The Country Should Keep the Memory and Names of Our Martyrs Immortal: Ayatollah Khamenei

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on October 22, 2017 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the officials of the Martyrs of West Azerbaijan Commemoration Congress. The congress was held to commemorate 12,000 martyrs of that province.


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

I am very thankful to the dear brothers who have revived the memory of martyrs with the extensive activities that they explained in detail. We need these names. We need these memories. The country needs to keep the memory and names of martyrs immortal. We witnessed the best personalities of recent centuries among these youths. The youth from western and eastern Azerbaijan, Isfahan province and other areas in the country - who rushed towards sacrificing themselves and who showed their capability and strength in defending the country and the Revolution – are really the bright personalities of our history.

Whenever our country was humiliated, it was because we did not have self-sacrificing and courageous men. And whenever our country achieved honor and dignity in every historical era, it was because we had such men. Our era is thankfully an era which has witnessed many such great personalities. You should not let the memory of this great men be consigned to oblivion.

I will tell you that there are certain motives to consign the memory of martyrs to oblivion. There are very strong moves to consign their memory to oblivion. They introduce other things and they highlight flashy and fake manifestations of grandeur in order to consign real grandeur to oblivion. Your congress and other such congresses throughout the country and in different provinces is actually an antidote to that poisonous movement that they have launched.

West Azerbaijan province is one of those two, three provinces whose jihad and self-sacrifice did not just begin with the outbreak of the imposed war, rather it began before that. Many provinces were living a comfortable and safe life, but when the imposed war broke out, their youth went and joined the battle, but from the first day of the Revolution, West Azerbaijan – like Kurdistan and a number of other provinces, there are a number of provinces like this - was involved with issues which required fighting and jihad.

And West Azerbaijan stood firm in the face of all events and it really engaged in fighting. It benefitted from good and pious youth. I used to know the late Shahid Mahdi Bakeri before the Revolution. He was a student of Tabriz University. He went to Mashhad with one of our friends who was also a student in Tabriz University. It was summer and I was staying in one of Mashhad's yilaqs [a cool place where one stays for summer]. They came there and I met with him. He was a diligent, revolutionary and wise individual who perfectly understood the issues and the conditions of the country. As soon as the Revolution was launched and the subsequent events took place, they preserved the scene. They showed their complete presence on the scene. This shows their vigilance.

West Azerbaijan was really suffering from many problems. It is good to mention Mr. Hasani (may God protect him) [the former Friday prayer leader of Urmia] as well. He is really one of those individuals who truly emerged victorious out of those tests during the time of revolutionary activities and after the Revolution – both before, during and after the war.

Also, I would like to mention Colonel Zakiani, the commander of 64th Army who was a brave officer. May God show mercy on him. He was a courageous officer who was active alongside Mr. Hasani in the events of Oshnavieh, Naqadeh and various other events. The important point is that - as Mr. Qarshi pointed out - Shia, Sunni, Kurds and Turks cooperated with one another in that arena in West Azerbaijan.

I once went to Mahabad. In the meeting that I had with the people of Mahabad, that great Sunni scholar from Oshnavieh – the late Qazi Khazri who was my friend – managed to make it to Mahabad despite the fact that he was old and at an advanced age. He said that he had come to deliver a speech there. He stood up, delivered a speech and praised Imam (may God bestow paradise on him) with very good words and descriptions. He also praised the officials of the country.

Everyone really cooperated with one another until they managed to carry that heavy load to the destination. Later on, they suffered serious damages. I do not think that there is any area in our country which has suffered the same damage that Sardasht did: the chemical bombardment of a city is a very shocking event. However, the people showed patience and endurance. They managed to endure those events. This shows the greatness of the people.

During wartime too, they really worked and endeavored hard. The dear martyrs whom you mentioned and many other martyrs who were not from that area but who were martyred in West Azerbaijan really worked hard. It was an arena of fighting and endeavoring. The country truly needs to preserve and revive the memory of those dear martyrs. Everyone should pay attention that the issue of reviving the memory of martyrs is not a local and regional issue which is particular to a specific people and to a specific period of time. We always need this and you should not allow this memory to become old.

Many tasks should be carried out. One of the tasks should be to introduce to the people of the country West Azerbaijan with its resistance and its courageous and well-informed confrontation against various events and seditions so that the people will become familiar with them. Today, whenever they want to introduce a province, they either describe its beauties, tourist attractions and the like – well, this is alright – or they describe its problems and difficulties. For example, Mr. Qarshi stated that per capita income in West Azerbaijan is the lowest in the country. This is alright as well. He asked me to discuss this with the government. I have no objections to this. I will offer some recommendations to the administration and I hope that my recommendations will produce results.

However, the important thing when describing a province is that we should revive, exhibit and highlight the spiritual characteristics and qualities that exist in this province. We should show the greatness and courage of these people to the Iranian nation.

I hope that Allah the Exalted will make you successful. The list that the honorable gentleman in the meeting referred to about the tasks that have been carried out is a good list. It will be very good if these tasks are carried out in a satisfactory manner. Of course, you should try not to sacrifice quality for speed and the like. Everything should be carried out in a high-quality way and by experts and efficient individuals. By Allah's favor, all writings, video clips and other such things that you honorable gentleman referred to should receive attention.

I ask Allah the Exalted to bestow success on all you. I ask God to associate the pure souls of our dear martyrs with the Holy Prophet and His saints and to help us join them as well, God willing.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings