Leader's Speech during Meeting with Pilgrims of Rahian-e Noor Caravans in Abadan

The following is the full text of a speech delivered on March 26, 2014, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the pilgrims of Rahian-e Noor caravans to one of the operational areas in Abadan. --This was an area where the Iranian Armed Forces managed to lift the siege off of this city in east Karun during the 8-year Sacred Defense against Saddam’s invasion of the country. The meeting was held to commemorate the Martyrs of East Karun.


In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful,


All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al Qassem al-Mustafa Muhammad, and upon his immaculate, pure, and chosen household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.


[Even] if we exclude spiritual factors and what Allah the Exalted has promised believers and those who selflessly strive on the path of truth, and if we only take the laws of human life into account, then the dignity, power, reputation, and identity of any society will be dependent on diligence and effort. With laziness and self-indulgence, no people can gain a proper position among all the nations of the world or throughout history. What gives superiority to a people both throughout history and in their own time is diligence and effort.


Of course, this effort takes different forms. It includes scientific and economic effort and effort in the sense of social cooperation among individuals: all efforts are necessary, but the most significant effort is preparedness for laying down one's life. --This is what gives a people superiority over all other peoples.


If there are not some individuals among a people who are prepared to forget about their lives and their comfort on the path of achieving ideals, these people will not get anywhere. What the Revolution did for us people of Iran was that it showed us this path. Through this path, our people understood and felt that they should make efforts on the path of achieving ideals and that they should resist -- as they did resist -- the enemies of these ideals.


Our Sacred Defense Era, the adventurous eight-year era of war in our country, was the story of the resistance of the people of Iran and our youth against the malevolent and hostile acts of kufr and global arrogance. Although the Ba'athist regime and Saddam -- he was a person who was malevolent and anti-human enough -- were apparently the only force against us, they were not alone. What caused this war to continue for eight years were the agents of global arrogance who acted behind the scenes, who encouraged Saddam and who provided him with military supplies.


When our enemies were forced to retreat from our areas in Khuzestan -- you have seen only part of these areas -- a European government gave certain military equipment to the Ba'athists so that they could continue their malevolent and evil acts by sea: it gave them a type of missile. Arrogant powers did not allow the operations, which were carried out in these areas, to seal the fate of the war. --This was because they were encouraging the Ba'athist regime.


The hand of global arrogance -- the hand of European governments and the government of America -- was behind the malevolent and hostile Ba'athist regime. --They used to encourage it to continue the war. They did not want to let the Islamic Republic achieve victory in this great event, and they used to say this openly.


Operation Thamin al-A’immah was carried out in this area -- the Darkhoveyn area which was a very determining for this operation. It was organized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Islamic Republic of Iran Army in compliance with Imam Khomeini's (r.a.) command. In this operation, they managed to force the enemy to retreat, shatter his morale -- which had been boosted by the support of foreigners and the Europeans -- and lift the siege of Abadan. After this operation, Operation Tariqul Quds was carried out. After Operation Tariqul Quds, Operation Fath ul-Mubin was carried out; after this operation, Operation Towards Baytul Muqaddas was carried out. These consecutive operations - which were carried out by our dear soldiers and our self-sacrificing youth in the form of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Mobilized Forces [Basij], popular and tribal forces, and even in the form of the police and the gendarmeries -- could have ended the war. During these operations, our youth made great sacrifices in the arena of war.


But the camp of the enemies of the Islamic Republic -- European governments and the government of America -- did not allow this to happen. They used to encourage our enemy by giving him new supplies, and they used to make him hopeful about achieving victory in this war. --This was why the war continued for eight years.


Eight years of war is no joke. The great and well-known wars which broke out during our time and close to our own, lasted only four, five, or six years. But this war lasted for eight wars. Besides, it was very broad in scope: it stretched from the North to the South -- from the Northwestern region of the country to furthermost South.


Their goal was to do something to make the Islamic Republic feel that it cannot confront these enemies. They wanted to do something to introduce the Islamic Republic as a weak and incompetent system. But Allah the Exalted showed His strong hand. He crushed the mouth of the enemies of the Islamic Republic and the enemies of the hoisted flag of Islam with the steel fists of divine tradition. He brought them to their knees and showed that the Islamic Republic can defend itself against all materialistic powers in the world because it is reliant on the people's faith and feelings. He showed that the Islamic Republic can make the other side express its desperation. They acknowledged that they were desperate, and they accepted that they could not show resistance against the determined fists of the followers of Islam and the believers in divine promises. As a result of this, their propaganda efforts were foiled.


They used to try to make us people of Iran and believers in divine signs believe that we cannot stand up against the materialistic powers of the world: they wanted to make us believe this. I will tell you dear brothers and people of Iran that a people are defeated when they believe that they cannot do anything: this is the first defeat of any people.


During the time of the imposed war, they wanted to arouse this feeling in the hearts of the Iranians, but the opposite happened. The imposed war -- Iran's Sacred Defense Era -- showed that a people can take all the difficult paths, stand up against and defeat the enemy, making him retreat in the shade of unity, faith in God, trust in Allah the Exalted, and belief in the truth of divine promises. The imposed war revealed this to all of us.


I will tell you that you should not let the memory of the Sacred Defense be erased from the minds of the people. Paying a visit to the operational areas is a very appropriate and proper course of action, whether during Norouz holidays or throughout the year. Thankfully, at the present time, a number of people from all parts of the country travel to and visit these areas throughout the year. --This is a reasonable course of action which the people of Iran take.


You should keep the memory of these lands alive. These lands, these deserts, the Karun River, the Ahwaz-Abadan and Ahwaz-Khoramshahr roads and the different areas, which introduce themselves to you with different names, have witnessed the best self-sacrificing acts and the best efforts.


I will not forget that in the first months of the war -- which were months of difficulty and lack of forces, resources, training, discipline, and organization, during which we had all kinds of material problems -- our youth went from Ahwaz to different areas with their good morale. One of these areas was the Darkhoveyn area.


A group of religious and resistant youth, some of whom I know, went to Mohammadieh village -- which is close to this place -- and they began to dig individual trenches. In the dark of the night, they used to come out of these individual trenches and advance 200, 300 meters where they engaged in digging other trenches. They used to stay in these trenches all day long in the hot sun of Khuzestan, and they endured all the hardships to get close to the enemy.


They remained in the trenches until it was time to carry out an operation. In the month of Mehr during the year 1360 (1981) -- one year after the enemy's attack in the late Shahrivar of 1359 ( September 1980) -- they managed to receive the reward of their efforts and offer it to the people of Iran with the help of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Basij, and other forces. They did this in the Darkhoveyn area and all surrounding areas. --These are valuable memories which you should not allow to be erased.


In each of these areas, certain events took place. If any of these events happen in another country, this is enough to give historical prominence to the people of that country. The events that took place in Operation Baytul Muqaddas, Operation Fathul Mubin, and Operation Khaybar, each and every part of these operations, and each and every person who made these sacrifices and created these events, can make a collection of great, permanent, and unforgettable glories for the people of Iran.


The enemies want us to forget these glories: they want us to forget the issue of the Sacred Defense. They want us to forget these self-sacrificing acts. They want us to forget or to be unfamiliar with the personalities who played a part in these sacrifices: they want this. Some people want to criticize at times. They want to criticize the personalities who made such sacrifices and they want to criticize the orientation and the path which our magnanimous, wise and insightful Imam Khomeini (r.a.) introduced to us. This is because they know that each and every part of these events is unforgettable for the people of Iran, and it has a constructive influence.


I would like to repeat that you, the people of Iran, should appreciate the value of the Rahian-e Noor caravans movement. I express my gratitude to you dear brothers and sisters who traveled to this area from distant cities and formed part of the great group, Rahian-e Noor caravans. I hope that by Allah's favor, all of you will be rewarded. I hope, God willing, all of you will leave this place full of experience, insight, and spiritual and divine enlightenment. I hope that Allah the Exalted will protect you all.


Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad (s.w.a) and his household (a.s.), associate the pure souls of the dear martyrs of the imposed war with Your saints. Dear God, make the memory of these dear ones and these self-sacrificing individuals eternal in our minds and in our history. Dear God, make us remain eternally steadfast in the face of the enemies, enmities and malevolent acts with the same spirit that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and the Imams (a.s.) enjoyed. Dear God, help the people of Iran achieve victory over their enemies. Associate the pure soul of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) with His saints.


Greetings upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.