The following questions were answered by Khamenei:
[Question 56]: Is believing in the principle of velayat-e faqih in its meaning and application based on reason or the sharia?
Answer: The velayat-e faqih, which is composed of the government of the just faqih who is learned in religion is an obligatory belief of the sharia which is also supported by reason, and there are rational methods to confirm its truth which are expressed in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
[Question 57]: Are the sharia decisions which the Muslim Custodians made against the Muslim public for their own good mutable and revocable?
Answer: There is a variety of cases in this problem.
[Question 58]: Must the mass media in an Islamic governmental system be under the supervision of the Valiye Faqih or the seminaries or some other institution?
Answer: The administration of the mass media must be under the control and supervision of the Vali and used in the service of Islam and the Muslims and spreading education in divine values as well as the intellectual advancement of Islamic society and used to solve its problems and for the unity of the Muslims and the spread of fraternity and brotherhood among the Muslims and so forth.
[Question 59]: May someone who does not believe in the absolute velayat-e faqih be considered a true Muslim?
Answer: During the Age of Occultation of the Hidden Imam (May our souls be his sacrifice!), a lack of belief in the absolute velayat-e faqih, whether under the influence of independent scholarly reasoning or emulation does not automatically imply apostasy or the abandonment of the faith of Islam.
[Question 60]: Does the Valiye Faqih have such custodianship that upon its basis he could void any religious commandments for any reason, such as expedience?
Answer: After the death of the Noble Prophet (PBUH), there has been no possibility to void the commandments of the faith of Islam. Changing circumstances, emergency, urgent need, or temporary obstacles for the implementation of a commandment are not to be considered voiding it.
[Question 61]: What is our duty towards people who do not believe in the velayat-e faqih except in matters of common government-implemented regulations [hasbiya], since some of their representatives propagate this perspective?
Answer: If someone arrives at the conclusion based on argument and proof that there is no need to believe in the velayat-e faqih in leading Islamic society and administering the social life of the Islamic community as a true pillar of Twelver Shiism in all ages and times, which is rooted in the principle of the Imam, he is excused, but he is not permitted to spread differences and contention among the Muslims.
[Question 62]: Are the commands of the Valiye Faqih obligatory upon all the Muslims, or only his followers? Is someone who follows a different Source of Emulation who does not believe in the absolute velayat-e faqih obliged to follow the Valiye Faqih?
Answer: According to the Shiite school, all Muslims must obey the commands of the Valiye Faqih and submit to his yeah and nay. This decision includes the great faqihs, too, not to mention their followers. In our opinion, submitting to the velayat-e faqih is indistinguishable from submission to Islam and the custodianship of the Infallible Imams (Upon whom be peace!)
[Question 63]: The term “absolute velayat-e faqih” in the time of the Noble Prophet (God’s blessings be upon and his family) was used to mean that if the Noble Prophet (God’s blessings be upon and his family) were to order someone to do something, he was obliged to do it, even if it was the hardest task. For example, if the Prophet (God’s blessings be upon and his family) were to order someone to commit suicide, he must kill himself. The question is, does the velayat-e faqih have the same meaning in the current age, considering the fact that the Noble Prophet (God’s blessings be upon and his family) was infallible, while in this era there is no infallible custodian.
Answer: The point of the absolute velayat-e faqih, custodianship of the fully qualified faqih is that the upright faith of Islam, which is the last of the heavenly religions, and which shall continue until Resurrection Day, is that religion is the government and the administrator of the social affairs, and so all classes of Islamic society are obliged to have a Custodian and ruler and leader to protect the Islamic community from the evil of the enemies of Islam and the Muslims, and of protect the Islamic community and establish justice in it and restrain the oppression and aggression of the strong over the weak and secure the means for progress and cultural, political, and social blossoming. This might, at the point of implementation, conflict with the greed and interests and freedom of some. The ruler of the Muslims, after assuming his delicate duties of leadership in accordance with the rules of the sharia, must in every case which he considers necessary make the decisions required on the basis of Islamic feqh and issue the orders necessary. The Valiye Faqih’s decisions and powers are in cases which concern the general interest of Islam and the Muslims. Should they conflict with the will and power of a single individual, it takes priority and dominates over the powers and decisions of each member of the Islamic community. This is a brief explanation of the absolute custodianship.
[Question 64]: Just as, in accordance with the fatwas of the faqihs, continuing to follow the decisions of a dead mojtahed must be done with the permission of a living mojtahed, should the governmental sharia commandments and decisions which have been issued by a deceased Leader also require the permission of a living Leader in order to continue and be in effect, or should they automatically be implementable without the permission of a living Leader?
Answer: If the lofty decisions issued by the Muslim Custodians is not temporary, it shall continue and remain in effect unless the new Custodian of the Age sees it as expedient to void them and so voids them.
[Question 65]: Is it obligatory for a faqih who lives in the Islamic Republic of Iran and does not believe in the absolute velayat-e faqih to obey the instructions of the Valiye Faqih? And if he opposes the Valiye Faqih, is he considered a libertine? If a faqih who believes in the absolute velayat-e faqih but consider himself more fitting for the position of velayat-e faqih oppose matters of feqh arising from the post of the Custodianship of the Age, is he a libertine?
Answer: Obedience to the governmental instructions of the Custodian of the Muslims is obligatory for all subjects, even if he is a faqih. It is permitted to no one to oppose anything commands of the custodianship upon the excuse that he himself is more fitting [for the post]. However, this case aside, there will in general be different issues.
[Question 66]: In the Age of Occultation, does a fully-qualified mujtahid have custodianship over the execution of hodud punishments?
Answer: The execution of hodud punishments is obligatory even in the Age of Occultation, and its custodianship is in the hands of the custodian over the Muslims alone.
[Question 67]: Is the velayat-e faqih an issue of emulation or belief? What is the judgment concerning one who does not believe in it?
Answer: The velayat-e faqih has the same status as the custodianship and the imamate, which is an article of the faith, with the difference that the decisions related to the velayat-e faqih are like the other decisions in feqh, deducted from sharia arguments, and one who in his opinion reaches the conclusion not to accept the velayat-e faqih as a result of arguments and proofs is excused.
[Question 68]: Sometimes one hears some officials use the expression “administrative custodianship,” meaning that one must obey the instructions of a superior office without any right to object. What is Your Eminence’s opinion on this matter, and what is our obligation under the sharia?
Answer: It is not permitted to oppose administrative orders which are based on legal rules and regulations which have been ordered. But there is nothing in the Islamic sense called “administrative custodianship”.
[Question 69]: Is it obligatory to obey instructions of a representative of the Valiye Faqih which are not within his purview?
Answer: If he issued his instructions in his sphere of competence and power as granted him by the Valiye Faqih, it is not permitted to oppose them.