Imam Khamenei

U.S. officials are first-class idiots

The following is the full text of a speech delivered on January 9, 2019, 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 an uprising led by the people of Qom on January 9, 1978.


 In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most 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 pure, immaculate, chosen, infallible and virtuous household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth, and may God curse all their enemies.

You are very welcome dear brothers, dear sisters: the honorable people of Qom and esteemed scholars of the outstanding Qom Seminary. Indeed, your gathering, your meeting and your day has been a source of hope, enthusiasm, dynamism, and guidance throughout all these years. The 19th of Dey [January 9] is not just an opportunity to honor, respect and praise the people of Qom; although I deem it necessary to extol the people and the young individuals from Qom who launched this great movement and who created that historic turning point—one that will never be forgotten. There is no doubt about this.

Qom is the place that proved to be the fountainhead of a bubbling spring and the source of the raging sea of the Revolution. That was not a minor task. Qom is the city of the Revolution. It is the center and mother of the Revolution. Of course – let me say this in parentheses – there are motives for changing the revolutionary environment of Qom and for undermining the revolutionary and religious spirit of Qom. There are certain motives to that end.

We should not ignore the enemy’s tricks in any areas and dimensions. Well, he plays tricks in the economic area, but we should not ignore his tricks in the area of culture either. They are busy working and they have ulterior motives. They send agents and this is a point which should receive attention. The great personalities and the young individuals from Qom should not allow treacherous hands to prevent Qom from being the center of the Revolution and to undermine these concepts and values. In any case, Qom is the fountainhead and Qom Seminary is a source of support for the movement which changed and stirred the world. This movement continues to work and we are still at the beginning of the path.

So, the January 9 is a proper occasion for praising and honoring the people of Qom, but this is not the only purpose of this occasion. January 9 contains certain lessons for our present-day conditions. I would like to discuss a brief section of what can be studied and examined with regards to this movement.

The young individuals should pay attention. In particular, our youth should pay attention to these truths. This is because you are in charge of tasks and the future belongs to you. On the 10th of Dey of the year 1356 [December 31, 1977], On December 31, 1977, the U.S. President of the time visited Tehran wherein he delivered a speech about Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, praising him lavishly and falsely. In that speech, he called Iran the ‘Island of stability”. What does that mean? It means that the U.S. felt assured about Iran – dependent Iran and its servile officials. It means that the U.S. felt at ease because of that stability.

This happened on the 10th of Dey [December 31]. However, in less than 10 days, the uprising of Qom unfolded. The people of Qom launched an uprising on January 9, 1978. They moved forward and entered the arena sacrificing their lives in order to stand up against that oppressive, dependent and corrupt regime. This is how the calculation apparatus of the US and the west malfunctioned. Western and U.S. authorities brag about their calculation and analytical power. They are proud of their perceptiveness. In our country too, some westernized individuals boast about the calculation power of the US. They highlight U.S. officials’ comments and opinions: for example, they highlight what some American scientist and such and such an American research center says. They reflect on the Americans’ portrayal of the future and their worldview. However, this [failure] reflects the truth about the calculation power of the US.

They said that Iran is an ‘island of stability’, but in less than ten days, it became clear what “island of stability” meant. Qom launched an uprising and later so did Tabriz. After that, a great movement began and what followed was the tremendous storm of the Islamic Revolution and the destruction of the dependent taghuti [tyrannical] Pahlavi regime [Audience chant “Down with the US” and the Supreme Leader says, “Please show patience. Of course, you are right: ‘Down with the US’”]. This calculation power [please listen] and capability has been like this until today.

Just recently, in meeting with a gathering of thugs and terrorists in a neighboring country, one of the US politicians [John Bolton] said that he hopes and wishes to celebrate this year’s Christmas in Tehran. Christmas celebration was a few days ago. This is how their calculation power fails. They are the same people. Their calculations dictate that they entertain such hopes, like the one that Saddam Hossein entertained – he hoped to occupy Iran in the course of one week – and like the one that their other mercenaries entertained. They, too, hoped that they would make it from Kermanshah to Tehran in the space of three days. These are their calculations! This is [how] the enemy’s calculation power [fails]. Some U.S. politicians pretend to be mad. Of course, I do not agree with this, but they are truly first-class idiots.

The uprising by the people of Qom displayed the lining up of two calculation and epistemic systems and two analytical models against one another. One was the epistemic system of fraudulent western liberal democracy – which has its feet stuck in mud – and another was the epistemic system of Islamic monotheism. It displayed the confrontation between two prediction and calculation systems. As for the calculation system of the U.S. with such a view of Iran, the U.S. Senate imposed sanctions on Iran in the first months after the victory of the Revolution, hoping that Iran and the Islamic Revolution would diminish in the course of five, six months. This is how their calculations are!

And in regards with the calculation system of the Islamic establishment, our magnanimous Imam said that he could hear the sound of Marxist bones being crushed and shattered and in the course of one or two years, the whole world heard that sound. This is how it works. The west is faced with such a phenomenon: the phenomenon of the Islamic Revolution. On the one side, there is a front equipped with all sorts of worldly, flamboyant instruments—including military, political, monetary and other such instruments—and on the other side, there is a newly-emerged ideological and civilizational power which is motivated, enthusiastic and perceptive and which knows what it seeks and should do and where it wills to go. These two sides confront each other.

The enmity of the West and the U.S.’s arrogant front towards this newly-emerged and progressive phenomenon is natural. One should not be surprised by it. In my opinion, some people pretend they do not understand. Of course, perhaps, this is not the case. They say, “Why did you make such and such a comment which has resulted in the enmity of the US towards you?” They think that the U.S.’s enmity originates from a statement made by Imam Khomeini or another official who has spoken ill of the US. This is not the case. The truth of the matter is something else. The issue is beyond this.

It has been 40 years now that this young power has been moving forward, growing on a daily basis and becoming stronger and more powerful day by day. They are witnessing this [happening] in front of their eyes. With the emergence of this power – this spiritual, newly-emerged, diligent and motivated power – and with the emergence of this astonishing and spiritual phenomenon, formerly unknown to the world, the shallow power of arrogance cracked. Over the past 40 years, this crack has been getting deeper and deeper. The richest government in the world is the most indebted and troubled government in the world today. Are these trivial points? These are the points that our youth should focus on. The issue is not about the spoken confrontations by some official; rather it is about identity, about movements, about ideals, and about futures.

Of course, they were dealt a blow, primarily because Iran – which was easy prey for them – was snatched from their grasp. Iran is not some remote country in Africa, Latin America or the like. Iran is the hub of a strategic geographic location in the world; it is a very important center. There is no geographic area in West Asia which is as important as Iran. There are few countries which enjoy as much material wealth and as many capabilities – of various sorts – as Iran. They themselves acknowledge it.

Recently, a western organization said something to insult this humble person. However, in their statement, they acknowledged that Iran is the fifth rich country in the world. This statement is correct and this is how Iran is. Our capacities are important. They lost this sweet easy prey. This is the first reason why they are angry and of course, this anger continues to rage.

However, the main issue is the issue of the confrontation between two movements, and between the truth and falsehood: “The Truth has arrived, and Falsehood neither creates anything new nor restores anything” [The Holy Quran, 34: 49]. Our dear qari [reciter of the Holy Quran] recited this ayah in the meeting. When the truth shows up, falsehood naturally trembles. They are arrogant and they are colonialists. They breathe in and feed on the blood of nations. Now, a power has emerged which is opposed to this oppressive phenomenon and which confronts them. It does not give in to them and it does its best to convey its message to other nations. It has been successful in doing so until today. We have been successful over the past 40 years.

Notice which countries in the world let out the cry of “Down with the USA”. This was unprecedented. The great movement of the Iranian nation intimidates them. It intimidates materialistic, oppressive and bullying powers. It intimidates international companies which suck the blood of nations. They now see that they have reached the end. Yes, spiritual rifts in civilizations do not show up soon. Well, the west launched a movement – an industrial one – and it achieved science and wealth. It occupied the world and it created an uproar about it, but the main rift – the spiritual rift inside– is working like termites. However, it does not show its effect soon. Sometimes, it shows itself after several centuries. It is showing itself now. It is showing what it can do now.

Take a look at Europe. The US, Europe and the countries following them are faced with this situation in different ways. Under these circumstances and in such a world, Islam, Islamic democracy, Islamic movement and Islamic civilization are growing on a daily basis by utilizing the current resources and the existing tools in the world. This is naturally intimidating and daunting to them. That is why they show enmity.

There are two points here. One is the reason behind this enmity. We should not show negligence and adopt a careless approach on this matter. The reason why they show enmity is the nature and the truth of this great movement. This is the reason behind their enmity. The reason behind their enmity is the courage, self-sacrifice and loyalty of the Iranian nation. These are the reasons behind their enmity. They show enmity because the Islamic Republic is committed to the main principles of the Revolution and this commitment has been completely preserved until today. These are the reasons why they show enmity. The reason is that the Islamic Republic is proving to be a civilization which is growing and blossoming. If by Allah’s favor and grace, it manages to produce the desired results, then oppression, arrogance and the imperialism of western states will perish. These are the reasons behind their enmity. 

Nations do not hold animosity against Iran. Not even Western nations hold enmity against Iran. They might spread propaganda to promote Iranophobia and Islamophobia. They might propagate Islamophobia in certain places and Iranophobia and Shia-phobia in other places. They might make such efforts, but wherever the truth becomes clear to the people, not only will they not show enmity towards the Islamic Republic, but they will also embrace and support such movements by nations.

It is the oppressive powers and the pharaohs of the world that show enmity. This enmity is like that which Pharaoh showed towards Musa [Moses]. He knew that Moses was right. He knew that. The Holy Quran specifies that the Pharaoh knew Musa was right, but that he would show enmity, anyway. Allah the Exalted says to Musa, “Fear not, for I am with you. I hear and see everything” [The Holy Quran, 20: 46]. God said, “I am with you. Go and begin your movement and then continue it.” The Pharaoh held the throne of power and monarchy. He was intimidating and frightening, but God said to them that they shall move on and carry out their task: “I am with you. I hear and see everything.” The same message is being addressed to the people of Iran today. So, this is the reason behind their enmity.

The second point is: what is the outcome of such enmity? The outcome is that whoever has God’s support will win. This is because God is Omnipotent. If we are with God and take his path, then victory will be certain. There is no doubt about it. Sometimes, we showed negligence and we did not consequently earn a victory. This is because of our negligence and our poor performance. If we act and move correctly – our officials in one way and the people in another way – and if the movement is a correct movement, then Allah the Exalted will undoubtedly help: “God will certainly aid those who aid his cause” [The Holy Quran, 22: 40]. There is no doubt about this.

Well, 40 years have passed. 40 years is not a long time. In the life of civilizations, the 40th-year anniversary is the beginning of the intellectual growth and movement. The 40th year does not represent old age, rather it is a period of blossoming and this blossoming will continue to prevail, God willing. We are witness to the grounds for this blossoming. Today, religious faith is thankfully good in our country. A firm determination is good among our people. Their presence and preparedness are at a good level. Religious and determined youth are not few in number. There are many. I know them. Of course, I do not know all of them, but there are thousands of young individuals in different corners of the country who are busy carrying out deep and intellectual tasks. They are young scientists with firm determination who are building and producing. They are busy innovating and creating throughout the country. They will build the future.

They have good and strong faith. They trust and rely on God to a great extent and they are very hopeful about the future. Such young individuals exist among the people and they are not few in number. I said that there are thousands of them, but this number is only to the extent of my knowledge. There are tens of thousands of them. They are many. Our young ones are prepared and they have good insight. This emerges from the favor and grace of God. If Allah the Exalted did not want it to move forward, He would not have prepared the ground.

Once—unfortunately, I do not remember the details—our magnanimous Imam wanted an explanation with regards to a task that had not been done properly. He said that Allah the Exalted wants this to be done: “When God’s Will decrees something, the instruments for that will be prepared” [Speaking in Arabic]. When the requirements for something are prepared, it becomes evident that Allah the Exalted wants it to be done. The requirements are the establishment of the Revolution and the formation of the Islamic Republic and the Islamic government. These are the requirements for creating an Islamic civilization befitting this era and this century. These are the requirements that Allah the Exalted has prepared. We should reach that point and by Allah’s favor, we will. 

Well, I have two issues to discuss: one is addressed to officials, politicians and the like; another is addressed to our dear people.

I would like to say to government officials that first of all, you should appreciate the value of your positions. That you are busy carrying out responsibilities is a great blessing bestowed by God. That we have a responsibility and work for such goals, such a people and such a country, represents a great blessing bestowed upon us by God. They should appreciate the value of this blessing and they should be thankful [to Him]. Secondly, they should observe the requirements for this great blessing: they should be aware not to incline towards wrongful behavior, towards aristocracy, towards extravagance and towards everything which used to be common among taghut [tyrannical despots’] officials. This is the duty of our government officials. The path is the path of Islam and of the Islamic government. We cannot act like the Commander of the Faithful. However, we can recognize it as a path toward which we can move. We should move in the light of that path.

Courage and rationality: they represent another duty of the officials. They should be courageous. They should not back off in the face of other’s shouts and cries. They should not miss out on what is correct and necessary in the face of the nonsensical statements by officials of the US, Europe or other such governments. You know how irrelevant they speak. Their words are sometimes really like those of a clown. Some U.S. official wishes to boo us in the world and says that Iran should learn human rights from Saudi Arabia! What can be said to such a person? Can we give them any epithet other than “clowns”? Can we give them any other title? Neither the threats, nor the promises, nor the statements and signatures of this person-- and such individuals-- are credible. We should not take heed of them. We should tread the correct path in a courageous and rational manner. We cannot act on the basis of feelings. The management of a country is not possible with feelings. Feelings are, of course, truly necessary, but only to back up rationality. We should choose the path in a rational way and then, we should move forward with motivation and feelings.

Another responsibility that our officials should pay attention to is identifying and appreciating the value of internal and domestic capacities. When we do not identify them, many of these capacities will remain idle, as has been the case, unfortunately. We do not know of many of our capacities – including the capacity of having these good young individuals. There are some loops in sections of these great executives and governmental organizations which can be undone by youth. They can undo these loops with their brilliant youthful thoughts and actions. They should appreciate the value of the young ones. They should refer to them and benefit from their viewpoints. We achieved success in most areas where we benefited from their viewpoints. They should appreciate the value of young individuals and of their ambitions. Youth are ambitious and there is nothing wrong with this. It is these ambitions which push a nation forward and liberate it from stagnation. They should not harbor any fear in their hearts about westerners either.

They [authorities] should pay special attention to the people’s livelihood problems. Today, this is the most important task and this is the top priority. This is because the enemy is focused on it: on the livelihood problems of underprivileged classes. The problems which befall underprivileged classes in terms of livelihood are among the most fundamental tasks for the officials of the country and executive officials – primarily, executive officials. This is the most important task. Domestic resources may not be enough, but one can see that there are some individuals and some orientations inside the country which are swallowing these resources in an oppressive manner.

Illegal dealing activities and the monopolies that exist in regards to financial issues, business and the like are obstacles in the way of the progress of the country. We constantly stress the importance of domestic production, but such and such a dealer – involved in importing - creates obstacles in different ways because it is against his interests and as a result, one sees that the task will not produce results. Attending to the people’s livelihood problems does not only mean distributing money. Looking at the harmful and dangerous units and stopping them is an important issue as well. I have pointed this out in a detailed manner to the officials of the country in our meetings with them and I will point it out again as well. These are the issues that I discuss with officials.

As for addressing the people, first of all, our dear people should help the officials. Everyone should help. When there is talk of strengthening domestic production and promoting domestic products, an important part of this is related to the people. Domestic producers, consumers of domestic products, and salespeople who sell domestic products can all be influential. The quality of production and of distribution are important points. Well, we named this year, “The Year of Producing Iranian Products” and we emphasized on Iranian products. It is the end of the year now. How much work has been done in this regard? Of course, some tasks have been carried out, but how much progress have we made? We should move forward in these areas. The people can help in this regard. They can cooperate in good deeds.

One of the tasks that the people can perfectly do at the service of the country is the presence at the scenes of the Revolution. Another task that the people can do is confronting and opposing the enemy’s effort to spread rumors. Today, one of the methods that the enemy employs in an active way is spreading rumors with the purpose of agitating the people and making them oppose one another, level accusations against this and that and pitting them against each other. Of course, this will not happen, by Allah’s favor, but this is their goal anyway. The people should be vigilant and aware.

They invite the people to confront the Revolution and the government with complete shamelessness while these are people on whom the government is reliant. If the people had not been a source of support for the government, this event of such significance would not have occurred and moved forward. They are so brazen that they make – in other words, they encourage and provoke – them confront the government. The people should stand up against this piece of propaganda and they should move against it. Today, youth are active in cyberspace. Cyberspace can become an instrument for slapping the enemies in the face.

As for sanctions, well, sanctions exert certain pressures on nations and countries. U.S. officials themselves say gleefully that the sanctions that they have launched against the Iranian nation are “unprecedented in history.” Well, they are unprecedented in history and by Allah’s favor, the failure of the U.S. on this matter will be unprecedented in history, too. The people, the administration and officials – all of them – can do something to make these sanctions end in our advantage to a hundred percent.

During the war, we were under sanctions as well. They would not even sell us personal weapons. Once I said, that they would not even sell us barbed wire, but the same deprivations caused domestic talents to work, as a result of which we have reached a point today where we are the first in the region and ahead of everyone else, by Allah’s favor. This was achieved thanks to sanctions. Otherwise, if we had bought everything that we needed from the first day, if they had given them to us easily by taking our money, we would not have thought of building them on our own and reaching this point. This is the case on all matters.

Our youth say to me – and they prove it: it is not just a mere claim – that there is no piece and component that the country needs and that we cannot build. We can build everything on our own and they are right. We tried that on certain cases and we witnessed that they are right. We have such human capacity. We should do something to turn sanctions into an instrument for blossoming and for reaching the peaks of innovation and work in the country. We should do something to have no need of others’ products and make others need ours. This is something that can be done.

By Allah’s favor, we will move past issues resulting from sanctions and economic problems. Of course, they create certain problems. In the present time, there are certain problems, but they are typical of the beginning of the work. If the administration and the people resist, show vigilance and work hard and unwaveringly, we will surely come out of this phase victorious, as we emerged victorious out of the imposed war. Saddam was leveled to earth and he was sent to hell while the Islamic Republic continued to blossom. Our enemies too – the ones who are acting against us in the US, Europe, and the West – will go to hell as well, and the Islamic Republic will prevail, God willing.

God’s mercy be upon the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam [Khomeini] for he was the one who opened this path to us. We should not forget Imams’ words of advice and his testament. God’s mercy be upon his pure soul and upon the pure souls of our dear martyrs who sacrificed their lives on this path. God’s mercy be upon those who have engaged in jihad [selfless endeavor] on this path until today. And God’s mercy be upon you dear people of Qom. Convey my salaams to other brothers and sisters from Qom on my behalf.

Greetings and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you



  • Iran
  • Qom
  • The United States