Leader's speech in meeting with students

One of the ways to gain the power of attraction is to find new ideas: "Say novel things as there is a special sweetness in novelty" . You should put forward new ideas.

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on July 11, 2015 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with students on the 25th day of the month of Ramadan.

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 immaculate household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.

Welcome my dear ones and good youth. I am really and deeply happy with this meeting. I am happy with it from the bottom of my heart. The enthusiastic and dynamic presence of youth in different arenas of the country is a very important issue. It is a very important event. I have written down a certain point to discuss. Let me discuss it right now: Iranian youth are fortunately motivated and enthusiastic youth. This is the exact opposite of what some hostile information centers - which are mostly foreign - say. They say that Iranian youth are depressed and therefore, we should create entertaining environments for them. How are we going to do that? By organizing music concerts, sexually integrated camps and other such forms of freedom.

This is what follows their claim, but this is not the case. Contrary to what they say, today Iranian youth are among the most enthusiastic, active and lively youth in the world. If you take a look at the western world, you will see that European youth are depressed. The number of suicides is so large there. Depression exists in those places where a youth carries a gun at a safe and apparently quiet beach and kills about 80 children with a volley of bullets because of the psychological pressures that he suffers from.

This is what happened two, three years ago in a European country. Everyone was informed of it and it was reflected throughout the world. Depression is this. Depression means the effort of a European youth to become a member of DAESH. The reports that we have received show that a large number of DAESH's suicide attacks are carried out by European youth. Such youth want to commit suicide. They think that this kind of suicide is exciting and that it is better than drowning oneself in such and such a river in Europe. This is why they go there and seek excitement as a result of their depression. It is they who are depressed.

Iranian youth who on the 23rd of Ramadan held a demonstration on the streets in the heat of the summer and while they were fasting, who kept a vigil the night before because of the Nights of Qadr and who participated in Friday prayers after the demonstration and while they were sitting in the sun are miles away from depression! They are lively and enthusiastic.

Today, your meeting and the statements that my dear children and my dear youth made - these statements contained a wide range of issues - are a sign of your liveliness. This influences us and other people as well. Your liveliness influences your audience and addressees. In any case, I am very happy with today's meeting and I thank each and every one of the individuals who delivered a speech.

I have written down certain points about the statements that the gentlemen and ladies made, but I do not know if there is enough time or not.

A dear student raised a point about slogans. He said that slogans are of no use. If it means that we constantly engage in chanting slogans without implementing them, then what he said is true. Under such circumstances, slogans cannot do anything. However, you should not consider slogans as a thing of little value. Slogans are important. I do not forget that many years before the Revolution, I had a meeting with students in Mashhad. I used to teach Tafsir there. A large number - compared to those times - of students were present in that class. There were several hundred students there and I used to teach them Tafsir. There are many interesting things about those meetings, but I do not want to expand on them. Someone chanted a slogan in one of the meetings. I used to manage the meetings in a special manner: I conveyed fundamental revolutionary discussions through Quranic ayahs and I did not want to do something to make the regime sensitive because it would prevent me from teaching. Therefore, I said that no one should chant a slogan because a slogan is neither a word nor an action. It is not a word because it is a mere expression that we utter. It is not an action because it is merely a sound that comes out of your throats.

I said this in that speech. A week later, a student approached me and said, "I want to debate with you about what you said last week because I do not agree with you". I said, "OK, you can debate with me". He said, "According to your claim, a slogan is neither a word nor an action, but as a matter of fact, a slogan is both a word and an action. It is a word because it contains an important message. It is a sentence that contains a number of messages. Therefore, you who are a man of words- we used to speak and therefore we were men of words- should appreciate the value of slogans which are actually words. And it is an action because it motivates and inspires. Slogans bring individuals to the arena. They make them united and give them a direction. Therefore, contrary to what the teacher- he meant me- said, a slogan is both a word and an action."

The youth who said this at that time is an official of the country in the present time and all of you know him. I was sitting there and was ready to argue with him, but when I listened, I said, "You are right. A slogan is both a word and an action." Now, I would like to say the same thing to you. If a slogan is good, cogent and meaningful and if it tells of a truth that can be expanded intellectually, then it becomes a word and an action and chanting it will channel and motivate. If someone constantly repeats, for example, the economy of resistance without putting it into practice, then this slogan will be of no use. However, if the slogan of the economy of resistance is repeated and pursued by the activists of the country - you students are among the most important of these activists - then it will become important. By Allah's favor, I will expand on this matter before adhan if there is enough time.

Another matter that was discussed was the fact that certain strict measures are being adopted against revolutionary groups. This was brought up by a number of the dear youth in the meeting and it has been reported to me as well. I would like to use this opportunity to say to the honorable officials who are present in the meeting - the honorable ministers - that they should not allow, in any way, those who have the keys to the affairs of the country to be strict towards revolutionary and Islamic groups. This should not be allowed in any way. The environment should not be narrowed for these groups. They should allow Islamic and revolutionary groups to pursue their activities.

Well, the statements that were made here were what we wanted to point out as well. These are points that we too should raise. They are tasks that we should carry out. Now, youth are making these statements. Later on, I will speak about the very efficient role of saying and repeating these things by youth. You should allow them to make such statements. You should allow them to work. You should allow student, revolutionary and Islamic groups - I place great emphasis on revolutionary groups in particular - to have freedom and resources. You should not restrict them.

Another issue was the issue of concerts in universities. A dear student pointed out that universities are not places for concerts. He is right. I too had written it down to discuss. If we take students to mixed camps or hold music concerts in universities thinking that we are cheering up the student environment, this is an absolutely wrong action. There are other ways to increase students' dynamism, efforts and enthusiasm. They should not be drawn towards sins. They should not be drawn towards lifting the veil of piety - fortunately, today's pious youth insist on preserving piety. Instead, they should be guided towards paradise, not hell. So, there is no reason for adopting these courses of action in universities.

Of course, I witnessed the signs of this phenomenon and problem many years ago when a student group carried out a certain task in a university. Then, I issued warnings, but unfortunately it was not pursued and we received a blow as a result of it. We used to receive blows because of it for many years, but today, such measures should not be allowed. This is not against freedom. Adopting these measures does not show our inclination towards freedom and pursuit of freedom. These are the same things that the enemies of Iranian and Muslim society, Islamic civilization and Iranian students - in particular - pursue so that they do not allow Shahriaris and Chamrans to emerge from among them.

Such personalities lived a life of purity and piety. The achievements that they made are not confined to the nuclear issue. You have heard that according to global statistics, we are among the first eight, nine, ten countries in some fields of study. Most of these achievements were pioneered by pious and revolutionary youth. The same is true of the nuclear issue, nanotechnology and many other existing research fields. All of these achievements were made by religious, pious and revolutionary individuals. It is such individuals who accomplished these great feats. So, should we make our youth drift away - by adopting these wrong measures - from their revolutionary, Islamic, religious and spiritual orientation? This is a completely wrong measure. Of course, I trust both of these honorable ministers [the Minister of Science, Research and Technology and the Minister of Health and Medical Education], but they should supervise the activities of their affiliate organizations and those people who have the keys to such affairs. They should know what is being done. This was one point.

Another point that was raised by a dear student was about why the "Chairs of Free Thought" have not been established [in the universities] in the real sense of the word. This is completely true. I agree that the Chairs of Free Thought should be established. We had spoken about this before and we had the same opinion from the beginning. Individuals can come and express their opposing viewpoints, but you revolutionary, Muslim and Wilay-i students should gain the power of using logic and cogent arguments so that you can calmly face such individuals and refute their ideas. This is a good and accurate course of action and this is possible today. Perhaps, it was not possible 10, 12, 15 years ago, but today, it is possible. Today, there are many youth who are active in the area of religion and who have an intellectual capability. So, there is nothing wrong with this. Of course, there are certain manners and methods for doing so. There are certain manners and methods for holding free debates. The officials in different organizations should sit and identify these manners and methods so that the free debates can fulfill their purpose and work in the correct way. This was another point.

Another point was raised by a student. It was said that some people speak for the Leader as his representatives. Well, thankfully I still have a tongue and what I say myself comes before what they say [audience laughs]. My viewpoints are those that are expressed by me, but you should pay attention that those who speak - the Leader's representatives, his appointees and the like who are large in number - do not speak for the Leader. On the issue that was referred to, the person whose name was mentioned had expressed his own viewpoints. He did not speak for the Leader. I too expressed my viewpoint on that particular matter both before and after him. Well, you should hear what I have to say from me. It is possible that a person who has been appointed by the Leader has an opinion which is different from that of the Leader. There is nothing wrong with this. This is possible as well.

Many of the honorable gentlemen who have been appointed by the Leader may have an opinion which is different from that of the Leader on a particular political, social or ideological matter. We do not think that this is wrong. The main thing for us is general and revolutionary orientations. We do not try to unify our opinions on every matter. Well, they express their own viewpoints. Besides, we cannot warn each and every one of our representatives as soon as they say something. We cannot have public relations announce this publicly. This is not possible either. Of course, if someone says something on my behalf which is not my opinion and if I hear it, I warn him immediately. This has happened frequently. We have warned such individuals and we have asked them to correct it and they have done so. However, we do not find it appropriate to make a public announcement saying, "The hell such and such a person did something" [audience laughs]. This cannot be done. Whenever someone speaks for me - not for themselves - while I do not have that opinion, I speak to them and say, "We have heard that you have said such and such a thing on my behalf and you should correct it on your own." This was one issue.

Another point is that some students asked about their responsibility towards fighting against arrogance after the negotiations. Well, can fighting against arrogance be stopped? Fighting against arrogance and global imperialism is incessant. As it happens, this was one of the things that I had written down to discuss today. This is among our fundamental duties. It is one of the principles of the Revolution. If fighting against arrogance does not take place, it means that we are not followers of the Holy Quran at all. Fighting against arrogance cannot be stopped and America is the very epitome of arrogance in all its forms. We have said to the honorable officials in charge of nuclear negotiations that they can only negotiate on the nuclear issue, not any other issue and they have listened to this. Now, they have been permitted to speak to the other sides face to face. Of course, this had happened before, but not at this level. In the past, it has happened at lower levels. This is the first time that they are speaking to them at this level.

Sometimes, the other side brings up regional issues such as the issue of Syria, Yemen and other regional countries. However, our officials have said to them that they have nothing to discuss with them on these matters and they are doing so. Negotiations are confined to the nuclear matter because of the reasons that I have mentioned many times. I have repeatedly said why we have chosen this position and orientation on the nuclear issue. I have spoken at length about this. So, fighting against arrogance cannot be stopped. It is quite clear what you should do in this regard. You should prepare yourselves for continuing the battle against arrogance.

Another issue that has been raised recently is the issue of the youth's marriage which everyone - boys and girls - are surely interested in [audience laughs]. At the request of the dear youth who asked me to advise parents, I would like to advise parents. I request that they facilitate marriage. Parents are strict on the issue of marriage, but it is not necessary to be so strict. Although there are some natural problems - the issue of accommodation, occupation and the like - you should know that "If they are in poverty, Allah will give them means out of His grace" [The Holy Quran, 24: 32]. Well, this is what the Holy Quran says. For the moment, youth may not have enough financial resources, but Allah the Exalted will meet their needs after marriage. Therefore, parents should not prevent youth from getting married. I beg parents to pay attention to this matter.

Of course, one of the important issues is that the tradition to participate in marriage proposal ceremonies and to act as a match-maker for girls has unfortunately been undermined. This is a very necessary course of action. In the past, this was always common. In the present time too, this should be common in our society considering the large number of youth. There are some people who know certain boys and who introduce them to the families who have a daughter. There are some people who know certain girls and who introduce them to the families who have a son. Such individuals facilitate and prepare the ground for marriage. They should do these things. The better we can resolve the youth's sexual problems in society, the better it will be for our society and our country in this world and in the hereafter.

Another issue is the issue of an increase in the population of the country. I have placed great emphasis on this issue. I would like to use this opportunity to say to the honorable Minister of Health that I have received certain reports showing that the effort to achieve your goal - which is our goal as well: the issue of preventing the measures that try to reduce fertility - is not being made in the proper way. In some places, there is a return to the previous condition. Preventing fertility was a policy that we adopted in the past, but it was decided that this policy should be cancelled.

My dear ones, the month of Ramadan - the season of spirituality and the spring of spiritual blessings and purity - is over. We are spending the last days of the month of Ramadan. By Allah's favor, if the fertile land of your hearts and your pure lives has been influenced by the gentle rain of divine mercy and blessings in this month, this will bear its fruits in the future. Of course, the season of spiritual growth will never come to an end for youth. Although the month of Ramadan has certain characteristics and qualities for this purpose, spiritual growth is always possible for youth. Young people frequently ask for my advice - through letters and means of mass communication - about spirituality, spiritual transcendence and other such issues. Well, there are some people who make a market place from advice and recommendation. Not all of these people are trustworthy. For some of them, this is a business. So, they cannot be trusted. What I have heard from great personalities and what I would like to say to you in this regard is only one word. The most important task for achieving spiritual and psychological transcendence is avoiding sins. This is the most important task in this regard. You should try to avoid sins. Sins are of various kinds. There are sins related to the tongue, the eyes and the hands. So, there are various sins.

You should identify them and take care of yourselves. Piety means this. It means taking care of oneself. When you are moving on a dangerous road, you are very careful. This is piety. Therefore, you should take care of yourselves and avoid sins. This is the most important way for achieving spiritual transcendence. Of course, what follows avoiding sins is carrying out religious obligations without any interval. The most important obligation is saying daily prayers. You should say daily prayers on time and with attention. Paying attention means that when you are saying daily prayers, you should know Whom you are speaking to and Whom you are addressing. You should pay attention to this. Sometimes, one's attention begins to wander. This is alright. As soon as you manage to re-capture your attention, you should revive the feeling of speaking to Someone in yourselves. This is paying attention. You should observe saying prayers on time and with attention.

And if you can, you should participate in public prayers. You should know that you will achieve spiritual transcendence and you will become an angel. You will even achieve a higher rank than angels if you do so. You are young. Your hearts and souls are pure. You have no or little contamination in you. When someone reaches our age, their problems will increase. Therefore, if you act on this advice, you will not need any other piece of advice. It is not at all necessary to engage in special dhikrs. Of course, it is very good to do so. You should establish a close relationship with the Holy Quran. You should read the Holy Quran every day even if you can only read a few ayahs. These are very good tasks. You should attach significance to religious obligations.

Another responsibility is your responsibility as a student. Students are an outstanding and special class of people because of the reasons that I have mentioned many times in my meetings with students during the month of Ramadan. I do not want to repeat them. Students have certain responsibilities based on this. The first responsibility of students is pursuing ideals. Some people promote the notion that pursuing ideals is opposed to realism. This is not the case. Pursuing ideals is against conservatism, not realism. Conservatism means surrendering to any reality no matter how bitter and bad it is. It means refusing to make any move. This is conservatism. Idealism means taking a look at realities and identifying them in the correct manner. You should benefit from positive realities and fight against negative realities. This is the meaning of idealism. You should take a look at ideals. This is the first responsibility of students.

What are ideals? One of the things that I have written down as an ideal is the issue of creating an Islamic society and civilization. This means reviving Islamic thought. Since many centuries ago, some people have been doing their best to eliminate Islam from life, from politics and from the management of society and to confine Islam to personal issues. Later on, they tried to gradually confine personal issues to issues related to graveyards, participating in marriage ceremonies and the like. However, Islam has come to deliver this message: "We sent not a messenger, but to be obeyed, in accordance with the will of Allah" [The Holy Quran, 3: 64]. This is not particular to Islam. All prophets have said this. Divine religions have emerged so that they can be established in society in the true sense of the word. This should happen. This is one of the most important ideals.

Another ideal is self-confidence. The slogan of "We Can", that was reflected in your statements, is an ideal. We should pursue the philosophy of national self-confidence and belief in national power and capabilities. This should certainly be pursued as an ideal. Of course, pursuing ideals has certain requirements that should be met.

One of the ideals that I have written down is fighting against global imperialism and arrogance. Global imperialism means a system that is founded on the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed. In other words, all countries in the world or human systems in the world are divided into the oppressor and the oppressed. This is what has happened in the world today: some people oppress and some are oppressed. You should know that this is the source of all contentions with Iran. The source of contentions with the Islamic Republic is that it has not accepted the system which is based on the oppressor and the oppressed. Not only is it not an oppressor, but it has also liberated itself from being oppressed and it has stood by its claim. If Iran succeeds and makes progress - scientific, industrial, economic and social progress and progress related to extending its regional and global influence - it will be proved to nations that they can refuse to be oppressed, that they can stick to their claims and that they can achieve progress. They do not want this to happen. This is the source of all contentions. Other issues are merely an excuse.

Another ideal is pursuing justice. This is what some brothers in the meeting referred to as well. The issue of pursuing justice is very important. This issue has many branches and we should not rely on a mere slogan, rather we should really pursue it. Other ideals are leading an Islamic lifestyle and pursuing freedom, not in its wrong and deviating sense in the west where freedom means that girls and boys should live such and such a life. May those who openly oppose Islamic traditions and the tradition of marriage be damned! Unfortunately, some of our centers and cultural organizations promote this. Therefore, they should be confronted. The issue of freedom should be pursued in thinking, in individual, political and social actions, and in society. In its social sense, freedom means independence.

Another ideal is scientific growth. Another ideal is hard work, avoiding laziness and leaving tasks unfinished. Another ideal is establishing Islamic universities. These are among ideals.

Well, someone might ask, "How are we supposed to pursue these ideals? We have no influence in the country. There are some managers who carry out the tasks and we merely chant slogans and talk." This is misunderstanding the issue. This is not the case at all. Students are decision-makers. They are the ones who create a discourse. When you pursue, highlight, repeat and stand by an ideal, this creates a discourse in society and it leads to decision-making. When something becomes a discourse, such and such a person in such and such a decision-making organization of the country will have to follow it. A living example of this is the discourse about developing the software movement and reviving the scientific movement of the country. This idea was brought up and repeated and later on, it was fortunately welcomed and turned into a discourse. As a result of it, society's movement was shaped on the basis of this movement. It is 10, 15 years now that we have been moving forward in scientific arenas. This has happened in all areas. So, students can play their part. A dear person quoted Shahid Beheshti saying, "Students are society's muezzins. When they remain asleep, the people will remain asleep as well." This is a good metaphor. You can be awakeners. You can be creators of a discourse. Therefore, you should not at all think that your student tasks are ineffective.

You should not waste your time. Many of our young children - whether students and other individuals - waste their time roaming about in social networks and the like or they participate in meaningless and absurd debates. You should not waste your time, rather you should use it judiciously. You should both attend to your lessons and your organizational work. You should attend to both of them.

Well, we are past adhan. I only discussed a small part of what I wanted to discuss. A great part of it remains. Now, what do you think we should do? Prepare yourselves after taking the iftar meal. I will continue my statements provided that I have enough energy. Of course, even if I speak, I will make it brief.

After Saying Daily Prayers and Eating the Iftar Meal:

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

As I said, if the student environment believes firmly in something and pursues it through its different activities, this will affect the future of the country. It is not correct to think what use is our activities and efforts as students is and what influence it exerts on the realities of the country. We should not think like this because it exerts considerable influence. I spoke about how it exerts its influence. It turns into a discourse first in the student environment and second in the environment of the country - this happens gradually. Later on, this becomes a decision-making element. You may not make decisions in such and such an organization, but you can influence their decisions. Therefore, we should pursue ideals. I gave examples of what our ideals are, but they are not confined to these. You should refer to Imam's (r.a.) statements, the Islamic Revolution's teachings, the Holy Quran and Nahjul Balaghah in order to list other ideals. You should categorize and work on ideals and you should stick to them.

Realities should not make us drift away from ideals. On the contrary, realities should help us get close to ideals like a ladder. If we find a disturbing reality, we should confront, fight against and eliminate it. Idealism means this. Of course, as I said, the opposite of idealism is conservatism. Conservatism means getting along with both bad and good realities under the pretext that we have no other option. Well, it is clear what the fate of such a people will be.

If student groups and the student orientation in general want to attain such influence, this has certain conditions. These conditions should be met. One of them is working on Islamic concepts, but this should be done in a deep way, as superficial work inflicts harm. Of course today, I witnessed the signs of deep work in the statements that the friends made - in some of them: I do not say in all of them. I witnessed that young students fortunately adopt a deep outlook towards different matters. This is the first condition.

Sometimes, certain slogans are chanted that are Islamic on the face of it, but they are not really Islamic. One of the slogans that has become common recently and that one frequently hears in different statements and writings is "rahmani Islam". Well, this is a beautiful phrase. Both Islam and rahmani are beautiful words, but what does it mean? What is the definition of rahmani Islam? It is evident that Allah the Exalted is both a Beneficent and Merciful Being, and a Punisher. He is the Owner of both paradise and hell. Allah the Exalted does not put believers and non-believers on an equal footing: "Is then the man who believes no better than the man who is rebellious and wicked? Not equal are they" [The Holy Quran, 32: 18]. What is the judgment of the so-called rahmani Islam about believers, non-believers, kafirs, the enemy and friendly kafirs? Expressing an opinion without thinking deeply about it is a wrong and deviating course of action. When the people who use the phrase "rahmani Islam" in their writings and statements, one can clearly see that such "rahmani Islam" is a keyword for those philosophies that have been borrowed from liberalism - that is to say, the philosophy that is referred to as liberalism in the west.

Of course, the term "liberalism" is a wrong term for the western civilization, culture and ideology as well because they are not liberals, nor do they believe in liberalism in the real sense of the word. In any case, liberalism is a common term. If rahmani Islam relies on this, then it is neither Islamic nor rahmani. Liberalism originates form 18, 19-century Europe when the infrastructures of humanism - which denies spirituality, God and other divine concepts - was founded. From their perspective, because there is no God, everything is based on one's taste and opinion. Human-based concepts are like this. Even in the area of scientific and laboratory facts, there are many different tastes. Today, they claim that such and such a substance is good for such and such a disease and conditions, but after some time, other scientists announce that it is not beneficial, rather it is harmful. Those things that do not originate from divine revelation are subject to errors and dualities. So, when one's thoughts are not divine, they become tentative. When they become tentative, they will be defined according to the values of powerful groups.

Today, there is something called, "American values". As you have heard, the Americans constantly speak about "American values, our values". The founders of independent America - the people who ruled over America in those times including George Washington and his comrades and successors - defined certain values in the eighteenth century when America liberated itself from English colonialism and introduced itself as a country in the rest of the world. These values are referred to as American values.

If we assess these values, we find that many of them are problematic. They are values that lead to the current conditions in the world where global imperialism is swallowing the entire world. However, even the same values - those that are good and positive - have been consigned to oblivion in today's American society and American political system. A few years ago, I studied the viewpoints of the individuals who were the so-called founders of America two hundred, two hundred and plus years ago. I studied the statements that they made and the Bill of Rights that they prepared. Then, I tried to match them with the statements that their Excellencies make today and I found out that many of their initial values have been violated. At that time, it occurred to me that it is necessary for some to point out to the people of America that the values that they speak about do not at all exist in the behavior of the U.S. government. If the term "rahmani Islam" is reliant on such values, then it is wrong one hundred percent.

If rahmani Islam means that we should take a merciful and kind outlook towards all the creatures in the world, this is not correct either because it is against the Holy Quran. The Holy Quran explicitly rejects this outlook. Of course, it does not think that kindness, affection and justice are particular to Muslims. It says that those who have enough power should behave in a kind and fair way towards non-Muslims provided that they do not show enmity towards you and that they do not intend to do so. In a well-known sermon, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) says, "I have come to know that every one of them entered upon Muslim women and other women under protection of Islam" [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 27]. Later on, Hazrat says, "If any Muslim dies of grief after all this he is not to be blamed." Why should they die? It is because Muawiyah's army entered upon non-Muslim women - muahida women: those Christian and Jewish women who lived under the protection of Islam - and insulted them by taking away their ornaments from their hands. Hazrat says that one should die of this grief. This is what Islam says about those non-Muslims who do not show enmity.

The Holy Quran says, "Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for your faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them" [The Holy Quran, 60: 8]. It says that we should behave in a kind and just way towards those people who have not shown and will not show enmity towards us, but on the other hand, it says, "Will you not fight people who violated their oaths, plotted to expel the Messenger, and took the aggressive by being the first to assault you" [The Holy Quran, 9: 13]. Do you not intend to fight against those who have endeavored to destroy your lives and your Prophet's (s.w.a.) life? These are the people who have shown enmity to you. This is a Quranic ayah. Later on it says in a harsh, disapproving and reproachful tone, "Do you fear them?" Then it says, "Nay, it is Allah Whom you should more justly fear."

If you are telling the truth and if you are really believers, you should fear God, not these individuals. Well, this is what the Holy Quran says. If rahmani Islam means that we should behave in a kind, sincere and pure way towards the enemies who are working against Islam, Iran, the people of Iran and Iran's progress and who do their best to achieve their goal in this regard, then I do not advise such fabricated and forged teachings. I advise true Islamic teachings. Therefore, student groups should work on Islamic concepts. We have a good few of books in this regard. One day, we had to refer people to Shahid Motahhari's books. Of course, his books continue to stand at the peak and they are very valuable, but today we have many other books as well. Today, students can choose various methods of studying. They can work, hold discussions and - as they say - conferences and round-table discussions. They can improve the level of student discussions. This is one of the requirements.

One of the requirements for exerting influence is that you should be able to attract the student body. Student groups are a student minority. Even if all you student groups are gathered together, you do not form the majority among the large number of students. You should gain the power to attract students. How can you gain such power? I think that there are many ways to do so. You are young and you have more innovative power. Of course, we too used to present many ideas and methods when we were young, but in the present time, your minds work better than ours. You should find certain ways to attract all students.

Of course, attracting students through holding mixed camps is wrong one hundred percent. Some people like to attract students in this way. By using a flashy name such as "guild federation" and "scientific and expert association" and even in the name of an Islamic organization, they intend to take girls and boys mountaineering and on trips to Europe. They want to hold camps outside the country! These are definitely treacherous measures against the student environment and the future generations of the country. There is no doubt about this. This is not the way to attract students. As a number of students said today - and I agree with them - the way to attract student groups is not to hold music concerts. As I said, one day - many years ago - a student group adopted such a course of action. We wondered why this student group had done so. It was very surprising to me. When I asked, they answered that they wanted to attract students. Later on, we witnessed the harmful consequences of this measure.

I remembered a story that Sayyid Qutb has narrated in one of his books. I too narrated it in one of my writings that I wrote many years ago before the Revolution. He says, "I was taking a walk in one of the cities of America when I reached a church. I saw that there is a public room next to the church. It was written on a bulletin board that there was going to be a night performance. When I read the program, I found out that there was going to be several music performances of different kinds and that the program was going to be concluded with a light dinner and a special meeting. I became interested to see what was going to happen there. I went there at night and I saw that the public room was something like a bar. There, girls and boys used to associate with one another. And there were different programs on the stage such as music and the like. I stood there watching the spectacle. Later on, they brought us a light meal and a soft drink and we took it." The interesting part remains. He continues, "A few hours later, we saw that the priest - the priest of that church and that hall belonged to the church - entered from one side of the stage with complete dignity and engaged in turning off some of the lights and then he left. I did not stay there and left as well. The next morning, I went to the priest and said to him, ‘Why are things like this here? After all, you are a man of God. You are a promoter of religion. What was that program that you performed last night with all those youth?' He answered, "You do not know. I have to do this in order to draw youth to church. I said to him, ‘damn this church- of course this is what he meant and these are my own words. Let them go to a bar! If they want to do things that they do in a bar, let them go there. Why should they come to church?'"

If we are supposed to drag youth towards decadence, self-indulgence, haraam music and the like, why should we call ourselves, "Islamic" then? This is not Islamic at all. This is non-Islamic and anti-Islamic. Therefore, when I say that student groups should find the power to attract all students, this is not what I mean because these are against wisdom and truth. These are treacherous acts against the Islamic environment. Such power should be attained in the right way.

One of the ways to gain the power of attraction is to find new ideas: "Say novel things as there is a special sweetness in novelty" [from a poem by Farrokhi Sistani]. You should put forward new ideas. "New ideas" does not mean fabricated ideas. There are many truths that one sees when reading the Holy Quran, Nahjul Balaghah and different narrations. When I - who have been working in religious fields for 60, 70 years - turn on the TV, I see a gentleman raising a new point. The point that he raises is new to me and I had not known and benefitted from it until then. For a person who has been active in the environment of religious teachings for 60 years or more - it is 60 years now that I have been a seminarian - there are new ideas. This is while we frequently read the Holy Quran and are in touch with narrations and hadiths in a diligent way. I have been teaching the Holy Quran and Nahjul Balaghah for many years, but a young clergyman comes and says something on TV that is new and valuable to me. There are many new ideas. Therefore, they should be found. However, those who have the expertise should do so. Besides, new ideas are not confined to religious ideas, rather they include political, social and international ideas. When you put forward new ideas in your own student group, other youth will be attracted to you because new ideas are attractive.

Another method to attract students is using those artistic methods that have received little attention. One of these artistic methods is drama: student drama. Unfortunately in our artistic environment, drama was born ill from the beginning. In other words, our drama has either been absurd drama such as ru-howzi plays [the plays that are performed around a little pool, called "houz", inside a house] or plays that oppose a particular phenomenon without having a clear direction. Besides, our drama uses vague and ambiguous language. They think that drama should use ambiguous, symbolic and mysterious words, but this is not the case. Drama means acting on the stage before the audience. Contrary to the cinema and films where you watch something from the screen, you feel individuals in the theatre. You hear what they have to say from them. There can be many constructive things in drama and student drama. Artist groups should sit and express true Islamic concepts through the art of drama.

Many years ago - perhaps about 20 years ago - a play was performed for us in this same Hussainiyah. It was about Ayyub [Job] the Prophet and it took long. It took one, two hours. When it was finished, I went to the director and said, "I have read the story of Ayyub a hundred or hundreds of times in the Holy Quran, but I had not understand from the Holy Quran - during all this time - what I understood from your theater performance." Is this a minor thing?

Another artistic method is caricature. Caricature is a very efficient artistic method. Satire is another method. Fortunately, youth have done and are doing good work in this area. These are very good tasks. Student activities do not mean announcing one's positions through a manifesto as this is a routine task and it may not be attractive at all. Student activities are not confined to, for example, writing a book or organizing a student meeting. These are not the only student activities. Of course, these tasks are good, but you can carry out new ones as well. For example, performing a chorus, preparing audio materials and composing poems are artistic tasks and students should engage in them. There are certain tasks that exert more influence with poetry and with poetic and artistic methods. Therefore, these methods should be benefitted from. Of course, if I try to mention artistic innovations, they may be confined to these seven, eight cases. You who are young should sit and think about it. You may think of 20, 30 artistic innovations. You should benefit from that so that you can attract people.

One of the ways to exert influence and to make student groups attractive is to persuade others. You should be able to persuade the other side. This depends on you doing it in the right way. You yourselves should work properly. When a truth becomes part of your thoughts and minds, you can gain the power of persuasion and you can persuade your addressees. If we want to impose something on the other side by force and with threats and bullying, they may get carried away and accept it momentarily, but this will not be permanent.

Capitalists used to do so when they held power. In the present time, the defeat of communism has been interpreted as the defeat of Marxism and this is correct. Of course, I have heard that in our universities, some orientations are reviving Marxist ideas, but this is blowing into a turned-off furnace. It is like creating patterns in water. So, this is futile. Despite all their extravagant claims and commotions and despite victimizing many people, after the passage of 60, 70 years, communist systems brought nothing to people but disaster. It was proven to everyone that their slogans were lies and that they were completely incompetent and ineffective. Therefore, such systems will not be restored. However, I have heard that some people are after re-establishing them. If this is true and if the Marxist orientation is active in our universities in the form of thoughts and ideas, then the America's money is surely behind it because there is no other motive to revive them. They spend money because separating and disintegrating students is a great blessing for them. And one of the ways to do so is to revive Marxism.

After spending 20 years in prison, the members of the Tudeh Party appeared on the IRIB and they wrote and read the "I made a grave mistake" letter. They did so without any pressure and torture. Perhaps, you do not remember this. It happened in the early years of the 1360s. Ten, twelve members of the Tudeh Party appeared on the IRIB and confessed their crimes. At that time, I was the president and I became really surprised. We active friends and high-ranking officials of the country wondered how they did so. We knew some of them up close as some of them were our prison mates and we had met some of them after being released from prison. We knew such individuals and they had very big and extravagant claims. However, they formed a line and they sat on the chair one by one. One of them played the role of a host and began asking them questions that proved the treacherous acts that they had committed. Whenever one of them refused to give more information of their treachery, the host - who was one of them - used to point out to them the crimes that they had committed and they were forced to acknowledge it. It was not we who wanted to make them confess. They themselves did so. This is among the invaluable documents of the IRIB and they should not let it be destroyed because they are very valuable. Well, after all these events, the same people are writing books and pamphlets now in the name of defending Marxism, but this is ridiculous.

Wherever the Marxists carried out a revolution and held power, they furthered their goals by force. They did so even in student environments. You know that in Afghanistan - our neighboring country - a Marxist government held office after Zahir Shah and [Muhammad] Daoud. This Marxist government held power just before the victory of the Revolution and later on, its government coincided with the Revolution. When it was announced that this Marxist government had held power, I was in exile in Iranshahr. There, I heard that a communist government had come to power in Afghanistan and I was not aware of the details. Now, news on this matter is gradually being released. Inside the University of Kabul, the agents of that government - that had seized power in a coup - used to go to students' rooms and dragged out those students who were considered to be hostile to the government. They used to beat such students to death or they beat them in a way that they were on the verge of dying. These agents took the students away and delivered them to the governmental forces in order to imprison them. They had even contaminated the student environment with such pressures and violent acts. But this was not the case with our universities. Of course, the University of Tehran became turbulent, but this was done by Marxist and Munafeqeen - the so-called Mujahedin Khalq - grouplets. It was they, not Muslim students, who had turned the University of Tehran into a weapons store.

In the first months after the victory of the Revolution, I used to visit the University of Tehran Mosque every week. Every week, I delivered a speech for students and answered their questions. Muslim and revolutionary students used to come, listen to my statements and leave in a peaceful environment. And they were many, but there was no war room, no guns and no inappropriate slogan. In the beginning of the Revolution, I - at that time, I was not a president yet, rather I was a member of the Council of the Islamic Revolution - used to deliver a speech in student environments in Tehran. The environment was a peaceful and reasonable one. So, all elements for a revolutionary environment existed in those days. Perhaps, there are some people among you - those brothers and sisters who were students in those years - who remember this. I used to go to the University of Tehran on certain days and on one of these days - I do not know if it was Sunday or Monday - communist grouplets took control of the University. There was a danger of anarchy. I went to the university according to the schedule. A number of Revolutionary Guards Corps accompanied me. They said, "Do not go there. It is dangerous." I said, "What danger? We will go." We went to the mosque, but nobody was there and we came back.

Those who had created an insecure environment for the University and who wanted to inject their ideas into the other side with the power of bullying and pressure - and if this did not work, with the power of bullets - were not Islamic groups. They were either Marxist grouplets or the Mujahedin Khalq grouplet that was a version of Marxism. They called themselves "Islamic" but their nature, their thoughts, their ideology and their writings were pure Marxism. We do not have such a thing in Islam, rather we have persuasion in Islam. "There is no compulsion in religion" [The Holy Quran, 2: 256] means that religious ideology cannot be promoted and reflected except with persuasion. You should be able to persuade because this attracts individuals. This is one of the ways to attract.

Another issue is the presence of pious university professors. On that day, I pointed this out in a meeting with university professors in this place. In the beginning of the Revolution, there was a time when all the members of academic boards throughout the country were estimated to be four, five thousand. Fortunately today, the members of our academic boards have reached about 80,000 or more. The majority of these 80,000 university professors are Muslim, revolutionary, enthusiastic and good individuals. Of course, some of them are indifferent. We have such individuals in our universities and we are not unaware of it. We used to have some university professors - I hope that they do not work there in the present time - who targeted outstanding personalities and who encouraged them to leave the country. They used to say to such students, "Why have you stayed here? What is the use of here? You should leave." Instead of encouraging students to stay, these university professors used to encourage them to migrate from the country. We have such university professors as well, but they are a minority. The majority are pious and religious university professors. There are very good individuals both in the Ministry of Science and in the Ministry of Medical Education. You should benefit from them in your organizations. You should ask them to make time for you even from outside universities. In our meeting, it was mentioned that a very good brother of ours speaks before the Friday prayer sermons. Very well, you should benefit from such personalities and you should ask them to be present in your student groups.

Of course this is the affirmative aspect of the issue. The negative aspect is that you should not at all benefit from those individuals who have proved to be not trustworthy. There are some people who have shown and proved to be unreliable. Whom are they unreliable for? Are they unreliable for this humble person? No, I am very comfortable with meeting different people. I can establish a relationship with all sorts of people. I am very good at establishing a relationship. People can have no problems with me, except in terms of belief. Such people have proved unreliable for the system, for the country and for the Islamic Republic - for both its Islamic and republican parts. In fact, those who played that game in the year 1388 showed their opposition to the Islamic Republic without any reason and without any acceptable and appropriate word in the face of fair-minded individuals. Such people cannot be trusted and I do not advise you - neither you nor any other student and university - to benefit from them in any way. There are certain good university professors for you to benefit from.

In my opinion, one of the things that is very necessary and good for student groups is understanding the current conditions of the country. I do not only mean the domestic conditions, the existing problems and other issues that were discussed - the issues related to villages, justice, the economy of resistance and the existing problems such as managerial problems, jihadi management and the like. Of course, these are part of realities, but there are some other important realities as well:

One of these realities is that after Imam's (r.a.) demise, a determined group of people tried to completely wash away revolutionary ideals in the country. Some of them made a mistake and they announced it from the beginning. They used to publish certain articles in newspapers and they spoke against revolutionary ideals. Here, they made a strategic and tactical mistake by showing their hand. They announced that they intend to completely sideline ideals. Of course, they have become more experienced today and they do not speak about it. Some of them want to sideline ideals, they do not express it openly. Instead of talking, they act. This is while some idiots talk before they act [audience laughs]. By doing so, they awakened those who did not think that such a phenomenon exists. This has begun from the early revolutionary era and they have worked on it in an incessant way. And they did not only work on it from inside the country. They worked on it from outside the country as well and they benefited from intellectual, scholarly, artistic and political elements so that they could destroy ideals in the country.

In other words, they did something to make the new generation completely forget our ideals. Now, take a look and see at what level the enthusiasm of ideals in the country is despite what they have done. I said before this evening that most of our outstanding scientific achievements have been made by pious youth. Most of the religious and spiritual meetings are formed by youth. Most of the participants in demonstrations related to the Islamic Republic and the Revolution are young. And these youth have neither seen the war, nor Imam (r.a.) and the Revolution, nor have they received a proper explanation about such events.

My dear ones - well, some of you are like my children and some of you are like my grandchildren - I will tell you that you are not aware of many of these events despite all the things that are said about them. The details of the events that happened in early revolutionary era and during the Sacred Defense Era have not even been explained in the proper manner. Of course, many books have been written with a circulation of two, three, five, ten thousand. I read the books about the events related to the Sacred Defense Era. I make time to read and browse through these books. However, these constitute a small part of the existing realities which you are not aware of. But despite the fact that some of our youth do not have enough information about these very brilliant, attractive and exciting realities, they are so interested in ideals. That is to say, despite those who wanted to destroy ideals in the country, ideals have reached their peak since Imam's (r.a.) demise until today. This is one of the realities of the country.

Another reality of the country is the astonishing presence of the Islamic Republic in the region. I do not mean a material, bodily and physical presence, rather I mean a spiritual presence. When the Americans hold secret and behind-the-scenes talks and meetings with regional politicians and Arab reactionaries, they sit and chat with one another. In fact, they really open up to one another [audience laughs]. In these meetings, the Arab reactionaries and politicians complain about Iran and they expect America to exert pressures, but he says in response, "What should I do? I cannot do anything" [audience laughs]. This is the sum of what they say in those talks. All these complaints and concerns is because of the fact that Iran has increased its influence in the region.

It is more than a hundred days now that the Saudis are bombarding Yemen. They do not bomb military centers because they do not have access to them, rather they bomb hospitals, mosques, houses, markets and public squares and they kill women, men and children in groups. They have been doing this for a hundred days! A hundred days is not a joke. The war in Lebanon lasted for 33 days. The longest war in the recent years was the one that the Zionist regime waged. It was the one that broke out in Gaza last year and it lasted for 50-plus days. But they are striking Yemen for a hundred days.

I should say in parentheses that the liberal and freedom-seeking west did not say anything against the Saudi crimes. The Security Council of the United Nations issued a resolution that is one of the most embarrassing and disgraceful resolutions issued by the United Nations. This resolution will not be forgotten. Instead of condemning the bomber, they condemn the bombarded. These are liberals. Liberalism means this. Now a number of simple-minded individuals inside our country puff up their chest, write articles and publish their photos in support of this governmental system and this method of managing society, but what they say is based on lies, deception, treachery and indifference towards - and in certain cases, participation in - oppression.

Well, this is a reality. One of the realities is this: the increasing influence of the Islamic Republic. I have always said to our honorable presidents - both the current honorable president and former presidents- I respect all of them, I have helped all of them and I will support any president that holds office based on the people's votes - that whenever you travel to any Islamic country in the present time, the people of that country will give you a very warm reception, one that they have never given to the rulers of their own country. They will do so if they have freedom and if you are willing to go and meet them. This is the very meaning of influence. Influence means this.

They have been striking Yemen in order to defy this influence. They say that they are bombing Yemen because we have influence in Yemen. Well, what have we done in Yemen? Have we taken any weapons to Yemen? Have we sent our army to that country? It is they who choose mercenaries from other countries, who give them oil revenues, dress them in Saudi uniforms and deliver them to Ansarullah's slashing [audience laughs]. It is they who are interfering in the affairs of Yemen. Why should we interfere in the affairs of Yemen?

Well, this influence is given to us by God. Can we do anything about this? For example, when our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) used to speak in this place, they would spread his words all over Africa or Asia and his opinions exerted such influence that such as such a person living in a remote country in Africa would name his son, "Ruhollah". Influence means this. This is done without using one piece of paper to achieve the purpose. Well, when one's opinions influence others, when they are correct and when they attract hearts because they are sincere, then nothing can be done to change this. "Say, ‘Die in your rage'" [The Holy Quran, 3: 119]. The late Shahid Beheshti was quoted as saying, "Well, you who cannot have this, should die of rage." What can we do about this? This is a reality. This is one of the realities of the Islamic Republic. You should pay attention to such realities. You should not always adopt a pessimistic outlook.

Of course, there are more expectations of us. I have many expectations of myself and of others. We should work more. We should make more achievements. We should end "The Decade of Progress and Justice" with progress and justice in the real sense of the word. I agree with this, but the other side of the issue is about the achievements and realities that exist. Student groups can work with such realities. You should sit and work on the international issues that the Islamic Republic is faced with. You should carry out interesting analyses - by considering future horizons - on the issues of Yemen, Iraq and Syria. This is another issue. After all, if you want the student environment to influence the country the way we said, this is the way: you should influence the student environment and the student environment will influence the whole country.

Of course, there are certain student groups that are formed only for the sake of elections. They are like disposable dishes. They are only useful for elections. Some student groups are like this. Some people do not feel embarrassed to say that they form such and such a student group so that it serves them for such and such an election, but this is an insult to students. Objectifying students - particularly an outstanding student who is supposed to become a member of a student group - is an insult to students. Are elections so valuable that we are prepared to humiliate students, particularly outstanding ones? I do not believe in such student groups and I do not believe that they are to the advantage of the country or that they can serve the country. I do not advise such student groups, but those groups that are really Islamic and enthusiastic and that really serve the Revolution, Islam and the future of the country can be very beneficial.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings