Leader’s Speech to Basijis of Kermanshah

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on October 14, 2011 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a meeting with basijis of Kermanshah province.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Two Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Muhammad, and upon his immaculate and pure household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.

I have been familiar with Kermanshah and its people since a long time ago. But during the past two, three days, Allah the Exalted gave me another opportunity to meet you dear people of Kermanshah and observe your behavior, which made me respect Kermanshah and its people even more than before. I am thankful to God who bestowed His grace and guidance on these pure-hearted, pious, sincere and magnanimous people. Thankfully, the young generation of this region and this province have inherited the same positive and outstanding characteristics that defined the social behavior of their forefathers. More importantly, the revolutionary thought, the revolutionary current, the revolutionary spirit, the revolutionary logic and the revolutionary discourse are alive in this region.

Today's programs were good programs. I would like to thank the esteemed people who planned this meeting. Both the song and Varzesh-e Bastani [traditional Iranian martial arts] were performed well. I seriously ask the youth who are interested in sports and are physically capable to take their skill seriously. Besides spiritual and intellectual progress and what the Revolution has brought for us - which I will explain briefly later on - our young generation should acquire physical capabilities as well. Physical health and capabilities are absolutely necessary and beneficial for the men who pursue lofty goals in life and are interested in the spiritual and intellectual aspect of life.

In today's meeting, the main discussion is about Basij and the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps. The Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps should be considered a branch of the Revolution and the Islamic Republic. And Basij should be considered a unique event among the events of the Revolution.

One of the things that is necessary in every popular movement is to create the necessary terminology and systems on the basis of the fundamental principles of the movement. When a new idea - such as the idea of Islamic rule or Islamic Awakening - is proposed, it introduces new concepts into society. Therefore, this movement needs its own terminology. If terms are borrowed from somewhere else, there will be confusion and it will be impossible to fully clarify the idea.

We believe in democracy and we also believe in freedom, but we do not believe in liberal democracy. Although the literal meaning of "liberal democracy" is freedom coupled with democracy, the term is commonly associated with certain concepts which we hate. We do not want to use the term for the immaculate, wholesome, righteous and pure concept that we have in mind. Therefore, we need to select a new name for our favorite system: "Islamic democracy" or "Islamic Republic". Similarly, we do not want to use the term "socialism" to refer to the concept of equitable distribution of wealth among people, which is one of the lofty and essential goals of Islam. Although the literal meaning of socialism is equitable distribution of wealth, it is associated with other concepts which we hate. Over time, socialism has come to be associated with certain things in society that are unacceptable to us. Therefore, instead of the terms that are common among leftist, Marxist and similar elements, we introduced the terms "arrogance", "imposition of weakness" and "populism". What I mean by "we" is the Revolution and I am not suggesting that particular individuals played an undeniable role in this regard.

The same is true of building systems. When a revolution or a movement achieves victory, it should create its own executive systems in order to pursue its goals. One of the things that can be done is to adapt the existing systems in society. Another thing that can be done is to create a system that is appropriate for the new needs. Both are difficult. The Islamic Revolution did both of these things. For example, the military which had been built by a different system and different individuals was transformed into a revolutionary and pious army. The structures were changed. The methods were changed. The slogans were changed. It was totally transformed. In the process, a new organization branched off from the military - namely, the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps. If the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps had not branched off from the military, it would have been impossible to transform the military. These were the capacities of the Revolution which our magnanimous Imam utilized by relying on his accurate understanding of the existing and future needs of our society. And he followed up the issue in a determined and powerful way.

It was Imam Khomeini (r.a.) who proposed the idea of establishing Basij and "an army of twenty million". This massive movement by Basij was one of the miraculous things that the Revolution achieved under the leadership of Imam Khomeini (r.a.).

As I said the other day, when a government is established to achieve such lofty ideals as confronting global oppression, international hegemony of superpowers, imposed backwardness and arrogance - ideals which appear to be unattainable - it would naturally make big enemies, and great powers would step in to counter such a government. Therefore, it is necessary for such a government to prepare itself. Basij is one of the pillars of such preparedness.

This was why Imam Khomeini (r.a.) said that when there are 20 million people in a country who are prepared to put up an armed resistance, no power in the world will think of conquering that country. All powers realize that attacking such a country will cost them dearly. The idea of "an army of twenty million" was proposed by Imam Khomeini (r.a.). Of course, he said twenty million at a time when our population was around 40 million. Later on, I proposed the idea of "an army of tens of millions". And this reflects the fact of the situation. Of course, this does not mean that the entire society should be militarized and that everybody should be armed with guns. It only means that everybody should be prepared for armed defense. A country in which everybody is prepared for battle would never be defeated. Any plot would prove ineffective against a country with this level of preparedness. It was Imam Khomeini (r.a.) who introduced this innovation. Therefore, in Azar 1358, he ordered the establishment of Basij in the country and he had the same serious attitude towards Basij until the end of his life. "Basij is the school of love." "Basij is the school of humble witnesses and martyrs." "Basij is the pure army of God." These are quotations from our magnanimous Imam, which show that he had properly identified the existing and future needs of this country, this nation and this system. Preparedness for armed defense is something that we will always need, even after 50 years.

Of course, Basij was established in the year 1358 in order to fulfill the needs of those days. Today Basij addresses other needs. The issues that exist today did not exist at that time. Today Basij is a pioneer in the area of knowledge and innovation. This was the genius of Imam Khomeini (r.a.). Towards the end of his life, in a statement written in Azar 1367 - namely, around ten years after he ordered the establishment of Basij - Imam Khomeini (r.a.) demanded that students and seminarians should establish Basij for students of universities and Islamic seminaries. This shows that the need for the basiji spirit in the country is related to all areas, particularly areas that are related to universities and Islamic seminaries. Today in our Islamic seminaries, there are great basiji scholars who are proud of being members of Basij. Our magnanimous Imam was also proud of being a basiji. He used to say that he was proud of being a basiji. The same is true of universities. In universities, basiji students and professors have given rise to a progressive and pioneering movement.

Today in all areas, we have issues that did not exist at that time. These scientific advances did not exist at that time. At the beginning of the Revolution, Basij, the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps and all government officials had focused their attention on safeguarding the existence of the Revolution. They had focused all their attention on protecting the sampling that had just germinated in this country. In the western, southeastern, northwestern and southwestern parts of the country and in different other areas, the arrogant powers and the enemies of the Revolution, Islam and Iran had given rise to certain events. At that time, pious and enthusiastic youth would enter the arena and lay down their life with a basiji spirit. Yesterday I mentioned examples of such youth from Kermanshah in the meeting with families of our martyrs. I also mentioned other examples the day before yesterday. One month after the Revolution, one would see these popular movements being carried out by the youth of Kermanshah. This is what Basij is. Basij is a movement that originates from piety, love and self-confidence and it is accompanied by innovation.

It is necessary to introduce innovations in all areas. For example, I noticed that the performance of Varzesh-e Bastani at the beginning of this meeting was full of innovations. When I was young, I used to watch performances of Varzesh-e Bastani. Varzesh-e Bastani used to be performed everywhere in a particular way. Of course, it was not bad. It was actually good, but there were not so many innovations. Today I saw that these youth had adorned Varzesh-e Bastani with different kinds of innovations and subtleties. It was a beautiful innovation. It is possible to introduce such innovations in all areas. Innovation in command, innovation in warfare, innovation in weaponry, innovation in organizing forces - these areas are related to the Armed Forces. We can introduce innovation in diplomacy as well. There are different kinds of wicked acts in the vast arena of diplomacy. You can see that diplomacy is the arena of wicked acts. Of course, thankfully our enemies do not know what to do. They take different actions and make different mistakes. They fall into different pitfalls and they fail to learn from their mistakes. They constantly repeat their mistakes: for example, in the statements that they make in their propaganda. The arena of diplomacy is such an arena. There is a need for vigilance. There is a need for innovative action. These things result from the revolutionary spirit which we call the basiji spirit and the spirit of youth, innovation, pioneering action and self-confidence.

The same is true of the economic area, scientific progress and activities related to production. Therefore, the activities of Basij and the basiji spirit are not limited to a particular area such as military areas. All sectors of the country can have a basiji spirit. Basiji acquisition of knowledge, basiji accumulation of wealth, basiji diplomacy, basiji politics, basiji management, basiji organization - the concept of Basij can be extended to all these areas. The concept includes innovation and sincerity.

Sincerity is the main pillar of basiji work. "Obscure" is one of the words that our magnanimous Imam used: "The school of witnesses and obscure martyrs." Obscurity means refusing to go after fame. They worked for the sake of God, which is due to the spirit of trust in God. We know that God records everything. Sometimes you engage in worship without anybody knowing, but you are confident that God is paying attention and that your worship will be recorded. God's angels will not let your worship go unnoticed. No, your worship will be recorded: "He who has done an atom's weight of good shall see it." [The Holy Quran, 99: 7] The same is true of social activities. Sometimes you do something or make a decision for the sake of God without anybody knowing. And you do not boast about your decision in front of anybody, but Allah the Exalted sees and records what you do. When you trust Allah the Exalted, you do not care if other people find out about your good deeds or not. Even if they find out what you did, to what extent can they compensate you for your work? Compared with divine rewards, what is the value of this material compensation? This is how a basiji thinks. This is why a basiji works with sincerity for the sake of God. Sincerity is one of the characteristics of basijis. If there is sincerity, then egoism, self-centeredness and things of similar nature will go away. Unlawful accumulation of wealth will be prohibited. All these things result from polytheism, covert polytheism. When there is sincerity and monotheism, these things will be eliminated. This is the basiji spirit. This basiji spirit can reveal itself in national management and organization and in different other activities, including religious and personal activities.

Of course, the military sector has an advantage. When we say Basij is everywhere, this does not mean we should neglect "the army of twenty million" or "the army of tens of millions" which was introduced after Imam Khomeini (r.a.) had passed away. No, that basiji army is necessary. Considering the wishes, ideals and ambitions of our nation, it is necessary to be constantly prepared for defense: defense that is accompanied by innovation. This is why we completely support basiji ways of organization. And the depth of thought and insight should be taken into consideration in these ways of organization. That is to say, our dear youth should be aware and they should move forward in a conscious way. They should know what they are looking for.

In a situation in which truth has been mixed up with falsehood in the world, in a situation in which evil individuals have spread their oppressive and satanic hegemony over the life of human beings, in a situation in which the arrogant powers have dominated the world, there is a nation that speaks the truth, a nation that is after the truth, a nation that is after human rights, a nation that is after establishing justice in this confusion. And this nation is the Iranian nation - thanks to Islam and the Revolution. The Iranian nation has stood firm. Because of the resistance of the Iranian nation, this thought has gradually gained ground in the region and in the world although we might only see the effects in the region only. This is a fact.

It is obvious that the devils of the world will not leave us alone. They will not give up as long as they can fight. As long as the corrupt and wicked government of the Soviet Union was in power, it was opposed to Islam and the Islamic system, just like the so-called system of liberal democracy. You know that they disagreed about many issues, but there were a few issues that they all agreed on. One of those issues - and the most important one - was confronting Islamic uprisings, Islamic progress and Islamic systems. But the corrupt and satanic system of the Soviet Union was annihilated and this new system will be annihilated as well. However, as long as they exist, they will try their best to counter the Islamic system. Of course, there is no doubt that their efforts are futile. If our side resists patiently and does not lose its hope, we will definitely achieve victory. This is a divine law. Allah the Exalted is truthful. "And surely Allah will help him who helps His cause." [The Holy Quran, 22: 40] "If you help (the cause of) Allah, He will help you." [The Holy Quran, 47: 7]

One camp is after the truth and the opposing camp is after falsehood. If the righteous camp is afraid, it is clear that it will be defeated: it might be righteous, yet it will be defeated. If the righteous camp grows impatient, it will be defeated. If the righteous camp fails to act according to the requirements of its righteous position and goes after material things and pleasure, it will be defeated. Allah the Exalted has not guaranteed victory for the righteous side simply because it is righteous. No, you will achieve victory because you are righteous and because you resist. If you resist, you will achieve victory. But until you achieve ultimate victory, the battle and the confrontation will go on.

There should always be a competent, vigilant and strong defense force that is prepared for hard work. This is the basiji spirit. The Army can have a basiji spirit. The Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps can have a basiji spirit. Basiji units, which have been established on this foundation, can have a basiji spirit. Governmental organizations can have a basiji spirit. The police can have a basiji spirit. The diplomatic system of the country can have a basiji spirit. If these things happen, victory will be definite and swift. This is how we should look at basijis and the basiji spirit, and we should try to strengthen this spirit as much as we can.

Supporting and defending the firm and unchanging Islamic principles is among the most essential duties of Basij, which contributes to the identity of Basij. This was also mentioned by Imam Khomeini (r.a.): unchanging Islamic principles. In this case, the role of Basij is to rise above the situation and make sure the general path of the Revolution and the Islamic system does not deviate from the right path. Basij guards against deviations. Basij stands up against deviations wherever it spots them. One characteristic of Basij is that it follows a straight path towards the lofty goals of the Islamic Revolution without any deviations. Another characteristic of Basij is its broad perspective, a perspective that is not limited to a particular era. Problems might occur in certain sectors, but the general path of the movement must be straight. This is the basiji perspective.

I deem it necessary to point out that Basij - with the characteristics that I mentioned earlier - is committed to the rules and values that were cohesively built into the framework of the Islamic system. There should be innovation, but not lack of discipline. Some people make a mistake in this regard. They think that basijis are not committed to the laws and regulations that have been established in society. No, this is wrong. This is a mistake. Of course, if the general identity of Basij - which reveals itself in the framework of the Islamic system, including the Leadership and legislative organizations - perceives a particular regulation as an obstacle, it will change that regulation. Basij will change that regulation, but this does not mean that Basij gives rise to chaos and lack of discipline. During the war, certain people used to say that Basij moves forward without any limits. They used to say that Basij does not have any brakes. The reason was that at the frontlines, Basijis insisted that they should attack the enemy as soon as possible. Their youthful enthusiasm and dynamism would attract them towards the battlefields. Their commanders did not always agree with them. They had to control the basijis. This kind of disagreement was always going on in different parts of the battlefields. They used to say that Basij does not have any brakes. This does not mean that Basij lacks discipline. It does not mean that Basij should lack discipline or that lack of discipline is a value. Not at all. Discipline is a value. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) used to tell his children: "I advise you to fear God and organize your affairs." You should have discipline in your work. Lack of discipline and harmony creates problems and this is true everywhere. It is discipline that prepares the ground for success.

A military force that lacks discipline is totally useless. The rules that exist in the Armed Forces - the parades, the military formations, the badges, the uniforms and the discipline - are not just observed for the sake of appearances. No, the purpose of these rules is to make the military become used to discipline. You are told in the military that you must move in a particular way and that you must not go one single step beyond a particular point. This is discipline. Fortunately, today we see that these things are fully observed both in the Army and the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps. Discipline is a necessity. If you take discipline away from a military organization or unit, it becomes totally useless. For example, there are thousands of soldiers in a brigade. When so many people are put together, they cannot act as efficiently as they should. But when they are organized into a brigade and a number of battalions, companies and platoons and are assigned a commander and specific responsibilities, then they become efficient. Otherwise, if thousands of people are put together without such discipline and orders, they become inefficient. This shows the importance of discipline. Therefore, discipline is a value and lack of discipline is not. Anarchy is not a value. Acting according to the law is a value. Pay attention to this point. This is one side of the issue. Another side of the issue is that it is wrong to resort to certain restrictive regulations in order to derail and isolate innovative movements that originate from the basiji spirit. If it is observed that a particular regulation thwarts innovation and progress, those who are responsible for changing that regulation should take action and remove the obstacle. On the one hand, it is necessary to avoid chaos and anarchy. On the other hand, it is necessary to remove the regulations that create needless obstacles and restrictions. Those who are responsible for large-scale management in different sectors should pay attention to these points. This is part of our view of Basij.

I would tell you that the future of the country is a very bright future. Contrary to what our enemies have constantly said - and their statements have been repeated by some spiteful and malevolent people inside the country - and contrary to all their propaganda which convinces some naïve people, the movement of the Islamic Republic has been a successful movement. This is what our experience shows us. This is not wishful thinking. We do not want to create illusions and keep ourselves happy by doing so. No, we look at the realities on the ground and see that the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation have made progress over the past 32 years thanks to this system: advances that are far more outstanding that the advances commonly achieved by other nations in the world. Certain nations are good at management and they have made good achievements, but this movement by the Iranian nation has been more successful than the normal achievements that have been made throughout the world. This is true of all areas. We have made progress in all areas.

There are certain problems in society. The fact that we have made progress does not mean there are no problems in the country. It only means that we are moving towards perfection and improvement. This is true of all areas - political areas, scientific areas and different other areas - which can be inspirational and helpful for the managers who are working for different sectors of the country and the people in charge of large-scale management throughout the country.

Commitment to the values is the most important factor. Commitment to the principles and values that form the foundation of the Revolution are very important. My judgment is that this commitment is stronger than the past. It is a fact that at the beginning of the Revolution our youth were highly excited, which was due to the strong sentiments created by the Revolution. But the sentiments were not always deep.

I was in contact with university students at that time, just as I am today. I used to visit universities once a week and I used to answer the questions that were raised by the students. In Tehran and everywhere else I went, I was faced with questions from our students. Today the views are far deeper and far more profound than those days and they are based on careful reflection on the principles. There was excitement at that time and there was also a valuable and successful movement in the country. And many sacrifices were made. But today's youth are deeper. Today that revolutionary excitement no longer exists and the enemies are broadcasting a lot of negative propaganda against us, yet this is how our youth are today. There are some people who close their eyes to all these positive points and they focus their attention on problematic areas. They only see the problems. This is wrong. It is a fact that there are problems in the country. What is important is to see whether we are moving towards resolution of these problems or not. If we see that we are moving towards improvement and resolution of the problems, we should realize that we are successful in our work in spite of all that is happening in the world, a world in which our youth are being bombarded with negative propaganda.

Dear youth, make this view the foundation of your movement. Try to influence the people around you. Try to increase this depth. Try to increase your Islamic knowledge wherever you work. Fortunately, today the necessary means have been prepared. The writings of Shahid Motahhari and the writings of our outstanding religious scholars and luminaries who are living in Qom, Tehran and other places - these writings contain good points and good teachings. There is spirituality, rationality, precision and foresight in these writings. Try to transform your mind with these teachings and try to promote them among the people around you.

Of course, there is also the spirit of relationship with God. Try to strengthen your spiritual relationship with Allah the Exalted as much as you can. This is very valuable. Your youthful view, your sincere worship, your repentance, your divine remembrance, your appeal for divine assistance and your solemn praying are very effective. Do not forget this.

The gatherings that you arrange for divine remembrance and praying - try to imbue these gatherings with divine understanding. Dua Kumeyl coupled with an understanding of the relevant concepts, Dua Nudba and whatever else you engage in should be accompanied by divine understanding. It is necessary to benefit from the good, honorable and intellectual religious scholars of our country.

This movement is a successful movement and by Allah's favor, the Iranian nation will reach and conquer the peaks of global power thanks to the youthful, pious, basiji and innovative spirit that exists in the country. By Allah's favor, the Iranian nation will plant the flag of Islam at the peaks. Thirty years ago, nobody would have thought that Islamic and Quranic slogans would be shouted in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt. Today these slogans are heard in those countries and by Allah's favor, this wave is spreading throughout the world.

Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad and his household, bestow Your mercy and blessings on these pure and enlightened hearts. Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad and his household, help those of us who are working for different sectors of the country to act the way that satisfies You. Dear God, punish and suppress the enemies of this nation. Dear God, prepare the means that are necessary for the Islamic glory, honor and pride of this nation. Dear God, associate the pure souls of our honorable martyrs with Your Messenger and Your saints. Dear God, associate the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam with Your saints.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings