Leader's Speech in Meeting with Students and University Professors of Hamedan Province

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on July 7, 2004 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the students and university professors of Hamedan province.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

This meeting is really a sweet and beautiful meeting for me. I am among the dearest youth from the most ancient city of Iran. You are the inheritors of a historical chain of knowledge, politics, honor and fame. I meet with youth in all my trips. Of course, youth participate in all other public meetings as well. The first day when I entered this city, many youth were present among that large gathering at the stadium. Perhaps, many of you were present there as well. When I met with basijis, families of martyrs and others, many of them were young, but I like to have an exclusive meeting with youth - particularly with students and with boys and girls. Thankfully today, this has happened. The reason why I like to have such a meeting is not only the necessity of saying certain things to youth, rather the reason is that attention to the young generation, speaking to the youth and meeting with the best group of people in our country - fortunately, they form the majority of the population in the present time - should become a convention, culture and common task for all those who can speak to them.

Fortunately, the honorable university professors, heads of universities, the officials of the educational system and teachers are present in our meeting as well. I would like to show my respect to all of them.

Before I begin my speech, I would like to say something: most of the statements that our dear ones made in this meeting are what we wanted to say. The points that you raised are matters that have occupied my mind and spurred me into action for many years. We have moved forward and worked on these areas, but effort is necessary as well. The points that you raised are what we had in mind to say. It is really necessary to say to all these dear ones, "Dear one, you said what I had in mind to say" [a well-known Persian saying]. Attaching significance to students, paying attention to the issues of employment and marriage and issues related to scientific research, working on software and hardware aspects of universities and showing our respect for those who seek knowledge - whether students or university professors - are matters that we are pursuing as well.

I am very happy that I see these matters have turned into public requests and I thank God for that. It is no longer the case that these matters are addressed by us only. You too address them to us as well. I am happy to see that our dear youth stand here and offer advice to us about the issue of discovering talents. When you youth speak to us about pursuing justice and paying attention to meritocracy, and when we want to evaluate society's reactions to your opinions, our viewpoint about the progress of the country will change.

We have made progress. These are the reasons for such progress. One of the dear people in this meeting apologized to me for speaking about weak points only and leaving out strong points. I want to say to this dear person, to other youth and to most of you that our strong point is you yourselves. You do not need to apologize. I thank God for letting me live in an era when all these good people and enlightened hearts and all these promising youth exist. Of course, I feel a heavy responsibility on my shoulders. This is a source of concern for me, but I also thank Allah the Exalted for that.

When I was preparing myself to come here, I remembered something. It will not be bad to discuss it with you. It was about my first trip to Hamedan in 1340s with the purpose of participating in a meeting about youth. I had not visited Hamedan until then. At that time, Mr. Agha Muhammadi - who is present in this meeting - was a 20-year-old youth. He went to Tehran and found me there. At that time, I was in Tehran coincidently. He said, "We are a group of youth in Hamedan, come there and deliver a speech for us". I do not know who had introduced me to him. I asked him, "When I arrive in Hamedan, where should I go?" He gave me an address and told me to go there. I went there on the scheduled date. They did not even pay me the fare to take a taxi! I took a bus ticket. It was in the afternoon that I began my trip and it took me five, six hours to arrive in Hamedan. It was late at night. I looked at the address and I started asking the people for the place. I was guided towards a street that would end in a square - the one that has five, six streets around it. We entered an alley where Mr. Sayyid Kadhim Akrami's - the same person who then was a minister and member of the Majlis and thankfully today, he is a university professor in Tehran - house was there. He was young as well, but older than Mr. Agha Muhammadi. He was an ordinary teacher in Hamedan. They were waiting for me there.

It became clear that I was going to stay at Mr. Akrami's house. The next day, they took me to a small mosque where about 20, 30 young people were present. All of them were students. When this dear young student was delivering a speech, I remembered that meeting and that scene came before my eyes. At that time, they were as old as him. They had put some chairs there and I held a warm and exciting discussion for them. I spoke to them for more than an hour. When I stood up to leave, those youth did not let me go. They said that I should speak to them more. Because public prayers were supposed be held at shabestan [of the mosque] and because the public prayer leader was supposed to come, they collected the chairs and tables hurriedly and they took me to a room above the shabestan. I forgot about time and I engaged in speaking to those youth. That was my first familiarity with Hamedan.

Today, a number of those youth - I know them up close - are among the outstanding and active personalities of our dear country and the Islamic Republic. Of course, in those days, Hamedan did not have as many youth as it does today. Those whom I met on that day did not even reach one thousandth of Hamedan's population in the present time. Thousands of youth used to walk on the streets without having any goal. They used to study and do several activities without having any goal. They were suffering from a completely route lifestyle. This was while Hamedan was the city of believers. In other cities, all youth - except for a few ones - were suffering from indifference, aimlessness and lack of understanding about future prospects. They were like a machine into which a raw material is poured and which manufactures a product.

In those days, our country and our great people - particularly our young generation - were suffering from ignorance and negligence. Only a few people were not like this. There were both religious and pious people, and impious and decadent individuals among these ignorant people. There were also some people who did not commit sins. They were pure youth, but everyone was involved in this general ignorance of youth. The greatest task that the Islamic movement carried out in Iran was to give an impetus to us Iranians so that we wake up from the slumber of ignorance and indifference towards the future. In Gulistan - the second or third story from the first chapter - Saadi narrates the story of some thieves. He says that they wanted to attack certain people, but "The first enemy that attacked them was sleep". Before an outer enemy attacked them, they were subdued by an inner enemy which was sleep. In those days, we too were asleep, but the Revolution came and awakened us.

When I myself speak about the 3,100-year history of Hamedan, I feel proud. Hamedan is my home as well. When a city thrives for 3,100 years, one feels proud, but this is only one dimension of the issue. Another dimension is that in the 3,100-year history of Iran - whose symbol and manifestation is Hamedan - have we people of Iran dominated our fate the way divine prophets, religion and divine be'that asked us to do so? Have we found ourselves during this time? Have we formulated a plan for our future? The best eras in this long and ancient history were those eras when a competent but dictatorial king held power. Such a king used to take decisions and portray a future for us. And what he did was to conquer other countries. Before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the people of Iran - as a nation and group of people - did not have the opportunity to define, choose, plan for and move towards a horizon. As long as we do not define the horizon, nothing will be done in the right way. Everything will be done in a routine way. After we define such a horizon, if we do not plan for it, we should know that nothing will be accomplished without a plan. After we plan for it, if we do not show determination and move forward and if we do not spur our minds, muscles and bodies into action, we will not reach the destination. These are necessary.

Sometimes, the issue is about one single individual. He should make a decision to stand up and move forward, but sometimes, the issue is about a people. It is they who should move forward and who should choose. Here, the task becomes complicated and difficult. The Revolution gave us the power to demolish this historical stone wall and to liberate ourselves from confinement inside it. The Revolution was not even satisfied with this. It also presented a model to us which is the Islamic Republic. It is a "republic" and it is "Islamic".

When we bring up religious democracy in the present time, this is not anything other than a translation of the "Islamic Republic". Today, some people speak about democracy in an exaggerated and sometimes very unfair way. Democracy did not have a historical background in Iran. It did not exist at all. This reality and this concept was defined and realized in the country by the Islamic Republic. Of course, democracy can be expanded in scope. Its quality can be improved. In fact, it is possible to improve everything. There is no doubt about this, but we should not be unfair towards the Islamic Republic. It was the Revolution that presented the Islamic Republic to us. We understood that two things are important: one is that the people should make the decisions, choose and move forward. This is a republic. And another thing is that goals and the ideals for the people's choices and movement should be laid out by Islam.

Instead of Islam, something else might have laid this out for us. What is this thing in the world? What do you think the goals and ideals of liberal democracies in the world are? Who defines these goals? Is it thinkers, philanthropists and those who care about humanity that portray these goals? Or is it those who control governments, global powers, cartels, trusts, investors and - today, more than everyone else - the Zionists who do so? Of course, it can be easily seen - it is in front of our eyes - that they do not lay out real ideals for people.

Yesterday or the day before yesterday, I said in one of the meetings - now, I would like to say it to you as well - that today, global propaganda is deceiving humanity. They speak about human rights. This is while for those who manage today's world, the thing that is of no importance whatsoever is human rights. They speak about democracy while the followers of liberal democracies in today's world are undoubtedly not democrats. Now, the people in a country may elect - based on their hopes - someone from these followers of liberal democracy and this person may win 70, 80 percent of the votes. This is a different issue, but today in those countries in which liberal democracy is firmly established - such as European and American democracies - democracy, in the real sense of the word, does not exist. This is while they speak about democracy and they send their armies to Iraq and Afghanistan for the sake of this democracy. They are so shameless and brazen. They are deceiving humanity.

Under these circumstances, we are a people who have been located in a very sensitive area. If we were located in West Africa or in a remote corner of the world and if we were not in the center of the world of Islam, they would not be so sensitive about us. Secondly, we are a very rich country in terms of natural resources. Besides oil and gas - Iran's presence in these areas is determining and a few months ago, I pointed this out in a meeting with officials by presenting statistics - our main mineral substances are several times more than those of the world considering our population and area. Our population is approximately one hundredth of the world population and our country has one hundredth of the Earth's inhabited land area. However, the Iranians' share of the main four metals has become about three, four, five percent - that is to say, several times more than our population and area. We have agricultural resources as well. We have good water. Of course, the country, in general, does not have plenty of water, but some areas have plenty of water.

Besides, we have a large consumer market. Today, all products in the world are dependent on consumer markets. We have a large market in this regard. Our population is about 70 million people. We have brilliant talents as well. This position attracts the attention of any colonialist and greedy power. The English came first for oil, but they did not know that besides oil, there are other sources of wealth in Iran as well. Later on, the Americans came and resided in our country.

Today, they have been expelled from Iran. Besides this, we people of Iran have shown that we can continue the path of independence, self-reliance and courage in the face of great powers' bullying. We also firmly believe that we can do so. Whenever I - as an official who is the first target of the enemies' enmities and as a person who has a lot of information about the country and its resources, about threats and about the enemies' enmities - take a look, I see that we can do so. This knowledge is not based on feelings and emotions, rather it has been carefully analyzed. We can implement the 20-year strategic plan that was prepared a few months ago and that was announced to all organizations. This has been worked on by experts.

You dear youth should study this strategic plan. If someone does not pay careful attention to it, they might think that some people have written a mere composition, but you should know that it is not a composition. I would like to stress that each and every word of this strategic plan is based on careful calculations. When we said that we would like to be the first country in the region in certain areas and that we would like to have certain standards by then - in this plan, there are two pages about future horizons - each and every word of it has been carefully studied and examined. We can do so, but this "we can" has certain conditions.

My dear ones, notice that all of you are like my own children. I love each and every one of you dear youth from the bottom of my heart and I believe that all those tasks that should and can be carried out in the country should be carried out by you. Of course, for every task, there is a different method. I would like to clarify the issue for you in an honest way. We believe that this strategic plan can be implemented, but we should do planning for it and find the way to implement it. And those who should implement this task are youth. When we say, "we can", there is a careful Islamic and Quranic analysis behind it. In Islam and in religious terminology, we have something called, "taqdir" and we have something called, "qaza". When we put them together, it becomes "qaza and qadar" [predestination]. We believe in qaza and qadar. Both qadar and qaza are true. Some people think that if we believe in qaza and qadar, then we cannot consider free will and people's ability to choose as influential. This is misunderstanding the meaning of qaza and qadar. We completely believe in "qaza and qadar" and free will. These concepts complement each other. I would like to explain this to you in a few sentences.

Qadar or taqdir means measuring and calculating. It means specifying the rules of the world and understanding causes and effects and their relationship towards one another. The taqdir of someone who takes a poisonous drink is to die. The effect of the poison on our digestive system, blood circulation and other vital parts is that it will kill us. A person who throws himself from a height, his taqdir is to be crushed and torn apart. A person who decides to climb Mount Alvand, his taqdir is to reach the peak of Mount Alvand when he does this. Allah the Exalted has created some causes and He has accompanied them by certain effects.

Do you choose to do something that leads to a result or not? If you choose to do so, the taqdir that is accompanied by this choice is qaza. Qaza means a rule. It means certainty. There is a kind of certainty and inevitability in qaza. Sometimes, you do not make a choice. For example, you may not make a choice when you reach a square or crossroads. There are several streets around the square that I referred to. The taqdir of a person who chooses the first street is to reach a certain point. The taqdir of a person who takes the second street is to reach another point and the taqdir of a person who takes the third, fourth, fifth and sixth streets is to reach points where these streets lead to. If you decide not to take any of these streets, will these taqdirs come true for you? No, you chose not to reach these destinations and therefore, you will not make it. If you choose the first street and use all your energy to take it, you will reach that specific destination. Your qaza - that is to say, your definite result - is that you will reach that destination. The thing that can turn any taqdir into qaza is your willpower and decision. Taqdir has been predestined, but it will not certainly happen for you. It is you who make that taqdir come true with your willpower, determination and actions.

Therefore, you should accept the results and consequences of your actions. When we reach an intersection, one road will take us to the destination and another will take us to a marshland or a dangerous place. These two taqdirs are ahead of you. You should choose one of these two taqdirs. If you choose the first road, if you do not become tired in the middle of the way, if you do not change your mind and if your energy is not sapped, your qaza is to reach the destination. On the contrary, if you choose the second road, if you do not realize that you made a mistake in the middle of the way and if you do not turn back, your qaza will, of course, be to reach that marshland or dangerous place. It is you who have made a choice. Of course, there is a spiritual factor as well, but I will refer to it later on.

Today, we have two paths ahead of us in Iran: one is that we abandon everything and become tired. In the present time, some writers - most probably, some of them are mercenary writers which means they receive money to write such things - write and speak in a way to convey this message, "You people of Iran and you youth, you are wasting your time by confronting arrogant powers in the world and by showing resistance against them. You cannot do so. If you want to achieve nuclear energy, if you want to continue the enrichment cycle, if you want to have access to scientific developments and if you want newspapers, radios and intelligence services in the world to stop hatching plots against you, you should go and surrender to America or - to put it more correctly - to global arrogance. You should go and kiss their feet."

These people are very few in number, but they exist unfortunately. They are trying to convey the message that for the Iranians, the way to decrease problems and reduce anxieties is to surrender, but what does surrendering mean? It means that we should offer, with our own hands, our geographical position and advantages, our cultural resources, our ancient history and the great sources of wealth that exist in the country to those who are not satisfied with anything when it comes to conquering the world and being greedy. Another way is to say that it is no sin for the people of Iran to live with their own thoughts, determination, choices and identity, to pursue their own ideals and to move forward on their own in order to achieve these ideals.

Why should Iran be among the so-called developing - which means undeveloped - countries? "Developing" is a ceremonial word, but it actually means backward and undeveloped. Do we have less talent and intellectual capability than those who have been leading the world of knowledge for 200 years? As you see, we are not less talented than they are. In the area of knowledge, they are ahead of us for 200 years, but this was our kings' fault. It was the fault of the dictatorial system. It was the fault of those vicious dynasties that used to rule over this country. It was the Pahlavi dynasty's fault. One day, they suppressed and suffocated the feeling that you and I have and that should have dominated the country. Why did they suffocate it? The rulers of this country did so because they had been installed by those powers that did not want our country to move forward and achieve growth. These powers did not want to lose this free source of wealth. If the owner of a house is awake, no thief can collect and take his household goods. A thief should either make the owner go to sleep or tie his hands and feet. Otherwise, if he is awake, if his hands and feet are untied and if he is strong enough, will he allow the thief to steal things?

Some people wanted the Iranians to be sleep. They wanted their hands and feet to be tied and they wanted them not to make any move to possess their own entity and natural sources of wealth. As a result of this, they installed certain people as heads of our country. It was the English who installed Reza Khan to power. It was an American and English union that installed Mohammad Reza to power. For 50 years, they hindered the development of our country at an excellent time when global opportunities were available to it. They kept us backward not only in political and security areas, but also in cultural areas.

When I speak about cultural invasion, some people think that I mean that, for example, a boy is growing his hair long. They think that I am opposed to growing one's hair long, but the issue of cultural invasion is not this. Of course, decadence and sexual corruption is one branch of cultural invasion, but cultural invasion is beyond this. For many years, they instilled the idea in the Iranians' minds and beliefs that they cannot do anything and that they should follow Europe and the west.

They do not allow us to believe in ourselves. In the present time, if you have a scholarly theory in the area of humanities, natural sciences, physics, mathematics and other such fields of study and if your theory is different from common theories in the world, some people confront you and say that your opinion in, for example, economy or psychology is opposed to the theory that such and such a person has presented. That is to say, they believe in the opinions of such and such a European scholar as strongly as - or even more strongly than - believers' belief in the Holy Quran, God's words and divine revelation. The interesting point is that these theories will become old and obsolete and they will be replaced by new ones, but these people will continue to cherish the theories that were formulated 50 years ago like a holy text and religion.

It is tens of years now that Popper's theories in political and social areas have become outmoded and obsolete and tens of books have been written against him in Europe, but in recent years, some people have emerged who have begun promoting his theories claiming that they have a philosophical understanding. It is many years now that some theories have become obsolete in economic centers of the world and that new theories have replaced them, but some people refer to those old and outmoded theories when they want to formulate economic plans. This has two flaws in it: one is that they only copy others and another is that they are unaware of new developments. They cherish the foreign text that was taught to them as a holy book and they give it to our youth. Our country is the birthplace of philosophy, but they refer to others in order to understand philosophy.

I am familiar with Hamedan's Islamic era. I do not have a lot of information about the pre-Islamic era. Of course, no one has enough information in this regard. In the Islamic era, at the time when Ibn Sina was introducing, writing and teaching the best theories in the area of philosophy, medicine, geometry, mathematics and other fields of knowledge - the other day, I discussed this in a meeting with the clergy and ulama of Hamadan - our philosophy and usul books made mention of someone named "Rajul Hamedani". Rajul Hamedani has a rejected theory in the area of nature. It is a discussion about logic and philosophy. In usul too, there is a discussion in this regard. When Ibn Sina went to Hamedan, he met with this man. He says about him, "He was an elderly man with many positive characteristics". Based on what he says about this man, it becomes clear that a thousand years ago, he was a man who was knowledgeable about geometry, philosophy and logic. A thousand years ago means the fourth century of the Hijri calendar - the tenth century of the Christian calendar. How was the tenth century of the Christian calendar? It was the heart of the well-known Middle Ages. The Middle Ages that you have heard about is related to Europe, not Iran. The day when the Middle Ages in Europe was marked by darkness and total ignorance, there was Ibn Sina and Rajul Hamedani in Hamedan. Besides, after some time, Rashid-ul Din Fazlullah, Baba Tahir and other great ulama and scholars emerged whose biographies I have briefly narrated in different meetings in these recent days. This is our scientific and cultural heritage and history.

Is there any reason to believe that we are not capable? They did not let us make progress. The truth is that we are 200 years behind global knowledge. However, crossing the boundaries of knowledge does not mean that we should take the same path that Europeans took over the course of two centuries so that we can reach where Europeans have reached today. This is not what we should do. Rather, we should find shortcuts. And we should snatch knowledge away from the Europeans' hands. We are not embarrassed to learn. Islam says that global forces have been divided into certain groups and one of these groups is comprised of people who try to acquire the things which they do not know, people who are not embarrassed to learn. We try to learn those fields of knowledge which are the products of great minds. We will willingly learn what we do not know and we will respect our teacher. We will not disrespect our teacher.

However, acquiring knowledge from other people does not mean that we should remain their students forever. This is not what it means. What it means is that we are their students today and we will be their teachers tomorrow, as they were our students one day and are our teachers today. Westerners acquired knowledge from us. You should take a look at the book "The History of Science" written by Pierre Rousseau. In this book he says, "Around four, five centuries ago, a merchant pays a visit to a professor in a European country. The merchant says, ‘I want my child to go to school. Which school should I send him to?' The professor responds, ‘If you are satisfied with the four basic operations - addition, multiplication, subtraction and division - you can send him to any school in our country or any school in other European countries. But if you want your son to learn something beyond that, you should send him to Andalusia or to Islamic regions.'"

This is what Pierre Rousseau writes. This is not what I say. The Crusades helped them learn from us. The immigration of their scholars to Islamic regions helped them learn from us. The immigration of our scholars to western territories and the transfer of our books to their countries helped them learn from us. One day, they were learning from us and they were our students. Later on, they became our teachers. In the present time, we are learning from them and we are their students. But later on, we will be their teachers. Therefore, the research-oriented generation of our country should know that if westerners are superior to us in scientific areas, we can do something to make them learn from us in a not too distant future and this can be done with your diligence and determination.

You should cross the boundaries of knowledge. When I speak about the software movement, I expect you youth and professors to do this. You should produce knowledge. You should approach the boundaries of knowledge. You should think and work hard. By working hard, it is possible to cross the existing boundaries of knowledge. In some fields, this goal might be achieved soon and in some other fields, it might take longer to achieve it. The same is true of technologies. Science should lead to the development of technologies. Technology is a very important issue. We can make progress in the area of technology as well.

It is good for you to know that certain tasks have been carried out - in some very sensitive areas in our country - that have not been carried out in the world yet. A group of youth like you are working on producing stem cells - recently, I spoke about this matter - in Tehran. They made great efforts and learned this technology from others. They themselves worked on it and they made an intellectual investment in it. This way, they managed to find the key to producing, cryo-preserving, preserving and growing stem cells. They also managed to produce insulin-productive cells for the first time in Iran. This is while these cells have not been produced in the world yet.

First, learning from other people does not mean that we should remain learners. We should not think that we can remain students forever. This is not the case. If you make efforts, you will see that they will have to learn from you. Second, acquiring knowledge from other people does not mean that we should imitate their culture. This is a very important point. During the time of the Qajar regime, western culture entered the country for the first time. The first thing that the Iranian nobility and court officials, who were the first people to establish a relationship with the Europeans, learned was not their knowledge. Rather, the first thing that they learned was their behavior and lifestyle. So, this mistake started from that era.

Some people think that because westerners are better than us in scientific areas, we should assimilate their culture and learn their behavior, lifestyle and social and political norms. This is wrong. If a teacher teaches you in a classroom, if he is a very good teacher and if you like him very much, then should you choose the color of your clothes on the basis of the color that he likes? If this teacher has a bad habit, should you acquire that habit as well?

Imagine that this teacher picks his nose while he is teaching, then why should you learn this bad habit from him? You should acquire his knowledge, not this bad habit. The Europeans have many indecent patterns of behavior and they do many things which are wrong. Why should we learn these things from them? A man who was completely besotted with western knowledge used to say, "We should become western from head to toe." But why should we do so?

We are Muslims and we should remain Muslims. If they are more knowledgeable than us, we will go and acquire their knowledge. Why should we learn their behavior, culture and lifestyle? What kind of logic is this? Just because they wear a tie around their necks - of course, we are not saying that people should not wear a tie only because it is a western custom - should we copy them? What is our reason for doing this? Why should we copy their clothes, behavior, lifestyle, speaking and even their accent? I sometimes see that a TV reporter from Iran delivers a report in Farsi from another country in the world. His report is related to Iran, but he speaks Farsi as if he were speaking English. This is a character flaw and it is a feeling of inferiority. Why should I feel inferior because of being an Iranian? I am proud of my language. I am proud of my culture. I am proud of my homeland, my country and my past. So, why should I copy them? I have no reason to copy their behavior. If they are more knowledgeable, we will acquire their knowledge and if there is any price for this, we will pay the price. As it happens, westerners have learnt that knowledge can be traded for money.

Today, the most important thing for westerners is money, but this is not the case in Islam. In Islam, knowledge has intrinsic value. From the viewpoint of westerners, knowledge is valuable because it can turn into money. From their viewpoint, the kind of knowledge is valuable with which one can make money. We benefit from their knowledge, we buy their products and we pay the price for that, but we do not and should not copy anyone's work. This is what I want to say to you young people. Of course, it is easy to say such things, but it is not so easy to put them into practice. This is the difficulty of our work.

The responsible organizations of the country, executive organizations, different other organizations, legislators, universities, scientific, academic and research managers of the country and the educational system should all work hard. We have found the path and we know that we should take it and reach that high peak. Therefore, we should work hard. Of course, it is difficult to do so. It requires sweating and tiredness. Some irresolute and weak people feel tired in the middle of the way and return, but the majority will take the path. We should take this path. Of course, it is difficult and it is never easy, but we can carry out this difficult path. By Allah's favor, we will do so.

I will raise two points and then, I will end my speech. I referred to the issue of cultural invasion. Cultural invasion is a grave danger, but you should not think that I am opposed to fashion, diversity and development in lifestyles. If pursuing fashion is not done at an excessive level, If it is not done out of childish competition, then it is alright. Dress codes, behavior and one's appearance change and there is nothing wrong with this, but you should take care not to follow the qiblah of Europe in this regard. This is bad. If European and American fashion designers design such and such cloths for their own men and woman in fashion magazines, should we copy that in Hamadan, Tehran or Mashhad? This is bad. You should design and make clothes on your own.

During the time of my presidency, I brought up the idea of national costume in the Council of Cultural Revolution. I said that we should introduce a national costume. After all, our national costume is not a suit. Of course, I am not opposed to wearing a suit. I myself sometimes wear a jacket when I go mountain climbing. There is nothing wrong with this, but this is not our national costume anyway. Arabs have their own national costume. The Indians have their own national costume. The Indonesians have their own national costume. Different eastern countries have their own national costume. The Africans have their own national costume. Every country has its own national costume and they are proud of it.

Once, I saw a president somewhere whose national costume was a skirt! A fully grown man was wearing a skirt and his legs were naked! He was wearing a skirt that came up to his knees and he did not feel inferior at all. He participated in that meeting with complete pride. He used to come and go and sit and stand up. This is his national costume and there is nothing wrong with it. The Arabs wear their national costume with a sense of pride. Their national costume is a long shirt, chafiye and aqqal. These pieces of clothing may not make any sense to you and me, but it is their costume and they love it. What is the costume of us Iranians? You do not know what our costume is.

Of course, I am not saying that the design for this costume should be based on 500 years ago. This is not what I am saying at all. What I am saying is that you should sit and design a costume for yourselves. Of course, I do not want you to do this right now. I brought this up in the Council of Cultural Revolution. At that time, we entrusted this task to an executive division. They adopted some initial measures, but they did not finish it and our presidency was over. What I am saying is that if you want to style your hair, if you want to wear a particular piece of clothing and if you want to change your walk, you can do so, but you should do it on your own. You should not learn it from others.

About three, four decades ago, a bunch of youth in western countries - more than all, in America - launched certain movements as a result of their frustration with social conditions and these movements are continuing in the present time. In our own time, the manifestation of this movement was the Beatles who used to appear in strange clothes. They used a kind of music that looked like pop - now this kind of music is very popular in the world. After the Revolution, I went to Algeria. We were in a car, driving on a particular street. I saw a young boy who had cut half of his hair. I kept looking at him, but I found no beauty in it. It was clear that he had copied someone. In Algeria, industrial pressures and the pressure to produce is not as great as the feeling that a youth in America or another country gets. But because he had seen them do so, he had done it as well. I am against such things and I do not like our youth to make the same moves. I do not like our girls and boys to copy them all the time.

The second point that I want to raise is: on the issue of choosing taqdir, we said that the choice is yours. There is no doubt about this, but we should also pay attention to the role of divine guidance and assistance as well. Sometimes, you become tired when you want to do something. When this happens, you should ask Allah the Exalted for energy and He will give you energy and thus, you will move forward. Sometimes, you find it hard to make a choice. Here, you ask Allah the Exalted for guidance and assistance and He too will provide guidance. Under such circumstances, some people do not ask God to give them power and energy and they will get none. They do not ask Him for guidance and they will receive no guidance. The God of the world has commanded us to ask Him for guidance, assistance and success. This is why I say to the people - particularly youth - that they should strengthen their relationship with God and gain a correct understanding about the role of prayers and supplication. Prayer does not mean that you should make requests to God and then you sit idle without any thinking. This is not the meaning of prayers. You should ask God and as long as you move, He will help you in moving. You should ask God and as long as you make choices, He will help you in making correct choices. You should ask God so that if the scene is a difficult one and hard to identify, He helps you in identifying it.

Dear God, bestow Your mercy, guidance, assistance, kindness and blessings on each and every one of the participants in this meeting.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings