Leader’s Speech to Students

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on October 31, 2012 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a meeting with students. The meeting was held in Tehran on the occasion of Student Day as well as the National Day of Fighting Global Arrogance.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I hope Allah the Exalted helps you dear and valuable youth benefit from the prayers of Imam Mahdi (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). Both the melody and poetry were beautiful. The melody was beautiful, full of meaning and appropriate for what determined Iranian youth should cherish in their hearts and souls. May God bestow success on you.

First of all, I would like to extend my congratulations on the auspicious occasion of Eid al-Ghadir as well as on the 13th of Aban, which is the symbol of the Iranian nation's resistance against its enemies and its determination for achieving its goals. Ghadir is an important event. It is an event that is related to our principles. It is about Islam's attention to the most important pillar of establishing an Islamic society, namely the issue of Imamate, Wilayat and keeping Ghadir - and in a sense Islam - alive. It is not just a Shia issue, one that is only related to those who believe in the Wilayat of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). As Shia Muslims and followers of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.), if we clarify the essence of Ghadir in the right way, if we understand the essence of the event and present it to other people, the issue of Ghadir can create unity. It is one thing to believe in a particular denomination or an ideological principle, it is quite another thing to understand the essence of the matter. As far as establishing an Islamic society and government is concerned, Islam has presented the noblest ideas through Ghadir. I hope that we go after the true meaning and essence of Ghadir and Wilayat. You dear youth should keep this point in mind and try to follow it up throughout your life.

There are many things to say regarding the 13th of Aban, which has been known as the day of fighting the arrogant powers in the discourse of the Islamic Republic. The issue is not just about the fact that we want to keep a historical memory alive and feel proud of it. The 13th of Aban contains other aspects. You know that three historic events took place on the 13th of Aban in different years: Imam Khomeini (r.a.) was sent into exile in 1343, teenage students were massacred in 1357, and finally the Den of Espionage was captured in 1358. In all of the three events, one side was the people of Iran, their feelings and the symbol of resistance, namely our magnanimous Imam (r.a.). And the other side was the arrogant American government. Therefore, a battle is being fought: one side of the battle is the Islamic Republic, the Islamic Revolution and the people of Iran with their particular set of beliefs, and the other side of the battle is American politicians and the arrogant American government.

When did this battle start? You dear youth should reflect on this question with a historical outlook on the issues of the country. There are two essential issues in this regard which should be taken into consideration. One issue is: how did this battle start, what stages did it go through and where did it reach? The second issue is: what was the result of the battle? After all, when two individuals or groups fight each other, one side wins in the end and the other side loses. What was the result of the battle? In this long battle, who won and who lost?

The answer to the first question - "when did the battle start?" - is that it started before the year 1343. It started from the year 1332 after the coup d'état of the 28th of Mordad, which was staged in Iran by the Americans and resulted in the overthrow of the government of Dr. Mosaddeq. American agents openly came to Iran with suitcases filled with American dollars. Quite a few books have been written in this regard and everybody knows the names of those American agents. They came to Iran with suitcases filled with money, they bribed thugs and certain corrupt politicians of the time, they staged the coup d'état of the 28th of Mordad in the year 1332, and they overthrew Mosaddeq's government.

The interesting point that you should know is that Mosaddeq's government, which was overthrown by the Americans, was not at all hostile towards the Americans. He had stood up against the English. He trusted the Americans. He was hoping that they would help him. He had established friendly relations with them. He would announce his affection for the Americans - and maybe his humility. The Americans did those things to such a government. It was not the case that the government which was in power in Tehran was anti-American. No, Mosaddeq's government was their friend, but their imperialist interests required that the Americans enter into an alliance with the English. They came with their suitcases filled with money and they did what they wanted to do. The main element behind the coup was an American. Everybody knows his name. I myself know very well who he was. His name has been mentioned in different books. After they had carried out the coup and returned the Shah to the country, they took every affair of our country into their own hands. They took control of the country.

Around ten years after the coup, a popular uprising took place on the 15th of Khordad, which was the beginning of revolutionary activities and Islamic resistance in the country. That is to say, for ten years, they pressured the people and beat them up. They imprisoned and executed the people. They did whatever they wanted in our country. Finally, ten years after the coup, an explosion happened on the 15th of Khordad in the year 1342. Although one side of the issue was the oppressive and taghuti Pahlavi regime, this time the Americans were supporting it. It was the Americans who strengthened the Pahlavi government and used it to control all affairs of the country. This battle continued until the year 1343. The Americans were forced to step in. Our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) was sent into exile in the year 1343. On the surface of it, they had managed to impose their will on the Iranian nation, but the Iranian nation had not been defeated.

After the autocratic government of Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi had caused thousands of tragedies in the country, after the Americans had completed their looting and invasion of Iran and achieved their expansionist goals, after tens of thousands of American "advisors" had received bribes, became wealthy, taught torture and committed thousands of crimes in Iran, the Iranian nation finally started its great movement in the year 1356 under the leadership of Imam Khomeini (r.a.). In this battle, there was no hope of victory for the enemy. The people stood up and resisted. They made sacrifices. Iranian men, women and even teenage students were killed in the streets. But finally, the Iranian nation achieved victory in the year 1357. That is to say, it was the Iranian nation that finally achieved victory in this long battle, which started from the year 1332 and continued until the year 1357. The Islamic Revolution achieved victory. The Pahlavi government, which was supported by America, was overthrown.

The old, autocratic, wicked, corrupt and dependent monarchy was annihilated and the people, the Islamic Revolution, the Islamic Republic came to power. The Americans started their hostility since the first day. They started causing disruption. The Den of Espionage - namely, the American embassy in Tehran - was the center of causing disruption, the center of hatching plots. Their responsibility was to establish connections, make threats, offer bribes, make deals and recruit weak individuals so that they could do something, but on the 13th of Aban in 1358, students stepped in as the most competent resistance forces of the Iranian nation and they captured the Den of Espionage. Once again, America failed in its plots against the Iranian nation.

America went through a series of defeats. Over the past 33, 34 years - ever since the year 1357 - America has been making constant efforts to cause disruption in order to make up for the defeat that it suffered in the year 1357. It was not just a simple defeat for America. It was not just a simple matter of a regime - which was dependent on America - being removed from power in Iran and the Americans being forced out of the country. It was a defeat for America in the entire region. Today people can see the repercussions of the defeat in the events that have happened in Egypt, in the events that have happened in Tunisia, in the events that have happened in North Africa, in the events that have happened in the vast Arab-populated areas, in the anti-American sentiments that have developed in the hearts of peoples. At that time, these things were not very clear to the public, but political theoreticians of America realized that if our Revolution survived, developed roots and produced significant outcomes, such events would happen. Therefore, they have done everything in their power in order to confront the Islamic Revolution.

Who has emerged victorious out of this long battle? This is a very important question. Since the year 1332 until today - which spans nearly 60 years - there has been a battle between the Iranian nation and the arrogant American government. This is not a small development. It is a very important event. Who has been victorious so far? This is an issue which is worth reflecting upon. When everybody realizes that it is the willpower and determination of a pious people that has emerged victorious out of this battle, this will become a lesson for all peoples of the world. This will become a principle in all historical developments. A new philosophy of history will develop and gain comprehensive ground, a philosophy that is based on Islamic principles and derives its precepts from this event. This has already happened. That is to say, the Iranian nation has been victorious in this battle so far. Why? Because they wanted to wipe out the Revolution, but the Revolution survived. Not only did the Revolution survive, but it also became more powerful on a daily basis. Today our youth - who were not present during the revolutionary resistance and the imposed war and who did not meet Imam Khomeini (r.a.) - are studying, making efforts and moving forward with the same motivation and determination that existed among the youth who gave rise to the Revolution. These are clear signs which show that the Revolution is alive.

Besides all these things, the Islamic Republic became consolidated, developed roots, conveyed its message to the world, forced peoples of the world to acknowledge its greatness and gained respect among Muslim and non-Muslim peoples. Our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) is a great personality even in the eyes of his enemies. The Iranian nation has been recognized in the world as a firm, resistant, pious and insightful nation, and the Islamic Republic has managed to transform the country.

The Iran that you see today is not the Iran of the pre-revolutionary era. The Iran of the pre-revolutionary era was a backward country, a country that had been forgotten, a country that lacked innovation. In spite of all these capacities, in spite of all these historical legacies, in spite of this rich cultural background, our nation was completely absent from scientific arenas. It was completely absent from the international political scene. It was completely absent from technological areas. It neither had any novel ideas to present to the world, nor did it introduce any innovations regarding regional and global matters. It was a perfect example of a vassal state. Inside the country, except for a few regions which received attention from government officials and leaders of the Pahlavi regime, all parts of the country used to suffer from underdevelopment.

Today whenever it is reported that there is a problem in one corner of the country, everybody responds to it. At that time, most parts of the country had problems: the people were suffering, they did not have drinking water, they did not have electricity, they did not have access to roads, they did not have the means which are necessary for life. Those who were aware of those conditions were filled with regret and sorrow, and many people who were not aware of what was going on were living a pathetic and miserable life. Today Iran has achieved these advances. All these things have been done. All these innovations have been introduced. All these youth are present in scientific areas, in construction of the country and in all other areas. These things did not exist at that time.

Our country has made progress and this is a victory. The Revolution survived. The Islamic Republic developed roots on a daily basis. Public awareness was raised on a daily basis. At that time, many of our intellectuals did not have as much knowledge as you high school students and teenagers do today. They did not have the outlook that you have developed on global issues. They could not analyze issues the way you currently do. Today insight, awareness of the latest developments and in-depth analyses have become widespread in the country. We have moved forward. We have made progress in spiritual areas. Last week, you saw what was going on throughout the country during the Dua of Arafat ceremonies. Who were the people who had participated in the ceremonies? They were all young. The same is true of itikaf days, the month of Ramadan, mourning ceremonies of Muharram and festive occasions. The same is true of scientific, religious and political areas. The same is true of developing insight.

Despite the enemy's will, our country made progress on all fronts. A country which had become used to autocratic government, managed to develop one of the best democracies in the world. The people participate in our elections and they are present in different arenas. This is the same Revolution that the Americans wanted to wipe out, the same Revolution that they wanted to undermine, the same Revolution that they had promised to annihilate in a few months. The Americans used to promise their autocratic servants in the region that if they waited a little longer, the Revolution would be wiped out. Thankfully, the Revolution has grown on a daily basis. This is one side of the issue.

The other side of the issue is American politicians, the arrogant American government. There is nobody in the world who doubts the fact that over the past thirty years, America has declined more than thirty levels in terms of power and global credibility. Everybody knows this. Even the Americans themselves admit this. For example, veteran American politicians make fun of the recent American governments and politicians and tell them, "You dragged America down from that position and into these conditions". And they are right: America has declined. Today there is no government in the world that is as hated as the American government. If the regional governments as well as other governments outside the region find the courage to specify a day for expressing hatred towards the American government and tell their people to take to the streets on that day, the demonstration that will be held will be the largest in history. This is America's status in the world.

As for America's intellectual and rational state - after all, a government or a nation relies on the intellectual principles that it presents. Money alone does not bring about credibility for nations: there is a need for ideas. The Americans used to say that they had a set of "principles", that they had a set of "values", "American values". They used to create uproar in the world for the sake of these principles and values. Notice what has happened to American values today.

They were claiming that they were opposed to terrorism. Today in our region and in many other parts of the world, they enter into an alliance with terrorists. They arrange meetings with terrorists and negotiate with them. They provide terrorists with money and weapons so that they can carry on their terrorist activities. They support the Munafeqeen grouplet who have admitted to assassinating thousands of people in the country. They took this grouplet off their "list of terrorist organizations".

They claim that they support democracy. They say that they are after democracy and the right to vote, yet they strongly support the most autocratic rulers in our region and in other parts of the world. Everybody can clearly see this. This is an example of the decline of values. There is a government that claims to support human rights and democracy, yet it most strongly supports and helps governments that do not know what democracy is.

They claim to support human rights. After all, human rights is loudly promoted as an American value. They are carrying the flag of human rights, but the worst actions against human rights are carried out under the protection of America. Not only do the Americans fail to confront such actions, but they also support them. In the occupied Palestinian lands, the shameless Zionist thugs have been openly trampling on the rights of the Palestinian nation for 65 years. But the Americans do not even frown at them. They even help and support the Zionists.

They claim that they support peoples, yet they confront peoples wherever there is a popular movement for freedom and reform, wherever there is a revolutionary movement against evil.

They claim that they are the wealthiest nation and government in the world. Of course, America is a wealthy country. It has all the necessary natural resources, above and below the surface of the earth. But the performance of their politicians has been so bad that today America has the most indebted government in the world. America's debts are as big as its gross domestic product. For a country, nothing is more disgraceful than this.

They claim to support freedom, yet there is no other country in the world whose incarceration rate is as high as that of America. America has a population of around three hundred million with the highest proportion of prison population in the world. Besides, there are fake kangaroo courts in America. Of course, in their movies and TV series, they show a different picture of courts: courts with specific procedures. These things are only true in Hollywood productions, in the life of movie characters. The truth is something else.

They claim that they have a proud people. American governments have humiliated and misguided their people, just as the Holy Quran says about the Pharaoh: "Pharaoh led his people astray instead of leading them aright." [The Holy Quran, 20: 79] They have led their own people astray. They keep the facts from their own people. The 99 percent movement, the anti-Wall Street movement, has been launched in spite of the fact that the people of America are not aware of many of the facts. If the people of America were aware of those facts, this movement would be intensified more than ten times. The people of America are under the yoke of the Zionists.

Is it not a disgrace for a government that its presidential candidates speak in a way in their electoral campaigns to make the Zionists happy and to prove their obedience to them? In the electoral debates between the two presidential candidates, each candidate tries his best to express his obedience to the Jewish population of Palestine, to the Zionists, to Israeli capitalists. This is because they are under the yoke of the Zionists. In spite of the greatness of their country and in spite of the scientific advances their country has made, American politicians have brought their people under the yoke of a group of Zionists.

Notice that all of these things are instances of retrogression. What are the consequences? The consequences are that they have lost their credibility in the world, their influence is being undermined in the world on a daily basis, and they are being defeated in major wars. The Americans did not achieve their goals in Iraq. They were defeated. The same is true of Afghanistan. The same is true of their war against Lebanese resistance forces, a war which was started by their Zionists affiliates. The same is also true of their confrontation with the North African nations. They were defeated everywhere.

Of course, there are a lot of things to say regarding these areas. It would take several hours to discuss all aspects of the issue, but the brief conclusion is that the arrogant American government is the one that has been defeated in the battle it started in the year 1332 against the Iranian nation, and the one that has emerged victorious out of this battle is the proud, determined and powerful Iranian nation.

What is the conclusion? After all, bragging is not our intention. Our intention is to learn a lesson. We want to rely on Islamic guidance and find our way on the basis of the realities that exist in the world. The lesson is that when a people stand up and resist in a determined way, when a people rely on their internal capacities and on Allah the Exalted, when a people lay down their lives, wealth and honor, they will be victorious in the greatest and most difficult battles even if they do not have as much money as their enemy, even if they do not have as many weapons as their enemy, even if they have not made as many advances as their enemy, even if they are fewer in number than their enemies, even if they have less than one percent of the media outlets that are available to their enemy.

Our problems with the arrogant powers have not ended and they never will. And there is nothing wrong with this. Challenges and confrontations are like physical exercise for a nation: they make that nation more powerful on a daily basis. We will become more powerful thanks to these challenges, but we need to be careful. We need to identify the challenges that lie ahead of us. We need to find out what the enemy wants to do. We need to find ways of confronting the enemy. If we fail to take care of these things, if we suffer from ignorance, if we suffer from laziness, if we ignore what is obvious, we will be defeated. After all, God does not discriminate in favor of anybody. If we resist - just as we have resisted so far - and if we rely on God and His religion, we will definitely achieve victory. If we fail to resist, if we ignore the requirements that are necessary for a battle, it is obvious that Allah the Exalted will ignore nations that are lazy, nations that become busy with trivial matters. God's grace will find nations that resist, nations that understand, nations that have insight, nations that are judicious, nations that make efforts and move forward.

One of the essential things that we should do is to preserve this determination, which is based on obedience to God. This is the first requirement. Another requirement is unity. Yet another requirement is hard work. One person might focus his hard work and efforts on studying and another person might focus his efforts on research. One person might focus his efforts on development of the country and another person might focus his efforts on administrative matters. One person might focus his efforts on trade and another person might make efforts to constantly find new ways of helping the country make progress. People might focus their efforts on different things, but everybody should make efforts. When everybody makes efforts, when everybody works hard, blossoming will be achieved faster, it will be possible to make more progress and victories will be more conclusive.

One way is to create unity. Disputes are harmful. Disputes between government officials are harmful and what is even worse is taking their disputes to the people. I warn our government officials and the esteemed heads of the three branches of government in this regard. I have supported the heads of the three branches of government and I still support them. They are our government officials and it is necessary to help them. But I warn them to be careful. This is not to say that such letters are very important. No, they may write a hundred letters. But they should mind their own business. They should not take their disputes to the people. They should not create uproar about trivial things and feed them to propaganda campaigns of the enemy and to foreign radio stations and TV channels. They may write a hundred letters: letters are not important. What is important is that all of us should know that we have responsibilities. All of us should know that our position is sensitive.

Today the enemy is sad and angry because of the events of North Africa, because of the influence that the Iranian nation has exerted on other nations, because of this new wave of Islamic Awakening, because of Iran's scientific progress. Of course, they are saying that they have problems with your advances in the nuclear area, but they are lying: the majority of the problems that they have with us is related to your scientific progress. The enemy feels that he has been defeated. He feels that he has failed. Therefore, he is angry. Of course, their politicians act victorious. They say that they have done this and that, but they themselves as well as other people - including political and media associations throughout the world - know what is going on. They know that the American government has been defeated in this confrontation, in this large-scale battle, in these events. Naturally, they are angry.

They are constantly looking for new ways of confronting us. One of the important things that they do is creating discord among us through the use of insidious methods, just like termites. This is among their common techniques, one that they have been using since a long time ago. Of course, the wicked English are experts at this. As far as fomenting discord is concerned, they are the best. The Americans are their apprentices: they learn from the English. One of their common techniques is insidious infiltration - just like mice and termites. We have to be careful. Disputes should be minimal.

Of course, there are a numerous differences of opinion and nothing is wrong with this. Two government officials who are friends might have differences of opinion. Such differences of opinion have always existed. But differences of opinion should not result in conflicts when taking action. They should not result in public disputes. They should not result in efforts to catch each other red-handed in front of the eyes of the people. This is because such differences of opinion are not that important. Sometimes there are important things and it is necessary to inform the people. But the disagreements that exist between these honorable gentlemen are not important enough to be magnified with different claims and held up for the people to see. They are not the kind of things to which we should attach importance, and they are not important. Disputes should not be made public. Disputes should not be taken to the people. It is wrong to provoke the emotions of the people in order to create discord. From today to election day, anybody who plays on the emotions of the people in order to create discord, has definitely committed treason against the country.

Fortunately, our government officials are hardworking and caring. They want to make efforts for the country. Of course, there might be certain cases of inattention, but hopefully their intentions are to render services. I hope Allah the Exalted will reward all of you on the basis of your good intentions. I hope Allah the Exalted makes the Iranian nation successful in all arenas, and He definitely will.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings