The following is the full text of the speech delivered on February 7, 2017 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with commanders and personnel of the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army. The meeting was held in Imam Khomeini (r.a.) Hussainiyah on the occasion of the historic pledge of allegiance of Air Force officers to Imam Khomeini (r.a.) on the 19th of Bahman of 1357.
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 our Master and Prophet, Muhammad, and upon his immaculate and infallible household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.
You are quite welcome, dear brothers and diligent, active and reputable personnel of the Air Force of the Islamic Republic. And this occasion is the main cause for the reputability, in the real sense of the word, of the Air Force of the Islamic Republic. I thank the chorus for their excellent performance and for the meaningful and content-rich song that they sang.
Well, it is many years now that we have been holding meetings, discussing and speaking about the very important event of the 19th of Bahman of 1357. However, this is an infinite topic in the true sense of the word. Many things have been said in this regard, but there are still more things to say. As a poet said, “One can speak for a lifetime about the beauty of the beloved’s hair” [from a poem by Saeb Tabrizi].
The event of the 19th of Bahman of 1357 was a determining event. During the time of taghut, the air force was in fact the closest division of the army to the taghuti apparatus and to the political system that was dependent on the U.S. At that time, none of the other divisions of the army were trusted by the taghuti regime as much as the air force. However the regime received a heavy blow from the same division. When I say a heavy blow, it was the case in the true sense of the word.
Despite the discipline and atmosphere that they had created for the army, all of a sudden a division of the same army – the sensitive division of the air force which was trusted by the regime to a great extent – pledged their allegiance to the Imam and Leader of the Revolution (r.a.). And they did not do so secretly, rather they did it in broad daylight by holding up their identification cards! I was present there. I saw them on Iran Street. They were going to the school where Imam (r.a.) was staying. They were moving in groups behind one another just like a military maneuver, chanting slogans and holding up their identification cards. It was an astonishing event!
It was the exact embodiment of the following ayah: “But the wrath of God came to them from quarters from which they little expected” [The Holy Quran, 59: 2]. The taghuti regime received a blow from a place that they did not expect at all. They had thought of all possibilities in their calculations except for this one. And it was this event, the remotest possibility, which took place. Imagine that the air force of the army suddenly goes and pledges its allegiance to the Imam and Leader of the Revolution alongside the people despite the existence of a dependent commander and various other dependences – numerous dependences in the area of ammunitions, equipment, training and so on. That was an astonishing blow, one that they did not expect at all.
We did not expect it either. Revolutionaries and believers on the other side did not expect it either. That was in fact unimaginable provision: “And for those who fear God, He ever prepares a way out and He provides for him from sources he never could imagine” [The Holy Quran, 65: 2-3]. Sometimes, we receive help, assistance and blood donation from places we could never imagine and from areas that did not exist in our calculations at all. For the revolutionary front too, that assistance from the air force was like “unimaginable provision”. We did not count on it. In fact, the thought that some people inside the army might enter the arena did not cross the minds of us people of Iran, fighters, revolutionaries and our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) himself.
Of course, before that in Mashhad, I had close relations with some individuals in the army and I knew that they shared our beliefs. In Tehran too, there were some people in the army who had close relations with some of my friends. Such connections existed, but the idea that such a large group would spark an uprising with that great and noticeable movement was truly an “unimaginable provision”. It was not calculable in any way.
Let us learn a lesson here: you should always think of “unimaginable provision” in your calculations even if that thinking is brief and short. There is no doubt that logical and material calculations are influential and necessary. There is no part of Islamic teaching that says to us that we should not take logical, reasonable and material calculations into account- this is not the case and we should take those calculations into account- but you should also create a space for calculations beyond material ones and beyond what crosses our minds. This is “unimaginable provision”. This is what has not been calculated before and what will reach us. This should exist in all of our calculations.
This should be observed, thought of and expected in all the affairs that the believing side conducts. We read in a prayer, “Oh God, You Who open a gate in times of calamity in a way that it does not cross the minds of any human” [Qisas ul-Anbiya, page 363]. When things become difficult and when there is apparently a dead end, Allah the Exalted sometimes opens a space from the corner of that dead end “in a way that that it does not cross the minds of any human.” Such events exist. One example is the imposed war.
The imposed war began while there was a huge gap between us and that aggressor – the ba’athist regime of Saddam – in terms of resources, number and organization. He was prepared, he was fully equipped, he had solid organization, and he had clear-cut troops. Both his air and ground forces were prepared. His defense, his logistics, his engineering, his various divisions and everything that he had were prepared. That was while we had problems in those areas. We had problems in the area of equipment, manpower, engineering, logistics, ammunitions and resources.
Once, in a 19th of Bahman meeting [delivered on February 8, 1992], I said that the commander of our Air Force in those days presented a list of usable planes to me and said, “At most, in the course of 17, 18 days, all our planes will be unable to fly and their flight will be cut off because they need parts and components.” The last usable plane was C-130. During the first, second and third days, F-5, F-4, F-14 and other such planes should have been decommissioned. The only plane that would be able to work for 15, 20 days was the C-130 which was a transport plane. We had some C-130s. In those days, we were thinking of such matters, but God opened a gate. Our Air Force continued to be active and it worked hard until the end of the war.
The sentence “Oh God, You Who open a gate in times of calamity in a way that it does not cross the minds of any human” means this. “Unimaginable provision” means this. You should consider this in your calculations. If we are pious and if we use reason in the shade of reliance on and belief in God, then that gate will open to us. This does not mean that we should abandon reason and forsake material calculations. This is not what I am saying. All these things are necessary and we have always placed great emphasis on them, but as well as reason, you should open a space for divine assistance if you are individuals who rely on God and who believe in Him. During the past 37, 38 years that have passed from the Revolution, this has always been the case on all issues and we have always witnessed divine assistance. I will say a few things about the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army and after that, I will return to this topic again.
The Air Force has passed good tests even after that event. When I look back, I see that the first person who helped foil the coup d’état that they had launched before the beginning of the imposed war – a coup d’état launched by elements from the Air Force, the Ground Force, civilians and others – was an Air Force officer, a pilot. He came to me and reported what he had seen. This was how the Air Force was informed of the plot and they prepared themselves for it. So, it was an Air Force member who foiled a grave move which was supposed to be made in Shahid Nojeh Air Base in Hamedan and which was going to be extended to Tehran and other cities. I do not forget this. The Islamic Republic will not forget this kindness, this assistance and this great service.
The first place in the army that embarked on the jihad of component manufacture – which was an endeavor to construct – was the Air Force. Before that, there was no construction in the Air Force. They would not allow our technical staff to know complicated parts and components. The jihad of component manufacture began in the Air Force and they really referred to it as jihad. They really made a jihadi move. So, the first place was the Air Force. Of course, other divisions of the army began this as well, but the Air Force was the forerunner and the pioneer.
Since the first day of the imposed war, it was the Air Force’s flights that boosted the morale of the people. At that time, I was a member of the Majlis. When I went to the Majlis and reported the number of sorties that they had carried out, everyone’s mouth was left open. They carried out so many flights with that magnitude! And the news spread throughout the country and the people felt it. Such was the performance of the Air Force in the course of time. The Air Force played a determining role in the various operations that the Islamic Republic of Iran Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps conducted – in particular, important operations such as Val Fajr-8, Karbala-5 and other such operations during which important and great tasks were accomplished.
God’s mercy be upon Shahid Sattari who was an aerial defense officer at the time. He fulfilled the duty of defense during Operation Val Fajr-8 at such a fast rate and with such a serious approach that everyone was impressed. The enemy was impressed as well because they managed to strike so many planes! The Air Force is a reputable force. And from then on too, you have continued to work. And you should continue to work dear youth.
You should work, think, take action, carry out your duties, fill the voids, strengthen management and increase construction in the Air Force as much as you can. I am aware of your limitations. Your limitations are the limitations of the country. You should make up for these limitations and voids with your firm human determination, knowledge, piety and reliance on divine kindness. And these limitations can be made up for, as many of them have been made up for until today.
Well, it is the role of reliance on Allah the Exalted that brings us “unimaginable provision”. How can this be achieved? This can be achieved when we employ reason in the shade of reliance on Allah the Exalted. However, if the opposite happens and if we employ reason in the shade of trust in shaitans, things will shape up otherwise. A Quranic ayah in holy Sura Noor says, “Their deeds are like a mirage in sandy deserts, which [the man parched with thirst] mistakes for water.” Like a mirage, a thirsty individual mistakes a piece of dry land for water. Later on when he gets closer, he sees that there is nothing: “Until when he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing: But he finds God ever with him” [The Holy Quran, 24: 39]. He sees that there is nothing. Pinning one’s hope on shaitans is like this. Pinning one’s hope on materialistic and satanic powers is like this.
Employing reason and adopting a reasonable approach on different matters – matters related to diplomacy, management of domestic affairs in the country, resource provision, knowledge, industry and other such areas – is a necessary task, but trusting shaitans and trusting those individuals who are opposed to the essence of your existence is a grave mistake. A power that cannot endure and accept the essence of the Islamic Republic’s existence and the essence of Islamic power cannot be trusted and relied on: “Like a mirage in sandy deserts, which [the man parched with thirst] mistakes for water.”
This is a statement that each and every one of us should keep in mind forever. Each and every person among the people of Iran should keep this in mind. You should try and work hard, you should show innovation, you should bring your real and God-given power to the arena and you should move forward with reliance on God and on His assistance and then God will help. However, if you sit and wait for Shaitan – the Great Shaitan – to come and help, then the ayah “Like a mirage in sandy deserts, which [the man parched with thirst] mistakes for water” will come true because no good comes from Shaitan.
Now, the gentleman that has recently taken office in the United States says that we should be grateful to America and to Obama administration. Why should we be grateful? We are not grateful at all. He was part of the same system that imposed those heavy sanctions on the people of Iran with the purpose of paralyzing the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation. They hoped to paralyze us. Of course, their hope was not fulfilled and it will never be fulfilled because no enemy can paralyze Iran. He says that we should be grateful, but this is not the case and we are not grateful at all. Why should we be grateful? Because of sanctions? Because of creating DAESH? Because of setting fire to the region? They set Syria on fire. They set Iraq on fire. Why should we be grateful? Should we be grateful because of supporting the fitna that they created during the elections of the year 1388?
On the one hand, he wrote a letter to me expressing his respect, kindness and cooperation and on the other hand, he supported the seditionists openly saying to them that they had stood behind them, thus revealing their intention to provoke fitna in the country. This is the true face of hypocrisy. He was wearing that velvet glove to cover his iron fist. I have spoken about this many times.
We do not thank them at all. We know what they have done. We know what they were doing. He says that we should thank Obama and that we should be afraid of him [Donald Trump]! We are not afraid of you either! On the 22nd of Bahman, the people will respond to these threats and statements on the streets. They will show what position the people of Iran adopt in the face of threats. We are not afraid of anyone’s threats either.
Yes, we thank to the mister who has taken office recently. We thank him because he saved us the trouble of revealing the true nature of America. What we having been saying repeatedly in the past 30-plus years – about political corruption, economic corruption, moral corruption and social corruption in the ruling apparatus of America – was fully displayed and manifested by that mister as he revealed the naked truth about America during and after the elections. In the present time too, he is showing the truth about America with the things that he is doing. He is showing what American human rights means- they put handcuffs on a five-year-old kid- this is their human rights!
The people of Iran have found their path. The people of Iran are pushing their movement forward and taking this path with logic, reason and reliance on God and they are doing so at great speed and in a self-confident manner. Today, the people of Iran trust themselves. Our youth are working with self-confidence. Our academic organizations and institutes are filled with new thoughts in the area of science. The same is true of the area of infrastructure and various other areas. Today, rationality is the first important issue in the country. However, it is accompanied by reliance on and trust in Allah the Exalted. We know that the people of Iran will surely achieve victory on this path and that they will attain their ideal results and desires.
God’s mercy be upon our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) who clarified the truths about these matters for the people of Iran during the 10 years of his blessed life in the beginning of the Revolution. You should look at Imam’s (r.a.) speeches. He identified the friends and the enemies. He knew who the people of Iran were and he identified the goals. The reason why Imam (r.a.) said over and over again that we should not trust Shaitan and the enemy and the reason why he said that we should beware of trusting the enemy was that he knew the enemy. Of course, we used to make these statements, but today they are on the screen and everyone is watching it. The behavior of that gentleman reveals what the true nature of America is and of the comments that they make about human rights, philanthropy and other such matters. This is what we can obtain from this situation and from deliberating on Imam’s (r.a.) statements.
I hope that the Lord of the worlds bestows success on you. I hope that by Allah’s favor, you youth will be prepared so that you can carry out the great task that befalls you. Your generation should carry out a great task. The generation before you accomplished great tasks, but there are other important tasks that you should accomplish. I hope that you will prepare yourselves with reliance on Allah the Exalted and that you will deliver this duty – which you have held in trust – to future generations.
Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings