Ayatollah Khamenei

He Who Weakens the Youth’s Faith Is Betraying Iran

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on January 8, 2017 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the people of Qom. The meeting was held on the anniversary of the uprising by the people of Qom on the 19th of Dey, 1356.


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, infallible and chosen household and may God curse all their enemies

You are quite welcome, dear people of Qom, brothers and sisters from among the people of Qom and from the holy Qom Seminary. I welcome all of you. You took the trouble and were kind enough to attend this meeting.

I would like to commemorate this great and influential event which is eternal in history. I have said many things about the 19th of Dey and about the characteristics of the people of Qom. Whatever I say would be repetative because it has been said many times. The sum of what I want to say is the following holy ayah which was recited by our honorable qari: “Not equal among you are those who spent freely and fought, before the victory, with those who did so later” [The Holy Quran, 57: 10].

The people of Qom sparked an uprising before the people of Iran could launch a great movement. Well, the movement of the people of Qom was very influential and it shook up Iran. It drew the attention of all prepared hearts to a certain opportunity, possibility and truth and thus the movement began and you know about the other events that took place. It is not necessary to repeat the matter. What is necessary is to learn a lesson from such events. We should learn from such events. And there are new lessons every day. Every day, we – including me, you and the masses of the people – need to learn from past events.

The main point that exists on the issue of Qom – one that I have raised many times and that I would like to raise again – is that the people of Qom reacted on time at that stage. Whenever the job is done on time, it pays off and it will be more efficient as well. If we leave the same job unattended and if we do it late, it sometimes does not work or its effect will be less. The achievement of the people of Qom was that they quickly understood the matter. They quickly identified the enmity and they responded to it without wasting any time. Otherwise, if they had dilly-dallied after the enemy behaved in a malicious and seditious manner towards our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) and if they had delayed in doing it until the next day or the following month, then the subsequent events would not have taken place at all.

There is a time for carrying out a duty. Duties should be carried out at the right time. And the best time to carry out a duty is the present time which is a time of virtue. Well, some people do not carry out their duties at all. They say, “Let us forget about it.” Some individuals carry their duties out but they do it with delay. And some individuals carry them out when the right moment has passed.

An example are the Tawwabeen. The Tawwabeen did not enter the arena when they should have – which was on Ashura. They entered the arena when it was too late. Another example is the uprising of the people of Madina under the leadership of Abdullah ibn Hanzalah. They stood up against Yazid, staged an uprising and threw the ruler of Madina out, but it was late. They should have thought of doing so when they heard that Hussein ibn Ali (greetings be upon him) had gone out of Madina, but they did not do so. They thought of it late. They thought of it a year after that event. And the result was the same thing that history has recorded. They were murdered, annihilated and terminated without being able to do anything. The task should be carried out at the right time. Well, if we want to do the task on time, we should have knowledge of the task itself. We should know what task we should carry out so that we do it on time.

What I want to say is that the Revolution was a giant leap that the people of Iran made in order to save themselves from the humiliation of dependence and backwardness. The Revolution was a great movement for wiping away dependence and backwardness – these two great humiliations – from the memory of the people- in the shade of Islam and with its guidance and leadership. Dependence and backwardness were two agonizing and chronic pains. The purpose of the Revolution was to find a remedy for these pains. That was why the Revolution came into being and the Islamic Republic was founded on this basis.

Pay careful attention: when a movement is launched with the purpose of wiping away dependence and backwardness from the memory of the people – in the case of our Revolution, it has succeeded in doing so and it has made progress – those who had benefited from backwardness and dependence previously will stand up against this movement, this revolution and this system. This is natural. So it is not the case that we are making enemies! Some people keep saying, “Do not make enemies for yourselves all the time.” However, it is the people’s movement that produces enemies.

Imagine that a bully has come and has usurped your house, your shop, your resting place and your life. When you throw him out, you have only asserted your rights and taken what is yours, but he shows enmity towards you anyway. He continues to deliver blows to you as long as he hopes that he can defeat you. We did not make new enemies. It is they who show enmity. Those who used to benefit from Iran’s dependence on them are our enemies – blood enemies – in the present time! Those who used to benefit from the people of Iran’s backwardness are our enemies – blood and uncompromising enemies – today. Of course, it is possible that this enmity might not last until the Judgment Day: “It may be that God will grant love and friendship between you and those whom you now hold as enemies” [The Holy Quran, 60: 7]. This might happen in the future – fifty, a hundred years from now. We do not know. This enmity might stop in the future, but what is the condition for an enmity to stop?

The condition is that the enemy becomes disillusioned or changes his behavior. Of course, the latter is unlikely. It is unlikely for superpowers to change their behavior. So, this enmity exists. The lesson that we should learn about acting on time is based on knowing the enemy and his orientation and direction. The next thing that we should do is to achieve the insight to understand the purpose of every move that the enemy makes. If his moves are aimed at us, we should remedy this. We should stand firm and resist. This is our responsibility. I would like to say a few things about this issue today.

First of all, who is the enemy? Today, the enemy is clearly America, England, the international masters of gilded wealth, the Zionists and their followers. Of course, their followers are not very important. It is not even worth mentioning their names. The main enemies are the ones that I said. America is the enemy of the Islamic Republic, and of independent, developing and progressing Iran. England – the old and decrepit colonizer from the previous era which wants to influence the region again in the present time – is another enemy. The Zionists are the other enemies. International capitalists and masters of gilded wealth are the other enemies. These are the main enemies.

Of course, I should add that they are not the only enemies. There is another enemy as well which is our inner-self. What does our “inner-self” mean? It means me, you, and such and such an official and youth. What is that inner enemy? That inner enemy is lack of motivation, hopelessness, boredom, lack of enthusiasm and laziness. These are our enemies as well: “I seek refuge in You from laziness, decrepitness, fear, stinginess, ignorance, hardness of heart, weakness and poverty” [al-Kafi, Vol. 2, page 586]. These are our enemies: “I seek refuge in You from a self which cannot be satiated, from a heart which does not show humility and from a prayer which is not heard” [al-Kafi, Vol. 2, page 586]. These are our inner enemies.

We do not put all the blame on foreigners. If we perform poorly, if we do not act on time, if we show laziness, if we don’t understand the enemy, if a brother who is taking the wrong and deviant path – he is our brother anyway although he is taking a wrong and deviant path – becomes our Great Satan in place of the real Great Satan, we will receive a blow. So, this is our enemy as well and we should be careful. When we speak about a foreign enemy, this does not mean that there is not any shortcoming in ourselves. This is not the case. Wrong and bad policies, bad behavior, various unnecessary differences, laziness, lack of action, and narrow-mindedness are our enemies as well. They are among the enemies as well.

Well, when we speak about America, England and such and such a foreign enemy, is this a continuous act of chanting slogans or not? I will tell you that this is not a mere slogan, rather this is based on the existing realities. We are informed about the events in the world. The good-tempered American Secretary of State [audience laughs] offered some words of advice to the next administration in his farewell letter, saying “You should take a hard approach towards Iran, you should be strict towards it as much as you can, you should preserve the sanctions and you should know that with strictness, you can obtain concessions from Iran- as we ourselves did so.”

Well, he says so because he is the enemy. Now, this enemy is a smiling enemy. There was one enemy who used to directly say that Iran is an axis of evil. However, this enemy does not openly say this, but he behaves in the same way. So, this is the enemy. Therefore, when we constantly speak about the enemy, this does not mean that we want to chant slogans. Some prejudiced individuals say, “They have become desperate in their domestic affairs. Therefore, they have to make enemies for themselves.” This is not the case. This is not making enemies. Well, this is the enemy. You should open your eyes to see him. If you close your eyes, then you will obviously not see him. If you stick your head in the snow, you will not see him. However, if you raise your head and look, you will see him.

We spoke about England as well. The English have entered the Persian Gulf again. Of course, we have known about this since one, two years ago. We had heard that they are going to enter the Persian Gulf again. Now, they have come. They come to the region and say to a few Persian Gulf rulers that Iran is a threat! Of course, there is not a close relationship between the English and those rulers. We should not think that the English have friendly and close relations with those Persian Gulf rulers. This is not the case. They only want to use them. They know that they can be manipulated. That is why they speak to them in that fashion. They say to them that Iran is a threat.

Well, the English themselves are a threat. Today, English societies sit and make decisions for the region and for Islamic Iran. One of their decisions is to disintegrate regional countries. What I am saying is not analysis and conjecture, rather it is based on information. They say that the time for the existence of one single Iraq, one single Syria, one single Yemen and one single Libya is over. This means that Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen should be disintegrated. They do not mention Iran because they do not dare to do so and because they are afraid. They are extremely afraid of public opinion in Iran, otherwise they would have said the same thing that Mohammad Reza said before leaving Iran. He had said, “If we leave, Iran will turn into Iranestan.”

He meant that it would become a country like Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and other such countries. He meant that only a small region, namely Iranestan, would be left of Iran and the rest would be divided among secessionist governments. They want to say the same thing.  They had the same hope and they did their best to achieve it. Of course, they were slapped across their face, but this idea still exists in their minds although they do not mention it. Well, this is the enemy.

Should someone do anything more than this so that they are referred to as an enemy? They are thinking about the post Bar-Jaam [JCPOA] era from now. They are thinking about the limitations that they should impose on Iran after the end of the Bar-Jaam – they think that the Bar-Jaam should take, for example, 10, 12 years. So, they are thinking from now about what they should do and say to Iran and how they should act in order to impose restrictions on it. Is there any enemy which is worse? Is there any enemy which is more vicious? When I speak about “evil England”, this is their evil.

One of their plans, which they openly speak about, is training and arming chosen domestic individuals. They say that they want to choose certain individuals from regional countries – including Iran – and that they want to establish relations, train and equip them – in the present time, equipping individuals is easy because of the existence of the internet, cyberspace and various other means of communications – so that they attack the country, the Islamic Republic and the people. These are statements that they themselves are making. Well, this is the enemy.

This enemy should be known. As I said, both the enemy and his methods of enmity should be known. Everyone should know about the methods and orientations that they have chosen for their enmity. Officials, the people, our youth, our laborers and our academic personalities should know these methods. They should know that the enemy’s goal is the Iranian nation, Islamic Iran and the Islamic Republic. Sometimes, they say that their goal and target is such and such a person – for example, Ali Khamenei – but they are lying. If they show enmity towards such and such a person, organization and association, it is because they feel that they have stood up against them and that therefore, they should eliminate them. Later on, I will expand on this matter.

What should we do in return? Our responsibility is to strengthen the country and make it resistant. We should increase the country’s power and make it resistant. How can the country’s power increase? These are issues on which we should think and for which we should plan. This planning falls on everyone. It falls on officials, politicians, Islamic seminaries, universities, and active cultural and political personalities. They should plan for these matters. We should make the country resistant and powerful.

How can we make it powerful? What are the elements of power for the country? I will mention a few ones: one is Islamic and religious faith. Religious faith is among the most important elements of resistance and dynamism in our country. This is not particular to the present time. Since 130, 140 years ago onwards, religious faith has been the first important element in every influential and efficient movement that has been launched in this country.

Let us begin from the Tobacco Movement. The Tobacco Movement, which was a great popular movement in the country, involved religious elements. It was a marja taqlid that issued an edict during that event. The people acted according to his edict due to their religious faith and they eliminated a grave act of treachery which would have ruined the people for many years. This is one example.

Another example is the Constitutional Movement. The Constitutional Movement was a movement that managed to move forward with the leadership of ulama, who were the embodiment of the people’s piety. Of course, certain intellectuals, writers and secret societies in the country were involved as well. I am not saying that there was not any other element, but they would not have been able to move forward and do anything because they did not have any influence among the people.

What brought the people to the arena during the Constitutional Movement was the presence of first-tier ulama such as the late Sheikh Fazlollah Noori, the late Sayyid Mohammad Tabatabai, and the late Sayyid Abdullah Behbahani. These were great ulama. There were great ulama in Tehran, Tabriz and Isfahan. The same is true of other cities. The same is true of Fars. Great ulama stepped forward and the people followed them. However, the English were cleverer than us in this regard. They created discord both among ulama and among the people.

In Tehran, they created discord between those great personalities and the great Shahid Sheikh Fazlollah Noori. Sheikh Fazlollah Noori, who was the first scholar trying to establish the Constitutional Movement, was hanged with the accusation that he was opposed to the Constitutional Movement! This was what they did. They drew the people towards the [English] embassy and some people offered the Constitutional Movement to the English in the easiest way possible! And the Constitutional Movement resulted in the emergence of Reza Khan and 50, 60 years of backwardness in our country. However, it was the beginning of religious movement in our country anyway.

Another example is the nationalization of oil industry. Notice that these events form history. The reason why I constantly say that you should read and deliberate on history is this. If it had not been for ulama and religious motivation, the nationalization of oil industry would certainly not have moved forward. Everyone should know this. Ayatollah Kashani provided the introduction to this movement. And his supporter was a marja taqlid like the late Sayyid Mohammad Taqi Khansari in Qom.

The promoters of this thought were a group of people in Qom and a religious scholar, a first-tier minbari, and an outstanding religious, eloquent and intellectual activisit in our Mashhad. These were the promoters of that national movement. And the people entered the arena because of religion. Later on, when they separated Ayatollah Kashani from the movement, isolated ulama and put religious personalities aside, Mosaddeq was defeated. As long as religion and religious faith were in the arena, the movement was progressing. However, when this element was taken away from it, the movement stopped, it was defeated and the opposite happened. An American with a suitcase full of money came to Tehran and disrupted everything.

The element of religious faith can be clearly seen in all movements. It is clear in the 15th of Khordad, it is clear in the Islamic Revolution and it is clear in the Sacred Defense Era. In different events, it was religion and religious motivation that drew the people to the arena. A person whose three, four sons have been martyred in the way of God is happy because of this. Religious motivation and faith is an element of power.

Therefore, this should be preserved. They are showing enmity towards this element. Today, the religious motivation of the people is being confronted from all sides. Their goal is to destroy faith – first youth’s faith and then the faith of people from various social backgrounds – under different names and in different ways. This is what is being done by the enemy today.

Religious understanding is necessary as well as religious faith. Religious faith should be accompanied by understanding. What is religious understanding? It is the same thing that the late Moddares said: “Our religion is the same as our politics and our politics is the same as our religion.” Our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) too highlighted and implemented the same concept. This is one of the elements of power in our country. Today, one of the main recommendations that American and English intellectual boards think about and work on and one of the main recommendations that they present and teach to press, media, internet, political and other such activists is that they say that political religion should be opposed.

In other words, this is a promotion to separate religion from politics. It means the separation of religion from life. It means that religion should be confined to the corner of the mosque, that it should exist only inside one’s home and heart and that it should not be put into practice. It means that the economy and politics should be secular. It means that giving in to the enemy should be done in a secular manner. It means that you should fight against your friends and support the enemy against the teachings of religion.

However, they want things to have a religious appearance. This is what they want. Religious understanding means that religion is not separate from the government. And I am speaking about all religions. Our claim is that all religions are like this. Even Christianity is like this, but a clear and obvious example is Islam. The first thing that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) did after enduring difficulties in Makkah was establishing a government. He managed to promote religion by pouring it in the mold of government.

The separation of religion from government means that religion constantly talks and offers advice while superpowers do whatever they like - contrary to the teachings of religion and in opposition to it – and they can kick the supporters of religion in the head whenever they want. Non-political religion means this. This is what they want. This is what they pursue. However, this should not be the case. The understanding that religion is not separate from politics should exist among the people.

And the enemy of religion is afraid of the kind of religion which has a government, power, an army, an economy, a financial system and various bureaucratic organizations. He is afraid of such a religion. Otherwise, the kind of religion in which the people go to the mosque and pray is alright with them. They allow the people to do so for a hundred years. So, this is another element of power in our country.

You should know that the non-separation of religion from life and from politics and the flow of religion in all aspects of the life of society is a correct religious understanding. This should be achieved and pursued. Otherwise, the name of religion, the title of us clergymen and our act of wearing the turban and other such things do not do anything. We should really move in this direction.

Another element of power is a fast rate of scientific movement. This is scientific power. I have read this hadith many times: “Knowledge is power” [Ibn Abi al-Hadid’s Commentary on Nahjul Balaghah, Vol.30 page 319]. They are opposed to our scientific power.

The same domestic elements that that evil Englishman recommended and stressed – he stressed that they should employ and equip these elements inside the country – are sometimes trying in universities to disappoint our youth so that they avoid launching a scientific movement and so that they can make the talented students migrate towards foreign countries. They say to them, “Go to such and such a country. Why have you stayed here? You are wasting yourself.” And they are ready to give them money and rewards.

Of course, our pious youth have stood firm. I can testify to this. Despite the vicious acts that some of the dependent elements of the enemy do inside and outside universities in order to sow the seeds of despair, our pious youth have stood firm. A few days ago, the medal-winning students and outstanding personalities of a well-known university met with me [Supreme Leader’s speech in a meeting with medal-winning students of Sharif University, delivered on January 2, 2017]. They were speaking in a way that one would really be astonished by the beauty and accuracy of their statements.

Later on, I will explain that the enemies do not know our people, but we should know their plots anyway. One of the ways to make the country resistant is to promote the scientific movement. It should not stop, nor should its rate decrease.

Another issue is about economic progress and solving the people’s problems. One of their purposes of imposing sanctions is to separate the people from the Islamic Republic. They want the people to have problems. They want the country to suffer from unemployment, recession and various economic problems. They want us to keep talking while the people have economic problems. They impose sanctions so that these things happen. And when they seemingly lift sanctions, they do so in a way that these problems will not be eliminated.

What should we do in return? Our antidote is that we should do something to make the economy become a strong, resistant and stable economy. This is the same as the economy of resistance which we have spoken about many times. This is another element of power for our country. The currency of a country that has a strong economy is valuable. Its officials are valuable as well and his people are respected. Under such circumstances, no one can impose anything on them. I have said many times that we should gradually separate ourselves from sucking oil and being dependent on it. We should gradually decrease this dependence. Oil policies and the fluctuations in its price are in the hands of others. Oil is ours, but it is in the hands of others. We should be able to make the economy of the country resistant. We should act in a way that it becomes strong. This is another element of power.

Preserving national dignity in international negotiations and meetings, refusing to give in to others’ bullying and protecting national dignity is another element of power for the country. When we are sitting and talking to the other side in a meeting, he watches us to see how our morale, motivation and determination are and he behaves towards us on the basis of that analysis. We should preserve the dignity of the people and the country. If this happens, the people feel dignified as well. This is a source of power for the country.

Well, if we really identify these instruments of resistance and if we identify the enemy’s orientation, then we can plan against the enemy and achieve those elements of power. If we do not do so, then sometimes we might even help the enemy. I have said many times that if a soldier falls asleep in the front lines, he might become confused after he wakes up. Then, when he loads the cannon, he might strike his own side. If you do not know who your enemy and friend is, then you might strike your friend instead of your enemy after you load the cannon. This is why insight is necessary.

The enemy is after destroying the elements of power that I referred to. This is the enemy’s goal. He is after destroying faith, modesty and chastity, commitment to religious principles, and firm belief in the authority of religion. He is after undermining national dignity, stopping the scientific movement and weakening the organizations and groups that are the embodiment of the power of the country and the people. You can witness that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Basij and the Guardian Council are being attacked. This is in line with their goals.

I have nothing to do with the recent arguments between the heads of the two branches. These are not important matters. These matters will come to an end, by Allah’s favor and grace and they are not important issues. The enemy wants to magnify such matters, but everyone should appreciate the value of the existence of an independent, courageous and decisive judiciary branch and everyone should help this to happen. I support administrations, the judiciary branch and the Islamic Consultative Majlis. I support everyone but we should see what it is that frustrates the enemy in achieving his goals.

If we can have a strong security system, a powerful military-popular organization, a great popular movement – namely Basij – a well-informed clerical system that is aware of the developments of the time and that is present in the middle of the arena, a complete and powerful judiciary branch and an administration that formulates good plans and that is exact and courageous and if we can have these things, then the movement of the people of Iran and the country will become a successful movement. These things should be achieved and pursued. We should thank God if we have any of these things and we should preserve them. And we should provide for those that we do not have right now.

Fortunately, good moves are being made today, both in the area of science and culture – which I spoke about – and in other areas. The best medal winners of the country are basiji youth. I have many meetings with students in this place. One example is the recent meeting that I had with students. Basiji medal winners and youth of Sharif University came here. There were tens of medals and tens of outstanding and prominent youth. One example was this and there are numerous other examples.

We have many outstanding, active, lively, intelligent, and academic students and also we have university professors who have a revolutionary attitude, motivation and determination. This exists today. The same is true of the area of culture. The same is true of the area of art. The same is true of the area of politics. We should do our best to help these motivated youth in the areas that I mentioned.

Of course, I will firmly add that the enemy has failed to know our people despite all his plans. They are making mistakes. You witnessed that they made a mistake in the year 1388 by provoking that fitna. They thought that they had helped the fitna to reach very delicate and sensitive points. However, all of a sudden, the 9th of Dey public movement astonished everyone. The 9th of Dey movement of the year 1388 was similar to the 19th of Dey movement that you launched in the year 1356.

Therefore, all active groups in the country – including the clergy, academic personalities, the officials of the country, particularly high-ranking officials, members of the Islamic Consultative Majlis, intellectuals and writers – are responsible towards strengthening the elements of power that we referred to. He who loves Iran should know that attacking the Islamic faith of youth is an act of treachery against Iran!

There are some people who love Iran and the country, but who are not very committed to and enthusiastic about religion, sharia and other such things. However, they too should know that if they really love Iran, if they are really not traitors and not enemies who disguise as friends, they should not weaken religion – youth’s religion and faith. He who weakens the youth’s faith is betraying the country, not only religion. The elements of power of the country and the people should be strengthened, preserved and pursued by all these groups.

Fortunately today, a large number of people are carrying out this responsibility and it will increase from now on too. The lesson that you and I should learn from the event of the 19th of Dey is that we should know that the enemy should be identified. We should know that his methods and orientations should be identified and that we should stand up against him in a timely manner and with whatever tool that is at our disposal in the present time. If we do so, you should know that our global enemies – the ones that I referred to: America, England, Zionism, international companies and masters of gilded wealth and other hostile enemies – will not be able to do a damn thing against the people of Iran [Audience chant, “Allahu Akbar”]. Well, thankfully those who wanted to chant a slogan completely managed to do so in these last moments of the meeting [Audience and Supreme Leader laugh].

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings