Leader's Speech in Meeting with Army Commanders and Personnel

 The following is the full text of the speech delivered on April 19, 2015 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with commanders and personnel of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army. The meeting was held on the occasion of Army Day.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I would like to welcome all the dear brothers and sisters and each and every one of the honorable participants, particularly the families of our dear martyrs. I hope that by Allah's favor, the great and valuable achievements of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army in the course of many years place a crown of honor on the head of this religious, patient and diligent organization. Also, I would like to congratulate all the honorable participants, the entire personnel of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army and their families on the occasion of Army Day. I express my sincere gratitude to you for your gathering in this meeting. I also thank you for the good song that you performed. Both its poem and its performance were innovative and good.

Without a doubt, one of the most prominent and valuable measures that our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) adopted was introducing Army Day. If we take a look at the motives that existed in those days in the minds of the enemies of Iran and the Revolution - these motives focused on all affairs of the country - we will understand that introducing a day as Army Day was a great, valuable and necessary task. Some of you youth do not remember those days and some of you were not born at that time. There was a very strong and dangerous motive - even from inside the army - to destroy the Islamic Republic of Iran Army. They made efforts and they put forward many ideas and philosophies for doing so.

Inside the army itself, there were certain agents who wanted to destroy the army in the name of a doctrinal and so-called "monotheistic" army. There were such motives, but Imam (r.a.) stood up against them. He understood that the army should remain strong and powerful, that it should play its part and that the factors which led to the separation of the people and the army during the time of taghut should be eliminated- and he eliminated them. The Islamic Republic of Iran Army remained in the middle of the arena and it played its part as a revolutionary - not just in words, rather in action - organization.

Before the beginning of the eight-year Defense Era - which was imposed on us - there were certain events as well, but during the eight-year Defense Era, all truths became clear. We used to witness what the Islamic Republic of Iran Army did in different areas. In this meeting and in other meetings, I have repeatedly spoken about the memories of those days and what happened in the arenas of war particularly in the outbreak of the war in the year 1359.

At that time, I witnessed up close what the Islamic Republic of Iran Army did. Later on - when I was the president and when I could not go to the front - I was informed of its achievements through reports and decision-making meetings. Therefore, this day should be commemorated. This memory should be preserved and the meaning of the 29th of Farvardin should be understood correctly. The 29th of Farvardin means that the Islamic Republic of Iran Army belongs to Iran, to the Revolution and the people. It means that the Army is at the service of the people's and the Revolution's goals.

As was manifested in the song that our dear youth performed, the Islamic Republic of Iran Army stood by the Revolution. This is the meaning of the 29th of Farvardin. The introduction of this day was a great accomplishment and it brought about permanent effects. From now on too, it will bring about more effects. By Allah's favor, you will grow in this atmosphere and environment and with this orientation. By Allah's favor, you will bring honor to your country.

One of the characteristics of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army is revolutionary and religious insight and religious commitment. This is a very great claim. Religious commitment means that the Army is committed to all rules and regulations that Islam has laid down for armed forces and military activities. When armies throughout the world feel victorious in a certain arena, they behave in an uncontrolled and frenzied way. They do things which are embarrassing. We have seen examples of such behavior in different countries. They behave like this - that is to say, they do not show mercy to anyone - small or big- when they feel victorious. And when they feel threatened, they do certain other things which are considered to be crimes from the viewpoint of holy sharia and even from the viewpoint of international law. Of course, global powers take no heed of international and human laws. They use forbidden weapons and they target civilians. Such crimes were frequently committed in the wars that America is involved in either directly or indirectly. This is the condition of armies throughout the world.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Army and the other armed forces of the Islamic Republic honor Islamic commitments. They do not behave in a chaotic manner when they achieve a victory. They do not use forbidden weapons and they do not carry out forbidden tasks when they are in danger. For a long time, our cities - whether our border cities or later on Tehran, Isfahan and many other cities - were the target of Saddam's savage and blind attacks and missiles. Saddam's missiles used to strike different neighborhoods of Tehran. These were missiles that were equipped and sold by European countries and guided by the Americans. It was they who identified targets for the Iraqis. Through aerial photography, military targets were given to the enemy and these missiles struck our cities and killed our defenseless people and civilians. They destroyed houses as well.

After some time, we acquired the ability to hit them back. We too managed to build missiles and retaliate. We could strike the cities - including Baghdad - which were within range. But Imam (r.a.) said to us, "If you want to hit a civilian area - areas other than military camps - you should announce on the radio that you want to strike such and such sites so that the people of Iraq can stay away". Notice that such commitments are not usual in the world.

The armed forces of many countries - as far we know, almost all countries in the world - do not have these commitments. Today, you can see an example of this in Yemen. Before that, you witnessed examples of such behavior in Palestine, Gaza, Lebanon and other areas. They do not have these commitments, but our Armed Forces - that abide by Islamic rules - observe them. If we have said that we do not use nuclear weapons, it is because of such commitments to Islam and to Islamic rules and regulations. This is one of the most prominent characteristics of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic.

Today, our enemies accuse the Islamic Republic of interfering in the affairs of such and such countries. This is not true and we do not do so. We do not interfere in the affairs of any country. Of course, we put up a brilliant defense where we are attacked, but we do not interfere in the affairs of any country. We hate those who attack defenseless people and civilians, kill children, murder women and destroy houses. We announce our hatred and detestation of such elements because they do not know anything about Islam, nor do they know anything about human conscience. The characteristic of our Armed Forces is that they are committed to Islamic principles and divine laws. Divine laws should be observed at all times, either in times of war or peace. This is one of the characteristics of our Armed Forces.

This is the reason why our Islamic Republic of Iran Army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and other Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic are popular among the people. The people witness that the Armed Forces think and act like themselves and that they have the same beliefs and care about the same values as they do. This strengthens the relationship between the people and the Armed Forces. This is one characteristic.

Another characteristic that our Armed Forces should pay attention to - fortunately, they have paid attention to it and this is completely clear - is acting on the holy ayah "Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies, of Allah and your enemies" [The Holy Quran, 8: 60]. This ayah means that you should not be taken by surprise. It means that if an enemy attacks you, you should not suffer a loss because of lack of resources, weapons, ammunitions and preparedness. This is because your loss will be the people's loss. Your loss will be Islam's loss. As I said, the achievements that our Armed Forces have made until today in this regard are exemplary. Fortunately, our country enjoys an acceptable and even outstanding rank in terms of scientific and technological achievements. But military achievements, and accomplishments in the area of weapons are among the best achievements of the country. The military equipment and resources that we have managed to provide in the course of these years are extraordinary considering the limited time that we had and considering the pressures and sanctions which were imposed on us.

Fortunately, our Armed Forces have managed to accomplish - either on their own or by benefiting from others' help - great feats in different areas. They have done so with planning and by benefiting from scientific and technological organizations. This should continue. What I want to stress is that the achievements of the country in the area of weapons and military preparedness should continue. Our enemies do not want this. Today, one of the tools to exert propaganda pressures on the Islamic Republic is this issue - the issue of missiles, drones, military resources and the achievements that have been made by our youth inside the country and without receiving any help from such and such a country. They do not want these achievements to exist and they want to prevent them. Reason and common sense - based on this holy ayah - tell us that you should continue this path.

The other side issues military threats against us with complete shamelessness. They constantly issue military threats. For some time, they were quiet, but a few days ago, one of them opened his mouth and talked about the options that are available on the table - specifically, the military option. Well, they use this bluff and make this extravagant claim, then they say that the Islamic Republic should give up its defense power. Is what they say not foolish? Even if they had not threatened us so outspokenly, it would have been necessary for us to think of "Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power". Even if they had not threatened us, we should have taken care of this and increased our preparedness- let alone now that they are threatening us outspokenly.

On the one hand, they threaten us and on the other hand, they say that we should not build missiles and adopt such and such measures. They constantly issue unreasonable and idiotic commands through their propaganda and international meetings. But this will not be the case. First, the Islamic Republic has proved and shown that it acts in a complete solid and powerful way when it comes to defending itself. If it is threatened, all the people gather together like a firm fist and stand up against transgressors and unreasonable aggressors. When it comes to defense, our people have complete solidarity and nothing can influence it. This is the first point. The second point is that the Islamic Republic will keep itself prepared. It will preserve its preparedness. This is the second point.

All the organizations of the Islamic Republic - ranging from the Ministry of Defense to the Islamic Republic of Iran Army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and different other organizations - should consider this to be their guideline. They should increase preparedness in the area of weapons, in the area of organization and in the area of what exerts the most influence in the armed forces - that is to say, morale and mental preparedness. Fortunately, our forces, our youth and our courageous men inside the country have no shortcomings in this regard. Fortunately, they are not short of morale at all. Having high morale and being completely prepared has been achieved. This was the goal of the Revolution, the 29th of Farvardin and the formation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps by our magnanimous Imam (r.a.). In the present time, despite the fact that many youth did not see the Revolution and Imam (r.a.) and despite the fact that they did not witness the war and have no memory of those days - they are today's youth - they send me messages from the Army saying that they are prepared to sacrifice themselves.

A pilot in the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army, a pilot in the Islamic Republic of Iran Army Aviation, and a soldier in the Navy and Ground Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army send us messages in different ways. They are prepared. Any army and armed force which enjoys this high morale can definitely emerge victorious out of different confrontations, tests and difficulties. You should move forward with this high morale. Therefore, preserving insight, correct orientation, preparedness, high morale and increasing resources, equipment and military preparedness is one of the fundamental tasks that the Armed Forces should carry out.

The Islamic Republic is no threat for any country. We have never been a threat for our neighbors, let alone distant countries. Our recent history shows this clearly. Even during the time when our neighbors behaved in a way that was not very neighborly, we showed self-control and patience. The Islamic Republic has not shown and will not show transgression against any country. Now, the Americans - followed by the Europeans and some other sycophants - have created the myth of nuclear weapons in order to claim that the Islamic Republic is a source of threat. But the source of threat is America itself. Today, the greatest source of threat in the world is the regime of America.

Wherever they deem it necessary, they interfere in the affairs of countries in an unreasonable way and without any restraint, conscience and religious commitment. They engage in dangerous interferences. America has turned the world into an insecure place. In our region, the Zionist regime has created an insecure environment. In fact, this regime is America's savage dog. It is these people who have made the world insecure. The Islamic Republic does not make the world and the region insecure. It does not even create an insecure environment for its neighbors. On the contrary, it has tolerated - on many occasions - the misbehavior of some of its neighbors with complete magnanimity.

Insecurity comes from those unbridled powers which have occupied everywhere. Today, tragic events have taken place in Yemen, but the Americans and westerners support oppressors. It is they who have created insecurity. It is they who have created insecurity for countries and for the people's lives. Insecurity belongs to them. The Islamic Republic considers security to be the greatest divine blessing for both itself and for others. Therefore, it defends and stands up for its security. The officials in the Armed Forces should always remember this: preserving the security of the country, our borders and the people's lives is a responsibility that falls on the shoulders of military officials.

I ask Allah the Exalted to increase the achievements of the Armed Forces on a daily basis. I ask Him to help you play your role. Of course, playing a role is not particular to fighting. Increasing preparedness, facilitating progress and engaging in personal and organizational development are among great tasks as well. But if one day a war breaks out, you should know that participating in the arena of war is part of preparedness, tests and such things as well. I hope that God will make you successful in all areas.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings