Imam Khamenei

The apartheid Zionist regime will be overthrown just like South African apartheid: Imam Khamenei

The following is the full text of a speech delivered on September 24, 2018, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with medalists of the 2018 Asian Games that took place in Indonesia.


In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful,


Today is a very sweet and memorable day for me. First of all, I should thank Allah the Exalted. The ceremonies during Muharram and those ten-days preceding Ashura were tended to in a warmer, more magnificent, more glorious and more meaningful manner than previous years: this alone is a good reason for thanking God. You are the children of Islam, Ashura, and Islamic values: I am proud of you all.


I would like to point out to that bitter incident which took place in Ahvaz two days ago. This mortifying occurrence proved that we have many enemies trying to intervene with the path that we are taking – which is a path of honor, transcendence, and progress. All of you should never forget that we have many such enemies. Of course, what they did was cowardly. When you assault others with machine guns, targeting individuals who neither have weapons nor the capability to defend themselves --- it is clear that some people will become martyred -- this is not a courageous act: it is a cowardly one.


Courageous actions are taken by our youth, each in different areas: you (the medalists) in the field of sports, some in the arena of the Sacred Defense, and some in various fields of science. It is those actions (stemming from the listed fields) which are courageous and valuable. As for crimes of this enemy, according to the intelligence report that I have received up to now, these acts were committed by those who rely on the Americans to save them whenever they lose footing in Syria and Iraq. It was carried out by them: those who have their hands in the pockets of Saudi Arabia and the UAE; of course, we will punish them. We will have a harsh form of punishment in store for them, God willing.


As for your achievements, (recognizing the medalists) I have written down some points to discuss with you. First of all, as I've said, the real medals, rewards are you, yourselves. You are of competent, pious, intelligent, serious and diligent manpower. Such manpower is of the greatest worth for every country. With such human development, we will advance in whichever arena we participate in, as we have always moved forward in the arena of sports. As you've witnessed, we can defeat the forerunners of certain sports which we are not very experienced with. Ladies, men, girls, and boys win medals in various sports, and they are a source of pride for Iran. You, thankfully, became victorious.


On one note, you should know –and you definitely do know– that the Front of Global Arrogance becomes furious with each victory that we gain --whether in the arena of sports, in the arena of war, or in the arena of science. They become furious at any moment we become victorious. So, your victory is actually victory over the Front of Arrogance. You defeated and angered them, and now they have to suffer miserably.


You are aware that they are prepared to bribe referees and judges to do anything they can to prevent you from winning. They are such sore enemies. When you achieve victory, you have in fact defeated them psychologically and emotionally. It is not just the rival who has been defeated in the arena of sports: there is also a large front, behind the scenes, which gets defeated as well. That is why we are proud of you.


When I issue a message expressing my gratitude after your victories, this is something that truly comes from the bottom of my heart. I show my genuine gratitude. --That is because you truly represent a national victory for the Iranian nation, and you make them happy: this is one point.


Another point, I would like to make, is that in some sport related competitions, our victories have managed to make millions of people in other countries happy. The historic football (soccer) match between Iran and the US –that well-known football match– cheered people in Egypt, in Beirut, and in many other countries. They do not have familial ties with us, but they become joyful at our victory. So, your victories make a certain front bitter – so much the better, because they are the enemies of humanity – and they make many other people gleeful. Your victories are their victories as well.


On another important note, our victories are mostly denied by the propaganda apparatuses of the enemies. Presently, we have achieved great breakthroughs within scientific realms, but many of our people are not aware of this, but we know. We are among the first ten countries of the world among a noteworthy number of revolutionary scientific achievements. In other words, we are among the first ten countries out of 200-plus countries around the world. Sometimes, we are among the first six or seven countries in the world. The enemy normally denies these achievements and refuse to mention them: they deny several victories within different arenas.


However, no one can deny Iranians' victories in the vast arena of sports. --This is the privilege of your work. When you win in competitive sport, no one can deny it. --This is seen by the entire world. Hundreds of millions of individuals watch on with their own eyes. These victorious moments increase the value of your work.


Another important matter, I would like to highlight, is your disposition and behavior. During competitive sports, this year and also in previous competitions, you displayed your Iranian and Islamic identity in the true sense of the word. The Islamic-Iranian disposition was illustrated through your behavior, our men and ladies. You performed sajdah (prostration) and prayed to God before all. An Iranian lady refused to shake hands with a president, who had reached to shake her hand, since he was a non-mahram {forbidden to touch in Islam}. These are valuable and important matters.


The Kabaddi women’s team performing sajdah was exhibited internationally. --This was all televised. These are such rewarding moments. These moments are immeasurable in terms of value. They are beyond worldly calculations. The ladies who participated in sports-related competitions did so with integrity and poise. All of the Iranian women wore the Islamic hijab; some appeared in a particular Islamic-Iranian dress code, the chador. The chador is symbolic of Iranian women throughout the world. That the women participated with hijab is an extremely valuable event.


Next, the fact that some of you gave your medals away in memory of the martyrs and defenders of the holy shrines is also extremely valuable. A champion and medalist gave away his medal in honor of martyrs defending the holy shrines; another gave it away in memory of his martyred uncle: these are very precious actions. --This exhibits your revolutionary, Islamic and Iranian identity. These are the type of actions which help a nation transcend.


Showing humility and being submissive in the face of "values" and norms imposed by the Arrogant Front is not something to be proud of.  The actions carried out by Iranian medalists make one proud: an honorable championship is exhibited as they have shown. Some countries have champions, but they are hired as champions. They hire them from this or that country. Such hired countries cannot display the identity of that nation. Authentic champions who emerge from the heart of a nation represent their people and exhibit their national identity. --This was carried out by you, and this was immensely valuable.


I also want to tell you that you should not be intimidated by the enemy. If they say that some international federation or organization will be dissatisfied with you -- should you refuse to participate in certain matches, to do things this way or that and to appear a certain way -- well, to hell with them if they become dissatisfied: they will not be able to do a single thing {to stand on one's way of success}. They threatened Mr. Alireza [Karimi]; but, thankfully, he went, he became a champion, and he returned home. Last year, he did not participate in a certain competition. In fact, he accepted defeat for the sake of his values. They threatened him and our wrestling federation. You should not give in to such threats; you should do your own thing; you should set out on your own path, and follow your own goals.


The sports arena is not an arena for fear, distress, and consideration; rather, it is an arena for courage, action, and progress. Values and principles cannot be trampled upon for the sake of winning a medal somewhere. When you write “Ya Ali, Ya Zaynab” on your chests, this was very valuable: this is infinitely valuable. When you perform sajdah after a victory, this is infinitely valuable. As I mentioned earlier, these courses of action are not really taken into account, and they cannot be measured through worldly calculations. --You should pay attention to this. In any case, you should not allow this valuable identity to be overcome by passiveness in the face of the fictitious, feeble, and ill wishes and norms which are imposed by some people on others.


I have a recommendation, which I wish to offer you, in particular, considering champions are watched by others. All of you are being watched. You are watched by the people, and the people know you, but they do not only know you in the arena of sports: they know you on the streets, in your workplace, and other such environments. You can be a model for becoming behavior of virtue, honor, and purity. Outside the arena of champions and sports, you should behave in a way that will be compatible with your good behavior in the arena of sports. During certain periods, we have seen athletes who shone brightly in the arena of sports, but who, later on, acted inappropriately outside of that arena.


You can be a champion and a humble person. You can be a champion and a pious individual. You can be a champion and a good mother – one of the ladies showed that she is a great mother as well as an athlete. You can be a champion and a pioneering revolutionary. These are things which should be institutionalized in you and that you should pay attention to.


I would like to add that sometimes a championship lies in the lack of participation in an arena. Notice that when they fuss about you not competing and wrestling against members of the Zionist regime, this is because they want to divert the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation away from the firm and straight path they have been taking since the beginning of the Revolution.


Since the beginning of the Revolution, we have been saying that we do not formally recognize two regimes, not just in a sense that we did not want to establish relations, but in the sense that we did not recognize them at all! One was the Zionist regime and another was the racist, apartheid regime of South Africa. Those who claim to be supporting human rights and other such values today used to maintain relations with this regime – they are supporting it nowadays as well – and with the South African regime until the last moment!


The South African regime was comprised of a small White clique which would rule over millions of Africans --who actually owned these lands. Now, these Anglo/White people had come from England and Holland. They were originally English and Dutch, but they would rule for many years --perhaps for a hundred years, I do not remember exactly– over that country. We announced that we do not recognize that apartheid regime. We said that South Africa belongs to the people of South Africa, not to the British and Dutch usurpers.


Once, Mr. Mandela, who had just been released from prison, came and sat in this room, the very room you are sitting in now. He was here before he became president. So, we sat here together, and I explained the story of Imam Khomeini (r.a.) to him. I spoke to him about Imam’s fight. I said that Imam’s fight was like his own: he did not use arrows, guns, a coup d’état or the like; rather, he proved something to the people and won their hearts.


The people poured onto the streets with their own bodies. No regime can confront and defeat a people who take to the streets courageously with their own bodies. I realized that at some point my words had moved him. When he left here, street rallies were held in South Africa, and they continued until the apartheid regime was overthrown. --This one {the Israeli regime} will be overthrown as well. The Zionist regime is a racist, apartheid, and usurping, fake, and malicious entity. --This one will be ousted as well.


We will not compete with this regime: this earns us the genuine championship title. When our "pahlavan" (hero) refuses to compete against the enemies' representative in every other competition, this is his championship medal! When our champions are willing to suffer defeat so they don't have to compete against them on the basis of international protocols, this earns them the genuine title of champion. When Mr. Karimi came here, last year, I said to him that he is a champion. "When you refused to go and when you tolerated that hardship, this makes you a champion. You did something to exempt yourself from competing against him [the enemy's rep], and instead, you accepted defeat." --This is very difficult for a wrestler. When he is struck he can always strike back, but to refuse to do so, this is very difficult. This is the mark of a true champion.


In any case, all of you are precious youth. You, girls and boys, are valuable no matter what sport you participate in. You should continue to strive for championship positions in competitive sports. You should persist as long as you can and as long as you are willing to. Championship sports are like a great summit. Such sports should encourage the people to move towards the height of that summit. I do not mean that everyone should participate in championship sports. What I mean is that everyone should participate in sports like activities. Sports should look sweet in the eyes of the people, including youth and the elderly –people like us. Everyone should be active in some form of sports. I also participate in sports within the scope of my age. Of course, I do old people's sports [Supreme Leader and audience laugh].


I hope that by Allah’s favor, you will be successful. I hope that all of you will live well and happy, God willing. You should give them the ring that I promised them –yes, both to the ladies and the gentlemen. I hope that they will be successful, God willing. I will pray for all of you.


Greetings upon you.


  • Ahvaz military parade
  • Ahvaz terrorist attack
  • Apartheid
  • Jakarta
  • Palestine