Khamenei and Raisi Speeches on Nowruz

On March 20, 2024, Iran’s leaders marked Nowruz, the Persian New Year and the first day of spring, with candid yet optimistic messages on the economy. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised Iran’s resilience in the face of U.S. and European sanctions but also acknowledged that the struggling economy was the “country’s main weakness.” In a televised address, he called for a boost in domestic production of goods to improve economic conditions. If production increases, “many of the country’s key economic issues, such as inflation, employment, and the value of our national currency, will be solved,” he said.

Khamenei also expressed frustration that efforts to increase trade and foreign investment had not borne more fruit. “Agreements with other countries should be turned into national executive contracts in order for them to give clear, tangible results.”

Khamenei, however, warned that Iran’s enemies were using the media to present a distorted view of the economy. “They want you to lose hope, and they want to prevent you from hearing about some of the country’s progress and advancements.”

Supreme Leader Khamenei

President Ebrahim Raisi highlighted his administration’s efforts to create jobs and curb inflation. He boasted that inflation had fallen to 35 percent, down from 55 percent one year ago. Raisi, however, acknowledged that Iranians, especially the poor, were still struggling to deal with high prices.

On foreign affairs, Khamenei pledged support for any group that would stand up to Israel and the U.S. presence in the Middle East. He said that Israel had “become stuck in a quagmire” by entering Gaza. Khamenei lauded the Axis of Resistance – a network of militias in across the Middle East armed, trained and funded by Iran – for trying to expel U.S. forces from the region. The Axis has “shown that not only is the U.S. unable to dominate the region, they cannot even maintain a presence there.”

But Khamenei pushed back on the notion that Tehran directly controls the militias. “Wherever it is in the region, be it in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, or Lebanon, any measure that is taken by the fighting and brave resistance forces, the Americans will attribute it to Iran,” Khamenei said. “In truth, it is the resistance groups themselves who make their decisions and take action.” The following are excerpts from the leaders’ speeches organized by topic.  


Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

On the economy

In a televised address: “The problems that people encountered with regard to the economy and their livelihood were some of the bitter events that we witnessed.”

“As for the slogan that I announced in [Iranian year] 1402 AHS, which was “Inflation control and growth in production,” good measures have been taken. Accomplishments have been made regarding both sections of the slogan. And progress has been made, but not to the extent that was desired.

“The country’s main weakness is in the field of economics. We must be active in this field. After studying the opinions of the experts on this subject, I have come to this conclusion that the key to solving the country’s economic problems lies in production – domestic production, national production. This is why we have focused so much on production over the past few years. If growth in production and advancements in domestic production are pursued in a suitable manner, many of the country’s key economic issues, such as inflation, employment, and the value of our national currency, will be solved in a desirable manner.

“Therefore, production is an important issue and that is why I am once again focusing on this matter this year. I expect, I am anticipating, God willing, that we will witness a surge in production. In addition to this, I truly believe that this surge will not take place without the presence and participation of the people.

“If we plan to increase our production rapidly, we need to get the people actively involved in the economy. We must pave the way for the people to get involved in production in a tangible manner and remove the obstacles that stand in the way to their participation. There are great capacities in the public sector, which I will explain, God willing. These capacities must become active. They should be used for the benefit of the country and the people. It is for this reason that the slogan that I have chosen for this year is, ‘Surge in production through people’s participation.’”

In a speech at the Imam Khomeini Hussainiyah: “With the help of God, they [the United States and its allies] have failed to achieve this goal [of destabilizing the economy] so far. And also after this, they won’t be able to achieve this due to the efforts, seriousness, and determination of our officials and people.”

“They [Iran’s enemies] want you to lose hope, and they want to prevent you from hearing about some of the country’s progress and advancements. However, your work and struggles to bring hope and prosperity should surpass the enemy's attempts to bring a loss of hope.”

“Agreements with other countries should be turned into national executive contracts in order for them to give clear, tangible results.”


On foreign policy and the Gaza war

In a speech at the Imam Khomeini Hussainiyah: “These events [related to the war in Gaza] have shown that the presence of the Resistance Front in this region is one of the most vital issues. And this front, which was born from awakened consciences in order to confront the 70 years of oppression and occupation imposed by the Zionist criminals, must continue to be strengthened day by day.”

“The strength of the Resistance caused their calculations to go wrong. It has shown that not only is the U.S. unable to dominate the region, they cannot even maintain a presence there. They have no option but to leave the region.”

“It has become clear that the Zionist regime is suffering a crisis, not only in terms of protecting itself, but also in terms of coming out of the crisis. Because by entering the war in Gaza, it has become stuck in a quagmire. Regardless of whether it comes out of Gaza or not, it will have failed.”

“Wherever it is in the region, be it in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, or Lebanon, any measure that is taken by the fighting and brave Resistance forces, the Americans will attribute it to Iran. This shows that the U.S. doesn’t understand the people of the region and the brave, determined youth. This miscalculation will definitely bring the U.S. to its knees.”

“In truth, it is the Resistance groups themselves who make their decisions and take action. And they are in the right.”

“We are on the side and the supporter of whoever becomes involved in this great, human, Islamic jihad of principles. And with the grace of God, we will achieve our objectives.”


President Ebrahim Raisi

On Iran’s enemies and the war in Gaza

In a televised address to the nation: “Of course, last year, we had bitter events that made us all sad. One of them was the terrorist incident in Kerman. Dozens of our faithful fellow Iranians were martyred in this terrorist incident. The enemy wanted to take revenge from the people of Iran for their regional failure and the failure of their plans. Iran's heart was wounded, but Iran remained strong.

“In the case of Gaza, we saw another manifestation of standing up to the enemy. The oppressors of the world gathered all their forces to destroy the two million free people of Gaza. From the newest and most up-to-date anti-rocket bombs to billions of dollars, they provided the Zionists with money, but they could not.

“The year 1402 was also a year of transition from differences and social tensions. The enemies of this nation had troubled dreams for our national unity and cohesion. They thought that because of the sedition imposed in 1401, they were able to harm our national unity and integrity, but the people of Iran showed that they are men of the days of accidents. The meaningful presence of people in different fields disappointed them.”

“One of the arenas of people’s attendance was the elections of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Parliament) and the Assembly of Leadership Experts. The enemy's plan to boycott the elections failed with the presence of the people in the scene. Now it is the turn of the people's elected representatives to fulfil their commitments by maintaining unity and cohesion, and we also hope that with the new parliament's empathy, cooperation, and companionship, we will see more success in creating changes in the country's administrative system and unravelling the knots in people's lives.

“The old prescription of the ill-wishers is to create division – both creating division among the people and among the officials. We should all fight back the conspiracies together with each other.”


On the economy

In a televised address to the nation: “The overall economic growth in 1402 will be at least six percent, according to the estimate of the Statistics Center. For three consecutive years now, the country has experienced growth rates above four percent, while the average economic growth in the previous years was less than one percent.

“Next to the wing of production growth, the other wing of the slogan of the year was to curb inflation. You remember that from the beginning of this government and at different times, some people claimed that inflation will reach triple digits! But today, not only those pessimistic predictions did not come true, on the contrary, inflation was on a downward path, point by point inflation decreased from around 55 percent at the beginning of this year to 35 percent in the last month, and total inflation will be something about 40 percent. That is, in one year, point-to-point inflation has decreased by 20 percentage points.

“These show that we, together with people and professional of various economic sectors, have chosen the principled and correct path for sustainable reduction of inflation and sustainable economic growth.

“Of course, our intelligent people are aware that this did not mean that the price of goods did not increase. Inflation is still high and people, especially the poor, are under pressure to live.

“But next to the issue of production growth and inflation control, the employment situation improved last year as well.

“The unemployment rate in the fall of 1402 had a record low … and the unemployment rate for the whole year will be lower from 1401. Part of the employment created was in the form of the movement to revive the closed and semi-closed manufacturing enterprises across the country, whose number today has exceeded 7,000 production units.

“Not only the investment and completion of projects did not stop in these 30 months, but Iran became a workshop of construction, progress and hope.

“Naturally, instead of investments that will be put into operation in a few years, the government could spend the capital on its daily activities. As in the past, we had no shortage of these bitter and developmental experiences for the country.”

“Three years ago, during the elections, I promised that we will not leave the negotiation table [for restoring the 2015 nuclear deal], but we will not make the progress of the country dependent on negotiation and the permission and smiles of others. You noticed that several billion-dollar contracts were signed in the oil and gas sector in recent days. At the same time, the volume of foreign investment, apart from domestic investment, in this government was about $11 billion. Definitive investment, not just signing, understanding or on paper, means definite and valid investment.

“Last year was the flourishing year of Iran's presence in important international organizations and groups. Membership in BRICS after Iran's membership in Shanghai was another important achievement in the field of foreign policy. The country's trade with its neighbors increased. Cooperation with the very important region of Latin America and Africa, which unfortunately had been neglected for nearly a decade, was seriously activated.”


On water shortages

In a televised address to the nation: “I went to Khuzestan in 1400, two days after the endorsement ceremony. The most important issue and concern of the people in Ahwaz and some cities of Khuzestan was the water problem. And this was not in Khuzestan; In Sistan and Baluchistan, in Kerman, Bushehr, even in Kurdistan, Hamadan, the issue of people was the issue of water.

“The ill-wishers of Iran were advertising that in the future, important and sensitive parts of the country will not be habitable due to lack of water.

“Today you can see how many important water projects have been completed in the country in these 30 months. During almost every provincial trip, several important water supply projects are put into operation. Among these measures, there are three water transfer projects from the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the eastern provinces and the central plateau of the country.

“The plan of jihad of supplying water to villages has reached 5,000 villages today and water supply will be done to another 5,000 villages by the end of the government.”


On housing projects

In a televised address to the nation: “The housing issue had become a knot at the beginning of this government. There was both "construction delay" and "uncertainty". After several governments, 240,000 Mehr housing units had not yet been delivered and it was a commitment for the government.

“Today, more than two million and 400 thousand houses are being built in the country. Half of the Mehr housings have been handed over to the people, and the other half, God willing, is in the process of being handed over to our dear people soon. Significant measures have been taken in electricity production, gas production, as well as in the issue of housing.”

“But in the new year, accelerating the completion of half-finished projects is one of the main approaches of the government. We have to direct the funds towards production and infrastructure works and at the same time, make up for the backwardness of the previous decade.”