Meeting with students

The Islamic Republic has defeated the U.S., continuously, for 40 Years

The following is the full text of a speech delivered on November 3, 2018, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with a number of University and High School students. The meeting was held on the occasion of the “National Day of Fighting against Global Arrogance.”


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 pure household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.


You are very welcome dear brothers, dear sisters, dear youth, and dear children of mine. I hope that Allah the Exalted will bless all of you and that He will keep your pure and enlightened hearts on the path of the truth and on the straight path with His blessings and guidance.


Arbaeen has coincided with the 13th of Aban [Nov.4 marking the National Day of Fighting against Global Arrogant Powers] this year. I would like to say something about Arbaeen. First of all, I want to congratulate those who managed to make this pilgrimage and tread this path with enthusiasm, love, and purity: this is a great achievement. You are very blessed. I hope that everyone interested in this path will be able to make this achievement. Secondly, I would like to sincerely thank the people and government of Iraq, and thanks to the outstanding and political personalities of Iraq who helped facilitate the conditions for their own nation and for peoples from other countries – in particular, our country who sent about two million people on that pilgrimage. I thank all those who warmly hosted the pilgrims – all the dear Iraqi brothers and sisters – and treated them with kindness. They carried out a great task.


The phenomenon of Arbaeen is an indescribable and unprecedented phenomenon. This extraordinary movement is a great and astonishing rally. As has been mentioned, frequently these days, it has no peers in the world. Western powers cannot understand what this movement means. They cannot absorb it. That is why you witnessed, since the beginning, they maintained silence for several years. They hatched a plot of silence. That is while they (Western powers) expose every little move that occurs in this world. They did not mention this great popular movement for several years. They would not point to it, and they would not mention it. However, this year the Westerners mentioned it a little bit, but their analyses were hostile and erroneous.


From the viewpoint of the believers on this path, their analyses were ridiculous. The likes of English media and other such media carried out hostile analyses. --This shows that the bubbling of this blessed spring has made them extremely agitated, and therefore, they cannot analyze it. They would sometimes say that this has been launched by governmental organizations, but which government can make 10, 15 million people – men, women, the elderly, youth and people from various social backgrounds – walk 80 kilometers from one city to another? Which government can do this? Even if we assume the impossible – that the government of the Islamic Republic and that of Iraq have managed to accomplish this task – this is a governmental miracle in itself. Well, do it if you can! If you know how to do it, then do it.


However, the case is otherwise different. No factor and element can accomplish this massive gathering except for love, faith, and belief in the blood of honored martyrs. A great feat has been accomplished. And it will continue to improve, getting stronger and more established on a daily basis. It is improving every year, and this will continue, God willing. And Westerners will have no choice but to watch, and fail to present an accurate analysis. They will not understand it, and they will suffer a setback from this movement.


Well, this meeting has been organized on the occasion of the 13th of Aban, which is tomorrow. As you know, three incidents took place on the 13th of Aban, all of which are somehow related to the US. The first incident was exiling Imam because of the “Capitulation” agreement – the immunity of American officials in Iran [during the rule of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi]. Imam delivered that stormy speech in the year 1343 [1964], and he was exiled for that. --This was the first incident which was related to the US.


The second incident is related to the massacre of students, in 1357 [1978], in front of the University – this same place: the University of Tehran. This was not committed by American soldiers, rather it was committed by a regime which was installed by the US: the tyrannical regime of Pahlavi. So, this is ascribed to the US as well. The Americans and their agents are ready to commit these crimes to further their own satanic goals. Well, as you see, such crimes are being committed in today’s world as well. The matter of Yemen, the matter of Bahrain, and many other issues of the world confirm this truth. They committed this crime in Iran as well, and they massacred students and teenagers by shooting them point blank.


The third incident is the incident of capturing the embassy – the US den of espionage. This was Iran’s blow to the US, in response to its actions. The Revolution gave power to the people of Iran: they managed to slap them right across the face and humiliated the US.


The sum of these three incidents shows a challenge between Iran and the US, which has continued to this day. It is 40 years now that this challenge has continued between Islamic Iran and the US. And all sorts of moves have been made by the enemy over the past 40 years. Of course, you did not witness and participate in many of those incidents, but you have heard and read about them. I want to mention these incidents briefly.


For example, the US waged military wars and military actions, in that period of time, in all kinds of ways. The worst one was provoking Saddam Hussein to attack Iran. They provoked him and promised they would help him: they really did all that. They forced our country to get involved in that war for eight years. --This is just an example. As usual, they were struck down, and they were defeated, forced into retreat. Other atrocities that they carried out include the attack of our Airbus [Iran Air flight 655], attacking Tabas, and attacking our oil platforms. --These were the measures that the Americans adopted against us.


There has also been an economic war in this 40-year challenge, which is not particular to the present time. And now the Americans want to deceive themselves or their nation by saying that they are adopting a new measure, but it is not a new measure. It is 40 years now that they have been imposing economic sanctions on us in various ways. One day, they impose sanctions on oil; another day, they impose sanctions on business transactions and investment. They have imposed different kinds of sanctions. --This was about their economic war and confrontation.


They have waged a media war as well. From the beginning of the Revolution till now, the US has been waging a media war against us. In fact, this war includes spreading lies, deceiving individuals, causing sedition, promoting corruption, and provoking certain people. --This is not a recent development. Of course, today, new methods -- the Internet, cyberspace, and other such methods -- have been incorporated, but even when these methods did not exist, they were continuously busy using television, radio, and satellites. It's more than 40 years now that this challenge has existed between us and the United States.


Well, there is an important truth which is sometimes not seen by some people: its dazzling clarity makes it go unnoticed. This truth is a bright and shining one, which is the fact that in this 40-year challenge, the side which has been defeated represents the US and the side which has achieved victory represents the Islamic Republic. --This is a very important truth. What is the reason behind America’s defeat? The reason for their defeat was that it was they who began the attack. It was they who initiated corrupt actions. It was they who imposed sanctions, and it was they who launched a military attack, but they have not achieved their goals. --This is the reason why the US has been defeated.


By adopting those measures, the US pursued the goal of restoring the dominance they once had over our country during the time of the Pahlavis. They want to restore that dominance once more. That dominance and that control disappeared with the emergence of the Revolution and their hands were cut off from Iran. The goal of imposing that war, imposing sanctions, and exerting political and economic pressures was to restore that dominance. Well, they failed. And, again, it's been 40 years that they have been working hard against us, but they have not achieved a single thing.


Presently, the country wherein the US does not play a role whatsoever, in terms of decision-making and management, is the Islamic Republic of Iran. Well, this is a defeat for the US, and there is no clearer defeat than this. The purpose of imposing the war was to defeat the Islamic Republic in that confrontation with Saddam. They wanted to humiliate the Islamic Republic and say that the government and system of the Islamic Republic caused Iran's defeat; however, the opposite happened. In all the wars that Iran was involved in, during the past two centuries, Iran was defeated, but that eight-year war was the first and only war wherein Iran defeated the other side and foreigners failed to usurp even one inch of Iran’s soil. --This was the first war with such an outcome, and the result was the exact opposite of what the Americans wanted. 


The purpose of imposing sanctions was to cripple the country and hold it back from advancements. They imposed sanctions so that they might cripple the economy and, consequently, the country. They wanted to hold it back, but what was the end result? The result was that the movement towards self-sufficiency in the country accelerated! Previously, we had gotten used to – the people of Iran had gotten used to – importing everything for years. Now, thanks to the sanctions they have imposed, we have gotten used to embarking on producing everything, first. --Later on, I will elaborate on this.


Today, hundreds of groups – active groups comprised of intelligent youth, whether students at universities or at schools – are busy carrying out important tasks in the country. As I said, I will refer to what they have done later. --This is because of sanctions: because they imposed sanctions on us, we thought of satisfying our own needs. So, sanctions ended in our advantage. The US was defeated by their own policy as well. Notice that these are continuous defeats for the American side.


I would like you, dear youth, to pay careful attention to this point – this is because you will be in charge of the future affairs of the country; therefore, you should pay careful attention. Even if we put aside the issue of the challenge between Iran and the US, at a broader level, when we look at the condition of the US, we see that America’s power, might, and awe is declining in the world. It has been declining over the years. America today is much weaker than that time when the Revolution achieved victory. America’s power is decreasing: this is an important point.


Many credible politicians and social scientists of the world believe that America’s soft-power is declining and disappearing. What is soft-power? Soft-power means the capability of a government to make others accept and believe its demands, opinions, and beliefs. This soft-power of the US is completely waning and declining, and this is happening in different areas. This was the case during the time of the Obama administration as well, but since that other gentleman took over, they are unambiguously opposing him. The world is opposing him in most areas of his decision making. --This is not just some opposition on part of the people – if they conduct a poll on a global scale, they will get negative opinions – but even those governments which have some considerations for the US are opposing him.


China, Europe, Russia, India, Africa, and Latin America are all protesting his decisions. America’s soft-power is declining and disappearing. --This is not my claim: this is a claim which has been put forward by well-known social scientists. America’s moral and soft power is declining. They are even disgracing liberal democracy which is the main pillar of western civilization: they are disgracing it.


Several years ago, a well-known sociologist said that the current condition of the US is the epitome of the historic perfection of humanity and that humanity will not be able to go beyond this. That same person has taken it back, and today he says that this is not the case, and he dreams of other things. He may not explicitly say that he was wrong, but he is contradicting his old beliefs: the exact opposite of what he had said in those days. --Well, this is the condition of the US.  


Of course, as I have mentioned, frequently, liberal democracy has proven to be the ruin of Western nations who have based their government and social system on liberal democracy. The kind of liberal democracy which is common in the West today has ruined them. --It has led to social rifts, lack of social justice, the destruction of the family unit, comprehensive and epidemic corruption, and excessive and extreme individualism: they are all ruined.


Now, with the emergence of that man – the current eerie and strange U.S. President – he is selling all their values at a cheap price: he has, in fact, destroyed the remainder of American reputation and that of liberal democracy. --This [portion of the speech] was about the soft power of the US.


Let me tell you, America’s hard power has been severely damaged too. Hard power means military and economic power: these are the constituents of hard power. Sure, they have military weapons, but the human and military resources of the US are extremely despondent, confused, agitated, and hesitant. That is why they use criminal organizations – like Blackwater (known as Academi today) and other such organizations – to further their goals wherever they are in the world. In other words, American soldiers are not able to implement America’s plans: this is the present condition of their human resources.


The same is true of their economy. Today, America’s public debts amount to over 15 trillion dollars or more [with the total public debts outstanding at over 21 trillion!] --This is a grotesque figure! Their debts amount to 15 trillion USD! And their budget deficit is about 800 billion dollars in the current year. These are, in fact, their economic deficiencies. As usual, they try to cover them up with pompous gestures, slogans, and various statements to keep up for the sake of appearances, but these are the realities of the US. --This is the hard power of the US.


So, the United States of America is declining: everyone must realize it. Those who are willing to completely forget about the issue of Palestine, with their support of the US in the region, need to realize that the US is declining! It is regional nations who are thriving. It is the truths in the region which are thriving. The US is declining in its own region, let alone in this region.


One of the manifestations of American defeat is that it has failed to influence the spirit of seeking independence in our people and our youth. Notice, today, our dear youth have independence-seeking sentiments throughout the country. Some of them are not even committed to religious principles, but they have a feeling of resistance against the domination of foreigners. --This shows that despite all of the U.S.A.'s propaganda efforts, and despite all endeavors made in the media and news empire that they have built, they have failed to influence the young generations of Iran. They have failed to undermine and weaken the spirit of resistance and independence in them.


I am saying this, sincerely, because I realize that if our youth are not ahead of the first generation of the Revolution, in terms of the motivation to resist, they are not behind them either. Today, one can clearly witness this. And, this is not particular to our youth; as far as I know, this has gradually spread among the youth in other countries as well – particularly in our neighboring countries. When we listen to the statements of the dear pious youth in our neighboring countries, and when we see their actions and behavior, we feel that the spirit of independence has gathered up strength in them. Of course, the enemy – the U.S. – lays the blame on us, saying that their behavior stems from the movement of Iranian youth. And, they threaten us too. They issue us threats and ask us why the youth of a certain other country have attacked U.S. forces: this is a bizarre question and odd behavior!


They send a message, saying that if the youth of another country attack their forces or forces advocating for them, they will pin the blame on us! Well, like hell you will blame us for another's actions! The people of Iraq despise you! The youth of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon despise you! In the eastern part of the region, the youth of Afghanistan and Pakistan detest invasive Americans! What does their disdain have to do with Iran? They resent you, and they might move against you: this is a reality. Why do the U.S. officials not understand this? Why do they not understand a nations’ disdain for them? Why do they not understand this? You did horrible things, you pursued evil actions, you tried to dominate those countries and you insulted their people, and that is why they shun you!


The people of Iraq have the right to dislike the U.S.A.; the people of Syria have the right to dislike the U.S.A: the same is true of other countries. The US is declining: everyone must know it. Those individuals who are inclined to compromise with the Americans are devising a groundless and unjustified plan. The US is declining. And the factors in the decline of the US have not come into being in the present time or in the recent past so much so that someone would try to cure them. They have come into being throughout history. The factor and element which has brought about such a condition for the Americans is a long-term factor. They have created a condition in the course of history which has led to the current situation, and it cannot be cured so easily. --This is a divine tradition. They are condemned to decline, destruction, and disappearance from the scene of global power.


The opposite case is the Islamic Republic. Of course, I do not want to exaggerate and magnify achievements. We began from scratch. I do not claim that we have managed to take the path that others have taken over the course of 100, 150 years, in only 40 years; but, I will make the claim that we have constantly moved forward over those 40 years. We have always progressed and grown stronger.


The 40-year movement of the Islamic Republic is clear evidence to my claim. We are witness to a serious movement in the areas of industrial and political independence. When I said that there are hundreds of young groups, this is a reality. I know some of them up close and personal, and I have heard about others. They are serious, active, talented, creative, and determined youth, busy working in different areas: in intellectual, practical, scientific, and technological areas. They are neither thinking about becoming bosses or managers, nor thinking about becoming ministers and lawyers: they are simply working hard. --This is how things are in the present time: this is an auspicious phenomenon which exists in the country today, and this will continue.


I would like to offer some words of advice to you dear youth. These are issues which are necessary for the future of the country. The first word of advice is that you should not forget that the U.S. practices animosity towards you. You should not be deceived by their false and indecent smiles. They sometimes say that they have no problems with the Iranian nation and that their problem is with the government of the Islamic Republic. They are lying! The government of the Islamic Republic is nothing without its reliance on the people! They [Gov. of U.S.A.] are the enemies of the people. They are enemies of a nation which has not lost its presence, strength, and determination over the past 40 years. Their sanctions are only against the people!


So, you should not forget about the hostility of the US. The US used to show enmity towards the Iranian nation before the Revolution. However, at that time, their own agents had the power; and, as a result, they would do whatever they wanted, and they would act in whatever way that they desired. And the sinister and dependent regime of Pahlavi and taghut[1] would obey them. The Islamic Republic has stood firm against them. That is why their enmity is clear and transparent. And they show enmity in different ways. You should not pay attention to their false claims.


How long will this enmity continue? This is a question, how long should we continue to show enmity towards the US? The answer is: until the US stops its effort to dominate others. If it abandons this pursuance of dominance, it will be possible to interact with the U.S., like other countries, and to establish relations. Of course, this is very unlikely. As one of the dear brothers in the meeting said, arrogance seeks dominance and control by nature. As long as things are like this, enmity will continue. If they put this aside, enmity and hostile relations will come to an end; but this is unlikely.


The second point is that you should promote and foster the view of resistance against the enemies’ iron fist. People must not feel that because the enemy has bombs, missiles, propaganda apparatuses, and other such weapons, we should retreat. The theory of resistance is an original and correct theory. It should be promoted in both theoretical and practical ways. The theoretical aspect is that you need to promote it. You, youth, can delineate the theory of resistance very efficiently: among yourselves, in the environment where you live, and even in relations with other countries and youth. You should explain the theory of resistance – the fact that the goal of arrogance is hegemony and domination over nations – to everyone, so they know that arrogance pursues this goal.


And the practical aspect of the issue is that we believe the youth are entitled to pursue a resistance orientation. The youth of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, and the youth in North Africa, the Subcontinent, and the surrounding regions are showing resistance against the US. --This is their right, and we think that they are entitled to do so. Strengthening these orientations means strengthening the theory of resistance.


The third point is that you must consider yourselves responsible for the progress of the country. The paradigm of progress is a clear, well-thought out, and well-organized plan. As you know, the Iranian-Islamic paradigm of progress – which can be the basis of the movement for the country in different areas for the next 50 years – has been compiled and prepared. It is available for analysts, and they can improve and complete it. Consider yourselves among the activists who work on this extensive and comprehensive plan.


Prepare yourselves for that blueprint. One day preparedness calls for studying and doing research; one day, it means building and innovating; another day, it means adopting correct political positions and presence in the arena of politics. Every day and every period of your life demands one of these requirements. You should consider yourselves responsible in all circumstances and you should think that you have a part in the progress of the country.


One of the fundamental tasks that we should carry out in the area of economic issues and the future of the country is severing our country’s dependence on oil. --This has been repeated, frequently, for years by all competent and intelligent economists. --And this can become a reality. I have always said to officials that we should separate the economy from selling crude oil as much as possible. When we sell crude oil, we are in fact extracting and selling a source of wealth and an asset which cannot be reproduced and which is finite; and we earn money for that; and we spend it on the management of the country: this is wrong.


We must utilize and consume this asset in a way that will have value-added. We should optimize oil. One of the important problems in our economy is dependence. Our pious youth and intellectuals should sit together and find ways to liberate the country from dependence on oil. Of course, the policies for this have been formulated. When we included and announced the formation of the national development fund in the general policies of the country, it was because we wanted to liberate ourselves from dependence on oil.


I should add that we have not borrowed the Western model of development. First of all, we have referred to this movement as “progress”, unlike their movement which is referred to as “growth” and “development”. We do not want to borrow the paradigm of progress from the West. Westerners have ruined themselves because of this method and paradigm. They have created many problems for themselves. There is a flashy appearance, but it is decayed and corrupt from the inside. We will not borrow it from them. We will make the most of today’s science and technology, and we will consider progress a source of happiness, pride, and security -- for the people and the country -- and we will work hard to that end. Our dear youth should consider themselves responsible as well. They should have a sense of responsibility in this regard.


The main need of the country is a noble determination on your part. You, youth, should show determination. You should aim high, work hard, and abandon fear and laziness. You should employ innovation as the main part of your work, and you should consider it your great responsibility. --This should be accompanied by national zeal. These are the elements which are necessary for our country and our youth: this is the case in all areas. An enthusiastic, active, and dynamic group of people is needed.


This was my advice to the youth, but it is addressed to the officials as well. Officials should take these statements seriously. They should take youth seriously, and they should welcome and warmly receive – in the real sense of the word -- today’s young generation which is motivated: they should help them.  I have sometimes witnessed that a young group of people has done something wonderful, outstanding, and helpful, but the organization in charge has not helped them. --This is one of our flaws. Officials should take youth and their work seriously, and they should pay more attention to them.


What I want to say, now at the end of my statements, is that you, dear youth, should know, as I explained earlier, the future of this country – Islamic Iran – will be much better and more fascinating than its past. If the people move forward with your spirit, that you are exhibiting today, they will, undoubtedly, reach a great peak, in a not-too-distant future, wherein they will often have the upper hand when it comes to international interactions, and they will be able to further their goals. --This is something which is certain and definite, there is no doubt about it.


By Allah’s favor, you will witness this with your own eyes. In the future, you will be witness to the great progress that has been made in this country, thanks to Islam and the Islamic Revolution in the country.


I ask Allah the Exalted to associate the pure souls of our magnanimous martyrs – who opened this path to us and who created this safe environment for the country – with the immaculate souls of the martyrs of the early Islamic era and the martyrs of Karbala.


I ask Him to make the holy heart of the Imam of the Time (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake), the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam, and pious martyrs satisfied with us.


I ask Him to make us familiar with our responsibilities and help us succeed in carrying them out, God willing.


Greetings upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings


[1] Quranic term for ‘false deities’; refers to tyrannical, arrogant domination.