Leader's Address to Members of Basij

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on November 25, 2009 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a meeting with thousands of the members of the Basij Resistance Force.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I would like to welcome all the honorable Basiji brothers and sisters. From a historical perspective, these days are great and memorable because they coincide with two occasions. The first occasion is the anniversary of Imam Baqir's (a.s.) martyrdom, which had a significant message. Imam Baqir himself wrote in his will that his demise should be commemorated in Mena for ten years. This is unprecedented among our Imams. Commemorating Imam Baqir (a.s.) meant commemorating the revival of the noble Islamic movement in the face of efforts that had been made to distort Islam.

The next occasion is the Day of Arafat and Eid al-Adha. In fact, the period from Eid al-Adha to Eid al-Ghadir is associated with the issue of imamate [leadership]. Allah the Exalted says in the Holy Quran, "And when his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain commands he fulfilled them. He said: Surely I will make you a leader of men." [The Holy Quran, 2: 124] Ibrahim was selected by God to be an Imam [leader]. Why? Because he underwent difficult tests. We can think of the period between Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Ghadir - when Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) became an Imam - as the beginning of this. Imam Ali was also appointed as leader after he went through difficult tests. The Commander of the Faithful underwent different tests throughout his life and managed to emerge victorious out of all these tests. From the age of 11 or 13 when he accepted prophethood to the time when the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) immigrated to Medina, Imam Ali (a.s.) was a selfless young man who was prepared to lay down his life for the sake of the Holy Prophet - and he proved this on the night the Holy Prophet left Mecca for Medina. Afterwards, he went through those difficult tests in such battles as Badr, Uhud, and Khaibar. His high position was the result of those tests. Therefore, people feel in their hearts that there is a connection between Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Ghadir. Some people have appropriately named the period between these two occasions as "the imamate period".

Basij Week is also an important and memorable occasion. We commemorate many other weeks each year, but Basij Week has an exceptional feature because the Basij itself is exceptional and unique. I do not know of another group of people who utilize their best and most faithful members to defend their country and government with all their heart and soul, who do not shun any difficulties in the way of jihad and defense. At least, this is unprecedented in the contemporary world - the world of revolutions, transformations, and different systems of government. The Basij is particular to our Revolution. And it was our insightful Imam Khomeini (r.a.) who discovered this reality and put it into practice through divine inspiration and assistance. The enlightened hearts of our faithful people bestowed this blessing on the Revolution. That is what the Basij is.

In its genuine sense, the Basij is the secret behind the country's resistance, permanence, and grandeur. It is very important that a group of most faithful and competent people courageously enter different arenas according to the needs of their country and make use of all their capabilities without demanding any compensation or expecting any recognition. We fail to notice the importance of the Basij because it has been with us for a long time, and because we are used to it. The Basij is an unparalleled force.

Defending national independence and the borders of the country was the first arena that attracted the Basij. It was a matter of laying down their lives. It was a matter of abstaining from all pleasures of life. Everybody entered the arena. Women, men, youth, and elderly people entered the arena and put their faith to the test. What test can be more difficult than what they went through? Like any other era, there were some people at the time who were not prepared to lay down their lives or endanger their wealth and comfort for the sake of the country, the Revolution, and national independence. But a large number of people entered with their heart and soul. They laid down their lives and risked their wealth and comfort to defend the independence and dignity of the country.

I assure you that if it had not been for the presence of the Basij during the eight-year Sacred Defense Era, the fate of the country would have been different now. The enemy would have dominated our country, and this public movement and public enthusiasm - which made the youth leave their families in order to defend their country, the Revolution, and the Islamic Republic - would not have been kindled. That was a great event.

Similarly, after the end of the imposed war, the Basij has been a pioneer in all arenas. When we needed to show off our political power and resistance to the world, mobilization of ordinary citizens throughout the country helped us realize this goal. When it was time for cultural work and construction of the country, the Basij made many great achievements across the country. Even in scientific arenas, our faithful youth - who are not after recognition - are making use of all the capacities. And their goal is to realize the ideals of the Islamic Republic. That is the meaning of the Basij. A large number of such youth entered the arena. Today our national achievements are the result of the efforts made by these precious and selfless people. Being unaware of the meaning of the Basij is an injustice to the Basij.

Some people think that the Basij is limited to the military units or organizations affiliated to the Basij. Of course the people serving in these organization and units are among our best Basijis, but the Basij is not limited to these military units. The Basij is present in all areas. Probably the number of Basijis doing non-military jobs - in universities, workshops, villages, cities, and Islamic seminaries as well as among nomads and people from various social backgrounds - is a hundred times more than the number of Basijis who serve at our military organizations. With its inexhaustible power, the Basij is present everywhere. The Basij is not dependant on money, social position, power, and orders from above. Faith and insight are the criteria for the Basij. Faith originates from the hearts of Basijis and makes them work hard. Similarly, insight tells them how to proceed, how to identify the criteria, and how to tread the path. That is the meaning of being a Basiji.

No other group is comparable to the Basij. And the current structure of the Basij is not imitable. This feature belongs exclusively to the Basij. Being unaware of this reality is an injustice to the Basij. When one understands the essence of the Basij, one realizes the reason behind the enmity and opposition of the enemies of the Revolution, the country, and the Islamic Republic to the Basij. Peaks of success are usually targeted more than other areas. Prominent points attract the enemy's attention more quickly.

The enemies know the importance of the presence of the Basij in the country and among the Iranian people. Therefore, they have focused their attacks on this efficient group. Of course this shows that the Basij is being oppressed, but being oppressed does not at all mean being weak. Even the most powerful people of the world were subjected to oppression. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) was the strongest person in different eras, yet he was oppressed more than other people. The Islamic Republic is one of the most powerful and influential governments in the contemporary world, but it is also subjected to oppression. Our magnanimous Imam - a strong man who could, and did, change the world - was one of the most oppressed people of his time. Therefore, being oppressed is not inconsistent with being powerful. The Basij is subjected to oppression, but at the same time, it is powerful, influential, and efficient. This influence will not be undermined, and the members of the Basij and Basij organizations should strengthen it on a daily basis. The Islamic Republic cannot be threatened as long as the Basij supports it. That is an indisputable reality. The Basij has proven its efficiency in different events.

The important point is that different faithful groups of people - from various social backgrounds and from different parts of the country who serve the Basij in perfect harmony - should take care not to provide the enemy with an opportunity to harm us. This is very important to do. All successful movements require two essential elements: Prediction and identifying the weaknesses and problems. Problems should be identified in order to eliminate the weaknesses. This is a kind of prediction and an absolute necessity for all movements, just as determining the path towards progress is.

Everybody has realized this reality. Everybody has realized that the confrontation of the arrogant powers with the Islamic Republic is not like the kind of confrontation in the first decade of the Revolution. They were defeated in their muscle-flexing at that time. They waged a war on us and staged a coup d'état. They staged ethnic uprisings and a coup d'état in the beginning of the Revolution, but they were defeated. They imposed the eight-year war on us, and they were defeated. Therefore, they will not try such methods any longer - it is unlikely. Of course we should always be completely vigilant, but direct confrontation is not currently a priority for the arrogant powers. Their priority is what is called the "soft war" - that is, a war fought through cultural means and influence, through lies, and through slandering. The soft war is fought through the communication facilities which were not available 10, 15, or 30 years ago. The soft war means creating doubts in the hearts and minds of the people.

Creating suspicion and discord among the people of a society is one of the techniques used in a soft war. They just find a pretext and foment discord among the people. As you saw, after the presidential election, they used certain pretexts and fomented discord among the people. Fortunately, our people have insight. Similar actions turned some countries upside down. Using a pretext like elections, they simply create doubts and suspicion and line up one group of people against another. In the mean time, they force their spiteful puppets to engage in illegal actions, leaving government officials wondering who did what. This is one of their main plots. This is what they are trying to do.

In such a situation, one should see what the most important thing is. Insight is the most important thing in such situations. That is why I have stressed the importance of insight on many occasions so far. The people should know what is happening. They should see the masterminds who use public gatherings to get their treacherous agents to do what they want. This is what the enemy is trying to do. Any measure that provides insight and helps distinguish treacherous elements from ordinary citizens is good. On the contrary, any measure that creates turmoil, confusion, and suspicion is harmful. Any measure that creates an atmosphere of slandering - and makes criminals and innocent people hard to distinguish - is harmful.

I emphasize that the Iranian people and different political movements should unite against the few people who are opposed to the very basis of this Revolution and our national independence - the people whose goal is to offer the country to the US and the arrogant powers on a silver platter. They have such elements in all countries. There are a few such individuals among our people too. The people, including the elites, should be distinguished from the mercenaries of the enemy. They must not be mixed up. Some comments create such confusion that the people become puzzled and start to suspect their fellow countrymen, the elites, and the government officials. It is not right to make such comments.

Of course some people, some newspapers, and some elements do not listen to advice. They do not want to take our advice. It is not clear who determines the policies of these organizations, newspapers, and media. It is not clear where their policies are formulated. Fomenting discord is their source of livelihood. But I advise those who are after national interests and are willing to uncover the realities to ignore these minor and illogical disagreements.

It is not right to start and spread rumors. One can clearly see that they are openly and explicitly slandering the government officials, the officials who shoulder the burden of national duties. They spread rumors about our government officials - including the President, the Majlis Speaker, the Head of the Expediency Council, and the Head of the Judiciary. These are the officials of the country. They are the ones who have been entrusted with a certain duty. The people should trust them. It is not right to spread rumors about them, which is what the enemy desires. The enemy wants to spread rumors. It wants to make the people suspicious of their fellow countrymen and their government officials.

You saw that in the beginning of the post-election events - the post-election fitna - the first thing they did was create doubts about the government officials, including the members of the Guardian Council as well as the Interior Ministry. These efforts to create doubts are what the enemy desires, and they are very harmful. Religious faith, insight, and respect for the accepted criteria are what our Basiji youth should take into consideration.

Entering various arenas is among the important points that the Basij should take into account. The approach which was recently announced to the members of the Basij - the approach to science, scientific innovation, and cultural endeavors - is very auspicious. There are many things that cannot be done in the absence of the Basiji spirit and religious faith. I assure you that as long as the Basij serves this country and as long as the spirit of sincerity and selfless services exists among our people, especially our youth, the enemy will not be able to deal any blows to the Revolution and the Islamic Republic.

And those who are encouraged by the enemy to confront the Islamic Republic, the Constitution, and this great public movement are bashing their heads against a brick wall. You should be careful. You should not label people as munafiq as soon as they make a mistake. It is not right to say that a person is opposed to Vilayat-e Faqih as soon as he says something that goes against what we believe in. You should be very careful in your judgments. That is my advice to the dear enthusiastic youth living in different parts of the country. You should strongly preserve your motivation with perfect faith and optimism. But you should also be careful when making judgments in specific cases. Being careless can sometimes inflict great losses on us.

Rely on Allah the Exalted and ask Him for help. I will always pray for you. By Allah's favor, all of you as well as all youth of the country and all the esteemed Iranian people will enjoy the attention of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). Hopefully, his prayers will help our nation tread its path.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings