Ayatollah Khamenei

Americans Should Go and Perform Their Maneuvers in the Bay of Pigs

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on May 2, 2016 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with a number of teachers on the occasion of Teachers’ Week.

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. I hope that by Allah’s favor, Teachers’ Day and the auspicious memories of this day will be a source of happiness, bliss and perpetual honor for you dear children and brothers and sisters of mine.

After congratulating you on this day, we should primarily commemorate the memory of your martyrs whether martyred teachers – about 4,000 teachers were martyred which is not a small number – or student martyrs. More than 36,000 of our students were martyred during the Sacred Defense Era. If it had not been for the warm breath of teachers, it would not have been clear whether or not students would be able to join the front lines under all circumstances. This honor goes back to teachers as well.

After this, it is time for me to thank you – the society of the teachers of the country. The society of teachers is a society that has undertaken a difficult task with low material yield. Teachers carry on their shoulders, the pain of educational encounter with youth and teenagers. This is not a minor task, rather it is a difficult one. This is a heavy responsibility because everyone expects their seedlings, their youth and their children to shine like a bouquet of flowers inside the family when they go to school. Everyone wants this to happen and everyone expects teachers to do so.

However, you should compare the salary of a teacher with that of an investor, rich individual and son of a businessperson. Well, teachers see this. They know this. Perhaps, many of those who enter the arena of teaching – let us not say all of them, let us say many of them – could have entered another road and find a higher source of income, but they did not. Part of teachers’ motivation is love, affection, and a sense of responsibility. They create a future by living a simple life. They carry the burden of educating youth and teenagers with humility, patience and tranquility. I do not want to lay down a general rule. After all, it is possible that in every occupation, there are some people who are not suitable and fit, but this is the general disposition of our society of teachers. I myself was educated by the same teachers. I listened to and learned lessons from them. I know what it is to be a teacher.

Well, one characteristic of teaching is that in this occupation with the qualities that we referred to – great pain and a low material yield – there is a possibility for purity. It will be good if you dear new teachers and you society of teachers pay attention to this characteristic. This is very important. One’s salvation in the eternal life is achieved through showing purity and working for the sake of God and the truth. Working in a sincere manner is a source of salvation. This is not found in many places.

We think that we have carried out many tasks for the sake of God, but when we take a close and fair look, we see that there are some impurities in those tasks: “I ask for Your forgiveness because of the things that I wanted to do for You, but that were affected by things other than You” [Iqbal al-A’mal, Vol.1, page 123]. This dua is one of the duas that is said between morning nafila prayers and morning wajib prayers.

In this prayer, we ask God to forgive us for the things that we wanted to do for Him, but “that were affected by things other than You.” Such tasks are affected by a non-divine motivation and intention. Many of our tasks are like this. I am speaking about myself. When there is an opportunity for us to show purity, this is very valuable. One of these opportunities is teaching. You can work with purity. If you work with purity, your work will become blessed.

 A clear and available example for us is Shahid Motahhari. Ayatollah Motahhari used to move forward with purity. He worked for the sake of God. We knew him and used to see his work up close and therefore, we understood his intentions. He was a person who was aware of the developments of the times and of needs. He knew and understood what needs were. He used to work, think, speak, write, make efforts and treat others in a sincere manner and for the sake of satisfying those needs. The result of his purity is that his works have become eternal. It is tens of years now that he has been martyred, but as Saadi says, his books “Are sold like golden pages” [from Gulistan of Saadi]. Intellectuals, broad-minded personalities and those who are interested in understanding things run after Shahid Motahhari’s books. This is purity.

When you work in a sincere manner, each of the teenagers and youth who is tutored by you can build such a future for our country that is a source of eternal bliss for you who are their teachers, although no one knows you. No one knows the teachers of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) – those who taught him in his childhood – but the works of Imam (r.a.) will be recorded in their performance sheet as well because of building and cultivating such a man.

Well, we spoke about purity and I was addressing you teachers, but this does not mean that because the society of teachers is pure and lives a simple life, the officials of the country should ignore its livelihood problems. This is not what I meant. I said many times and will say many times more that officials should know that all their expenses in the educational system are an investment. They are not mere expenses. The money that is spent there is, in fact, an investment. They should adopt such an outlook towards the educational system. They should adopt such an outlook towards budgeting and livelihood resources for teachers.

However, there are some malicious individuals who take advantage of the livelihood problems of the society of teachers. I have heard that some individuals take advantage of this situation even inside the educational system itself. The poor living conditions of the society of teachers cause some people to take advantage of this situation. Until today, the society of teachers has fortunately kept itself clean, but some people are working hard to make these unhealthy moves. 

Now, let us discuss the main matter. My dear ones, you want to educate a generation. What kind of generation does your country and your future need? This is important. It is not the case that you want to work in an empty arena. This is not the case. Take the case of a judoka or a kung fu athlete who wants to do athletic moves in an empty pitch where there is no one. Well, this is easy. Or take the case of a swordsman who does fencing moves in an empty pitch while there is no one in front of him. However, sometimes there is a rival in front of you who foils your moves and who prevents himself from receiving your strokes and who strikes in return. Today, we are faced with such a rival. Who is the rival? Global arrogance.

Now, some people might be surprised at the confrontation of our educational system with global arrogance. Today, the embodiment of global arrogance is the government of America, big Zionist capitalists and some other arrogant governments. These are the representatives and symbols of global arrogance. I have spoken at length about this global arrogance in my public speeches and I have frequently said what this global arrogance means.

Global arrogance has certain plans for nations – not only for our nation but also for any nation that he can. He too wants the generations that builds the future of our country and other countries to be raised in a particular manner that suits him. He wants a generation to be educated in countries that thinks in the same way that he does, that has the same culture that he does and that has the same outlook and tastes that he does when it comes to global issues. This generation is built in any case. Of course, the members of this generation become educated. They become researchers and politicians and they will turn into officials in different countries. Well, for an imperialist group of people, what is better than seeing the officials, outstanding personalities and decision-makers of a country think and act in the same way that they do? This makes things easy for them. This is a colonialist and cultural plan. Of course, this plan is not related to the present time. It is tens of years now that they have been implementing this plan.

The thinkers of western politics have said many times that instead of conquering countries, installing military rulers, spending money, sending weapons and waging wars – like the era of colonialism during the 19th century – it is better, easier and more economical for them to bring outstanding personalities and elites of other countries to their country with the purpose of injecting their own thoughts into them and sending them back to their countries where they turn into soldiers who receive no wages for their services. This way, they act in the same way that they want. Do you not know such governments in the present time? Is the number of such governments in our region few? Such governments say the same things that America wants. They do the same things that he wants. They spend money, bear the expenses on their own and work for him as well. Not only do they not receive concessions and money from him, but they also spend money as well.

The only advantage that they gain is that arrogance prevents them from being overthrown by opposing elements and that it preserves them. They have such a plan for our future generation. They have such a plan for the students who are being taught by you. To what extent they will be successful is another discussion, but this plan exists in any case. They are promoting their own thoughts. They are promoting their own culture. They are promoting their own language.

I would like to use this opportunity to repeat what I have sometimes said to the officials of the educational system. Perhaps, I have not said it to the current honorable officials in the educational system, but I have said it before frequently. This insistence on promoting the English language in our country is an unhealthy course of action. Of course, we should learn foreign languages, but foreign languages are not confined to the English language. The language of science is not only English. Why do they not specify other languages in school as language lessons? Why is there such an insistence? This is the legacy of the era of taghut. This is the legacy of the Pahlavi era.

An example is Spanish. Today, those who speak Spanish in the world are not fewer in number than those who speak English. There are many people in different countries – in Latin America and in Africa – who speak this language. I am saying this as an example, otherwise I am not a promoter of the Spanish language so much so that I would like to work for them. I am saying this as an example. Why are the French and German languages not taught? The languages of advanced eastern countries are foreign languages as well. They are the language of science as well.

Gentlemen, in other countries, they pay attention to this issue. They prevent the influence, interference and development of foreign languages. However, we have become more catholic than the Pope himself! We have opened the arena and besides turning this language into an exclusive language in our schools, we are continuously bringing it to lower levels – to kindergartens and primary schools. Why is that? We who want to promote the Persian language should spend a huge amount of money and work hard. When they cancel Persian classes somewhere, we should make diplomatic calls, asking why they have done so. However, they do not allow us to take foreign students and they do not give us any concessions for promoting the Persian language. This is while we are promoting their languages with our own money, at our own expense and with our own problems.

Is this reasonable? I do not understand this. I said this in parentheses so that everyone understands and pays attention to it. I am not saying that we should cancel English classes shortly. This is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that we should know what we are doing. We should know what kind of generation the other side wants to be built in the country and with what characteristics. 

Well, this is the generation that global imperialism – global arrogance – wants. What about us? What kind of generation do we want? The written oath that you read was very good. Before coming here, I looked at this written oath. In this meeting, I listened to it very carefully as well. Meanwhile, you should know that when you take an oath, you will be obliged to honor it. When one swears an oath with full knowledge of what it means, it becomes imperative and then you should act on it. It was a good oath. It was a good written oath.

The first thing that we should consider for our students is that we should engender an independent national and religious identity in them. This is the first thing: an independent and dignified identity. We should cultivate our youth in a way that they pursue independent politics, economy and culture. Dependence and attachment to, reliance on and trust in others should not grow in them in the form of a spirit. I will tell you that we are vulnerable in this regard. You can see that as soon as a foreign word enters the country, outstanding and ordinary individuals, turban-wearers and others use it immediately. Why is that? Why are we so eager and thirsty to use foreign words? Why?

This is the legacy that they have bequeathed to us. This is the same state that existed during the time of taghut – during the time of our youth. I remember this. When I myself was young, there was a competition among us to use foreign words. Whoever used more of these words was considered as wiser and smarter. This is wrong. An independent identity is the first thing that we should grow and develop in our youth and teenagers. It is only then that the economy of resistance becomes meaningful. It is not the case that in order to implement the economy of resistance, high-ranking executive officials should organize hundreds of meetings in a row and that they should constantly issue different rules, directives and the like – and even if they do so, it will not be implemented completely.

Well, in the present time, they are trying to implement the economy of resistance. However, when our spirit is not based on independence and on resisting others, this becomes difficult.  We have gotten used to selling our provision in a constant manner without turning it into value added. Wise families usually keep a provision for themselves in their houses. We too have a God-given provision which is oil. Sometimes, we turn a resource into value added. Very well, this is acceptable. However, we do not do so in the case of oil and we only extract and sell it.

Some of the heads of countries who have visited me have complained that their balance of trade is not similar to ours because our sale to them is more than our purchase. I have frequently said to several of them that the main thing that they buy is oil. Oil means money. It means gold. We do not gain any value-added from oil. We dig our wealth from beneath the ground and we give it to them. This cannot be included in balance of trade. These points are important. When an independent identity exists, we drift away from this lifestyle. It is then that the economy of resistance, oil-free economy and independent culture become meaningful.

We should revive outstanding and important standards and criteria in our students. In the written oath that you read, it was specified that we should activate students’ God-given nature. This is correct. Allah the Exalted has created in all of us a substance which can be grown and benefitted from. You should activate and develop this substance in children.

The standards are these. One of the main ones is thought-stimulating concepts. We should produce and revive in them thought and action-stimulating concepts. Another standard is faith. Another is thinking. They should learn to think. Other standards include social contribution, avoidance of unsuitable forms of social isolation, and social takafol [contribution and assistance] that has a lofty meaning in Islam. 

Another standard is reforming the norms of consumption. This humble person has spoken many times about reforming the norms of consumption. I have addressed this issue in my new year speeches, in my speeches with officials and in private and public meetings. However, our norms of consumption have not been reformed yet. We consume badly. An example is the issue of importing foreign products which I discussed a few days ago with a number of people in this Hussainiyah [Supreme Leader’s speech delivered on April 27, 2016 in meeting with laborers]. Another example is smuggling luxurious products that are worth tens and hundreds of billion dollars. The childish behavior that is shown on the streets – some arriviste boys constantly fool around and boast on the streets with their flashy cars – originates from such things. So, our norms of consumption should be reformed. This should be taught to our youth and teenagers from their childhood.

Another standard is tolerating others. As soon as someone jostles us, we strike them in the chest- this is a sign of intolerance. Islam does not want this from us. Islam wants the opposite of this: “They are compassionate among each other” [The Holy Quran, 48: 29].

Another standard is politeness and behaving oneself. Many of you are familiar with the virtual world. Are manners observed in the virtual world? Is politeness observed there? Well, it is not observed or at least, a great part of it is not. These qualities should be grown in teenagers and youth.

Another standard is piety and preventing individuals from living an aristocratic lifestyle. You should avoid injecting an aristocratic lifestyle into them. If I want to make a list of, write down and read these standards, it will become as long as a page or several pages. These are some of the standards.

It is you who should carry out these tasks. This is your job. This is your holy vocation. It is you who cultivate the future generation like this and who create a culture. If you manage to enter these thought-stimulating concepts into the minds of your students, you have rendered a great service to the future of your country. Teachers are fortunately like this because they teach, educate and naturally have a mental and cultural influence over students. Of course, we have nothing to do with those bad-tempered students who exist in some classes. This is the case generally speaking. In Islamic seminaries, learners and the clergy behave towards their teachers like humble servants. Of course, this does not exist in the new culture, but after all, teachers have some kind of influence over students. You can benefit from this influence.

Well, different organizations have a role in this regard. They can create such an environment in the educational system that teachers can easily do their job and remain loyal to the content of this written oath and to the obligations that we mentioned.

One of the organizations that is responsible is the deputy of moral education that was recommended and that was fortunately established. They established the deputy of moral education, but it is not enough. This deputy has heavier responsibilities. It should work hard and its activities should be purposeful, intelligent and healthy – both in ideological, political and moral areas. These are among the responsibilities of the deputy of moral education. You should observe these points. If any mistake is made in each of these areas – whether resistance in the area of religious propriety or resistance in moral and political areas – this is delivering a blow to the educational system and to this generation.

The IRIB is one of those organizations that are responsible in this regard. The IRIB can play many roles. I spoke about this last year as well [Supreme Leader’s Speech delivered on October 12, 2015 in meeting with managers and officials of IRIB], but it was not acted on. It was not acted on properly. The IRIB should have a special plan for the educational system. Broad-minded individuals should sit and plan for this. A few days ago – perhaps, it was last week – a group of teenagers and young students gathered in this Hussainiyah and I delivered a speech for them [Supreme Leader’s speech delivered on April 20, 2015 in meeting with members of Islamic students associations]. One of them gave a letter to me. I saw that he was making sense. He had written in that letter that in the IRIB, there are programs for children and adults, but that there is not any program for high school youth. I saw that he was right and that what he was saying was correct. What programs did you make for these youth from which they can benefit in psychological, intellectual, religious and scientific areas? Of course, some scientific programs are shown on some channels, but they are not good programs. This should be planed for. The task should be carried out in an artistic manner. This is one organization which is responsible in this regard.

Another organization is the Ministry of Communications. Today’s virtual world has become several times bigger than the real environment in which we live. Some people can only breathe in the virtual world! They can only live in the virtual world! Our youth too are involved with the virtual world. They are involved with all sorts of things – with its scientific programs, its internet, its social networks, its various exchanges and the like. This is like a slippery ground. No one says that you should not build roads. If you need a road in a particular area, very well, you go and build one. You can build a freeway, but you should be careful. In those places where a landslide is possible, you should make the necessary calculations. This is my advice to our communications organizations, to the Ministry of Communications and to the Supreme Council of Cyberspace – I have certain complaints of that council as well.

I am not saying that we should close the path because this is an unwise course of action. Some people have sat and thought about this. They have opened a path under the name of the virtual world or as they themselves put it, “cyberspace”. Very well, you can benefit from this. However, you should do so in the right way. Others are using it in the right way as well. Some countries have taken these organizations under their control on the basis of their own culture. Why should we not do so? Why do we not pay careful attention? Why have we abandoned this uncontrollable and anarchic world? They are responsible. These are among the organizations that are responsible. The Ministry of Comunications is responsible in this regard. 

All these organizations should help the educational system. The educational system cannot carry out all tasks on its own. They should help. I have said many times that organizations should help the educational system- well this is how they can help. When we speak about help, their minds should not always switch to financial and monetary help. Everyone should cooperate so that the educational system can really stand on its own feet and carry out its duties.

One of the tasks that should be carried out in the educational system is injecting the spirit of joy and youthfulness in teachers. We should not allow teachers to become old. I do not mean old age. Some people are young, but they have the spirit and morale of the elderly. And some people have a youthful spirit although they are at an advanced aged. I know a teacher who I think has been teaching for 70 years, but he has not stopped. These things are very valuable. Such spirits should be revived in the educational system.

Our educational system is an old, outdated and outmoded system. Our educational system is an old one. We have borrowed it from the Europeans and we have kept it for so long like a museum piece that should not be touched. Every time, we only tampered with parts of it. The system is an old system. It has to be renewed. Of course, the transformation project that Mr. Minister mentioned is a step on this path. This is good, but I want to say that in order to renew the educational system, we should not look at others again, to see what has happened in such and such a European country and to copy it here. This should not be the case.

Broad-minded personalities should sit – of course, it will be good to benefit from others’ experiences – and design a system on their own. They should design the new system on their own. The transformation project – that has apparently been prepared in an efficient manner – is a step towards this. They should implement the same project with a careful and critical look. They should look and see where its problems lie. After all, there are some problems in every non-divine and human writing. We should look and find those problems. We should identify the problems and the flaws in order to design a good and well-organized system.

One of the things that is very important in the educational system is Farhangian University where these dear youth of ours – those students who are studying to become teachers – study. This is very important. We should invest – both qualitatively and quantitatively – in such universities as much as we can, with the same lofty standards that are necessary for teachers. As I said, the written oath that you read was very good provided that you honor it. We should really be committed to what we have sworn on. They hold short-term educational terms as well, but they are not very helpful.

One of the things that is important in the educational system is the issue of technical-vocational schools on which I have placed great emphasis. Our children study 12 years – until they become young – in order to go to university. Is taking this path and going to university necessary for all the professions that exist in society? According to the reports that I have received, there are 12,000 professions. Is studying the same lessons, taking the same path and going to university necessary for all these 12,000 professions? Or should the goal be to increase individuals’ skill and efficiency for different tasks and for different talents?

Some people are outstanding in art. If you give them a technical task, they become confused. On the contrary, some people are outstanding in technical tasks. Some are outstanding in thinking and philosophy, some are outstanding in social matters and some are outstanding in the area of public services. We should look and find talents. We should identity and cultivate them until they become skillful and able to work and to innovate. We have placed so much emphasis on innovation. Well, who can innovate? Not every ordinary person can innovate. Individuals should become skillful so that they can innovate in an area.

Another issue is about using taghuti words and expressions. Some people insist on using these words. I do not understand why we should definitely use the word “pishahangi” [scouting]. Well, pishahangi is a term that we used to use during the time of taghut. What is the necessity? Each of these words and expressions has a connotation. One of the greatest achievements of the Islamic Republic was coining terms with certain connotations such as istikbar [arrogance], mustazafin [the weak] and nezam-e solte [global arrogance, global imperialism]. These are terms that other nations – the political, active and revolutionary personalities of other nations – snatched away from us. What is the necessity of using taghuti terms? We have student Basij. And we have scouting student groups. We have Islamic students society and Islamic students associations. These are terms that belong to the Islamic Republic. Why should we necessarily use the old terms?  

I would like to say something about the issues of our current schools as well. That according to the Constitution – and when one thinks, one understands that it is correct – the issue of the educational system is a governmental issue does not mean that all the burden should fall on the administration. However, the administration should play its part on the issue of the educational system. If we constantly turn state-funded schools into private schools, it is not clear if this is a reasonable course of action or not. They call such schools, “non-profit schools”, but some of them are profit – not non-profit – schools with the exorbitant fees that they receive according to what I have heard. We should raise the level of state-funded schools so that families become more interested in these schools.

Time passed so quickly. Our speech became too long. The last thing that I want to say is that my dear ones, you should build the country. It is you who should build it. You teachers are among the individuals who can build the country. You should benefit from this opportunity as well – the opportunity of your capabilities. Fortunately, what I have heard and seen about the honorable Minister shows that he is at an acceptable level both in terms of intellectual and moral health. You should benefit from this opportunity. Of course, he should try to act in a way that his colleagues become individuals who can be trusted with this great task both in terms of intellectual and moral health.

It is you who should build the country. You should strengthen it. Power does not only lie in weapons. The most important weapon and the most important power-generating element is knowledge and national identity. People’s characters, resistance and identity – revolutionary identity – are the elements that bring about power. Faith gave our people power. The Revolution gave our people power. When you have power and when the enemy sees it, he will be forced to retreat. When in the face of the enemy, we avoid displaying and presenting the constituents and elements of our power and when we show fear and different considerations, he will be emboldened.

When you see today that the enemies make extravagant claims, all of these things can be responded to by our people. They sit and come up with the idea that Iran should not carry out military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf. What weird nonsense! He comes from the other side of the world and carries out military maneuvers. What are you doing here? You should go and perform your maneuvers in the Bay of Pigs [audience laughs] and anywhere else that you want! What are you doing in the Persian Gulf? The Persian Gulf is our home. The Persian Gulf is the place where the great people of Iran are present. The Persian Gulf coast as well as much of the coast of the Sea of Oman belongs to our people. They should be present, carry out maneuvers and display their power there.

We are a people with a rich history and we are strong. If some weak and sinister kings showed up and if they kept us backward for a while and cast the spirit of death on our country, you should know that they are gone! They got the hell out of this country! Our people are a vigilant people. They are a great people. Will they allow you to do such things? We should face these greedy, insatiable and monopolistic powers like this.

As I said before, they certainly suffered a defeat when they faced us. The reason for their defeat is very clear. The reason is that they wanted the Islamic Republic not to exist. However, not only does the Islamic Republic exist, but it has also become tens of times stronger compared to the beginning. Well, this is a defeat. The Holy Quran has taught us: “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies, of Allah and your enemies” [The Holy Quran, 8: 60]. It says that we should prepare ourselves in a way that the enemy of God and our own enemy will be afraid of us. By “enemy” it does not mean our neighboring countries, our rivals and those countries that do not show enmity towards us. The “enemy” means he who shows enmity, whom everyone knows.

I ask Allah the Exalted to bestow success on you and on us so that we can continue the path that leads to God’s satisfaction – divine satisfaction – God willing. I hope that in the shade of the enlightened, active and dignified presence of you youth, the future of the country will be one that is a source of bliss for all peoples in the world, God willing.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings