"To the Youth in Europe and North America" is an online open letter written on 21 January 2015 by Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.According to Al-Monitor, it may be the first time that young people in the West have been directly addressed by a senior Islamic cleric about his religion.
Prompted by the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris on 7 January 2015 by militants who said that they had acted in the name of Islam,and writing about the current image of Islam in the West, Khamenei released the letter on his official website. It was also promoted via a Twitter account attributed to him. Khamenei appeals to his audience to have an open mind and not to judge Islam based on the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and implores Western youth to learn about Islam from its original sources, rather than have it "introduced to [them] by prejudices" and Islamophobia. In his letter he writes that he does not insist that young people accept his or any particular reading of Islam, but that he wants young people not to "allow this dynamic and effective reality in today's world to be introduced to [them] through resentments and prejudices".
A second open letter was written by Khamenei on 29 November 2015, following the November 2015 Paris attacks.
Khamenei says that his letter, written in English,is addressed to young people who may still have open minds, not to Western leaders who, he writes, intentionally distort the truth. "I am addressing you, [the youth], not because I overlook your parents", but because "the future of your nations and countries will be in your hands; and also I find that the sense of quest for truth is more vigorous and attentive in your hearts". He further writes: "I don't insist that you accept my reading or any other reading of Islam. What I want to say is: Don't allow this dynamic and effective reality in today's world to be introduced to you through resentments and prejudices."
He states his admiration for Western historians who, in his words, are "deeply ashamed of the bloodsheds wrought in the name of religion between the Catholics and Protestants or in the name of nationality and ethnicity during the First and Second World Wars".The question Khamenei asks here is why Western public awareness is focused on the distant past, "but not [on] current problems". He asks, "Why is it that attempts are made to prevent public awareness regarding an important issue such as the treatment of Islamic culture and thought?"
This question leads him to the main issue that he wishes to communicate to young people: "Hence, my first request is: Study and research the incentives behind this widespread tarnishing of the image of Islam."As part of this, he advises young people to read the Quran for themselves. "Have you studied the teachings of the Prophet of Islam and his humane, ethical doctrines? Have you ever received the message of Islam from any sources other than the media?", he asks.
Khamenei claims that Western countries are responsible for the creation of the so-called Islamic State, a violent militant group. He also often accuses the Western media of trying to stir up sectarian conflict between Shiites and Sunnis.According to CNN, while "chants of 'Death to America' have been a familiar refrain at Friday prayers and parliamentary sessions since the Islamic republic's founding in 1979," the leader strikes a more conciliatory tone in the letter, writing: "Don't allow them [western countries] to hypocritically introduce their own recruited terrorists as representatives of Islam". That is part of a persisting trend that, he said, started after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. "This is a preplanned challenge between Islam and you," he wrote, a twenty-year-long effort "to place this great religion in the seat of a horrifying enemy".
"Why does the power structure in the world want Islamic thought to be marginalized and remain latent?" he asks the youth. "What concepts and values in Islam disturb the programs of the super powers and what interests are safeguarded in the shadow of distorting the image of Islam?"
Radio Zamaneh stated that 80 "cultural representatives and advisers have been mobilized by Iran’s Islamic Culture and Relations Organization to travel to European and North American countries to promote a message from Iran’s Supreme Leader among the youth there".The Islamic Culture and Relations Organization also translated the letter into 21 languages. Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Foreign Minister of Iran, delivered a copy of the letter to UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon. Al-Mustafa International University created a website with the letter and translation in various languages along with feedback and reactions from youth in different countries. Holly Dagres of Al-Monitor, commenting on the promotion of the letter by Khamenei's supporters on Instagram, wrote:
Ayatollah Khamenei’s followers in the virtual and literal sense — through #Letter4u — actively spammed Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and even Tumblr with links and short messages that pose questions such as: "Searching for the truth? Then #Letter4u is what you might want to read first," or "Do you know the leader of iran have written a letter for you??" — all with the aim to garner the attention of people in the West.
On 16 March 2015, the University of Tehran and Press TV held a conference in Tehran on Khamenei's letter called "Seeking the Truth.
The letter is translated into Russian and distributed among people in the Moscow book fair.
Derek R. Ford of The Hampton Institute stated that "The questions raised in Ayatollah Khamenei’s recent letter can help combat the pervasive anti-Islam culture of the West, especially by locating Islamophobia as part of a longer history of “phobia” spreading. When we ask the question, as Khamenei asks us to, as to why it is that the policy of spreading phobia has targeted Islam we immediately begin to see that it has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with politics and economics. In other words, Khamenei’s letter helps us to link anti-Islamism with the agenda of imperialism and capitalism."
Esfandyar Batmanghelidj commented at the Europe-Iran Forum that it is unprecedented for Khamenei to address western youth in an open letter, however the strangest thing is that he speaks against dogma in his letter saying "I don't insist that you accept my reading or any other reading of Islam", while his country, Iran, is not famous for free speech.He released his letter on Twitter, a website which has been blocked in Iran since the presidential election in 2009, when people used the website to raise their protests. It seems Khamenei, himself, is aware of the contradiction, as he writes the letter from the standpoint of a scholar and not a leader. After the Iranian Revolution "cultural battles between reformists and traditionalists" have always been a serious problem in Iran through which Khamenei has gained the experience that intellectuals are better able to solve problems than leaders. It took Iran's leader a great breakthrough to realize that the conflict between Islamic Iran and the west was not fundamental and inevitable, but epistemological and solvable.
Karim Sadjadpour, a senior Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that the letter is revealing of Khamenei's "outsized confidence, dogmatic worldview, and victimization complex".
American conservative pundit Michael L. Brown wrote a response letter to Khamenei. He praised the leader for using modern technology and attempting to bring harmony between civilizations, but also accused him of trying to stoke division between generations in the West. He went on to write "Your [sic] are concerned about Islamophobia writing, "I would like you to ask yourself why the old policy of spreading 'phobia' and hatred has targeted Islam and Muslims with an unprecedented intensity." The answer, respected sir, is that our people and our buildings have been blown up by religious Muslims and our citizens have been beheaded by devout followers of Islam." He then cites violent actions by groups such as the Taliban, Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Hamas as being responsible for Islamophobia.
Journalist Kate Zavadski of New York magazine wrote that "The open letter ends on a note of hope – perhaps foreshadowing the end of decades of "clash of civilizations" scholarship on Islam and the West."
Bruce Laingen, an American diplomat and former chargé d'affaires of the United States Embassy in Iran, responded that "The ayatollah appears to have conveniently forgotten his personal role and that of his entire regime in the treatment of the American hostages in the hostage crisis of 1979–81."
Foreign Policy magazine wrote that "So far, the dozen-something tweets with the hashtag #Letter4U from Khamenei's official account have received several dozen retweets and likes, but none have gone viral".
James S. Robbins commented in The National Interest that in his letter Khamenei "maintained that the view of Islam most young people receive is filtered through hostile governments and negative press reports." He laments that "the White House is making little effort to promote the cause of freedom among Iran's youth."
Jordan Valinsky of Mic commented that "Perhaps his letter should have been addressed to Western media rather than Western youths: American cable news networks are routinely embarrassing themselves with "experts" and lines of guests who reinforce the "us vs. them" division between the West and the entire Muslim world after successive atrocities committed by Islamic militants."
Charles Taliaferro, a professor at St. Olaf College, stated that "The more this message can be spread and interpreted as condemning both the caricature and false portrait of Islam as well as interpreted as a clear condemnation of those who commit cruel, wrongful acts in the name of Islam, the greater the success of Islam among the people of the West.
Natalie Davis of The Algerian commented that while "the Western world still grieves, reeling from the Charlie Hebdo attacks, many may view Khamenei’s response as arrogant and insensitive. His hopefulness and prose seem disingenuous and strange. Nonetheless, with recent shifts in US-Iran relations and the directness of the tone, the audacity of penning this note seems permissible."
Faisal Mekdad, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Syria, noted that Khamenei's letter also helps raise awareness among the Islamic community’s youth, which prevent them from being seduced by terrorist groups.
Elif Koc of Mashable commented that "In a country notorious for its limitations on freedom of speech, Twitter is blocked, but Khamenei's office maintains a Twitter presence. Other Twitter users relayed messages to Khamenei highlighting the limitations of Iran's own policies on free speech using #LETTER4U. One shared a personal anecdote about his father. 'Dear Youth!, My dad spent 5 years in jail for just telling the guy who wrote you a letter he is a dictator #Letter4U.'"
Ali Hosseini Khamenei is a Twelver Shia marja' and the second and current supreme leader of Iran, in office since 1989. Previously he served as the third president of Iran from 1981 to 1989. Khamenei is the longest serving head of state in the Middle East, as well as the second-longest serving Iranian leader of the last century, after Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was an Iranian politician, writer, and one of the founding fathers of the Islamic Republic who was the fourth president of Iran from 1989 to 1997. He was the head of the Assembly of Experts from 2007 until 2011 when he decided not to nominate himself for the post. He was also the chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council.
Grand Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri was an Iranian Shia Islamic theologian, Islamic democracy advocate, writer and human rights activist. He was one of the leaders of the Iranian Revolution and one of the highest-ranking authorities in Shīʿite Islam. He was once the designated successor to the revolution's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, but they had a falling-out in 1989 over government policies that Montazeri claimed infringed on people's freedom and denied them their rights, especially after the 1988 mass execution of political prisoners. Montazeri spent his later years in Qom and remained politically influential in Iran, but was placed in house arrest in 1997 for questioning "the unaccountable rule exercised by the supreme leader", Ali Khamenei, who succeeded Khomeini in his stead. He was known as the most knowledgeable senior Islamic scholar in Iran and a grand marja of Shia Islam. Ayatollah Montazeri was said to be one of Khamenei's teachers.
The Assembly of Experts, also translated as the Assembly of Experts of the Leadership or as the Council of Experts, is the deliberative body empowered to appoint the Supreme Leader of Iran. All directly elected members must first be vetted by the Guardian Council.
Sayyid Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi was an Iranian Twelver Shia cleric and conservative politician who was the Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council from 14 August 2017 until his death on 24 December 2018. He was previously the Chief Justice of Iran from 1999 to 2009.
Death to America is an anti-American political slogan. It is used in Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and Pakistan. It has been used in Iran since the inception of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Ruhollah Khomeini, the first Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, popularized the term. He opposed the chant for radio and television, but not for protests and other occasions.
Sayyid Hadi Khamenei is an Iranian reformist politician, mujtahid and linguist. He is a key member of the reformist Association of Combatant Clerics, and a former deputy of the Majlis of Iran representing a district in Tehran.
Afshin Ellian is an Iranian-Dutch professor of law, philosopher, poet, and critic of political Islam. He is an expert in international public law and philosophy of law.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, born Mahmoud Sabbaghian, is an Iranian principlist and nationalist politician who served as the sixth president of Iran from 2005 to 2013. He is currently a member of the Expediency Discernment Council. He was known for his hardline views and nuclearisation of Iran. He was also the main political leader of the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, a coalition of conservative political groups in the country, and served as mayor of Tehran from 2003 to 2005, reversing many of his predecessor's reforms.
Sayyid Ahmad Khomeini was the younger son of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and father of Hassan Khomeini. He was the "right-hand" of his father before, during and after the Iranian Revolution. He was a link between Ruhollah Khomeini and officials and people. He had several decision-making positions.
Grand Ayatollah Ahmad Azari-Qomi-Bigdeli was an Iranian cleric. Born in 1925 in Qom, after the 1979 Iranian Revolution he served on the Special Clerical Court, and Assembly of Experts, founded the conservative Resalat Newspaper. He was arrested in November 1997 after an open letter by him was published in Britain criticizing Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for allowing torture and "moral corruption" among officials and clerics. Shortly after Khamenei denounced him in a televised speech for allegedly committing "treason against the people, the revolution and the country." His renewed candidacy for the Assembly of Experts was rejected by the Guardian Council the next year and he died in 1999.
The Supreme Leader of Iran, also referred to as Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, but officially called the Supreme Leadership Authority, is the head of state and the highest political and religious authority of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The armed forces, judiciary, state television, and other key government organisations such as Guardian Council and Expediency Discernment Council are subject to the Supreme Leader. According to the constitution, the Supreme Leader delineates the general policies of the Islamic Republic, supervising the legislature, the judiciary, and the executive branches. The current lifetime officeholder, Ali Khamenei, has issued decrees and made the final decisions on the economy, the environment, foreign policy, education, national planning, and other aspects of governance in Iran. Khamenei also makes the final decisions on the amount of transparency in elections, and has dismissed and reinstated presidential cabinet appointees. The Supreme Leader is legally considered "inviolable", with Iranians being routinely punished for questioning or insulting him.
This international reactions to the Charlie Hebdo Shooting contains issued statements in response to the 7 January 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting. The response was largely one of condemnation.
A fatwa by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, against the acquisition, development and use of nuclear weapons dates back to the mid-1990s. The first public announcement is reported to have occurred in October 2003, followed by an official statement at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna in August 2005.
On 29 November 2015, Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, published an open letter addressed to the youth in Western countries. It is the second letter of its kind, the first one having been published in January 2015. Both were distributed via his accounts on various social media, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtag #CommonWorry. The second letter deals with Khamenei's views on the causes of recent terrorism. It was written in response to the November 2015 Paris attacks and other contemporary terrorist actions, such as the Metrojet Flight 9268 crash and the 2015 Beirut bombings. As of December 26, 2015, the letter has been translated to 62 languages in a collaborative effort conducted by The Representative of the Supreme Leader in the University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Al-Mustafa International University graduates, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the IRIB World Service and the countries' respective embassies.
On 7 January 1989, Ruhollah Khomeini, supreme leader of Iran, sent a letter to Mikhail Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the Soviet Union. This letter was Khomeini's only written message to a foreign leader. Khomeini's letter was delivered by the Iranian politicians Abdollah Javadi-Amoli, Mohammad-Javad Larijani, and Marzieh Hadidchi. In the letter, Khomeini declared that communism was dissolving within the Soviet bloc, and invited Gorbachev to consider Islam as an alternative to communist ideology.
On 8 January 2017, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the fourth President of Iran and the country's Chairman of Expediency Discernment Council, died at the age of 82 after suffering a heart attack. He was transferred unconscious to a hospital in Tajrish, north Tehran. Attempts at cardiopulmonary resuscitation for more than an hour trying to revive him were unsuccessful and he died at 19:30 local time (UTC+3:30).
Second Phase of the Revolution or "Second Step of the Revolution" is a statement that was issued by the supreme leader of Iran, Sayyid Ali Khamenei to the country, particularly to the youth, and was published in February 2019, on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the victory of the Iranian Revolution.
This is a bibliography of the works of Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader. Generally, his works can be classified into 4 periods of time:
Correspondence between Barack Obama and Ali Khamenei started with direct and confidential letters sent by US President Barack Obama to Iranian leader Ali Khamenei aimed at persuading him to negotiate. Ali Shamkhani, Representative of the Supreme Leader and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, confirmed that his country had responded to some of Barack Obama's letters to the Iranian leader, which focused mainly on the issue of Iran's nuclear program. This was the first time that Iran had confirmed such correspondence with the President of the United States. Earlier, domestic and foreign media reported on Barack Obama's letters to Khamenei, which in one case were confirmed by Hassan Firouzabadi, Chief-of-Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, as a sign of the US government's realism.