Imam Khamenei

Islamic evolution gave us the courage to enter the most difficult scientific areas with complete confidence: Imam Khamenei

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on October 9, 2019 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with outstanding students and members of knowledge-based companies.

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 Muhammad and upon his pure household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth

Greetings be upon Hussein, upon Ali ibn al-Hussein, upon the children of Hussein and upon the companions of Hussein – those who laid down their lives for Hussein in a generous manner

You are very welcome, my dear ones, our youth and bright prospects for the future of the country. I am happy that Allah the Exalted bestowed on me another blessing to hold this meeting, to be among you and to hear from you.

The statements that the youth made were very good. This is my evaluation of these statements: they were very good and there were noteworthy points in them. I might disagree with some of them, but the fact that our youth think about subject matters which are important to them, that they produce ideas and that they raise their points with very good discourse is very pleasing to me. One becomes very happy when one sees these youth with these characteristics. You should know that if it was possible for every participant in this gathering to deliver a speech, I would listen to all of them, but this is unfortunately not possible. However, the statements were very good.

The friends in the meeting raised certain points which should be followed up. I will ask my office – the friends in charge of my office – to follow up these issues, but I will not order them and other organizations to do things. Organizations have certain responsibilities and duties and they should do their own job. My job is not to issue orders. However, I will offer recommendations and guidance and I will insist on them. I hope that by Allah’s favor, these tasks will be carried out.

One, two issues were about the Ministry of Health. I hope that they will pursue them, God willing. One issue was about the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution. The honorable Secretary of the Supreme Council is present here. The issue is related to signing the ratified bills. They should certainly pursue it. One issue was about signing the bills ratified by the Supreme Council of Education. The honorable Minister of Education is present here. He should certainly follow it up. And another one was related to the hepatitis vaccine which was brought up by that dear youth. They should pursue the matter and I will personally pursue the other matters so that they will materialize.

My dear ones, what is important is that scientific progress – which has been launched in the country since two, two-and-half decades ago – should continue to move forward. We are among the top countries in the world in some new scientific fields. We are among the first ten countries in these fields: we are fifth, sixth. Well, this is a source of pride, but this does not satisfy us in any way. We are advanced in nanotechnology, in biotechnology and in some other fields, but this is not enough.

The scientific movement in the world is a movement that moves at a frenetic pace. And we have been suffering from serious backwardness since the past. Therefore, this pace in scientific progress should continue. Of course, our performance has been good until now. In the past 16, 17 years during which we have been active in these areas, we can see that both science and related technologies have progressed.

Moreover, the cycle of producing wealth – which involves commercialization – has progressed as well. Yesterday, I took part in an exhibition. I visited it for two hours and I saw the works that they had produced. I witnessed enthusiasm and self-confidence in the statements and actions of knowledge-based companies which were present there. This is a very auspicious phenomenon. They are both enthusiastic and self-confident. They believe that they can move forward and they are motivated to make progress.

Of course, there were 30 companies there out of the several thousand companies which exist in the country. The statistics that I have received show that there are about 4,000-plus knowledge-based companies, but this is not enough. This should reach at least 400,000 companies at a specific period of time. Of course, there are certain conditions for this, some of which I will mention later on.

Legal Infrastructure for Knowledge-Based Companies

First of all, the legal infrastructure of these knowledge-based companies should be provided. In the present time, many of these legal infrastructures are not transparent. In the statements of some of the friends in the meeting, this was touched upon. This falls on the administration, the Majlis and the officials in charge. They should determine these infrastructures. As one of the brothers who spoke mentioned, profit-based companies should be distinguished from duty-based companies. They should determine what tasks should be carried out in them and they should set the limits for them.

Obstacles in the Way of Business Should Be Removed

They should eliminate the obstacles, some of which were enumerated here. Yesterday, one of the friends spoke to me about the issue of the six-month delay. One knowledge-based company stated that they had produced a certain product – a very outstanding one – in the course of eight months, which is very short for that product. It took them eight months to manufacture it, but it took them six months to obtain a permit. A permit which should be issued in one week lasted six months! These obstacles should be eliminated. These are the obstacles for business. The business environment should be improved. This is an issue which I have constantly stressed. Wrong cases of parallelism should be removed. The same is true of monopolization, which was reflected on by some of the friends in the meeting as well.

Important Points to Discuss with Outstanding Youth

I have written down certain points to discuss:

Implementation of the Elite Strategic Plan

One is that we have a strategic plan related to elite affaires which has been ratified by the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution. It is a very good and important document. So, it should be seriously pursued. In other words, it should be implemented. Until today, only part of this important document has materialized, the rest has not. If this document is completely acted upon, many of the problems that were mentioned in the meeting related to scientific progress, to the commercialization of scientific and technological products and other such problems will be eliminated.

The Elite Foundation should attend to this document and I wish to say here that the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution should press on with it as well. The Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution is a prominent council. The heads of the three branches of government are present at it. Several ministers and competent natural persons are present at it as well. They should demand the implementation of this plan. In my opinion, many problems have arisen because of the failure to implement it.

The Elite Strategic Plan Should Be Updated

Of course, several years have passed since the preparation of this document. Therefore, it should be updated. Today, considering the new businesses that have come into being and the scientific breakthroughs that have emerged in the world – including in our country – this document definitely needs updating. It should be revised and renovated. This is another point.

The Existence of a Malicious Orientation in the Country And What It Does

The second point is that there is unfortunately an orientation in the country which confronts the phenomenon of scientific movement with suspicion. This orientation exists. The reason why I am saying is that you who are the elements forming this scientific movement should pay attention that such a malicious and mischievous orientation exists. Therefore, you should not become disappointed. This is what I want to say. One of the things that this orientation - which I refer to as a suspicious and malicious orientation towards the scientific movement – does is to deny the existence of a scientific movement in the first place. It says that such a thing does not exist in any way.

The Issue of the Stanford University

In a certain meeting which was held a few months ago – I do not exactly remember in which meeting – I brought up the issue of the Stanford University. I said that they insist on saying that nothing has happened in our country. While you yourselves are witnessing this achievement in front of your eyes and while you yourselves are launching this scientific movement and scientific progress, they deny it outright. One of the friends mentioned that there should be an intermediary between universities and the people. Well, when the people doubt this, we keep insisting that the scientific movement has begun. Scientific progress and scientific movement is a reality, but some individuals keep saying that such a thing has not happened. These individuals unfortunately pursue this from inside universities. The people will naturally harbor some doubts. Therefore, one of the things that they do is to deny scientific progress.

The Second Measure that the Malicious Orientation Adopts

Another bad thing that they do is to trade the outstanding personalities of the country to other countries. This is being done too. They discourage outstanding students from staying inside the country saying, “Why do you want to stay? You are wasting your time and your life.” That is while those outstanding students belong to this place. They are this country’s flesh and blood. With the growth of the country, they grow as well and with his growth, the country grows too. They are doing their duties, but those individuals try to discourage them from staying. They try to find a place for them in another university with certain allures – either monetary or non-monetary, some of which are fake. This is another attempt that they are making.

These Elements Should Be Purged From Universities

The responsibility of the Ministry of Science and the Ministry of Health is to protect universities. They should purge universities of these elements and they should take care of them. They discourage youth and then, when others complain to them, they respond, “Gentlemen, the news that such and such a person and officials – high-ranking officials – receive is one-sided. They only speak about the positive aspects and they cross out the negative ones.”

But what are the negative aspects? For example, plagiarism and lack of quality – the poor quality of articles. However, this is not the case. They report these negative aspects to us, but this is not even necessary because we ourselves are aware of them. I myself have discussed many of these various detriments in my speeches to students, academic personalities and universities. The issues of lack of quality, plagiarism and unhelpful science are issues that we have discussed before those individuals did. We know of them more than they do, but when we look at the positive aspects, we see that they prevail over the negative ones.

Yes, these negative aspects exist. We do have problems. Today, our own youth came here and brought up some of these problems. Such statements reach the ears of officials to a large extent. It is not the case that they do not hear of them, but the truth of the matter is that the main orientation of the country is a positive, desirable and satisfactory orientation. How can we compare today with 20 years ago in the area of science? There is a world of difference. I have certain figures to present in this regard. If there is time, I will mention some of them.

In the present time, we can see this in the true sense of the word. This is of course one of the feats that the Revolution has achieved. The Revolution achieved the feat of giving courage to the men and women of this country. It gave the youth and the elderly in this country the courage to enter difficult territories. This courage exists today. Our youth enter into a difficult and complicated area with complete courage and they carry out important tasks. Others admire them too, even the enemies.

Even the Enemies Admire the Achievements of Iranian Youth

I remember that a few years ago – recently, there have been such cases, but I do not want to mention examples related to recent times – a Zionist writer and scientist had written something in a Zionist journal. They brought the exact text of the article for me. At that time, we had tested a certain missile. He had written that I am an enemy of Iran, but I bow in respect to the man who has built that missile.

Our youth have achieved such a feat despite sanctions, despite all these problems and despite them shutting scientific doors to us. This is the judgement of our enemies. That is while these individuals inside the country wish to deny these obvious realities. This is an example that I have written down. More than 200 Iranian researchers and scientists are among the one percent of elite scientists in the world. These are a source of pride. Of course, talents and capacities are much more than what has already been achieved. In five years’ time, these capacities will definitely be more. In ten years’ time, they will certainly increase by several times.

The Growth of Highly Quoted Articles in Iran

Notice that these are very important figures: the growth of highly quoted articles, not mere articles, rather articles which are referred to in the world frequently. In the year 2010, the number of highly-quoted articles written by Iranian scientists was 78. In the year 2018, it has reached 461 articles. It has increased by several times in the course of a few years. These are important points, but those individuals deny them.

Other Important Figures Showing the Scientific Growth of Iran

Our population is one percent of the overall global population and our geographical area is one percent of the world, but our scientific production is two percent. It is about two percent at a global level. In other words, our scientific productions are two times larger than what is expected of the country. This scientific capacity has naturally been utilized in the direction of moving the affairs of the country forward.

In What Ways Have Scientific Achievements Been Utilized?

I have written down a few examples. Of course, there are many more: science has been used to improve the defensive power of the country. Another example is having an advanced and modern medicine. Today, our medicine is unique in the region. We are able to control and cure diseases. Another example is technical and engineering projects. Great engineering projects are being carried out in the country. Other examples include biotechnological achievements, manufacturing long-lasting products by using nanotechnology and working on peaceful nuclear technology and many other achievements.

The Third Thing That the Malicious Orientation Does Inside the Country

Today, we have managed to utilize science at the service of the benefit and the progress of the country in the areas that I mentioned and in tens of other areas. All of these are the blessings of the Islamic Republic. This was another point that I wanted to raise. This suspicious and opposing – I do not why: this is my conjecture, but I cannot say for sure – orientation, which is opposed to the scientific movement, denies these achievements in this fashion.

They do detrimental things and they create obstacles if they can. They create problems. They have reported to me that a while ago, they cancelled some scientific projects in a very sensitive decision-making center. They cancel them with different excuses. These obstacles should be removed. Of course, this is the responsibility of the honorable directors in these centers, some of whom are present here. I will tell you that in order to continue your moves in an enthusiastic, intensified and powerful way, you should stand up against this deviant orientation.

The Elite Foundation Should Attend to Humanities As Well

The next point is that the Elite Foundation and all other elite foundations attend to different sciences, but I want to insist and persist that they should attend to humanities - economics, law and management - as well. We need these fields. We need the presence of outstanding personalities.

Our outstanding youth can build complex devices in engineering areas. Yesterday, when I was visiting the exhibition, someone had built a device. The producer said that this device only exists in the US. Apart from the US, it does not exist anywhere else, but we have built it ourselves. Well, these are important points. The outstanding youth who can carry out such prominent tasks in technical and engineering areas and many other tasks that we have seen with our own eyes and that we are aware of – that is while the people do not know about many of these important tasks – can think and present ideas on the social and economic problems of the country as well.

The Scientific Movement of the Country Should Obtain Fitness and Balance

Some of the economic problems of the country result from lack of scientific research. Our youth should enter this area. Today, for example, we have problems in the area of the economy, inflation, the devaluation of national currency, occupation, housing and accommodation, social matters, marriage, social detriments, addiction and the like. Well, all of these are issues that our youth can present good solutions for with elite knowledge and elite movement.

If this happens, then the country will gain scientific fitness. It will be scientifically fit. It is not the case that science achieves extraordinary progress in one area and that it becomes feeble, scrawny and incapable in another area. This is not how science works. Science brings about balance and this has been observed in the scientific map of the country. I would like to stress the significance of the scientific map of the country which is a very important task and a valuable document which has been prepared. They should follow it up. This is another point.

Science Should Be Accompanied by a Proper Culture

My dear ones, another point is that if science is not accompanied by a true culture, it will slip up. A very complex and very beneficial science is nuclear science, but because it was not accompanied by a correct and humane culture and because it was dominated by a wrong culture of seeking power, it culminated in atomic bombs. Today, atomic bombs continue to threaten the world and humanity, as one day this threat was carried out. Today too, the whole world is afraid of it and it feels unsafe.

Why Did the Islamic Republic Decide Not to Build Atomic Bombs?

Despite the fact that we could take this path, we decisively and courageously stated that we do not wish to tread that path because of Islamic rules. Both building and preserving atomic bombs are wrong because using it is haraam. If somebody manufactures a product that cannot be used, that product should stay there. In other words, it is definitely haraam. If we had a nuclear weapon, it would be obvious that we could not use it anywhere because it is definitely haraam according to Islamic criteria. Well, why should one invest in something that is haraam? Why should one spend money on keeping it? This is because keeping it is very costly, but there are some countries which spend lavishly on keeping it.

Notice that it was science without culture that dragged the very beneficial and sensitive nuclear industry – a very beneficial industry for humanity – into a dangerous path: a wrong path which led to nuclear bombs. This is how science works. If it is not accompanied by a proper culture and a correct guideline, it will become a dangerous beast. For this reason, we believe that in elite organizations, religion and nationality – in other words, serious religious commitment and serious national dignity – should be pursued in a diligent manner.

The Islamic Republic Does Not Want a Replication of Such and Such American Universities

When Iranian scientists mingle with the Iranian-Islamic culture, they will turn into a vital part of the life of the nation. In fact, they revive and empower the whole nation. We do not want our universities to copy and reproduce such and such an American university. We do not want this. What we want is science and we are ready to learn as pupils. We do not find it disgraceful to be pupils, but we do not want our universities to be a replication and reproduction of such and such an American university in Tehran or in such and such a city in the country. We do not wish the same culture to be imitated here. The scientific movement of the country should be an Iranian-Islamic scientific environment.

The Necessity to Observe the Islamic-Iranian Paradigm of Progress in Science

Fortunately, in the present time, this is the case. When we look at prominent and advanced scientific organizations – the ones that everyone talks about: stem cells, nanotechnology, biotechnological and nuclear organizations – we see that they are mostly organizations with great religious motives. This is because religion views the scientific movement as jihad. These organizations are carrying out a jihadi task. This spirit should dominate the scientific environment of the universities of the country. Our conditions are different from those of a country which has prominent universities too. We should live like Iranians with our own culture. We should think in an Iranian way and we should definitely observe the Islamic-Iranian paradigm of progress in the area of scientific issues. In my opinion, this is very important. This was another point.

What Will Happen If We Replicate American and Canadian Universities

The next point which I think is the fifth point is that if we decide to imitate and copy the best universities of the world and the American and Canadian universities, scientific production will disappear. You should pay attention to this point. Scientific production, progress and innovation will be gone if we follow this and that.

Elite Society Should Play a Part in Public Diplomacy


The next point is that one of the important tasks that the elite society can carry out is to play a part in public diplomacy. One of the friends touched on this issue – public diplomacy – in his speech. You can play a role in these areas. This includes gathering outstanding personalities working on the culture of Iran. Iran has a great culture. Our country enjoyed a vast cultural territory in previous centuries which has changed to some extent in the present time. We should be able to gather cultural personalities which includes personalities from some of our neighboring countries.

Outstanding Personalities Should Interact with the Axis of Resistance

We should gather personalities from West Asia. There are many outstanding personalities in those countries. We should gather the personalities of the world of Islam and the personalities of the Axis of Resistance. Today, there is a phenomenon in our region and in North Africa, namely the Axis of Resistance. There are certain outstanding personalities among them. We should gather them together and we should interact with them.

They Should Even Interact with American and European Personalities Who Seek the Truth

We should even gather together outstanding personalities who seek the truth from throughout the world: from every country, from Europe and even from the US itself. There are certain personalities in other countries which seek the truth. They seek good and correct ideas and they agree with your claims. This will be good if you can interact and communicate with them. You can interact with them. Then, under such circumstances and with that interaction and the institutionalizations that are established with such interaction, you can convey pure and noble science and correct thinking.

A Third Path That the Islamic Republic Has Proposed to the World

Thanks to Islam, we have proposed a third path to the world which is not a socialist solution in economics and its affiliated areas and not the liberal democratic solution of the west with its specific consequences and characteristics. We have a third solution which is the path that our country is treading in the present time. Of course, we have been slow in developing the constituents of this path to some extent. We have shown negligence, but it is not a long time that we have begun this path. Forty years is not a long time for the movement of a system and for achieving a civilization. Western countries – which have a so-called established civilization today – used to tackle problems for four, five centuries. Therefore, 40 years is not a long time.

We have shown negligence in these areas, but we can introduce this third path correctly. We can move and act correctly. We can attract hearts to this direction and to this path with our actions and with our reasonable statements. And this is not necessarily an attraction to ourselves or to our country. This is not the case. Rather, this is an invitation to this great movement which can be beneficial to humanity and with which we can liberate countries from the influence of western culture that is becoming increasingly decadent on a daily basis.

How Has the Western Culture Changed in the Course of Time?

Since the beginning, western culture chose a wrong direction, but it was not this decadent in the beginning. In the beginning, western culture was not like this. Many of the perversions and deviations which exist today in western culture did not use to exist a hundred years ago, not even 50 years ago. They incorporated them gradually and they did the unmentionables. One really feels ashamed to even speak about these deviations. Today, they are enjoining to do evil and forbidding good. This is common today in western countries.

And this is not only our claim who are opposed to them. Many of their own scientists and well-intentioned and trustworthy personalities have acknowledged this in their writings. However, a powerful and power-seeking capitalist orientation – which is a mixture of Zionism, colonialism and arrogance – is furthering this movement in the US and naturally in Europe and the countries which follow them. If we can move correctly, we will be able to liberate many societies from these people and from the infiltration, influence and authority of that culture.

Engendering Hope

The last point that I have written down – I have written it down as the fifth point, but it is the sixth – is engendering hope. I wish to emphasize the significance of this issue both to you and to university professors and to the pioneers of the scientific movement. You should not allow this hopefulness about the scientific progress of the country – which has come into being – to be disrupted. It should not be the case that we bring up problems in a one-sided and biased manner and that we not take notice of great achievements.

It is true that there are certain problems in the country. Some people think that we are unaware of the problems, but we know of them better than many others. Problems do exist, but there are also great achievements as well as these problems. When we bring up problems in a one-sided way, when we focus on and keep repeating a specific problem which is not very important and when we keep singing elegies, hope will die or diminish in the hearts of youth. This is wrong.

Today, the country is thankfully launching an important movement. Before the victory of the Revolution, we used to be a stagnant and motionless country which would follow others. Other backward countries kept overtaking us. And it was corrupt regimes dependent on the US, which were in control of the country.

A Comparison Between Pre-Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary Achievements in the Area of Science

Well, the talent that you see today in the country has not emerged overnight. Such Iranian talent is a natural phenomenon. Why did we not produce so much science before the Revolution? Why did we not witness such extensive scientific movement before the Revolution? They have given me certain statistics in this regard, but I have not written them down to discuss them. Those statistics are astonishing. In them, they have shown the percentage of scientific production in the universities of the country – such as the University of Tehran, Sharif University, the University of Shiraz – before and after the Revolution. It is astonishing!

It was the Revolution, the great revolutionary movement of the country and the authority of revolutionary and Islamic thinking that helped the country move forward until it has reached this point.

By Allah’s favor, we are still in the beginning of the path. We will reach the peak and we will make great leaps, God willing. Youth should move with such hope because it makes a difference. Well, scientific work is not easy. Of course, it is exciting for those who seek knowledge, but it is a difficult and arduous task anyway. It is difficult to move things forward. However, if this difficult task is accompanied by hope, it will move forward.

Reliance on God

Of course, one of the ingredients of hope is reliance on Allah the Exalted: “And the end is best for the righteous.” [The Holy Quran, 7: 128] When you are pious and virtuous and when you observe divine rules, God will be with you. When God is with you, victory, success, bliss and spiritual exaltation will be with you as well.

And I wish to strongly advise you youth to observe piety. You are thankfully pure and cultivated and you have not been afflicted yet with the maladies that the likes of us suffer from. Therefore, you should make the most of this purity, sincerity and enlightenment. You should always be with Allah the Exalted in your hearts, in your souls and in your actions. And then you will move forward, God willing.

The Point That We Should Reach in 50 Years

A few years ago, I said that we should make progress in a way that in 50 years – five years have passed from that time – if someone wishes to have access to new scientific findings, they will have to learn Farsi. We should reach that point. In the present time, if you want to have access to scientific findings, you have to learn, for example, English. In certain areas – like the law and other such fields – you have to learn French for example. We should reach that point. You should move forward in a way that by the time that I mentioned relatively speaking, anyone who wishes to have access to scientific findings in different areas, they will have no choice but to learn Farsi so that they will be able to benefit from your writings.

Of course, on that day, you who are today’s youth will be the established officials of the country, but you should prepare the ground today in a way that the youth of the next 20, 25 years who are your children today - of course in the case of those of you who are married and who have children [audience laughs] – will be able to carry out tasks in the best way possible, God willing.

I hope that Allah the Exalted will help all of you succeed, God willing.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings




  • Islam
  • Nuclear science
  • Science