The following is the full text of the speech delivered on September 17, 2013 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with commanders and officials of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The meeting was held on the occasion of the 20th Congress of Officials and Commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
First, I would like to welcome you and second, I congratulate you on this auspicious Eid. You turned our day into an Eid with your presence and warm breath and with the good programs that you performed. I hope that, by Allah's favor, your hearts will always be happy. I hope that your hearts will always remember God and achieve loftier positions.
I would like to say a few things about our great Imam and knowledgeable member of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household, Imam Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha (thousands of greetings and praise be upon him). In fact, we cannot understand the spiritual position of these holy personalities, let alone describe them in words. However, before our eyes and before the eyes of history, the lives of these great personalities are a practical, eternal and undeniable lesson. If, in certain cases, we take a look at the lives of the Imams (a.s.) and if we put great emphasis on their policies, the measures they took and their biographies, this does not mean that these are the most important parts of their lives. This is not the case. Their spiritual world, their effort to get close to God and the wisdom and love which radiated from their peerless hearts are other important parts of their lives. However, what is before our eyes is the lives of these great personalities and we should learn from them.
Imam Ridha (a.s.) lived for almost 55 years. That is to say, he was born in the year 148 - the year when Imam Sadiq (a.s.) was martyred - and he was martyred in the year 203 of the Hijri calendar. The entire life of this great personality with all its greatness, depth and dimensions took place in this fairly short era. Nineteen, twenty years out of these 55 years constituted the era of the Imamate of this great personality. But if you take a look at this short era, you will see that it exerted a considerable influence on the world of Islam, it gave great depth to the true meaning of Islam and it helped people follow the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household and get familiar with their teachings. This is an extraordinary phenomenon and it is like a deep sea.
When that Imam achieved Imamate, his close friends and his followers said, "What can Ali ibn Musa do in such an environment which is filled with Harun's oppression?" There is a narration which says, "Blood trickles from Harun's sword." These friends and followers used to say, "In such conditions, what can this young Imam do to continue the jihad of Shia Imams and to carry out the great responsibility which falls on his shoulders?" This is the beginning of the Imamate of Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha (a.s.). When you take a look, you will see that after the passage of 19, 20 years - when Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha was martyred and his Imamate ended - the ideas and thoughts of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household and the issue of commitment to the Imams were established, in the world of Islam, so firmly that the oppressive and dictatorial Abbasid regime could not confront it. Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha had done this.
You have heard that De'bel-e Khozayee went to Merv in Khorasan and composed and recited a number of well-known poems in praise of Imam Ridha for which he was rewarded. He stayed in Merv and other cities of Khorasan for a few days and then he went towards Baghdad, Kufa and other cities that he wanted to visit. In the middle of the way, some bandits attacked and looted the caravan on which De'bel was travelling. The travelers sat and watched the looting of their property. The chief of the bandits was sitting on a rock and proudly watching the prisoners and captives of this caravan and the things which they had stolen and collected.
De'bel heard that the chief was whispering a poem. He listened and he realized that it was his own poem. It was one of the couplets of the qasida that he had recited one month or one month and a half ago in Merv: "I see that their property has been looted and divided among outsiders and wicked people." [Speaking in Arabic] In the middle of the way to Rey and Iraq, the chief of the bandits was reciting this poem from memory. De'bel became happy. He stood up and said, "Who has composed the poem that you are reciting?" The chief said, "It belongs to De'bel-e Khozayee." De'bel said, "Well, I am De'bel-e Khozayee." When the chief saw that this person was De'bel-e Khozayee, he stood up, held De'bel in his arms, kissed him and said, "Because of the presence of this person in the caravan, give them back all their property." They gave them back all their property, respected them and helped them move towards their destination.
Well, this is a small event in history, but it has a great significance. The poem which was composed in praise of Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha was recited and memorized, in Rey and Iraq, by a bandit after the passage of almost one month or one month and a half since the poem was composed. What does this mean? It means that the ground for promoting the position of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household and the auspicious name of Imam Ridha was so prepared that, in a short time, this poem - at that time, poetry was one of the most effective means of communication - spread rapidly by word of mouth until it was picked up by a bandit in the middle of a desert. This indicates the great movement which was launched during the Imamate of Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha in order to promote the school of thought of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household. During this time, the love of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household was shared by all individuals and the hearts of all people felt the presence and existence of the Imams in the Islamic community.
The movement of the honorable children of the Imams towards Iran has a positive and meaningful dimension as well as a tragic dimension because of their martyrdom in the middle of the way to Iran. The reason for their movement towards Iran was the request of the people and their acceptance of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household. As you know, when we speak about the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household, we mean the school of thought which was established by the Imams and the Islamic concepts which they introduced. It means a deeply cultural and spiritual achievement and a great ideological feat.
This is the movement of Imam Ridha (a.s.). According to the events that you know and have heard about, Ma'mun finally feels that he has to martyr Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha (a.s.) - he had forced that great Imam to leave Medina in order to get close to him and he did not plan to kill Imam Ridha at first - contrary to what he had planned. The divine will and plan to bury a member of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household in this place, which was faraway from Medina, was exercised by the enemies of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household. This is divine wisdom and engineering.
In order to reach lofty goals, one should carry out his responsibilities in such a way. Long-term outlooks should be adopted with such intention, motives and hopes. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has such a position. The issue is not that a new government was formed after the Revolution and that it has certain supporters and opponents and certain soldiers, guardians and armed forces. The issue is not this. It is beyond such things. The issue of the Islamic Revolution - which is protected by you members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps - is beyond such things.
First of all, I would like to say a few things about the experience of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps over these many years. Then, I will raise the point which I had wanted to discuss with you dear brothers.
The performance of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps over the past 30-plus years has been brilliant. I am not saying this as a ceremonial gesture, like the words of praise which are uttered in many places. This is a fact. The performance of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps represents the experience of our nation. That is to say, the depth of the personality and identity of the Iranian nation can be seen in this performance because the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps enters the arena with faith and belief. What kind of arena? The arena of jihad and resistance. It has built the strongest and the most intelligent military commanders. During the war, those who became designers- and as foreigners say "strategists"- while they were young and below thirty years old and had not received any military education.
It was the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps who built them. It was this organization which created such a spiritual environment. It was the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps which founded such an organization on the basis of faith and belief. It has built a number of outstanding personalities whom our nation and our history will never forget. This is the art of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. These are the things which this organization has done in the area of war. Besides these, we can see that it has built and introduced the wisest, the strongest and the best managers in non-military areas. The list of people that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has introduced to the ruling organizations of the Islamic Republic is very long and glorious. This is the performance of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
One of the important parts of the performance of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is that it lives a revolutionary life and it preserves its revolutionary nature. That is to say, different events have not been able to make this strong and powerful organization deviate from the main and the right path. It has not changed its path just because life and the world have changed. These are the excuses that a number of people make. These people make excuses for compromising their principles and they justify their mistakes. Their excuse is that the world has changed, that everything has changed. Well, certain things do not change.
Since the beginning of history until today, the virtue of justice and the tendency of human beings to seek justice have not changed. The fact that oppression is bad and national independence and national dignity are great virtues has not changed. These things and many other principles cannot be changed. The fact that the world has changed cannot give us an excuse to change our behavior, our ideals and our goals. When our ideals change, our path changes too. When our ultimate goal changes, then it is absurd to follow the previous path. In such circumstances, we should move towards achieving a new goal and we should follow a new path. One of the most important strong points of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is its resistance and steadfastness on this enlightened path. These are the points which I wanted to raise about the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Of course, one can say many things about this organization. We have said many things about it. Other people too have said many things. Of course, there are many points which have not been raised about this organization, but right now, I am not going to speak about this issue more than this.
What is important is that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is the guardian of the Islamic Revolution. I do not want to say that this guardianship means the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps should protect the Islamic Revolution in all arenas including scientific, intellectual, cultural and economic arenas. This is not what I mean. What I want to say is that as a living organism, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps should know what it wants to protect and what this Revolution is. It is not necessary for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to engage in protection of the Islamic Revolution in political arenas, but it should gain a proper understanding of political arenas. Some people mix certain issues together. This should be clarified. It is not possible to describe a certain organization as the arm and the guardian of the Revolution, but make it ignore and close its eyes to different political orientations - while some of these orientations behave in a deviant way and become dependent on such and such a group and some of them do not. This is meaningless. Such an organization should know what it wants to protect.
If we relegate the challenges that the Revolution is faced with to political and partisan challenges and to confrontation between certain people, this is negligence and carelessness. These are not the challenges that the Revolution is faced with. The main challenge of the Revolution is that it has introduced a new system for humanity. We are not saying that since the beginning, the Revolution addressed the entire humanity. This is not the case. At first, it was the Islamic Revolution of Iran and it only addressed issues which were related to Iran and fundamental changes in this country. However, the language and message of this Revolution could not naturally be confined to the borders of Iran. Through this Revolution, a message which was based on a universal and human truth was conveyed to the entire humanity. Anybody in the world who hears this message feels that they are attached to it. What is this message? If we want to describe the social and human function of this message in a phrase we should say that it is: confrontation with global arrogance. This is the message of the Revolution.
Global arrogance is a system which divides the world into the oppressed and the oppressor. The logic of the Revolution, which is based on the logic of Islam, is "Deal not unjustly, nor shall you be dealt with unjustly." [The Holy Quran, 2: 279] You should not oppress others and you should not let others oppress you. Who in the world is not happy about and interested in this message? This message is: neither oppress other people nor let them oppress you. This is the exact opposite of the current order in the world which was imposed after the emergence of the new industrial civilization and the prevalence of industrial tools and the culture of domination. Any organization in the world which is dependent on global arrogance is against this message.
Those who like to achieve domination over other countries - that is to say, oppressive governments and economic networks which suck at the resources of other nations - are against this message because they are oppressors. The dependent governments which rule over poor or rich nations, which follow global arrogance, which have no power but which follow and obey these arrogant powers are also against this message. Such and such a government which completely implements the policies of arrogant powers such as America or England is naturally against the message of "[D]eal not unjustly, nor shall you be dealt with unjustly." The international, multinational or domestic organizations which loot people's wealth are against this message. Those politicians who promote the three elements of war, poverty and decadence throughout the world are against this message.
During the last two, three centuries, many of the wars which were waged were influenced by global arrogance. Global powers either waged a war against a certain country or made two other countries fight one another. They have done this for the sake of their own interests.
Poverty too is the result of their policies. They are to blame for the situation that they have created in many poor countries where the people live in poverty and cannot benefit from their natural resources. With their political domination, these arrogant powers have prevented many countries from drawing on their own intellectual resources.
You should read the book "Glances at World History" written by Jawaharlal Nehru. In the chapter which is about the interference of the English in India, he says that the kind of industry and science which existed in India was not inferior to the one in Europe, England and the west. Rather it was superior to European science. Well, Nehru was both trustworthy and well-informed. When the English entered India, one of their plans was to prevent the domestic industry of India from developing. Well, India ended up watching tens of millions of people in that era and hundreds of millions of people in future eras suffer from hunger in the real sense of the word. The same is true of Africa. The same is true of many Latin American countries. So, not only does global arrogance wage wars but it also brings about poverty.
The great treasure which has been accumulated on the peaks of wealth and which belongs to the richest individuals in the world reminds us of this hadith: "I have not seen any kind of wealth which was accumulated without someone's right being violated." [Derasat fi Nahjul Balaghah, page 40] When they loot the oil, agricultural products and tea resources of a country, when they take control of financial sectors of a country in a way that the people have no access to it and when they do not let the people in such a country have control over production, industry and other areas related to national progress, this country and nation becomes poor. So, they are responsible for war, poverty and decadence. They are responsible for the prevalence of decadence and fueling the fire of sexual desire - which is a natural process and which can be ignited in all individuals. Each of these issues requires a long and detailed discussion.
Well, global arrogance promotes war, poverty and decadence and it does this by dividing the world into the oppressed and the oppressor. Islam - that is to say, the Islamic Revolution which is based on Islamic concepts - says, "Deal not unjustly, nor shall you be dealt with unjustly." It rejects all these negative elements. This is the main challenge. This is the root of their enmity. This is why they fight the Islamic Revolution. Other issues are all excuses. We should adopt such an outlook on sanctions, domestic wars, coups d'Ã©tat and other events which have taken place during the recent years such as the nuclear issue.
Contrary to what everyone thought, our Revolution achieved victory. Then it formed a government which managed to prevail. This was while everyone in the world thought that the Islamic Republic would be destroyed in six months or in one or two years. Then they gave a generous figure and said that the Islamic Republic would be destroyed in three, four years. Contrary to what they thought, it became stronger on a daily basis and its "root is firm and its branches are in heaven, yielding its fruit in every season by the permission of its Lord" [The Holy Quran, 14: 24-25]. It has turned into a regional power and a country which is influential in major international issues. They are against this.
They raise the issue of nuclear weapons. Well, we do not believe in nuclear weapons, not because of such and such people and not because of America and other countries. Rather, we are against nuclear weapons because of our belief. No one should have nuclear weapons. When we say that other countries should not have nuclear weapons, it means that we ourselves should not and will not have them. But, their problem is something else. If certain countries emerge which put an end to their exclusive right, they will have no problems with that. Of course, they do not want to give up their self-proclaimed right, but if this happens, they will not create uproar about it.
But when it comes to Islamic Iran and the Islamic Republic, they create uproar. Why do they do this? It is because having such a capability and power is a source of support for the Islamic Republic which is based on "[D]eal not unjustly, nor shall you be dealt with unjustly." This is the main challenge. We should know and see this. With such an outlook, we should analyze and interpret the behavior of America, the west and such and such a country and orientation which is dependent on and attached to these powers. This is the Islamic Revolution.
In the eyes of these enemies, no one is more hated than our magnanimous Imam who was an outstanding personality and who was like a shining sun. They looked at him with respect, but they also showed enmity towards him from the bottom of their hearts because he resisted and because he was perceptive and wise due to two unique characteristics that he enjoyed: complete wisdom and complete decisiveness. He put up resistance in a determined way and he was like a barrier in the way of their progress and in the way of the harm which they wanted to inflict. This was why they were his enemies. Of course, as I said, they looked at him with respect. They knew about his greatness, but the greater he was, the angrier they became. Today, the same situation exists. They show the same hatred towards anybody who is committed to these main values and principles - that is to say, values which determine the political identity of the Revolution such as "[D]eal not unjustly, nor shall you be dealt with unjustly". They hate anybody who realizes that the problems the enemies created for the Islamic Republic are based on this outlook and who takes this path by adopting such an outlook and showing such resistance.
Of course, the world of diplomacy is the world of smiling. They smile and ask to negotiate with us. They themselves offer to negotiate with us. A few days ago, one of the western politicians was asked, "You want to negotiate with Iran. This is while Iran is your enemy." He said, "Well, negotiations should be conducted with the enemy, not other people." That is to say, they admit that they are the enemies of Iran and they say this openly. The reason for their enmity is not the behavior of certain people. Rather, the reason is the true nature and identity of the Islamic Revolution. Everything that they say should be analyzed, interpreted and identified from this perspective.
We are not against proper and reasonable moves, whether in the world of diplomacy or in the world of domestic policies. I believe in the idea which was referred to as "heroic flexibility". Flexibility is necessary in many areas. It is very good and there is nothing wrong with it. But the wrestler who is wrestling against his opponent and who shows flexibility for technical reasons should not forget who his opponent is and what he is doing. This is the main condition. Our politicians too should know what they are doing, who they are faced with, who their opponent is and which area the opposing side wants to attack. They should pay attention to this point.
Well, you are the guardians of the Islamic Revolution. The meaning of the guardian of the Islamic Revolution is not that you should be present in all arenas and you should have a responsibility in all areas. As it was reflected in the statements of the dear and honorable commander who delivered a speech today, you have a certain and clear responsibility. As he pointed out, it is an appropriate move to take a look on the scope of activities of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. I agree with what he said. But, first, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps should always know what it wants to do and what it wants to protect. Second, it should preserve its stability and steadfastness which is the main characteristic of the glorious identity of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. It should not forget this. Everybody, at all levels, should pay attention to this point.
I have repeatedly pointed out that what the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps does is based on spirituality. Spirituality does not contradict scientific progress, systematic organization, new methods and different scientific and practical innovations. We should not think that when we pay attention to spirituality, we should ignore the material aspects of life. This is not the case. During the early Islamic era, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) and Muslims employed the best and the cleverest tactics in the arenas of war. In our own times too, revolutionary elements - whether the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Islamic Republic of Iran Army or other revolutionary elements - employed the cleverest tactics and methods during the Sacred Defense Era. Spirituality does not contradict the idea that we should pay attention to the material aspects of our work and the effective organization of things. This spirituality should be preserved because it is the essence of our work.
The last point I want to raise is that, in my opinion, the future of the Islamic Revolution is a bright future. This is not a vain hope. I am saying this because we have taken everything into consideration. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is experience. Well, during the early years of the Revolution, we were in a terrible condition because of our lack of manpower, lack of material resources, lack of weapons, lack of executive experience and different other shortcomings. But, where are we now? Today, we benefit from a wealth of manpower, material resources, scientific and political progress and international dignity. Where were we 30-plus years ago and where are we now? All of our moves during the past 35 years were made while we were under pressure from the opposing side. That is to say, the wind was blowing in the opposite direction, but we managed to move forward. On the path that we were taking, there were fierce and adverse winds, but we managed to move forward. Is this experience not good? Is it not enough? Hostile orientations cannot confuse or stop a nation who is united, determined and religious and who knows what is wants to do.
On the issue of the regional events which recently took place in the world of Islam, wherever Muslims suffered a loss, it was because they did not know what they should do. In these events, there was not a clear guideline and therefore such things happened. Of course, it will not remain like this. The event which happened in regional and Islamic countries - that is to say, Islamic Awakening - is an unprecedented phenomenon and it will play its part in these events. So, our experience is the first reason.
Another reason is that we are moving forward with rationality and scientific precision. Our opposing side suffers from increasing weaknesses and internal contradictions because of the wrong way the infrastructures of this civilization are built. They are retreating. Of course, they do not need to admit that they are retreating and it is not necessary to visibly and clearly see this in their statements. This is the truth of the matter.
When a people move things forward with precision and by finding the right way, they will definitely achieve the desired results. We have said that we should promote the idea of building the Islamic Republic from the inside. We have said that knowledge should develop and spread. We have said that domestic production should be the essence of our work. We have said that we should adopt a serious outlook on the issue of optimism about the domestic capabilities of the country. We have said that talents should develop and blossom. These things are the essence of our work. When a country moves forward by relying on its domestic capabilities, its manpower, its knowledge, its faith and its unity, it will certainly achieve the desired results. Therefore, we have no doubts that we have a bright future ahead of us. Whether this future arrives sooner or later depends on you and I.
If laziness, negligence, selfishness, materialism and attachment to superficial things divert our attention and if we do something to cause our downfall - whether individual downfall or social downfall - then this future will be achieved later than expected. But it will definitely be achieved and this is because of the efforts and sacrifices which were made. Thankfully, in the arena of sacrifices too, you have been very active. You have put in a good performance and made brilliant moves in this arena. By Allah's favor, it will be the same in the future.
I hope that God will make you benefit from the prayers of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). I hope that He will make you and us the guardians of Islam and the Islamic Revolution in the real sense of the word. I hope that He will associate the pure souls of our martyrs and the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam with His saints and with the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.).
Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings