lives, they must create relief in people’s lives.
When will it happen? When will this situation occur in such a manner? When it continues, when detailed plans have been made about it and God willing, these constructive activities must continue this year, in the year 1402, so that they can create prosperity in people’s lives and bring food to their tables, especially among the weaker social classes.
Of course, we need to also keep in mind that we are not the only ones faced with economic problems. Many countries around the world today, or perhaps one can say all countries have certain economic problems. Even the world’s wealthy countries [are not immune from this]. Countries that have strong, advanced economies, are truly plagued by a large number of problems and dilemmas. Some of them are even worse off than us in this sense. Strong economies are faced with bank failures, which you heard about recently. Of course, some of them were reported, and others were not, but you will hear about them soon. In some countries there are bank bankruptcies and massive, trillions of dollars of debts. There are problems over there and there are problems here as well.
They are trying to overcome it and we should do the same. We need to make an effort. The officials must work hard. Government officials should do everything they can, in addition to the endeavors that are being made by those working in the economic, political and cultural fields, to make the year 1402, a sweet and pleasant year for the Iranian nation. In other words, we all have a duty to God willing, make this a year full of sweet moments for the Iranian people. The bitterness should be reduced and the sweetness increased and we should God willing, add to our achievements.
Now, as for the year 1402. I believe that in 1402, the economy will continue to be the main issue that we should focus on. This is not to say that we do not have other problems. We have various other problems too, such as in the cultural and political fields. However, the main and central issue this year is the issue of the economy. So, if God willing, we are able to reduce the economic problems and if God willing, our officials make an effort, practice diligence and work hard on important tasks in this field, many of the country’s other problems will also be solved.
[This applies to] the administration, the Islamic Parliament, those active in the economic field, and young, motivated public groups, some of which I know about and am truly fond of. I am aware that they are accomplishing great tasks in these economic fields. All of these groups should focus their attention on helping to solve the country’s problems and the problems that people are faced with. Now, sometimes, solving these problems is achieved through basic economic activities, such as production. So, production is a fundamental task in the economy. [Sometimes it is achieved with] humanitarian and Islamic activities, such as public aid and assistance and public cooperation with the more disadvantaged sections of society.
So, I spoke about production and I place importance on it, but investment is also important alongside production. I would like to draw the attention of both the respected government officials and the private sector to this matter. In the last decade, we fell behind greatly in terms of investment. The issue of investment is one of the important gaps in our country. Investment needs to take place. This too is an important task.
Considering all these different aspects, the things that are important, including both inflation and domestic production – inflation is the main problem and domestic production is definitely one of the keys to saving the country from economic problems. So, considering these matters, I would like to announce that this year’s slogan is: “Inflation control, growth in production.” This is the slogan for this year.
The country’s officials should focus all their attention on these two matters. The country’s officials are the ones who primarily need to focus on these, and secondly, as I mentioned before, those active in the economic field and members of the public who are able to do something, and also those working in cultural fields, such as the radio and television networks, need to create cultural awareness in these areas.
All of these groups need to pay attention to these two important issues: They need to firstly focus on controlling inflation. They need to truly curb and reduce inflation as much as possible and they need to also focus on boosting production. Therefore, [the slogan of the year] is “Inflation control and growth in production.”
I pray that Almighty God will grant everyone success. I offer my greetings, devotion and sincerity to the spirit of the existent universe, to the vestige of God remaining on earth – may our souls be sacrificed for his sake.
I ask Almighty God to elevate the status of our late magnanimous Imam and the pure souls of our dear martyrs to the highest levels.
And I pray that Almighty God will grant the Iranian nation prosperity, happiness, and rejuvenation.
There are other things that, God willing, I will address in the [New Year’s Day] speech.
May God’s greetings, mercy and blessings be upon you.