The following is the full text of the speech delivered on July 23, 2014 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with students. The meeting was held on the eve of Quds Day.
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, Muhammad, and upon his immaculate household
I thank Allah the Exalted because at this point in time our country is witness to a group of young, religious, enthusiastic, motivated, reasonable and thoughtful people. Today, our meeting was a very good meeting. This matter has two parts: one is related to the details of the statements that the friends madew in this meeting. Well, good and valuable statements were made. It is possible that this humble person agrees or disagrees with these statements. The issue of content is one part of the issue. In my opinion, the part that is important and praiseworthy is the enthusiastic and inquiring spirit of students. This showed itself in the statements of the students who delivered a speech. This is important.
It is possible that some of the requests that these students made are reasonable and that some are not reasonable, achievable and acceptable. But the essence of this inquiring spirit and this motivation for wanting, thinking, suggesting and criticizing is perfect. Of course, one should observe morality, piety and religious obligations in all affairs. We should avoid unfair statements. We should avoid baseless and unsubstantiated statements. These points are important in their own respect, but what is of primary importance is that our young students should be inquiring, motivated, enthusiastic, present on the scene and attentive to the issues of the country.
Well, let us spend a few minutes discussing some of the issues that the friends raised in the meeting. The first issue is what I just said. I became happy with the spirit that exists in our young students - most of whom are representatives of student groups - and I thank God because one can feel that they enjoy enthusiasm, new ideas, motivation and an inquiring spirit. I hope that by Allah's favor, this spirit remains in you until you will be in charge of affairs because in the future, you will be officials in charge of affairs and you will be the managers of the country. I hope that by Allah's favor, this spirit and this critical, inquiring, responsible and dutiful outlook remains in you. If this happens, the country will be saved.
The friends in the meeting raised a number of issues which, in my opinion, are noteworthy and important. The issue of "knowledge for the sake of knowledge without paying attention to its benefits for the country" - which was raised by a number of friends - is completely correct and we have repeatedly brought it up as well.
Today, scientific work and endeavor in the country and in our universities and research centers is a lively, successful and praiseworthy endeavor. However, everyone should pay attention that knowledge is an introduction to action. Valuable knowledge is the kind of knowledge that helps the country and that is useful for solving its problems. Mere publication of our articles in, say, ISI journals and other such journals - even if they become a reference point - is not an ideal although it is praiseworthy in terms of knowledge. Scientific work should address the needs of the country.
This was mentioned by the friends in this meeting as well and I would like to stress it. The officials and high-ranking managers in charge of higher education are present in this meeting. I hope that by Allah's favor, they pay attention to this point.
There was another point in the statements of the friends which was correct. I too would like to place emphasis on it. This point is the relationship between methods of economic management and the culture of society. The idea that we brought up the issue of cultural invasion in the 1370s while the invasion was economic is completely correct. We do not reject this, but our outlook on knowledge as an original and vital issue should receive everyone's attention at any level.
At that time too, certain complaints were made about the methods of economic management. However, what was important and what is important today is our outlook on cultural orientations. Of course, we agree that the methods of economic management have certain effects on culture, but the opposite is true as well.
An issue that was discussed as a peripheral issue - but that is not peripheral to me and that is an important issue - is the issue of youth's marriage [students laugh and make noises indicating support]. We knew that you would have such a reaction to this issue. The issue of youth's marriage is an important issue. I fear that this indifferent outlook towards the issue of marriage - unfortunately, this indifferent outlook exists more or less today - will have terrible consequences for the future of the country.
You brought up the issue of military service, but in my opinion, the issue of military service is not a difficult issue. It is possible to think about and work on this issue. The solution for the problem of military service as an obstacle in the way of marriage is not that we shorten the term. We can adopt other methods for this problem, but it remains an issue. Motivation for marriage should turn into a practical measure. That is to say, marriage should be promoted.
Allah the Exalted says, "If they are in poverty, Allah will give them means out of His grace" [The Holy Quran, 24: 32]. This is a divine promise. We should trust this promise as we trust other divine promises. Marriage and starting a family has not made and will not make individuals experience hard living conditions. This means that one does not necessarily go through rough times because of marriage- on the contrary- marriage may solve the problems of individuals.
The academic environment is a good and appropriate environment for preparing the ground for marriage. In my opinion, youth themselves, their families and officials in charge of universities should think about and make a decision about the issue of youth's marriage. We should not allow the age of marriage - which has unfortunately gone up today, particularly among women - to continue going up.
There are certain wrong notions and traditions that are highly problematic. These wrong traditions are an obstacle in the way of promoting marriage among youth. Therefore, they should be practically broken. In my opinion, you - who are young, inquiring and enthusiastic and you who suggest breaking many habits and traditions - you should break the wrong traditions that exist on the issue of marriage. This is another issue that I deem necessary to stress.
Of course, it was common in the past for a number of well-intentioned matchmakers and religious individuals to act as intermediaries and to introduce eligible women and men to one another. In this way, they helped them get married. Such tasks should be carried out. There should really be a movement in society in this regard.
Another point that was witnessed in the statements of the friends in the meeting - this point also existed in the questions that students asked me indirectly - is about the compatibility between the political positions of students or student groups, and the viewpoints of the Leadership. Before this meeting, students had been asked: "What would you say if you were present in this meeting?" We have received certain answers. They brought us a book that contained 100 - or even more - pages. This book is about the opinions of students.
I saw in the book that this question has been posed. And in this meeting, it was posed in a different way. In my opinion, this is not a very good and reasonable question. It is not the case that all the positions that people from different social backgrounds - including students who are among the leading groups among the people - adopt should be a copy of the viewpoints that the Leadership puts forward. This is not the case.
As Muslims and as religious and thoughtful individuals, you should take a careful look in order to perceive your responsibilities and to make your own analyses. I will expand on this later on. You should adopt a position and express your viewpoints about individuals, orientations, policies and governments. It is not the case that you should wait and see what position the Leadership adopts about such and such an individual, movement, measure and policy so that you adopt your position on the basis of this position. This will lock affairs up. The Leadership has certain responsibilities. If Allah the Exalted helps him and bestows His blessings on him, he will carry them out. You too have certain responsibilities.
You should look at the scene and make your own decisions. However, the standard should be piety. The standard should be piety. Piety means exercising self-restraint in supporting or opposing someone and in criticizing or praising someone. You should observe piety. If it is observed, then both criticizing, and supporting and praising people is good no matter if it is an individual, an administration, a political orientation or a political event that you criticize or support. There is nothing wrong with this criticism and support.
Of course, if this humble person expresses his viewpoint about an issue, it is possible that it influences the decision of those who have trust in him and who accept this viewpoint. However, this does not mean that individuals should be absolved of responsibilities and opinions. This is not what I mean. Everyone should take a look and carry out their responsibility. As I said, the standard is that piety should be observed. That is to say, if we make a criticism, if we support someone, if we approve of a movement and a policy or if we reject it, this should really be done out of a sense of responsibility and without engaging our personal interests and temptations. This is another point.
One of the friends in the meeting said that students have lost sleep over a certain issue. If concerns make students be so sensitive, this is very good. Of course, we hope that you get enough sleep and go to sleep on time! The expression "I have lost sleep over something" is a very good expression. If this is really the case, we become very happy. This feeling of worry and anxiety about different issues makes you look at issues with open eyes.
As for what I have written down to discuss, it has two, three parts and I will discuss each part by paying attention to our time. First of all, we should consider students to be among those individuals who manifest the vigilant conscience of a people and a country. Of course, this is the truth of the matter. If students launch a movement in a society and if they make a move and a request, this shows the general orientation of that society. This is the case all over the world.
Students are, in fact, among those groups of people who show the vigilant conscience and orientation of a nation. Therefore, students should pay attention to issues in a very wise way. They should know their conditions and their environment. They should know threats, opportunities, enemies and enmities. Of course, we do not expect students to forget about their lessons and different affairs in order to engage in political work only. This is not what we expect them to do. Rather, we expect them to look at issues with open eyes, with a clear outlook, with a sense of responsibility and with a high motivation. This is our expectation of students.
Some of the issues that we are faced with today are issues related to our surrounding environment and to the region. Regional issues are not separate from the issues of the country. Today, one important and fundamental issue is the issue of Palestine and Gaza. Well, the issue of Gaza and the disasters that have befallen the people of Gaza today and that have a long history should receive our attention from two perspectives: one perspective is that this shows the truth of the Zionist regime. This is the Zionist regime.
In my opinion, this is not the important part of the issue. The Zionist regime is a regime that has set itself the goal of showing blatant violence since the beginning of its illegitimate birth. They do not even deny this violence. They have set themselves the goal of clenching an iron fist. They say this everywhere and they are proud of it. This is their policy.
Since the year 1948 - when this fake regime came into being officially - until today, they have been pursuing this policy. It is 66 years now that they have been pursuing this policy. Of course, it had committed many crimes in Palestine even before it was officially recognized and even before colonialists imposed it on the world and on the region. But during these 66 years, they did whatever they could as a government and as a political system. They committed any violent act that one can think a government can do to a people. And they have no scruples whatsoever. This is the truth of the Zionist regime.
There is no cure for this except the annihilation of this regime. Annihilating the Zionist regime does not at all mean massacring the Jewish people in the region. The logical statement that our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) made - that Israel should be annihilated - is based on a human principle. We presented to the world the practical solution for this and no one could criticize it in a reasonable way. We said that a poll and a referendum should be conducted so that the people who live in, come from and belong to this region determine who should rule over it. We said that the people should resolve this issue.
This is the meaning of annihilating the Zionist regime. This is the solution. This is a solution that is understandable and favored by today's standards of logic in the world. This is a practical solution. We even put forward a proposal to the United Nations and a number of international organizations in charge of such affairs. And this proposal was discussed by them.
There is no cure for the problem that this savage and wolfish regime - whose policy is to behave towards people with iron fists, cruelty and savagery and that does not care about and deny killing people and children, attacking different regions and causing destruction - has created except its destruction and annihilation. If, by Allah's favor, that day comes and if it is annihilated, then so much the better. But what is the cure as long as this fake regime survives? The cure is decisive and militant resistance against this regime.
The Palestinians should display power in the face of the Zionist regime. No one should think that if it had not been for the missiles of Gaza, the Zionist regime would have stopped their incursions. This is not the case. Notice what they are doing in the West Bank. This is while there is no missile, weapon and gun in the West Bank. The only weapon that the people have there is stones. Notice what the Zionist regime is doing there. It is doing whatever it can. It destroys people's homes, it destroys their gardens, it destroys their lives and it humiliates and belittles them. If it is necessary, it closes water on them and it blacks out electricity.
The Zionists could not tolerate someone like Yasser Arafat who compromised with them. They besieged, humiliated, poisoned and destroyed him. It is not the case that if we do not display power in the face of the Zionists, they will tolerate and show mercy to people and observe their rights. This is not the case at all. The only cure that exists before the Zionist regime is annihilated is that the Palestinians manage to act in a powerful way.
If they act in a powerful way, it is possible that the other side - which is this wolfish and violent regime - will retreat, as they are looking for a truce with all their power. This means that they have become desperate. They kill people and children and they show cruelty in an excessive way. But they are desperate as well. They are in dire straits and this is why they are after a truce.
Therefore, we believe that the West Bank should become armed like Gaza. It is necessary to show power. Those people who are interested in the fate of Palestine should do whatever they can. This is what should be done: the people in the West Bank should become armed as well. The only thing that can alleviate the Palestinians' pains is to show power. Otherwise, if we act in a tame, subservient and obedient way, nothing that is to the advantage of the Palestinians will be done and the violence that this violent, malevolent and wolfish creature is showing will not decrease.
Today, the responsibility of people all over the world is political support. There is no doubt about this. As you can see, there are popular movements in Islamic and even non-Islamic countries. By Allah's favor, the world will witness the loud and great voice of the people of Iran on Quds Day. God willing, on Quds Day, the people of Iran will show how motivated they are about Palestine.
Of course, some people wanted to show the opposite of this with the slogan "neither Gaza nor Lebanon". They are wrong. The people of Iran believe in defending the oppressed: "Be an enemy of the oppressor and helper of the oppressed" [Nahjul Balaghah, Letter 47]. This is what the people of Iran want and by Allah's favor, it will be shown. This is one perspective about the issue of Gaza. This is important and great emphasis should be placed on it.
Today, western imperialist powers - that is to say, a few large, rich and powerful western powers which are headed by America and malevolent England behind it - have stood firm in order to defend this usurping, oppressive and cold-hearted regime. This is a very important issue. They are supporting it openly. What are they supporting? They are supporting a creator of disasters and no ordinary and fair-minded person can accept any indifference towards these crimes.
A small area and a piece of land named Gaza is being attacked by airplanes, missiles, armies and tanks. They have used all kinds of munitions on these people. This is really an astonishing event. So many children are being killed, so many houses are being destroyed and people's lives are being accompanied by so much bitterness, cruelty and torture. This is while these so-called gentlemen are supporting it.
With what reason do they support this regime? They support it with the stupid reason that the President of America gives. He says, "Israel has the right to ensure its own security". Well, do the Palestinians not have the right to ensure their security? Is it acceptable for a government to threaten the lives of a people who have been cruelly besieged by it and who show no reaction? Does anyone accept this? How will history judge this reason?
The officials of these arrogant countries do not understand what they are doing - with these kinds of support - to their dignity and the dignity of their countries and regimes in history. They stand up with complete shamelessness and say that they support Israel. They do not at all point to the events that are happening in the region and to the disasters that this destructive and dangerous element is creating.
This shows that today, the logic of liberal democracy - the logic and the intellectual system on the basis of which western countries are ruled and controlled - does not benefit from the slightest moral value. There is not any moral value and humane feeling in it. In fact, they are disgracing themselves. They are disgracing themselves in the face of the critical look of nations throughout the world, whether those who live in the present time or those who will live in the future.
We should preserve this as an important experience for ourselves and we should know America. This is liberal democracy. This will and should influence our actions, our judgment and our behavior. This is the camp - that is to say, the government of the United States of America and its followers - that has stood up against the Islamic Republic today and that has challenged the Islamic Republic in different events. This is the truth about them. The truth about them is this: not only do they not show any sensitivity about the massacre of human beings and defenseless people but they also defend and support oppressors and perpetrators of appalling and great crimes - such as what is happening in Gaza today.
This should be a standard for us. The people of Iran, our intellectual apparatus, our students and our broad-minded personalities should not forget this. This is America. This is western power and its intellectual basis - which is liberal democracy. Today, it is this intellectual basis that is confronting the Islamic system.
Today, the politicians who are most indifferent to human rights are those who are in charge of managing these countries. They do not at all believe in human beings, human rights and human principles. Their behavior in Gaza and other such events is proving this. They do not at all believe in human rights, human dignity and respect, people's votes and anything else. The only thing that they believe in is money and bullying. There is no other reason for their behavior. In my opinion, whatever comes out of their mouths about the issue of freedom, human rights and other such things is a travesty of freedom and human rights.
Well, we are not saying this as a piece of advice to America, the President of America and American politicians. It is clear [that they do not listen]. We are saying this for ourselves so that when we want to carry out an analysis, make a judgment and adopt a measure, we understand who we are dealing with and who the people we are faced with are. We are saying this so that we know what exists at the bottom of their thoughts. We should determine our responsibilities.
What is important is that we should have a correct analysis of the west's behavior in the present time. Their confrontation with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic movement and Awakening is part of their major polices. The major policy of global arrogance is enslaving nations and dominating their fate without paying the least attention to their interests and requests. This is the major policy of arrogance and we should pay attention to it. Anti-American, anti-western and anti-arrogance slogans in our country reflect this truth.
Some people should not immediately jump to the conclusion that a biased or completely unreasonable task is being carried out as soon as they hear an anti-western or anti-American slogan. They should not think like this because this is not the case. This anti-western and anti-American outlook in the Islamic Revolution is based on a correct experience, outlook and calculation.
On that day, I said to the executive officials and decision-makers of the country that the main goal of the enemy is to create disruption in our calculation system. When one's calculation system is disrupted, it produces wrong outputs out of correct inputs. That is to say, experiences will no longer be useful to it. When our calculation system does not function properly and correctly and when calculation is not carried out in the right way, experiences will no longer be beneficial.
Notice how westerners and the leaders of the current western civilization have treated our country during the past 80, 90, 100 years. We have a long experience of receiving blows from the west. There are some people in the country - some western-oriented, westernized and westoxicated individuals - who witness these experiences in front of their eyes, but who do not learn a lesson from them. Well, they saw that westerners brought Reza Khan to power and helped him dominate the country. As a result of this, a bizarre Reza Khani dictatorship was established in the country by the English.
They helped a thuggish and unreasonable person who was completely indifferent to the principles of the country. Afterwards during the 1320s, the same powers came and occupied Iran. In fact, they divided it among themselves in one sense. The same powers looted our oil and imposed cruel contracts on this country. The same powers launched the coup d'Ã©tat of the 28th of Mordad and overthrew and destroyed a national government which originated from the votes of the people despite all its flaws. The same powers made our national oil movement deviate from its path and consequently, they once more dominated our natural and material sources.
The same powers established Mohammad Reza's dictatorship in the country for a long time and they supported it with all their power. During the 30-plus-year rule of Mohammad Reza over the country, our material and spiritual sources of wealth were looted. They created a disastrous situation for our people. They kept them in poverty and ignorance, they promoted public corruption in all bases of the country and they truly destroyed the culture of the country, the people's religion and everything. This was done with the support of the same western governments.
They created as many obstacles as they could during their confrontation with the Iranian peoples' Revolution and great movement. They supported and defended Saddam Hussein although they did not approve of him. Because Saddam was against the Islamic Republic, they helped him as much as they could. Westerners, England, America and France provided him with chemical bombs and different kinds of military weapons. Well, these are our experiences. Westoxicated intellectuals do not benefit from these experiences and they do not analyze them correctly because their calculation system has been disrupted.
One of the most important services of the Islamic Revolution was reviving true logic and reason in the country. The fact that you young students analyze regional issues, look at different events with complete precision, identify the enemy, analyze regional events and stand firm shows the reasonable life of a country. It was the Revolution that offered this to us, but today, some people still want to go back to prior conditions. The same westernized orientations - the ones that love the west, that humiliate our people and our achievements and that humiliate national culture and identity to the advantage of western powers - want the same powers to come again and to define and introduce standards for the affairs, culture and orientation of the country.
Those who are working against the Islamic Republic under the flag of the bloody enemies of the people of Iran are people who are after dominating the same ignorance - calculational ignorance - and the same satanic temptation that once existed opposed to the rationality of this country. I advise the dear students to strengthen their studies - both on the issue of religious and political areas - as well their scientific work. You should try to strengthen your power of analysis.
Of course, when I take a look at students' statements today, I witness good and outstanding points. This really requires our gratitude. It really requires that we thank God, but you should work on this as much as you can. Today, we did not have the time to discuss different issues of the country. By Allah's favor, we will discuss these issues in the other meetings that we will hold with students or other groups of people.
Students should provide people with analyses on different issues of the country including social, economic and political issues. The people should be able to benefit from students' analyses. Students' power of analysis should be like this. This depends on studying. Therefore, students should study. It should not be the case that students' outlook is a purely emotional one. Your intellectual products should not only be based on tabloid issues. You should deeply study, think about and discuss issues.
Many of the statements that the friends in this meeting discussed are statements that should be resolved in student meetings and in free discussions. I have written this down. The free debates that we brought up and that requires free discussions in academic environments can resolve and clarify many of the issues that the friends discussed in this meeting. Students should be able to find the pros and cons of every issue in their student discussions.
Another point that I want to discuss is that competitive discourse in academic environments is a good thing provided that it is accompanied by tolerating the opposing views. One should not become surprised, angry and intimidated at the existence of opponents. None of these three feelings is acceptable in the face of opponents.
If we become surprised at the existence of opponents, this means that we are overconfident about ourselves. This is the reason why we are surprised when someone is opposed to us, but there is no room for surprise. Well, every individual, every thought, every movement and every orientation has certain opponents. And it is not the case that we think those opponents are necessarily wrong. This is not the case. There are certain weak points and these weak points make some people oppose us. Therefore, the existence of opponents should not make us surprised, as it should not provoke our anger. We should not become angry at their opposition. Opposition is understandable and acceptable.
We should not be intimidated either. Being afraid of the existence of opponents shows that we are not confident about the power and strength of our position. This should not be the case. We have a reason. We should strengthen and build up the bases of our reason and then we should enter the arena of competitive discourse and engage in discussion. The spirit of students should be like this.
Therefore, academic environments should continue working with the same spirit that they thankfully enjoy today. They should tolerate one another, they should speak to one another, they should discuss different issues with one another and they should strengthen the bases. In practical areas, the basis of their work should be piety and in intellectual areas, the basis of their work should be observing Islamic limits, knowing the enemy and knowing the methods that he uses for showing his enmity.
I hope that Allah the Exalted bestows success on all of you and preserves you youth for furthering the goals of the Revolution. I hope that He increases your achievements on a daily basis. I hope that by Allah's favor, you youth create a good future for your Revolution and for your country.
Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings