4 years will go fast, don’t waste time of Iranian people, Khamenei tells new cabinet at first formal meeting

4 years will go fast, don’t waste time of Iranian people, Khamenei tells new cabinet at first formal meeting

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called on the incoming government not to waste time and deliver on a promise to uphold public trust, both with their work and their lifestyles.

Khamenei, the powerful supreme leader of Iran who has much say in its policies, had his first formal meeting with the incoming cabinet of President Ebrahim Raisi on Saturday. Most of the ministers have already been approved by the country’s parliament.

The 82-year-old Iranian leader said he held similar events with many of Raisi’s predecessors and said the president and his ministers should not drag their feet after taking their new offices.

“These four years will end soon, so use every hour, every opportunity. Do not let time be wasted when it belongs to the people and to Islam,” he said, as cited by the Iranian media.

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Raisi, a conservative former judge, was formally appointed president of Iran by Khamenei earlier this month. He took the helm of a nation ravaged by US-imposed economic sanctions and the Covid-19 epidemic. The hardships fuel public discontent and occasionally lead to disturbances, which Tehran says get fanned up by Iran’s foreign enemies. Raisi pledged to build up public trust and reconnect the people of Iran with their government.

Khamenei complemented the president's surprise visit on Friday to the western Khuzestan province, which recently suffered from freshwater shortages and mass protests. He also said state officials should be aware of public perceptions and practice “modesty in manners and character and avoid aristocratic styles and looking down at people from a high position.”

He added there was much hard work to do for the Raisi government and that its decisions should first and foremost be just, if the Iranian people are to accept them.

Speaking about foreign policy, Khamenei suggested the government boost international trade, including with its turbulent neighbor Afghanistan. He called it a “brotherly nation” and offered his condolences over the terrorist attack outside Kabul airport on Thursday.

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He blamed the US for the state of Afghanistan, and reiterated his mistrust of Washington, which he said should be maintained regardless of who holds the Oval Office.

“The current US administration does not differ from the previous administration,” he stressed. “There is a predatory wolf behind the scenes of US foreign policy that sometimes turns into a cunning fox. The situation in Afghanistan today is an example of US policy.”

The US is pulling its military presence from Afghanistan, as was agreed with the Taliban under the Trump administration. The pull-out led to a collapse of the government in Kabul, which Washington and its allies had propped up for two decades. The Thursday bombing, which was claimed by the Afghan branch of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), targeted Afghans trying to get out of the country with Western troops, as well as the Taliban and NATO troops guarding the airport.

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