Basij commanders and forces met with Ayatollah Khamenei

Ayatollah Khamenei: We Will Not Allow the JCPOA to Become a Tool for American Pressure

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on November 23, 2016 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with basijis from throughout the country. The meeting was held on the occasion of Basij 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 and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem al-Mustafa Muhammad and upon his immaculate household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth and may God curse all their enemies

Our meeting is a very sweet and ideal meeting. The scent of basiji spirit has filled the air. I enjoyed and benefitted from the statements of these dear ones, each of whom expressed a sweet and significant truth. And there are many things to be discussed with you dear basijis – you youth, boys and girls.

Today, I will raise a few points about Basij, but before that, I would like to say something about these days which are marked by this great and magnificent gathering [the annual Arbaeen pilgrimage]. This is really a great historical phenomenon. Usually, in such phenomena for which no promotion has been done, but which suddenly emerge before one’s eyes, the divine hand is more visible than other phenomena. One example of such phenomena is the Islamic Revolution itself. Of course, the revolutionary activities before the Islamic Revolution deserve attention as well, but popular presence and popular gatherings were shaped in our country over the course of one year, one year and a half. The same slogan that the people of Tehran were chanting was being chanted in such and such a village – in a remote area of the country – by the people who were holding a rally. That was why Imam (r.a.) said at that time – on the basis of the things that we had heard – that this Revolution would achieve victory because it was a sign of the presence of God’s Powerful Hand.

Another time he said this to me directly. He said that throughout the course of the Revolution, he had seen the presence of a powerful hand behind the people’s great movement. Popular movements are like this. The same is true of the issue of capturing the Den of Espionage. The same is true of the subsequent events that occurred in our country. The same is true of the issue of the 9th of Dey which has occurred recently. The same is true of the issue of itikafs. These are phenomena for which there is not any promotional activity and endeavor. Notice how many propaganda efforts are made in the world in order to gather ten thousand, fifty thousand individuals at one place, but in the end, they cannot do so.

In our country, despite the existence of many obstacles, two million people go to Karbala through an eighty-kilometer walk – they walk, but they do not go there to enjoy themselves and to rest in a hotel! And a crowd, several times larger than that, goes to Karbala from Iraq and other countries. This is a divine event. This is a divine phenomenon. This shows that this path is the path of love. However, it is not a blind love, rather it is a kind of love which is marked by insight such as the love of saints for God: “Oh God, feed me with Your love and the love of whomever that loves You and the love of all those actions that help me get closer to You” [Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 91, page 149].

This affection and this love is one that is accompanied by insight. A lover – in this sense – knows and understands things and this attraction and magnetic power drives him forward. So, this task is a great task. This phenomenon is a great phenomenon. First of all, I would like to welcome those who managed to go there and I ask God to approve of their endeavor. And I announce my envy of what they did because we were deprived of this blessing, but they succeeded in doing it. Also, I would like to thank the people of Iraq for their hospitality and kindness as they succeeded in managing that crowd in the course of a few days. This event is an extraordinarily important event.

Now, what is the result? I want to say that in such events during which we clearly see the hand of divine power and divine blessings, we should thank God. If we thank God, such events will continue to exist. However, if we do not thank God, they will be taken away from us. If the people of Iran had not thanked God for the Revolution, the Revolution would have gone. In other parts of the world, certain revolutions were launched, but because they did not know that they should thank God, those revolutions were gone. Not only did they lose their revolutions, but they also fell behind for 20, 30 years. But the people of Iran thanked God.

Thanking God does not only mean saying “Thank You God” or prostrating oneself as a sign of gratitude. Thanking God requires that we act on the requirements of divine blessings. The people of Iran acted on these requirements. They participated in every arena that was necessary. They sacrificed themselves wherever sacrifice was necessary. They brought to the arena their lives, their belongings, their dear ones, their children, their reputation, their dignity and everything that they had.

I do not want to say that each and every person in Iran did so, but a large crowd and a noteworthy majority acted like this. And Allah the Exalted responded to that. He preserved the Revolution for them. Today, the Revolution is stronger and more powerful than the first day when it achieved victory and it is more capable of planning for the future than before.

You should thank God for this demonstration event. Thanking God for this includes preserving in yourselves those spirits and qualities which you witnessed and felt during the two, three days that you spent there. You should preserve that brotherhood, that affection, that attention to Wilayat, that preparedness of the body for exhaustion, and that act of preferring endeavor, sweating and walking to comfort and laziness. These things should be pursued in all the affairs of life. This is thanking God.

One of the criteria for thanking is that we make this task easy for those who love to do so. This responsibility falls on the shoulders of officials in different divisions of the country. Sometimes, certain incidents occur. They should not allow these incidents to be repeated. They should prevent them. This is part of thanking God as well. In any case, we should appreciate the value of this blessing because it is a great blessing.

By Allah’s favor, this will be an eternal blessing and it will become a source of dignity, pride and honor for the people of Iran and the people of Iraq. Of course, they are trying in the world to prevent this strong spotlight from being seen, but they will not be able to do so. It will be seen. They are trying to prevent it from being seen and to distort it, but neither of these efforts will reach anywhere. When you continue the movement, it will reveal its truth in the natural course of events.

One of the main issues that I would like to discuss today is about Basij. Basij was one of the astonishing phenomena of the revolutionary era. Our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) was inspired by God to carry out this course of action. When he announced the formation of a twenty-million Basij and when the Basij Organization was formed, it was a great task. What did that task mean anyway? It meant that Allah the Exalted taught something to our magnanimous Imam (r.a.). Through inspiration, He said to Imam (r.a.) that he should entrust the fate of the Revolution to youth and he did not entrust it only to the youth of the time. When youth enter the arena, they transfer - with the passage of time – to other generations this valuable thing and this trust that has been given to them in custody. And this is what has happened.

Perhaps, 90 percent of you who are here have neither seen the era of Imam (r.a.) nor himself. Most of you have not witnessed the war, but the spirit is the same spirit. When I say that I have taken this inspiration from the statements that our dear youth made in this meeting, this is because I am aware of this and because I am in contact with youth. The spirit that our youth have in the present time is the same spirit that the youth of those days had, the only difference being that the latter were inside the furnace of the Revolution at that time while those conditions do not exist today. However, that spirit continues to exist.

Another difference is that the insight, awareness and experience that our youth have today did not exist at that time. This means that we have moved forward. Imam (r.a.) entrusted the fate of the Revolution to you youth. When every young group of people and young generation step into middle age, they actually entrust this valuable thing to the young generation which appears after itself and thus, this chain is endless.

Of course, when we say that preserving and guarding the Revolution was entrusted to youth by Imam (r.a.), this does not mean that those who are not young do not have any mission. They do have a mission. This is everyone’s mission. All people - including eighty-year-old individuals, those even older than that, teenagers, men, women, outstanding personalities, ordinary individuals and all the people in the country – have the mission of preserving their Revolution. This is the responsibility of all of us.

However, youth are the leaders. They are the engine of the movement. If the young generation did not exist, and if they did not want to take action, the movement would have stopped. The wisdom, ideas and experience of the elderly proves useful only when the youthful movement of youth exists. The leaders of this movement are youth. Therefore, you youth who have not seen Imam (r.a.) are addressed by him. Imam (r.a.) has spoken to you. He has spoken to you. You should refer to his statements. This is one point.

Another point is that the basiji movement is definitely victorious in our country. The main condition behind this victory is that all of us – youth and other people – consider piety and righteousness as a responsibility for ourselves. Individual piety and social and collective piety each have a meaning. I have spoken about collective piety. I have said certain things about it and I do not want to repeat them. Piety is necessary. You should take care of yourselves. You should take care of yourselves both individually and collectively. If this happens, you should know that God said, “For God is with those who observe piety, and those who do good” [The Holy Quran, 16: 28]. God is with those who observe piety and who do good. If God is with a group of people, this is a very important issue.

I want to give an example for you from the Holy Quran and from Quranic history: Allah the Exalted ordered Musa [Moses] (a.s.) and Harun [Aaron] (a.s.) to go to Pharaoh. Well, it was a big task for two individuals to go and confront – on their own – a great power that existed at that time: Pharaonic power was a great power in terms of politics and social affairs and even in terms of his influence on the people and his bureaucratic resources. There are many things to be said about the Pharaonic power. Pharaoh was an shocking phenomenon. He was a tyrannical power who did whatever he liked with abundant resources at his disposal.

Allah the Exalted entrusted two individuals with the task of confronting and fighting against that person. Hazrat Musa (a.s.) said, “If we go, they might kill us and thus our task will remain half-finished.” They were not afraid of being killed. They said that their task would remain half-finished. “He said, ‘Fear not for I am with you. I hear and see everything” [The Holy Quran, 20: 46]. God said that He was with them. Notice that this is divine assistance: “For I am with you. I hear and see everything.” When God says, “God is with those who observe piety” – as I said, if we have piety, God is with us – this divine assistance and accompaniment means that one can send two individuals empty-handed so that they fight against a Pharaoh.   

Elsewhere in the Holy Quran – of course, this has been repeated in the Holy Quran many times and I am narrating another part of it – when it came to public confrontation and challenge and when Hazrat Musa (a.s.) gathered Bani Israel so that they would get out of the city at dawn, very early in the morning or at midnight, and get rid of Pharaoh, Pharaoh’s spies said to him in the morning – when the sun had risen a little -  that Bani Israel have evacuated the city and that all of them have gone. Pharaoh became agitated as he thought that they would go somewhere else and would create a nucleus. He ordered his army to gather. They gathered the army and chased Bani Israel.

I do not know the interval between Bani Israel’s departure and the gathering of the Pharaoh’s army. Perhaps, it took that army one, two days – more or less – to advance. Well, Bani Israel were walking on foot without enough resources. They were a bunch of ordinary people comprised of women, men and children, but the Pharaoh’s army had military equipment, large troops, horses and everything. They would naturally reach them soon and they did so.

When Musa’s followers saw them from a distance and when they saw that the Pharaoh’s army was approaching, they became nervous. In the Holy Quran – Sura al-Shuara – God says, “And when the two bodies saw each other” [The Holy Quran, 26: 62]. When the two groups – Hazrat Musa’s (a.s.) group, which was ahead, and the Pharaoh’s group which was chasing them – saw each other from afar and when they got so close that they could see one another, “The people of Musa said, ‘We are sure to be overtaken’” [The Holy Quran, 26: 62]. Bani Israel, who were with Musa (a.s.), became terrified. They said, “Oh Musa, they will catch us soon.” The Arabic word “mudrakun” means overtaking, reaching. They said that the Pharaoh’s army would capture and massacre them shortly.

What was Musa’s (a.s.) answer? Hazrat Musa (a.s.) said in response, “He said, ‘By no means.’”. He said that such a thing would never happen. Why? It is because “My Lord is with me.” This is divine assistance. He said that God is with him: “My Lord is with me. Soon will He guide me” [The Holy Quran, 26: 63]. Notice that divine assistance has such significance. When they say, “For God is with those who observe piety, and those who do good” the value of this assistance should be appreciated. If we can preserve this divine assistance, you should know that even if some people in the world have a kind of power which is 10 times more than that of America – let alone the power of America itself - the divine power which accompanies us will overcome them. 

I would like to refer to a few main issues about Basij. You are brothers and sisters who have certain responsibilities in different parts of Basij. For each of these main issues, certain explanations and details are necessary - but we do not have enough time to expand on them and the present time is not a good time for that – as well as planning and systematization. I only speak about the main issues. The rest falls on you.

One is that Basij is not merely an emotional movement, rather Basij is based on knowing and understanding. It is based on insight. This is the truth about Basij and it should move in this direction. If it were merely based on emotions, emotions would change with the smallest things. In the beginning of the Revolution, some people were with the Revolution in an enthusiastic way, but their enthusiasm was based on emotions, not on deep religious understanding. I was in touch with some of those individuals. I was familiar with them. I knew them both inside and outside the academic environment. They did not enjoy religious depth.

The result was that by socializing with some individuals who were at an angle against the Revolution, they found themselves at a steep angle against the Revolution as well. The characteristic of an angle is that in the beginning, it is narrow, but the more we extend the line, the wider it becomes. And when this happens, its interior grows larger. They turned against the Revolution. Basij is accompanied by insight. When I placed emphasis on insight in the year 1388, some people became upset and angry. They used satirical comments, they said bad things and they wrote articles against my use of the word “insight”. Insight is because of this. Insight is important. Knowing and understanding are important.

The second issue is that Basij does not involve partisan work. It is not one of the two, three, four political parties inside the country. Basij is the army of the Revolution. Basij belongs to the Revolution. If there is any duality, that is the duality of revolutionaries and anti-revolutionaries. Even non-revolutionary individuals can be attracted and assimilated. I believe in maximum inclusion, but with the right methods. Maximum inclusion does not mean doing whatever we want in the name of maximum inclusion. The only duality is the Revolution and anti-Revolution. Any party, any individual and any person who believes in the Revolution, who is at the service of the Revolution and who pursues the Revolution is supported by Basij. So, it is not the case that we consider Basij as part of this or that party or the third and fourth parties inside the country. This is not the case. Basij itself is an orientation. It is a great river flowing towards the goals of the Revolution.

Another point is that synergy and interaction is necessary in Basij. This means that people from various backgrounds should be present in Basij. This is referred to as the Basij of social groups. School and university students, workers, university professors, businesspeople, jurists and all other people should be present in Basij. This Basij extensiveness is in a horizontal manner. Of course, the main condition is that these groups coordinate with one another.

One of the necessary tasks that I recommend – I am saying this here and the officials are present – and that should be carried out is creating a definite procedure for coordination, cooperation and interaction on this vast horizontal surface. Therefore, Basij has a horizontal line. This is one side of the issue. Another side of the issue is that Basij needs intellectual groups and a public guidance. This guidance – later on, I will speak more about this issue – is a vertical line. Later, I will explain the role of this vertical line. So, there is both a horizontal and a vertical line in Basij.

Of course, Basij is not like common military organizations or bureaucratic associations which are merely formed of a vertical line, nor is it like public service organizations which are completely formed of a horizontal line. It has both a vertical and a horizontal line. Each of these lines is a necessity for forming Basij.

The next point is that Basij is the embodiment of religious democracy. When we speak about religious or Islamic democracy, some people think that such democracy is only manifested at ballot boxes and through elections, that elections are only one manifestation of religious democracy. [Religious] democracy means a system which is based on religion and Islam. The masters of social life are the people themselves. Democracy means this. This is the meaning of Islamic democracy. Basij is the manifestation of religious and Islamic democracy in all arenas.

If Basij enters the economy, the economy becomes democratic. This is the same thing that the gentlemen in the meeting said today which is completely correct. If the economy of resistance – which I have spoken about – benefits from the power and strength of Basij, it becomes a democratic economy of resistance. The same is true of science. The same is true of various social achievements. The same is true of politics. The manifestation of religious democracy is Basij.

Another point is about the intellectual committees that I spoke about. I insist on avoiding the term “think tank” which is used by westerners. A “think tank” is a western term. Some gentlemen engage in word-for-word translation of western words into Farsi and they use them proudly. This should not be the case. We ourselves have a language and we should coin words. Besides, “thought congregations” is much more transparent than “think tank”. We need thought congregations. Where? We need them in two points: one is at the top and another is in the layers.

Basij has numerous and various layers. For example, when these youth say to us in such meetings that they have enthusiasm, and that they should be sent there [to Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon] and when they complain why we do not do so, this is a hard war layer. A hard war needs thought congregations for formulating the boundaries and for clarifying who should go and when and how they should go. A soft war also needs thought congregations. Soft war is a very vast arena which is developing on a daily basis alongside the development of cyberspace and it is much more difficult than hard war.

In a hard war, bodies roll in dirt and blood, but souls fly towards paradise, but in a soft war, if – God forbid – the enemy wins, bodies become fat and remain whole, but souls descend into the depth of hell. This is the difference between a hard war and a soft war. So, the latter is much more difficult. Soft war also needs thought congregations. Basij tasks ranging from construction – Basij is engaged in construction in certain places – to the division of geographical missions, which is referred to as “spatial planning”, need thought congregations. In one area of the country, Basij can carry out a task that it cannot do elsewhere or it is not necessary to do it there. Such tasks should be carried out in an intelligent manner and they need thought congregations. Each of these various layers and different other layers need thought congregations.   

Moreover, we need thought congregations at the highest levels of Basij so that they draw guidelines and to engage in “rahbord-negari”. Here too, I am not inclined to use the term “strategist”. We need policy makers and “rahbord-thinkers”. We need policy makers who sit and do this task. This is one of the most important tasks. They are like the military policy makers who are common everywhere in the world. As they say, they are military strategists who sit and determine the fate of wars and military operations. These are necessary. These are tasks that should be carried out.

When we do them, then no matter in which division of the great Basij organization you are busy working – including in “Salehin chain”, in “Rahian-e Noor”, in high schools, in universities, in working environments, in mosques, in whichever place you work on Basij and in whichever place that you know you are an active member of an intelligent and purposeful organization which is moving forward – this feeling will be generated in you.

I do not want to say that you are like a part of the body because although all body parts are able to move, they are captivated by the brain. The brain says to them to see, to hear, to speak and to move. It is the brain which is active. In Basij, it is not the case that only the people in the center issue instructions. This is not the case in Basij. Basij is like a body in which every member has a brain of their own and they are in harmony with the main brain which is located in the head. Of course, there are certain ways for this harmony. If this harmony is created, such qualities and characteristics will emerge in Basij.

If we have these thought congregations and if we activate them, then we will need observing congregations. Observing what? Basij is a vibrant creature. It is a living, dynamic, growing and progressing entity. We should observe it so that this does not stop. We should observe it so that it does not take the wrong path. We should observe it so that it will not be harmed and become sick. We should observe it so that various viruses do not penetrate into it.

This observing mechanism is something different from an intelligence organization, intelligence security and the like. I am not speaking about them. Of course, they have their own responsibilities. This observing organization is an intelligent and wise organization that works like a magnetic panel through which we see the realities outside so that we know what has happened.

These are necessary. These are things that are necessary for the progress of Basij and for the perfection and efficiency of this “good tree”. This is because Basij is a good tree: “Like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches reach to the heavens. It brings forth its fruit at all times, by the leave of its Lord” [The Holy Quran, 14: 24-25]. If you want “It brings forth its fruit at all times, by the leave of its Lord” to be realized, these things that I mentioned are necessary. Well, the points that I raised are general guidelines.

And they are not theoretical and hypothetical. All the things that I mentioned can be implemented. They are based on reality. As I said before, each of these points require further explanation and details. Each of them requires systematization and planning. This falls on you and officials. They should sit and carry out these tasks. These are general guidelines that are based on implementation and reality and therefore, they should receive attention.

I would like to raise a peripheral point here. This existed in the statements of some of the friends in the meeting as well. That point is the fact that Basij was all about creating a model in the beginning. Basij was about creating a model. Without doing any promotion, writing any paper and any book, and delivering any message to anyone, it naturally opened a place in the heart of an important part of the world of Islam. In other words, it showed itself. They copied it. Some people copied it for good purposes and some copied it for bad purposes. Bringing youth to the arena with the motive of religion, and trusting and giving responsibilities to them became a model. When it became a model, our friends in many other countries benefitted from it. The gentlemen in the meeting mentioned the names of those countries. I do not want to mention the name of any particular country.

The enemies too devised some plans for it. One of the plans that the enemies have devised is infiltration. It is perhaps about a year or more that I have been speaking about infiltration. We should be afraid of infiltration and we should be wary of it. Of course, being afraid does not mean that we should be terrified. It means that you should observe and be careful about it.

Another method that the enemies follow is creating parallel structures. They want to create rivals for Basij. They do such things as well. I do not want to enter into details now. But I know about this. I am aware of it. Perhaps, some of you too know that at this very moment, they are creating rivals for Basij, for the youth of the country, and for those whom I described as “the officers of the soft war”. They are creating a parallel structure so that they can divert its attention to that point. These are important matters.

Well, if the main issues that I spoke about receive attention – of course, there are other issues as well, but there is not any time to discuss them – then Basij will have the capability to appear in a powerful manner in the main arenas of society and to exert its influence, including in the arena of science, the arena of culture, the arena of the economy and the arena of rendering services. Basij can appear as a powerful and influential force in all these arenas. [An audience member begins to chant] When they say that Basij does not have any brakes, this is what it means [audience laughs]! In other words, Basij can help the organizations in charge in the area of orientation, setting goals and action.

When we speak about Basij, when we say these things about it and when we talk about its capabilities, we do not want to create a rival for the executive branch. This is not what we are trying to do. The executive branch has certain duties and responsibilities that it should carry out. It is its duty to do so, but Basij can help the executive branch to adopt a correct orientation and it can prevent it from making mistakes and from deviating from the correct path.

And it can help it in the arena of action as well. An example is the economy of resistance which was referred to by some of the gentlemen. Basij can act like a complement. It can act like a source of hope. Some government organizations become disappointed in some areas and say, “It cannot be done!” How can it not be done? All these great tasks have been carried out. What does “It cannot be done” mean? They say, “It cannot be done!” When Basij moves ahead and when this young and pioneering force pursues its correct movement, then that disappointed and hopeless person becomes enthusiastic and full of hope.

Of course, I do not want to exaggerate in any way. I do not want to say that basijis are angels and that they are clear of any human weakness. This is not the case. All of us are subject to human weaknesses. We have fear, we have inhibitions, we have different considerations, and we have familial and social problems. However, what we do not have is a dead-end! This is what I want to say. A basiji youth might become afraid in a period of time and he might have doubts about a particular issue, but he does not get stuck in a dead-end. This is because there are so many guiding, power-generating and piloting elements in Basij that they can eliminate all these weaknesses or turn them into strong points.

Well, today we witness that there are some problems in the country in terms of economic matters. We named this year “The Year of Action and Implementation”. Yesterday, the honorable officials sent a detailed report to me which was a list of the tasks and measures which have been adopted from the beginning of the year until today. Of course, I had asked for it. I wanted to know what has happened in the area of action and implementation. A detailed report was delivered to me and I took a look at it. There are certain figures and tasks in it. Some tasks have been listed in it. However, the results should be seen in the arena of action. What is important is that the results of the statistics that we release be seen in action.

In the beginning of the year, I said that we should act in a way that we can give a list at the end of the year so that we show that some tasks have been accomplished and that there are such and such signs of this accomplishment in action and in the reality of society. It should not be the case that we merely deliver a report. Basij can play its part in achieving this goal.

At the end of my statements, I would like to say a few things about our issues with that arrogant government. Of course, the administration that is supposed to take office soon – it has not taken office yet – is an “unopened watermelon” [Farsi expression meaning something not yet known]] and we do not know what exists inside it. But even the administration that exists now – the current administration of America – is acting against its commitments and the decisions that were taken collectively – whose results were announced to us by the officials of the country at that time.

I deem it necessary to say here that they have done many things and they have committed many violations. It is not only one, two violations. The most recent one is this ten-year renewal of sanctions. If these sanctions are renewed, this is definitely a violation of the Bar-Jaam [JCPOA]. It is undoubtedly a violation of the Bar-Jaam. And they should know that the Islamic Republic will surely react to it [audience chants “Death to America”]!

What I want to say to officials and to the people is that the nuclear agreement – which has been referred to as the Bar-Jaam – should not turn into a tool for pressure. It should not become a tool for the enemy to pressure the people of Iran and our country from time to time. We should not allow them to turn this into a tool for pressure. Officials have said to us that they would do such and such things so that pressures coming from sanctions are eliminated. They [the Americans] have not done what they had promised to do at that time and what was supposed to be done in the first day. Now, eight, nine months have passed from it, but it has not been done completely and it is incomplete.

Our officials themselves are saying this openly. Those who were in charge of that task are saying this openly. Now, if they want to use it again as a tool for exerting more pressures on the Islamic Republic, this cannot be allowed. By relying on divine power and by believing in the power of popular presence, the Islamic Republic is not afraid of any power in the world. If someone says, “We are sure to be overtaken” [The Holy Quran, 26: 62] copying the weak morale of Bani Israel, we too will say – copying Hazrat Musa (a.s.) – “By no means. My Lord is with me. Soon will He guide me” [The Holy Quran, 26: 63].

Dear God, increase Your guidance and assistance to these youth, to all the youth of the country and to all our people on a daily basis.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings