Leader's Address to Air Force Personnel

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on February 8, 2010 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a meeting with Air Force personnel.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Welcome dear audience, commanders, officers, and everybody who is active in the important arena of revolutionary efforts. The 19th of Bahman was a very important day in the history of the Revolution. The great event [that took place on that day] which most of you dear youth have heard about and which people of my age have personally witnessed was driven solely by divine motives and sincerity. It was for this reason that the event became very significant at that time and went down in history. That is the characteristic of divine and sincere efforts. They stand the test of time and become significant. And this significance is not particular to the period in which such an event takes place - it continues to exert constant influence. That is the characteristic of the efforts made for a divine cause. The day the young members of the Air Force pledged allegiance to Imam Khomeini (r.a.) and broke great political ground, they were not motivated by a desire to achieve a position, make money, or even get approval. The only thing they could expect was danger. Therefore, they were not driven by any motives other than divine motives. That day this divine event proved to be significant, and it is still significant even after the passage of 31 years.

We are in the latter part of the month of Safar and only a few days have passed since Arbaeen. If we take a look at the early history of Islam, we will realize that these days belong to Zeinab (s.a.). And what Zeinab (s.a.) did was also divine. That is to say, she went into the heart of threats and hardships for the sake of Allah the Exalted. It behooves us to know and to understand our glorious [religious] history which has been a source of intellectual blessings so far and which will hopefully benefit us until the end of time.

Zeinab (s.a.) played an unparalleled role on the way to Karbala with Imam Hussein (a.s.), on the day of Ashura with all those hardships, and after Imam Hussein (a.s.) had been martyred. It is impossible to find a similar figure in history. Later on numerous events took place - during her captivity, in Kufa, and in Sham. Because of these great selfless efforts, Zeinab al-Kubra (s.a.) gained a prominent position before Allah the Exalted, and this is something that we cannot describe.

In the Holy Quran Allah the Exalted mentions the names of two women as perfect examples of faith. God also mentions the names of two women as examples of infidelity. "Allah sets forth, for an example to the unbelievers, the wife of Noah and the wife of Lut: They were (respectively) under two of our righteous servants" [The Holy Quran, 66: 10]. These two women exemplify infidelity. That is to say, Allah the Exalted mentions women, not men, as examples of both infidelity and faith. "And Allah sets forth, as an example to those who believe the wife of Pharaoh" [The Holy Quran, 66: 11]. He mentions the wife of Pharaoh and Mary as two perfect examples of faith. "And Mary the daughter of Imran" [The Holy Quran, 66: 12].

A brief comparison between Zeinab al-Kubra (s.a.) and the wife of Pharaoh would show the greatness of Zeinab al-Kubra's (s.a.) position. In the Holy Quran the wife of Pharaoh has been recognized as the example of faith for both men and women until the end of time. But just compare the wife of Pharaoh - who had faith in Moses' prophethood and had been enchanted by his guidance - with Zeinab al-Kubra. When she was tortured by Pharaoh - according to narrations and historical texts, she passed away due to the torture she suffered - she was frustrated by the physical pain. She said, "O my Lord, build for me, in nearness to You, a mansion in the Garden, and save me from Pharaoh and his doings." [The Holy Quran, 66: 11] In fact, she was praying for her death: "And save me from Pharaoh and his doings." This was while her problem was only the physical torture. Unlike Zeinab al-Kubra, she had not suffered the loss of several brothers, two children, and many of her relatives and nephews. She had not watched her dear ones go to the battlefield where they were supposed to be killed. Asiah - the wife of Pharaoh - did not have to endure the psychological pains that Zeinab al-Kubra went through.

On the day of Ashura Zeinab al-Kubra watched many of her dear ones go to the battlefield to get martyred. She watched Hussein ibn Ali (a.s.), Abbas, Ali Akbar, Qasem, her children, and other dear ones go to the battlefield. After they were martyred, she went through all those pains: The invasion of the enemy, disrespect, and the responsibility to take care of the surviving children and women. Is it possible to compare the enormity of this tragedy with physical pain? But when she was faced with these difficulties, Zeinab al-Kubra did not tell God to save her. She did not say, "O my Lord, save me." On the day of Ashura she said, "O God, accept this from us." While the shredded body of her brother lay in front of her eyes, tells God, "O God, accept this sacrifice from us." When she was asked to describe what she had seen, she replied, "I did not see anything but beauty." All those tragedies were beautiful to Zeinab al-Kubra because they were from and for God - because they were supposed to promote the word of God. See how different this position, this patience, and this love of justice and truth are compared to Asiah's position described in the Holy Quran. This shows the greatness of Zeinab's position.

This is the nature of actions that are carried out for the sake of God. Therefore, Zeinab's actions are currently a model, and her name and achievements will remain until the end of time. The permanence of Islam and the divine path and continuation of this path by God's servants are based on what Hussein ibn Ali (a.s.) and Zeinab al-Kubra (s.a.) did. That is to say, as a result of the great patience, resistance, and endurance of hardships, you see that religious values have gained a lot of ground in the modern world. All these human values, which are consistent with human nature in different schools of thought, are rooted in religious values. These values have been promoted by religion. That is the nature of efforts for a divine cause.

The efforts that led to the Islamic Revolution were of the same nature. Therefore, the Revolution became permanent and gained spiritual as well as material stability and power. It stood the test of time. This Revolution was for God. The day this Revolution started and this movement was triggered, it was not like a movement started by political parties in order to gain power. It was a movement started by the oppressed in order to practice divine teachings, establish an Islamic society, and administer justice in society. Those who made selfless efforts to help the Revolution achieve victory and gain stability and permanence were driven by purely divine motives. The members of the Air Force who were martyred were among those people. The martyred members of the Armed Forced were among those people. Those who made efforts for a divine cause - God made their efforts fruitful. This is what the enemies of the Revolution cannot understand. This is what the systems of arrogance and Zionism cannot understand. They cannot understand that the strength of this Revolution is due to the fact that it has been established for a divine cause and that it has been built on the foundations of sincerity and selfless efforts. For that reason, the Revolution and the Islamic Republic can capture hearts.

Just see how many media outlets - including radio stations, television channels, and various other types of media outlets - are currently working against the Islamic Republic using the most advanced methods. Hundreds of intellectuals have been employed for this purpose. Each and every day they make a new statement, invent a new slogan, introduce a new idea, and hatch a new plot against this Revolution. But they cannot deal any blows to the Revolution. They cannot harm the Islamic Republic in any way. Why is that? The firmness of the Islamic Republic is due to the fact that it has been built on the foundations of faith in God. And those who trod this path were driven by divine motives.

The Islamic Republic is not like other systems of government. Today there is no other government in the world that is able to put up this kind of resistance while being the focus of such propaganda, political and economic pressure, and sanctions. There is no such thing in the world today. But the Islamic Republic is resisting, and it will do so in the future as well. Everybody should know this. Neither America, nor Zionism, nor all the arrogant and bullying powers of the world will ever manage to shake a single foundation of the Islamic Republic through political means, economic methods, sanctions, allegations, or provoking their agents inside the country.

Reliance on religious faith and Allah the Exalted is the secret behind the permanence of this Revolution. Therefore, you see that whenever the people throughout the country feel that the Revolution is exposed to a kind of hostility or that an enemy is seriously threatening it, they start a public movement without any notice. You saw what happened in this country on the 9th of Dey. The enemies of the Revolution, who always try to say that only thousands of people take part in our million-strong demonstrations, admitted that the public movement on that day was unparalleled in the past 20 years in Iran. This is what they wrote and said. This was admitted by those who try to deny the realities about the Islamic Republic. What is the reason? The reason is that when the people feel that the enemy has deployed its forces against the Islamic Republic, they step in.

This is a movement that is rooted in faith and public emotions. Such movement is driven by divine motives. It is carried out by the powerful hand of God, by divine determination. Such things are not in my hands or in the hands of people like me. Hearts are controlled by God. Human will is controlled by the will of God. When a movement becomes divine, and when it is carried out sincerely and for the sake of God, Allah the Exalted will safeguard it. Therefore, He says, "Surely Allah will defend those who believe." [The Holy Quran, 22: 38] The enemies of the Islamic Republic cannot understand this, and they have not been able to understand it so far. As a result, they threaten us. They vainly make statements and use different methods to find a weak point for the Islamic Republic. Sometimes they mention human rights and, other times, democracy - tricks that are truly ridiculous to the people of the world today. They speak about public opinion, but if public opinion could believe the statements made by America and the Zionists, different nations across the world would not show their hatred for the heads of arrogance on various occasions. But you see that they are showing their hatred. Wherever they go, there is a group of people who shout slogans against them. It is clear that global public opinion has not been deceived by their tricks.

Those who claim to support human rights trample on the most basic human rights in their prisons, in different parts of the world, in their relations with other nations, and even in their own countries! These people are talking about human rights! They legitimize torture! Is this not a shame for a country? When a country legitimizes the torture of its prisoners, is it not a source of disgrace for that country? Yet, they claim to support human rights! They claim to defend human honor! When their audience throughout the world compare their claims with their behavior, they make fun of them. Who would believe such claims?

They claim to support democracy, but they form bonds of brotherhood with the most autocratic and the most reactionary governments in different parts of the world, especially in our region. What Middle Eastern regimes have the strongest ties with America today? What about North African regimes? Are there any regimes that are more autocratic than them? They claim to support democracy, but they use "democracy" against the Islamic Republic - a brilliant democracy that is able to attract 85 percent of the eligible voters to ballot boxes. This is ridiculous. Everybody can see this. The observers across the world and those who know and understand the realities laugh at this American attitude.

The Iranian nation is a vigilant nation. It is experienced. Dear brothers, the problems we are currently dealing with are not new. Some of you can remember - and the youth should know - that these things have been going on between the systems of arrogant and the Iranian nation. They are not new - their threats which have always been futile, their sanctions, their slanders, and their allegations. Amid this propaganda campaign, the Islamic Republic has managed to make these achievements. Today the Air Force is not comparable with the Air Force we had during the early years of the Revolution. Your current expertise, capabilities, weaponry, manpower progress, and various innovations are neither comparable with the early years of the Revolution nor with 20 years ago.

We made increasing progress on a daily basis. This is true of all areas in the country. This country with its great capabilities in missile technology, biology, nuclear and laser technology - which you have heard about - and various other areas is the same country that had to import the most basic weapons at the beginning of the Revolution. Our country had to borrow from different countries. We had to buy the most basic things from abroad, and they refused to sell them to us. We had to pay several times more than the real price, and we had nothing of our own. The same Army, the same Armed Forces, and the same Air Force have now made these achievements. And the same academic, scientific, and technological units have now achieved this position. We have managed to make these achievements in spite of being the focus of these hostilities, threats, and sanctions. Are you trying to intimate the Iranian nation with threats and sanctions?

The important point is that our dear people should maintain their unity and unanimity. This unanimity is a thorn in the eyes of the enemies. Their efforts are focused on undermining the unanimity of our people. I believe the most important goal of the post-election fitna - a few months ago - was to create a rift among our people. Their efforts were focused on this goal. They wanted to create a split in our nation, but they could not do that. Today it has become clear that those who stood in the way of the Iranian nation's great movement in the election are not part of the nation. They are either clearly anti-revolutionary or individuals who engage in anti-revolutionary activities due to their ignorance and obstinacy. They have nothing to do with the general public. The people are continuing their path - the path of God, the path of Islam, the path of the Islamic Republic, the path of practicing divine teachings, and the path of achieving glory and independence under the aegis of Islam. This is what our nation's movement is.

Of course some people were opposed to this all along. Since the beginning some people wanted America to restore its hegemony and oppressive domination over this country. That was what they were seeking to achieve. And even now they do not try to hide their intentions. Such people are working both inside and outside the country. There is no doubt in this regard. The children of those who were harmed by this Revolution and the children of the mercenaries of the evil Pahlavi regime are not dead. They are still active. The same grudges of the past 30 years still exist, and they have been there since the beginning. They have been there since the beginning of the Revolution, and they will be there in the future as well. There are some other people who oppose the basis of Islamic rule and Islamic jurisprudence, let alone Islamic jurisprudents. They have a problem with Islam. However, all these people are only a small camp.

Our people have united in order to promote Islam and the cause of God. This unity is for the sake of God. Our people are unanimous though they may have different political tastes. They want to undermine this unity. And the people are resisting. By Allah's favor, through their unity and unanimity the honorable people of Iran will give all arrogant powers, America, England, and the Zionists a punch in the mouth on the 22nd of Bahman and will once again leave them stunned.

The Islamic Republic will continue its path under the aegis of Islam - the path of glory, security, justice, and democracy rooted in Islamic thought. It will continue without any doubts or weaknesses, and future generation will be the judge of that. You should know that our youth and future generations will continue our path towards the peaks relying on great experience of opposing the arrogant powers accumulated by the nation, and they will achieve those peaks. The Iranian nation deserves to achieve those peaks. A clever, innovative, and faithful nation that enjoys Islamic freedom - which has been bestowed on it by the Revolution - can never be thwarted in its movement. By Allah's favor, you dear youth will see that day. You should make serious efforts in your areas of responsibility. Everybody should make serious efforts in their areas of responsibility.

As the esteemed Air Force commander said, the Air Force has made good advances. I am aware of the advances made by the Air Force in different areas, but it must not stop making further advances. Do not be satisfied with the current situation. Make use of the innovations. What you deserve is more than this, and your nation deserves an Air Force that is even more powerful than this. The Armed Forces - including the Air Force - must show the glory and strength of the Iranian nation. They must be a manifestation of the resistance and power of this nation. And by Allah's favor, that is what will happen.

I hope Allah the Exalted will associate the souls of the martyred members of Islamic Republic of Iran's Armed Forces with His saints in the hereafter. I hope He will also associate the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam with His saints. May the holy heart of the Imam of the Age (a.s.) be satisfied with all of you.

Greeting be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings