You should know what exists behind enemy smile

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on February 8, 2016 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with commanders and personnel of the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army. The meeting was held on the occasion of the historic pledge of allegiance of Air Force officers to Imam Khomeini (r.a.) on the 19th of Bahman of 1357.

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

Dear brothers, welcome. I am happy that the 19th of Bahman of every year is a means and a way for meeting some of your dear ones in the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army. Thankfully, a bouquet of flowers from the colorful and rich garden of the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army shows its presence in this place every year and we find the opportunity to say a few words to it.

Today’s occasion is an important occasion because on the 19th of Bahman, when the Air Force of that army presented itself to the Revolution and showed its presence to Imam (r.a.) – on that day too, they were a sample, a chosen group, a bouquet of flowers from a garden – equations really changed. The equations that ruled over everyone’s mind completely changed. It became clear that the army’s threat against the people – it was the senior commanders, the ones who were dependent on the court, the court itself and its American allies who highlighted this threat – was an illusion, one that was completely false.

On that day, I was present on the scene and I witnessed motives, enthusiasms and individuals up close. It was a phenomenon, an astonishing one. This phenomenon should be commemorated. This meaningful and influential movement should not be allowed to be erased from history and from our minds. The important and influential events in history are not merely memories. They are, in fact, a lesson and a guiding star.

This move – made by the Air Force of those days – is a guiding star for all those who are in this system, whether in the present time or in the future. Thankfully, even after that event, the Air Force showed that it moves on a straight and good line. To be fair, this is really the case.

Throughout all the years that I was involved with the Army, with the Armed Forces and with the various events that they tackled, I can definitely bear witness that the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran has performed well in the true sense of the word including in the areas of operations, provisions, inner structure, logistics and ammunitions. It is many years now that they have not been selling anything to us or they have been selling very little, but the Air Force has managed to stand on its own feet. By Allah’s favor, it will manage to stand on its own feet from now on too and it will become stronger on a daily basis.

Another point is that the move made by the Air Force on the 19th of Bahman of 1357 was immediately reciprocated by the people. This is a lesson as well. On the eve of the 21st and 22nd, when the Air Force headquarters was threatened by the [Imperial] Guard – they launched an attack on the Air Force with the purpose of punishing the, in their words “rebellious”, Air Force – the people rushed to help of the Air Force. Notice that there was an immediate response. This means that being with the people, being at the service of the people and the constant attachment of a military force to the people pays off immediately. Under such circumstances, the people become one’s supporters. It matters a great deal if a military force is dependent or not dependent on the people. This will make a huge difference. On that day, they immediately received the result of their move.

I cannot forget in the middle of that night- it was either the eve of the 21st or the 22nd- we used to come and go to a house on Iran Street in separate groups, I heard people on Iran Street asking the people to go to Piruzi Street. That was where the Guard had attacked. I saw this with my own eyes. Some people had gone there to help the Air Force. And some people had moved throughout the city to ask other people to come and help the Air Force - I was on Iran Street, but people from other neighborhoods had certainly participated as well – and the people rushed to help. This is another point. When you are with the people, the people stand behind you. An army that is backed by the people has no worries when confronting the enemy.

Thankfully, there is a world of difference between the current Air Force, and the air force of those days and the pre-revolutionary era. It should not be said that before the Revolution, new airplanes - built in such and such countries - were available to the air force while today we do not have such airplanes. Although the air force of those days was extravagant and flashy, it was hollow from the inside. Today, the Air Force might not have that extravagance, but it is strong, solid and grown from the inside. Today, you are self-reliant. You heard in the report delivered by our honorable commander that it is you who are building parts, tools and ammunitions and it is you who are making the move on your own, but at that time, this was not the case.

They used to receive a lot of money without any calculation behind it- today, our executive officials have to tackle the issue of the money that they used to receive without any calculation- and in return, they used to sell different parts to the air force at any price that they liked. Of course, after the Revolution, some people wanted to return the F-14s that had just been bought, but by Allah’s favor and grace, we did not allow them to do so. They wanted to return them so that we would not even have this much. Today, the Air Force is innovative and powerful and its power is not comparable with those days. And it should become more powerful on a daily basis.

When a people are threatened by an enemy, the first responsibility of the ruling system is to ensure the security of those people. The first responsibility of the ruling system is to ensure the security of the country and the people. This security is ensured in different ways. One way is through the military and strengthening the military. Today, you should have every instrument that can establish and guarantee security. We build some of these instruments, we buy some and we preserve some. The Air Force should move forward on a daily basis. You should not be satisfied with any level of achievement.

You should strengthen your relationship with the system and with this large number of the people. As you can witness, the people are moving behind the Islamic Republic and the Revolution even after the passage of 37 years. The people are heartened to see that the Armed Forces are with, beside and ahead of them and that they are their protectors. The Armed Forces too are heartened to see that the people are moving behind them and that they are by their side. These were a few points about the Air Force.

We have two eids ahead of us. One is the eid of the Revolution which is the 22nd of Bahman – three days from now. Another eid is the eid of the elections. Elections are, in fact, an eid. We should celebrate these two eids. These two eids are significant and meaningful eids for us. As for the first eid, which is the eid of the Revolution – the 22nd of Bahman – our people have truly celebrated and commemorated this day as a real eid throughout the past 37 years. “Eid” means an occasion which is repeated every year. The term “eid” comes from “oud”. It means that we repeat one day in every year because of a certain occasion. It is a repetition of joy. This repetition of joy on the 22nd of Bahman – which has been designated as the day of the victory of the Revolution – has continued every year with the same zeal and enthusiasm.

This is unique in both Iran and in the whole world. There are certain countries that have carried out a revolution, but celebrating the anniversary of a revolution with the presence of people and with such a large number of individuals is peerless throughout the world. What I am saying is a reality and based on facts, not based on a speculation and analysis. This is the truth. Of course, those countries that have carried out a revolution celebrate the anniversary of their revolution. Some individuals stand on a balcony and some people march past them. This becomes the anniversary of their revolution. And the people are busy with their own affairs. However, in our country, the anniversary of the Revolution is commemorated, preserved and celebrated by the people.  

It is the people who enter the arena and show their presence in cold weather and by enduring different problems such as a freezing weather, heavy rain and snow and the like. This is the presence of the people and it is an endless chain. Perhaps, half of the people who will participate in this year’s 22nd of Bahman are people who have actually not witnessed the 22nd of Bahman and who were not old enough then. They were born after the 22nd of Bahman, but they participate in its anniversary. This is, in fact, a re-creation of the Revolution. This is because our Revolution was not carried out with bullets, guns and the like, rather it was carried out with the bodies of the people on the street. The people entered the arena and showed their presence on the scene not only with their enthusiasm, willpower, emotions and feelings, but also with their bodies.

And it was difficult! Shootings, death and different dangers awaited them, but they endured these dangers and they took to the streets. The continuation of this powerful and steely determination uprooted the rootless, decayed and dependent Pahlavi regime. This was achieved by the bodily presence of the people as well as their willpower, determination, affection and support on the streets and on the scene. These are signs of presence. The people have preserved this presence throughout the past 37 years. This year too, you will see that by Allah’s favor and grace, the presence of the people on the streets will be eye-catching and enemy-shattering.

This memory should not be allowed to become outmoded. This great event should not be allowed to be consigned to negligence and oblivion. The Revolution is alive and we stand in the middle of the Revolution’s path. My dear ones, you are aware that a revolution is not a sudden incident. A revolution is a transformation that is brought about gradually. Of course, in the beginning, a revolutionary movement and the formation of a revolutionary government are necessary, but until this revolution can strengthen its foundations and achieve its goals, it needs the passage of time. If these goals are forgotten, if the event of the revolution is forgotten, then the same thing that was witnessed in seemingly revolutionary countries will happen to our country as well.

Some revolutions were nipped in the bud – such as the ones that were carried out in our own time, in recent years: they were really nipped in the bud – and some died young soon after they were born. This was the reason. The reason was deviation from the goals that they had announced. Those goals should prevail. The goal of social justice, the goal of leading an Islamic lifestyle in the real sense of the word – one’s dignity in this world and in the hereafter lies in leading an Islamic lifestyle – and the goal of creating an Islamic society in which knowledge, justice, morality, dignity and progress exist should prevail. These are the goals and we have not achieved them yet. We are only in the middle of the path.

The event and the truth of the Revolution should be alive in our minds and hearts in a constant manner. As it happens, the enemy’s front has placed great emphasis on this point. When you see in foreign news that such and such an American politician has said that they do not want to overthrow the Islamic Republic, but that they want to make it change its behavior – as you have heard, they have said this – a change in behavior means this. It means that the behavior of the Islamic Republic has been revolutionary until now and that it has been at the service of the Revolution and therefore, they want to change it.

A few months ago, I said to those of our diplomats who had gathered here that they are not afraid of the Islamic Republic’s name. They are not even afraid that a turban-wearing individual is at the top of the political system. If the Islamic Republic loses its content and its Islamic and revolutionary behavior, then they will get along with it. What defines their enmity is the content of the Islamic Republic. The enemy front is like this. They have focused all their efforts on destroying the Islamic Republic’s movement towards divine, Islamic, dignifying and power-inspiring goals. The enemy front is after reviving its domination over our country.

We used to be under the domination of the enemy for many years. In every era, this domination took a specific form. We were under his domination during the time of the Qajar dynasty in one way and during the time of the Pahlavi dynasty in a different way. During the time of the Qajar dynasty, we were under the domination of two rivals: England and Russia of those days. At that time, the Soviet Union had not been formed yet. When one of them obtained a concession, the other would say, “You have given him a concession and therefore, you should give one to me as well” and this was how they obtained a concession. A competition to win concessions had taken place between these two powers in our country. And those incompetent individuals who were ruling over our country had sacrificed both the people and the people’s goals for the sake of them.

In those days, Iran’s population was no more than 15, 20 million people. They sacrificed everything that the people had for the sake of them. During the Qajar era, this happened in a specific manner and during the Pahlavi era, this took a different form which was, of course, worse. In the case of the latter, they dedicated themselves to the goals of those powers and they opened up the country for them. The Iranian-Islamic culture could help the people resist. However, they changed this culture. During the Pahlavi era, they tried to destroy the spirit that had managed to strike that foreign company in the mouth on the issue of tobacco. They tried to destroy the motive that had managed to bring the people to the arena on the issue of the Constitutional Movement. They were trying to do this. And Reza Khan and Mohammad Reza were at their service and they did whatever they wanted. Of course, they themselves did not believe in them, but they followed all the orders that they issued. This was the condition of the country over the course of many years.

Thanks to its Islamic essence and its Iranian talent, thanks to the advantages and characteristics that Iranian society enjoys – this is while many societies in the world do not have these advantages and characteristics – and thanks to the emergence of an extraordinary and exceptional leader like our magnanimous Imam (r.a.), our country managed to liberate itself from the heavy burden of all these pressures, to stand on its own feet, to do what it is supposed to do and to make its own moves. They want to destroy this. Today, the enemy front is after this.

In the present time, although the enemy’s mouth is full of noise about a hard war - the outbreak of a war is possible, although we find it unlikely, we do not think that it is impossible – what exists at the top of his agenda is a soft war. The goal of a soft war is to take away the elements of power from a country. Its goal is to take away the elements of power from the Islamic Republic and the people of Iran and to turn them into a weak, humiliated and subservient nation. This is their goal. When a people become subservient, they will not need to wage a hard war. Even if waging a hard war is necessary at some point in time, they can do it without any trouble. Of course, they do not dare to wage a hard war today.

The day when – God forbid – the people of Iran become weak and lose the elements of their power, doing so will be very easy for them. Reviving the Revolution in minds, protecting and guarding revolutionary thinking and revolutionary orientation through one’s actions, words, behavior and decisions and through rules and regulations are tasks that can prevent that dreadful situation and that can help the people continue the same path of strength and stability that they are taking in the present time. Well, these issues were about the eid of the Revolution. By Allah’s favor and grace, on the 22nd of Bahman, the presence of the people on the streets and in different arenas will be such presence that the enemy will become disappointed and hopeless. After that, the eid of the elections is ahead of us. Elections are an eid as well.  

I have spoken to small extent about elections before. There are many things to be said about elections. Elections are the injection of new blood in the body of the Islamic Republic. They revive the energy and the power of the people. Some people come and undertake certain responsibilities and carry out certain tasks. Some of them succeed and some of them do not. Some of them can fulfill their duties and some cannot do so. The people have been given the right to come to the middle of the arena at a specific point in time – as for parliamentary and presidential elections, there is a four-year span, but for the Assembly of Experts elections, there is a longer interval – and decide who should be elected and who should not. An election means this. It means giving fresh impetus and new breath to and injecting new blood into the country and the people. An election means this.

When I insist that everyone should participate in elections, this is the reason. When elections become public and when everyone participates, the country and the Islamic Republic achieve dignity and they are insured. Elections are pledging new allegiance to lofty goals. This is the meaning of elections. This is why it is the responsibility of all the people to participate in this great incident. 

One of the continuous goals of the enemy front – which is headed by America – from the beginning of the Revolution until today has been to create a dangerous polarization between the people and the system. This is the exact opposite of what the Islamic Republic has been founded on which is the complete amalgamation of the system with the people. They have wanted to create this rift. Of course, they have not succeeded in doing so. Elections are one of those points that disappoints the enemy in this arena. Elections are a representation of the system’s strong relationship with the people and they completely destroy this polarization which is favored by the enemy. In this sense, elections are the manifestation of “If you help the cause of Allah…”

The Holy Quran says, “If you help the cause of Allah, He will help you” [The Holy Quran: 47: 7]. If you help Allah, Allah the Exalted will help you as well. What is helping God? How is it done? Helping God means trying to implement the divine legislative willpower on earth. The Islamic Republic is the greatest embodiment of this. Anyone who helps the Islamic Republic in any way has acted on “If you help the cause of Allah…” They have actually helped God. Then how is this help reciprocated? “He will help you” as well. God will help you as well. Has this not been the case? Has this not worked from the beginning of the Revolution until today? Has this not been tested? Who has confronted us from the beginning of the Revolution until today? Everyone should really take a thorough look. Of course, insightful people and those who are interested in thinking have done so. From the beginning of the Revolution until today, top material powers in the world have been confronting the Islamic Republic, but they have failed to do anything.

When a revolution is carried out in a country, it will naturally cause some tumult and chaos. In the first days of the Revolution – when there was some tumult and confusion – they tried to disintegrate the country. They tried to launch a coup d’état, but they failed. They waged the imposed war. For eight years, they imposed a war on our country. They imposed sanctions since the first days. The sanctions that you witness now are a continuation of those first sanctions and of course, they increased them on a daily basis.

Well, which country can resist? Which country can resist all these threats? The Islamic Republic and Islamic Iran resisted. Not only did it preserve itself, but it also strengthened itself. Today, the power of the Islamic Republic is not comparable with those first days. It has introduced itself as a regional- and in some areas- global power. Your country is among global powers in certain areas. It is among global powers! Its opinions and votes on some of the matters in the world are more influential than those of first-rate powers in the world. Today, this is the case. It has turned into such a thing. This means that it has received divine assistance. When you helped the cause of Allah, this was followed by “God will help you” [quoting the Quranic ayah in Arabic]. God helped you as well. If God had not helped you, this would not have happened. “If you help the cause of Allah” should be continued. The presence of the people in elections is one of the manifestations of this continuation.

Of course, I have many things to say about elections. Peculiar statements are being made. These days, certain things are being said, but I do not want to expand on these statements because this will confuse public opinion and create doubt in the hearts of the people. Inappropriate and wrong statements are being made. Such statements only adopt a political outlook towards matters and they put aside the divine outlook. These days, we sometimes hear such statements. For the moment, I do not want to expand on this matter. What I want to say is that the people should know that their dignity, their pride, their power and their resistance against the enemy front depend on the fulfillment of their revolutionary responsibilities in an efficient manner. One of the most important revolutionary responsibilities is elections. This is being addressed to the people.

I have something to say to officials as well which is about elections. Well, officials – executive officials – are really working and trying hard. They are busy trying hard for both elections and other issues. However, I want to say that promotional and press activities related to elections should not make the officials of the country ignore those fundamental matters that should be pursued in a continuous manner. Elections are very important. As we said and will continue to say, they are of utmost significance. However, elections are a temporary matter. They happen in a specific period of time and it comes to an end finally. What remains after that is the fundamental matters of the country one of which is the issue of the economy of the country and making the country resistant in the area of the economy and economic work so that the enemy will not be able to pressure the country and to impose its demands and will on us through this area.

If we are not dependent on oil and if we strengthen our domestic products, then the day when the price of oil goes from a hundred dollars to 20-plus dollars, our bodies will not tremble. If we can improve our domestic products and climb out of recession, we will not frown when the enemy limits and bans the importation of such and such a product. Our domestic economy should be strengthened. Our country is a large country. We have a large and four-season country. We have a country with numerous resources, the most important of which is our manpower. We have talented, competent, young and motivated manpower. We are one of those countries in the world that have the largest number of educated individuals. We are one of those countries that have the largest number of engineers. We are among the first four, five countries in the world in many fields of knowledge. This manpower is not a minor achievement. This is the most important source of progress for a country.

This vast land, these diverse seasons and climates in different parts of the country and the great resources that exist in Iran are all provisions that give us the power to make our country resistant. When you make your economy resistant from the inside, others will seek your favor instead of imposing sanctions on you. When they see that you will not frown at economic pressures and sanctions, that you do not retreat, and that you do not have to accept defeat, then the hell they will impose sanctions because they will understand that such a course of action is of no avail! This is the basis of the work. This is the reason why I speak about and stress the issue of the economy of resistance. It is 10, 12 years now that I have been shouting that if we make the economy of the country resistant from the inside, the main problems that the enemy has caused will be eliminated and then clear solutions will be ahead of us for the employment of our youth and for overcoming many social detriments which originate from unemployment and recession. 

My advice to the honorable officials of the country is that the press commotions about the elections should not make them busy. You should think about the economy. You should guide resources towards the right channel which is towards production, whether agricultural or industrial production. One really feels embarrassed to see – I see this in newspapers, but you see it on the streets – that a country with such vastness and with such diverse products has all sorts of foreign fruits on the streets. Should we import fruits from outside the country while our own oranges and apples rot on the trees? These things should be thought about and worked on. They should guide the resources of the country towards production, not towards more dependence and towards imports. When an issue such as the issue of elections arises, should everyone’s attention be diverted and should everyone pay attention to it?

Well, this should not be the case because this is a temporary matter. Those who should think about this issue are thinking about it. Those who should really work on it are working on it. The minds of the officials of the country should not become busy with such matters. This is an issue that I am addressing to both our dear people and to our honorable officials: all our policies and all our conducts should be shaped by paying attention to the existence of a large enemy front. Our attention should be entirely focused on this matter. The people do not praise any individual and any group of people who ignore the existence of the enemy. They do not admire them by saying that they have friendly relations with everyone. Well, he smiles and you smile as well, but you should know what exists behind this smile.

Enmities should not be forgotten and consigned to oblivion. There is an enemy front ahead of us. In the present time, we should pay attention to the role of the enemy on the issue of our security, our economy, our living conditions, our culture and our youth and on the issue of social detriments. We should formulate policies, pass laws, take action and speak on the basis of this. There is no honor in ignoring the enemy. We should know that there is an enemy. Some people complain about why we constantly speak about the enemy. Well, if we do not speak about it, then we will forget that we have an enemy and then he will do whatever he likes as a result of our negligence.

We should know both the enemy and his enmities. As Saadi says – something like this – “When the enemy becomes disappointed with all plots, he shakes the hand of friendship. When he shakes the hand of friendship, then he will do something that no other enemy can do” [from Saadi’s Gulistan, Chapter 8]. He will deliver the blow wearing the clothes of a friend. All of us should pay attention to such things. Well, the activities of the officials of the country are thankfully good. To be fair, they are really doing several activities and working hard. However, it is necessary to be more careful because this enemy is a vicious, brazen and shameless enemy.

Today, America does not answer the simplest questions that public opinion in the world has. Public opinion in the world is asking the Americans, “Do you know that it has been 10, 11 months now that a country is bombarding Yemen and destroying cities? Do you or do you not know of this? If you know of this, why do you support it? If you know of it, then why do you not protest? If you know of this crime, then why do your fuel-providing planes help them? Why do you help them? Why do you support them?” You who claim to be supporting human rights should answer public opinion in the world.  When thousands of children and thousands of men, women and civilians are killed inside their houses and in hospitals and schools without any defense, is this not terrorism? Is this not the most brazen and cruel form of governmental terrorism? Why do you support it? However, the Americans do not answer these questions. They look directly in the eyes of people in the world and they make claims about advocating human rights!

Now this is about Yemen. This issue has arisen since a year ago. The other side of the matter is Palestine with a history of suffering from these crimes for 60, 65 years. You see what they are doing to the people of Palestine, you see that they are destroying their houses and their farms, you see that they are building settlements, and you see that they are placing Zionist elements – that are holding guns - at Palestinian doors and that they keep them armed. You see such things. So, why do you defend them? Why do you give them money? Why do you constantly get along with – as you yourselves say – the Zionist lobby inside America? Why do you constantly flatter them? Why? These are simple questions posed by public opinion in the world. 

However, they do not answer even one word from these questions. This is while they claim that they are our friends, that they are interested in human rights and that they are advocating democracy. In those countries that are America’s allies in our regions, one cannot even mention the name of elections. They are not familiar with the phenomenon of elections in any way and they do not understand elections at all. However, America – that claims to be advocating democracy – has signed a brotherhood pact with such countries. And what pact it is! He is defending them in every way. Our enemy is such an enemy. America is such a creature. Of course, I have said many times that by “America” we mean the governing body of that country. We mean the American system. We have nothing to do with the people of America. The American system is such a system.

They adopt the most embarrassing and wrong courses of action and then they smile at us and they do not give any answer to such questions. Well, if they really have an answer, they should give it to public opinion in the world. When a country is faced with such an enemy, it should pay careful attention. The people of Iran should pay careful attention. By Allah’s favor, the people of Iran are and have been completely focused on this matter. Until now, this great popular movement has managed to foil the plot of this deceitful, treacherous and malicious enemy and God willing, our people will continue to humiliate him.

My dear ones, you should appreciate the value of your responsibility. You should appreciate the value of your youth. You are young and motivated, you have certain responsibilities as well and you can work. Working in such an environment is an act of worship. You should work towards achieving these goals with the pure intention of working for God and for the progress of the country, the Army and the Air Force. The more you work, the more blessings Allah the Exalted will bestow upon your life and your efforts.

I hope that by Allah’s favor, the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) and the pure souls of martyrs – the martyrs of the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army in particular – are satisfied with all of you and all of us.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings