Leader's Speech to a Group of University Students from Yazd Province

The following is the text of the speech delivered by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei

on January 3, 2008 to a group of university students from Yazd province in central Iran.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I am very delighted to be in the enjoyable, friendly and lively company of you dear youth. You are young and the youth are the embodiment of vitality, sincerity, endeavor and enthusiasm for ideals. Every part of what our dear youth stated today was pleasing to me. This is not to say that whatever these friends suggested must be put into practice, or will be high on our agenda, or is practicable. The implementation of these suggestions depends on research results, and it is necessary for us to test them. However, the mere fact that a young elite student, who is the member of a [political, scientific etc] formation, stands up, and addressing an academic gathering, states his opinion about current issues with courage and self-confidence is very thought-provoking and enjoyable to me. My speech today is essentially about this issue.

National Self-Confidence: An Accomplishment of the Islamic Revolution

Yesterday, I talked about national self-confidence at a public gathering. You were the main and the preferred audience for those statements. What we desperately need is national self-confidence of the youth, especially the learned and scientifically active youth who are the prospective managers of the scientific, political or scientific and executive future of this country. This segment of society must pay careful attention to the advice concerning national self-confidence - which I mentioned in passing yesterday and which I an going to discuss in more detail today - take it wholeheartedly, and use it as the pivot of and a yardstick for all their activities.

Why do I keep bringing up the issue of national self-confidence? Has anything happened in the country that makes me insist on the self-confidence of our nation and our youth? There is an explanation. Thanks to the Revolution, the Sacred Defense, Imam Khomeini's unparalleled personality - if I do not forget, I will later on explain that Imam's personality and its elements were one of the most influential contributory factors - and various advances, our nation has achieved a reasonable level of self-confidence. There is a fear that in the arenas of psychological warfare and propaganda - or "soft war," to coin a phrase - between our nation and the enemies who insist on continuing this battle, this national self-confidence may be dented, undermined, shaken or at least is not boosted to the extent that our nation requires. We are halfway there. Observing the mind, language and practice of a large number of our prominent figures, I can clearly see that this national self-confidence has not yet reached the required levels.

Diffidence: A Dangerous Disease

Diffidence is the polar opposite of self-confidence, namely diffidence when faced with the ideas of a particular group of knowledgeable nations - which is represented today by the West - against their philosophy and knowledge, or even against the paradigms of national development that they put forth, whereas we know that there are different paradigms of development for different nations. Diffidence is an extremely dangerous disease, which was infused into the body of our nation for many consecutive decades. Adopting Western words and mentalities is what we have frequently done. I listen and unfortunately see that besides the existing Western words - that have for the past decades been used and continue to be used by people - another Western word is every now and then introduced on TV or on the radio, which leaves people wondering what its meaning could be. And then they are forced to refer somebody to help them understand its meaning. Well, why bother ourselves? If there is a concept for which you do not have a word, you should coin one. The Farsi language is rich enough to allow that.
These are the manifestations of the diffidence that is the legacy of the past. Why did I mention this [you may ask]? Because I wanted to make it clear that in the domain of national self-confidence, there is a long way to go. I fear that the spirit of national self-confidence may be stunted. Yesterday, I brought it up for this reason, and today, I will discuss it with you in more detail for the same reason.

 Constant Efforts to Move Forwards

We are like the runner who must cross the finish line; we must cross the victory line. We must run non-stop. You have written on the placard that by the year 1404 Iran will be a developed country. The perspective holds that it must outrun the other regional counties in technology and so on. You assume that the other countries will stand still and watch us outrun them? They are also progressing. It is a race for runners. If you and I lose our motivation half way through, if our hopes wane, if we come to think that it is no use, well, we will not cross the finish line. I fear this and, thus, I want to talk about self-confidence.

Enemy Is the Global Domineering Power

Today, we have reached a certain level of self-confidence, which is the auspicious outcome of the factors I mentioned. Our enemy is the global domineering arrogant system. That is what we mean when we talk about the enemy, which is now represented by, you may assume, the US or any other government. Our problem with countries and governments is not of local, racial, national and nominal nature. The problem is that a domineering group has formed in global politics and power relationships. They have become accustomed to domination and not being faced with a serious obstacle. Now there is a serious obstacle here called the Islamic government, the Islamic Republic. They seriously try to remove this formidable obstacle; this is what we want to say. The enemy is the global expansionist and the politically domineering camp, whatever it is called. Of course, I believe its present-day manifestation is the government of the USA which is the greatest devil personified. This is the enemy no matter what it is called or who it is. And the reason behind its enmity towards us is that we have presented them with an obstacle. It was like a bird that flew on freely without facing any obstacles, and now it has suddenly come up against a firm steel net that stops it from going further. The pressure [that the enemy is exerting on us] is because of this. Our problem with the West stems from this.

Iranian Nation Determined Not to Give In

Some people sit around and like a philosopher, a wise old man and a back seat driver complain that we are fighting everybody. That is not the case. The problem is not our tendency to fight or not to fight others. The problem is our standing against domination. We are a nation that has been kept in ignorance, stupor and confusion for many centuries or, at least, for several consecutive decades. They did whatever they wanted with us. We have just woken up. We no longer want to give in. That is what they charge us with "And they punished them for nothing but that they believed in Allah, the Mighty, the Praised" [The Holy Quran 85:8]. This is where the source of conflict lies.

The Enemy's Defeat Against Hezbollah's Spirit of Self-Confidence

The enemy that is standing against our nation will fight the self-confidence that you have so far achieved, especially because the US has failed in its Middle East policies. America's policies in the Middle East were mainly aimed at the Islamic Republic. They had besieged Iran on two sides: Iraq and Afghanistan. They thought they had placed the Islamic Republic in a vise and it would be forced to put its hands up. America's Middle East policies were based on bolstering the Zionist regime. One of their greatest measures and decisions was to destroy Hezbollah, the resistance force which is a faithful, efficient and influential driving force in Lebanon - a neighboring country of the occupied Palestinian lands. After that ignominious defeat last year, they were denied this opportunity. And they have been struggling desperately since then to do something about it in Lebanon and create a pro-American government or army there. And the current Lebanese issue stems from this. Americans are not prepared to spit out what they thought was an easy prey. They are planning to bring into power a puppet president - who is the army chief as well - and subsequently a puppet government in order to put Hezbollah under pressure. But they have failed in their attempts so far. These are great failures for a superpower like the US. With all those boasts, with all their power, money and extraordinarily efficient diplomatic system, and with their various technological devices and human resources, they could not confront Hezbollah. They think that Hezbollah is linked with Iran and consider its victory a victory for the Islamic Republic. They were defeated in this respect as well.

The Enemy's Defeat Against the Nation's Spirit of Self-Confidence

In the nuclear conflict, Americans were firmly insisting until a few months ago that Iran stop all its nuclear activities. That was what they did to Libya. They wanted us to wrap it up and offer it to them on a silver platter and declare that we will not continue our nuclear activities. Recently - a few weeks ago - they found themselves in such a [desperate] situation that they were forced to say that Iran must immediately stop its nuclear activities. You must note that there is a great deal of difference between the two. There was a day when they were not prepared to tolerate the existence of even five centrifuges in Iran. The Iranian negotiators who went to Europe were prepared to agree on twenty centrifuges, but the parties disagreed. The Iranian negotiators had then tried to persuade them to let us have at least five but the Europeans disagreed again. Even if they had suggested one centrifuge, they would have refused. Today, there are 3,000 operational centrifuges in Iran and many more are ready to be installed. They say we must stop it as it is. This is another failure for the US.
After the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Americans tried to portray the regional situation as bipolar involving a fight between democracy and terrorism. They broadcast various propaganda, spent a great deal of energy, launched numerous military attacks, incurred heavy expenses and did whatever they could so that they could claim that they were spreading democracy, that the region was trying to spread terrorism and that they were here to save the region. Just take a look at the situation in Iraq which was the focus of their concern. If you ask the ordinary people in Iraq they will say that Americans themselves are the cause of terrorism. Nobody believes that the US brought democracy for Iraq. The government and the parliament were formed against the Americans' will. They did not want this to happen, it was imposed on them. Everybody knows this. Therefore, they failed in different arenas.

The Enemy Must Not Be Underestimated

Could a domineering power stay calm when it fails to keep a nation spiritually and psychologically backward and to dent its self-confidence? The answer is no. They will look for new ways. Because the enemy is seeking new methods we must think of new ways as well. We must examine their new ways and means and understand the fact that they are not short of the necessary resources. I have said frequently that "the enemy is not to be underestimated." The propagandistic means of the enemy cannot be compared with those of ours. Moreover, I should tell you that the enemy is very rich in terms of cultural, propagandistic and communicative means. They are working relentlessly and spending a great deal of money. The fact that they declared they would give 80 or 100 million dollars to the opponents of the Iranian government - "the opposition forces" as they term it - is only the outward appearance of things. The amount that they are spending on this is much more than that. You and I, the youth, university students, officials, and the academics of this country must identify and predict the methods the enemy wants to use. If you can predict that, you will be able to understand the phenomena that occur in the country. If, for example, you know that there is going to be a storm or a flood, you will be able to recognize the signs that precede them and thus you will be able to identify their causes. But if you are unaware, these causes will be mysterious to you. Sometimes we reinforce those unknown causes. That is what makes this issue extremely serious.

The Importance of Self-Reliance

Before I get onto the subject of self-reliance, first let me tell you a couple of things about the importance of self-confidence. The most important merit of national self-confidence, which must be manifested by the elites of a country, is that it obviates the need to wait for assistance from others. The nation that is lacking in self-confidence will always be waiting for others to provide it with its requirements. When you are waiting to be served a dish that has already been prepared, you will not attempt to prepare it yourself, nor will you learn to cook. This is one of the main dangers and a very obvious one at that. It is not a philosophically complex issue. But we sometimes tend to ignore this obvious point and this simple mechanism that contributes to the country's staying backward.

The Poison of Diffidence

I will never forget this memory: once I went to a friend's house in Mashhad before the victory of the Islamic Revolution. As it happened, a member of the then Assembly Council - who was the representative of one of the towns in the northern part of the country - was also in Mashhad. He was there to pay a visit to our mutual friend. I happened to get the opportunity to talk to one of the parliamentary members for about an hour. I was young then and just as you say whatever you want, I also did not fully consider the consequences of what I did. I started to criticize the regime and let him know what I thought of it. He was a member of Shah's Assembly Council and my remarks offended him. Therefore, he embarked on an argument with me. These were some of the things that I told him: "You have kept the country in a state of stagnancy. It is all imports and what others produce. Why don't we ourselves do something?" The answer that he gave me was an interesting one and may help you to understand the mentality of the people in those days. He said, "So much the better, let the Europeans work for us like slaves and we will use the outcome of their efforts!" See how they sometimes manage to infuse this poison into the core of the nation's being and its elites and make them talk like that.

Self-Confidence Prepares the Ground for the Flourishing of Talents

When self-confidence is lacking, one remains in the state of waiting for assistance from the others. One sits in a corner like wretched and bedridden people and waits for somebody to pass by and spare a penny. The state of being self-sufficient works in the opposite direction which means that one does not wait for the others to fulfill one's needs. When people do not wait for others' assistance and think about fulfilling their own needs, they start tapping their talents - the hidden talents of a nation. When this happens and the hidden talents are utilized, they lead to achievements. That is the nature of things: one achievement leads to a set of other achievements. One accomplishment tends to bring about a set of other accomplishments.

 The Sacred Defense Era: The Epitome of Self-Reliance

In the Sacred Defense era, the army and Voluntary Basij Movement did not initially have many arms. They did not have the necessary weapons. The Kalashnikov - which is a simple gun - was their main weapon. It was impossible to fight with that weapon. Therefore, they started to think. The mere fact that they started to think opened up new vistas for them. I recommend that the dear youth read the autobiographies of our martyred commanders. Some of their writings are devoted to emotional and spiritual matters and similar subjects - which are beneficial in their own way. But there are some other parts that are concerned with their practical experiences on the battle field. I have said on numerous occasions that during the war we had to take great pains and pay several times more to smuggle RPG-7s into the country. We had to pay several times more than the usual price to buy such a primitive weapon. The outcome of those experiences and self-confidence was that the Iranian nation has now reached a point that it can manufacture its own weapons some of which are unique or rare in the region. These were all the result of our need for weapons because they refused to sell them to us. We felt that we had to rely on ourselves. Our youth relied on themselves. This self-reliance made the talents flourish which bore fruit and this in turn led to several other outcomes. This fact is to be seen everywhere. This self-confidence is to be observed in discoveries, science, production and the paradigm of development.

An Indigenous Development Paradigm Is What We Seek

In a couple of my trips to Mashhad and Semnan last year, I talked about the issue of development paradigm in the meetings that I had arranged with university students. We must set a native Iranian development paradigm as our goal so that we are not forced to go for the ideas presented by European scholars. This is not to say that we should not use their knowledge. The paradigm they prescribe, however, is designed for their own purposes. We should learn what they know, but at the same time, we must write out our own prescription so that we can trust it and rely on it. Now if there is a lack of self-confidence, we will throw up our hands and say "is it possible for us to do it? Others tried it so many times before, what else could we possibly do?" This bears testimony to a lack of self-confidence, and unfortunately some people keep saying it. Some of our well-educated people also say it. We suggested that they formulate an indigenous development paradigm. "What indigenous development paradigm are you talking about? How is it possible?" look, this points to a lack of self-confidence which is a legacy of the past. If a nation wants to progress, it is impossible for it to wait for the others to help.

Infusion of Diffidence by Elites

One of the feats that the West and Europeans accomplished - which proved to be beneficial for them - was to take the elites of other countries in their hands and instilled their own ideology into them and sent them back to their own countries. Instead of spending money on the promotion of their own ideologies in the target country, Western countries - namely England, France and other such countries - decided to assign this task to their trainees who went and worked for them without any payment or any expectations whatsoever. Their disciples consecutively took up where they left off which proved to be a domino effect and an affliction for underdeveloped and backward countries. This chain of events must be broken. The importance of self-confidence lies in the fact that with the achievement of national self-confidence talents start flourishing. If we achieve self-confidence, we will see that we can do it. We will be convinced that we can do it.

 Three Obstacles to the Achievement of Self-Confidence

There are three main obstacles to the process of achieving self-confidence to which we must pay full attention. These three can disrupt the process of achieving national self-confidence and its resultant accomplishments and of realizing ideals.

1) Hopelessness and Portraying Bleak Prospects

Engendering despair, portraying bleak prospects and bringing scientific differences into focus constitute the first obstacle. There is no disputing the fact that we are lagging behind the modern developed world which has been working on science for 200 years. They highlight this difference and say, "How do you want to catch up with them? Is it really possible?" And thus they disappoint our young researcher and scholar. I would say "Why not? It is possible." We only have to use the knowledge that others have accumulated and go one better, which is what we have already done. We have used the knowledge of others and sometimes managed to build things which did not exist in the world - as evidenced by some of our medical and pharmaceutical advances. We used Western knowledge as a stepping-stone and produced something that required more sophisticated knowledge. We must not let these differences dishearten us. We can step up our scientific progress and decrease these differences day by day. We can strive and move forward, especially because the West is now grappling with serious issues that it did not have to deal with some 50 or 100 years ago. Currently, moral and sexual issues and psychological instability in the West are much more serious than they used to be. Nowadays, these constitute a predicament there. Of course, these long-term issues do not reveal themselves easily, but one can realize their concern by reading between the lines of what their intellectuals say. Their younger generation is heading for decadence, crime and violence are on the rise, the figures showing the breakup of families are soaring and the situation has got out of their hands. They are in deep trouble. Why should a nation that is determined, a nation that can protect itself against these afflictions to some extent, a nation that relies on God, a nation that has self-confidence, and a nation that has specific ideals, not follow the scientific route they took? There was a day when we were ahead of the West, but we were plagued with problems and they worked hard and outran us. Catching up is not absolutely impossible for a nation whose youth try and move ahead and whose officials diligently involve themselves in planning. Therefore, there are three obstacles that the enemy may pose: spreading hopelessness, squandering talents, and taking strong and harsh measures, namely military aggression or similar measures.
Regarding the first issue - spreading despair - I insist that the youth reflect more and detect the signs. They are doing it right now and there are some other people who act as their mouthpiece.

A Few Examples of Inducing Hopelessness

Now pay attention to these instances [of inducing hopelessness]: the issue of nuclear energy is a case in point. They set off an uproar in the country to promote the idea that nuclear energy was an investment without any returns. Why are you doing this? Besides the global propaganda that has been pursuing this issue, they posed another problem that we had to deal with. They have continually been saying and repeating these things inside the country ever since the emergence of this issue - five or six years ago. Some people even wrote a letter saying "as physicists we categorically reject the claim that we have succeeded in building centrifuges." They said that so confidently that we had to send some investigators there in order to discover the truth. We were concerned that they were telling the truth. That was five years ago. Our investigators reported that everything was going on well in a scientific and steady manner. First they said it was impossible for us to pursue nuclear programs, but when they saw our success, they shifted their ground and said that it was an investment without any returns or profits.
Last year, I talked about it in detail in the New Year's public address and I do not want to repeat what I said then. What makes you think it is useless? In the next 20 years, we need to produce at least 20,000 megawatts of electricity from nuclear energy. According to the estimate which was conducted to assess the country's energy requirements, we need at least 20,000 megawatts generated by our nuclear power plants, otherwise we will have to beg for electricity. And if we fail to do so, consider it beneath our dignity or they refuse to give it to us, we must dispense with whatever that is powered by electricity: factories and many of the means necessary for production and development.
When should we start so that we can generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity in twenty years? It is by no means early now, if not late. It may even be too late already. What a big lie is the remark "we do not need it" or the remark "you cannot build nuclear power plants, so why do you need four percent uranium?" It is again the same old argument: "You cannot..." Why not? Why is it impossible for a nation that managed to build such an enormous enrichment centre, to build a nuclear power plant? We must be able to do it. Why not? There was a day when they said "you cannot even build steam power plants." I remember that in my own term of presidency, there was an unfinished power plant near Tehran that had been built during the reign of the Pahlavi regime. They tried to get international brokers to finish it. There were some others who believed we could finish the project single-handedly. We invited some of the officials who were directly related to these affairs. We summoned the prime minister - and some of the top officials of the country - and some others to the presidential office to discuss the issue. They came and said that it was impossible for us to finish the project and start using the power plant. This was their judgment. They said it was totally impossible. They said we had to ask foreigners for help. We did not invite foreigners, however. Instead, our own experts went there and finished it. And now it has been generating electricity for years and the country has been using its output.
In the beginning of the revolution, the Reconstruction Movement (Jahad-e Sazandegi) wanted to build a silo. As you know, our silos were built by the Russians during the reign of the Pahlavi regime. The evil regime used to buy wheat from the US and had Russia build its silos. There is more to a silo than meets the eye. The technology required to build it is relatively complex. The Reconstruction Movement declared that it wanted to build a silo. They were criticized from right and left that they could not possibly do it and that it was only a total waste of time: "Do not waste the country's resources." They built a small prototypical silo in Khuzestan Province, which I inspected at that time. Nowadays, the silos built by your Islamic Republic are considered among the top silos in the world. The Islamic Republic is considered among the world's leading manufacturers of silos.
One of the dams near Tehran was leaking. Some experts were ordered to go and fix it, but they said that the company that had built the dam had to do it. They invited the foreign constructors. This also dates back to the early part of my term of presidency. The prophets of doom and gloom kept saying "is it possible for us to build a dam?" These ideas were induced by the past. Our youth decided to make an attempt at the dam. Today, the Islamic Republic is, by Allah's favor, the best dam constructor in the region. In this region, there is no other country that has mastered the technology of constructing colossal dams as well as we have - whether concrete dams or earth dams. The dams that we built were better, had a larger capacity and of course were far less expensive than the ones that had been built by foreign companies during the reign of the evil Pahlavi regime. We ourselves built these dams.
We can do it. Why not? We can also build nuclear power plants. In fact, we have to. If we start now, we will be reaping the benefit a few years later, and if we start a few years later, we will have to wait a few years before we can reap the benefit. But unless we start now, we will fall behind. If we had not started uranium enrichment, we would anyway have had to start it ten or twenty years later. They complain that since we are obtaining our uranium requirements from Russia, it is a useless effort to enrich uranium ourselves. These are the statements that were also uttered by this honorable but ill-informed US president recently. He said that Russians are providing Iran with its uranium and therefore, it is unnecessary for us to do it ourselves. Here in Iran, some people, who are neither as honorable nor as ill-informed, regurgitate the same argument saying "you received the first shipment and then the second shipment. So why do you want to involve yourselves in the process of uranium enrichment?" This argument is analogous to telling a country that is rich in its underground resources not to dig oil wells and import its oil requirements. This means that a country that has oil resources must turn into an oil importer: how funny it is! If one day they refuse to sell this nuclear fuel or refuse to sell it at the agreed price or set strict conditions for it, the Iranian nation will be forced to give in.

Nuclear Energy: A Stable Prop to National Self-Confidence

If you pay attention, you will notice that these are the same plans that the enemy is following to engender despair. Now that such a great deed has been carried out - namely nuclear energy - and people are so happy about it, they turn around and say "why do you put the country through such needless conflicts? Is that just for as worthless a thing as nuclear energy?" Look, this is another instance of engendering despair. This is the same thing that you must be cautious about. This is one of the same tools that may potentially deal a blow to national self-confidence as it unfortunately happened in the past few years. That is to say, they took nuclear energy - which should have served as a stable prop to our national self-confidence - and turned it into a tool with which they tried to undermine our national self-confidence. They constantly pressurized us to shut down this and that company, but the last straw came when they asked us to shut down the U.C.F facility in Isfahan as well. They had prepared the ground with their previous requests. At that time, I told the officials that if we agreed to that request, they would later on ask us to wrap up and offer all uranium mines to them so that they were assured that we did not intend to make an atomic bomb!
Of course, this process of withdrawal brought us an advantage - it was not totally useless. The advantage was that both we ourselves and the global public opinion got a taste of the statements and promises of European and Western rivals. Today, whenever somebody asks us to temporarily suspend our nuclear activities, we tell them that we did it once - for two whole years! We suspended our activities for two years. And what was the result? First they asked us to suspend our activities temporarily. They told us to suspend our nuclear activities voluntarily. We suspended our activities thinking that it was voluntary and temporary. Later on whenever we tried to appeal against this suspension, they shamelessly set off a worldwide uproar against us in the press, the media and political assemblies claiming that Iran wanted to break the suspension agreement. Suspension turned into a sacred cow which Iran had no right to approach. We went through this experience. It is no longer a new experience. They finally told us that this temporary suspension was not enough and that we had to forget about nuclear activities altogether. Europeans who had told us to suspend our activities for six months - when they saw that we agreed to their request - said that we had to do away with nuclear energy altogether. This process of continual withdrawal brought us this advantage - it was a valuable experience for us and the world's public opinion. But it was anyhow a withdrawal. We withdrew.
At that time, in a televised meeting with the officials, I declared that if they kept up the process of their continual requests, I would personally intervene, which I finally did. I said that we had to put an end to this process of withdrawal and turn it into a process of progress and that the first step had to be taken by the administration that had made the withdrawal, which they finally did. The first step towards progress was taken by the previous administration: they decided to resume the activities at the U.C.F facility in Isfahan, which was thankfully followed by the subsequent advances, and the process continued up to the present time.
They take the source of national self-confidence and turn it into a source of despair by alarming people that the enemy may launch an attack and deal a blow. There are numerous instances of these issues. They try to attain their goals by tempting people. For example, one of our fundamental policies is to break off relations with the US, but we have never said that these relations will remain so for ever. There is no reason to permanently break off our relations with America or any other government.
The problem is that the conditions of this government are such that it is harmful for us to establish relations with it. Any relations with any country are formed on the basis of a calculation that predicts a benefit. When there is no benefit for us, we do not try to establish relations. But if there are any losses, we will certainly not pursue the establishment of relations.

 Resuming Relations with America Is Detrimental to Us

Political relations are detrimental to us. First of all, it does not diminish the possibility of an American military attack. The US attacked Iraq while it had diplomatic and political relations with it. Both governments had ambassadors in one another's countries. [Diplomatic] Relations do not protect a country against the expansionist and lunatic danger of any power. Second, the establishment of relations has always served as a tool for the US to infiltrate the groups who are liable to mercenary tendencies. The English also acted similarly. For many years, English embassies have been the centre of establishing relationships with stupid people of the nation: those who were prepared to betray their own country. Embassies are there to perform this function among many other functions.
In the course of the events that took place in China about 17 or 18 years ago and developed into an extraordinary conflict, the US embassy was the centre of directing the disturbances. They are faced with this vacuum in Iran. They need a base, but they lack it. That is what they want. They need to have their secret agents and the members of intelligence services circulate freely in the country so that they can establish their unlawful relations with those mercenary and stupid elements. But they lack this. Relations provide this for them. But there are some gentlemen who sit around and prattle on about the harm that the lack of relations may bring us. I would disagree: lack of these relations is beneficial to us. The day these relations are perceived to be beneficial, I will be the first person to encourage their establishment.
"Why do you provoke America's hostility?" they complain. Now, imagine that the president makes a strongly worded statement. Suddenly these "intellectual" gentlemen say that this comment was too strong. They reason that it is what provokes the Americans' hostility. I would disagree: America's hostility does not stem from such statements. This hostility has always been there. It has been there since the beginning of the Revolution - I will shortly elaborate on the issue of military threat. This treat has been there for at least the past 18 years - more precisely, since the end of the eight-year Iraqi imposed war up to the present time. The Iranian nation has constantly been threatened with a military attack. It is not something new. Show of power, and not show of weakness, is what you can use to diminish the risk of the enemy's attacks. Your show of weakness emboldens the enemy. The enemy's feeling that you are strong is what may prevent their tyranny. If they feel that you are weak, they will do whatever they want without having to face any difficulties.

 2) Unfair Criticism

Unfair criticism is one instance of the attempts to engender despair, and I think it is necessary - or I should say fair - to address it here. Now, take a look at the present situation: unfortunately, a number of people who are always dissatisfied have been finding fault with most of the decisions made by the incumbent administration. Whether the decision is about political, economical, cultural or international issues, they feel totally free and talk insultingly about the administration - of course, when the criticisms are to be leveled at me, they observe some limits. It is not ethically right to do these things.
Those who are doing these things may not be aware of the negative consequences. This is an instance of engendering despair, which is the opposite of building up self-confidence. This is an instance of promoting diffidence and passiveness. Most of the people who are striving in that direction do not, unfortunately, understand or pay attention to the consequences of their actions. These people are not malevolent. They are just unaware. They cannot properly assess the consequences. As soon as the administration makes economic decisions, they start protesting against them with an insulting tone. They make the same scathing reaction whenever the administration makes political and international decisions or it decides to go or not to go on a certain [provincial] trip. When we trust a driver and get onto the bus, we must not tell him to be careful at every turn on the road. He is the driver and he knows how to drive. This is while this administration has been truly active and it has displayed unique qualities in some areas. The fact that they go to all towns and cities is very important and interesting to me. The president, ministers and high ranking officials of the country go to different cities and towns, which is a very effective measure to take. Some people may object that they can do so by reading the reports. I disagree: reading reports is very different from taking a trip there. Perhaps I receive more reports than most of the officials, but when I go to a town or province and sit and discuss things with the residents or a group of the local youth, I come to realize that the reports are different from the reality I observe. What you hear [from local residents] and see for yourself is far more valuable than reading reports. That is what the administration is doing now. The officials are taking trips to all parts of the country. The opponents pick one of these trips and turn it into a weak point and start finding fault with it. "Why did you have 100 bills ratified, while not more than fifty of them are practicable?" OK, suppose that only fifty of these bills are put into practice. Is it not better than doing nothing? These criticisms are an instance of engendering despair. "Why did you make that trip? Why did you not make that trip?" These are unreasonable criticisms that help engender despair.
As I said, most of the people who do this are not aware of the negative consequences of their actions. After all, any administration has its own weak points, and I am not suggesting that this administration does not have a single chink in its armor. Like all other administrations, this administration, too, has its own shortcomings and mistakes. When we want to criticize, we must pay attention to the fact that we ourselves have made so many mistakes. These mistakes are innumerable. They did not happen just once or twice. Man is fallible, but he must try to make fewer or no mistakes. Those who observe the mistakes must compassionately point these mistakes out to them. However, it is not permissible to shout them from the rooftops and thus make people disappointed, dent their self-confidence and make them hopeless about the future.
I intend this to be addressed to everybody: the press, the media, the officials and all those who have the opportunity to stand at a podium and talk to people in the parliament, Friday prayers, universities or other places. This is something that has to do with the country's well-being. We must pay careful attention to the country's well-being. That is one of the ways in which we can prevent national self-confidence from being undermined.

3) Slander in the Press

The third method - this method has been pursued vehemently by the West during the past few years - is spreading slanders in the press. One may think that slandering is something that is limited to some specific places and groups of people. That is not the case; on the contrary, slandering through the use of media is a common phenomenon at an international level, especially with the abundance of the media facilities that are currently available.

 Examples of American Human Rights

One of these slanders is about the issue of human rights. The Guantanamo Bay detention camp, which leaves every honorable man blushing with embarrassment, belongs to those who currently claim to be promoting human rights. The fact that their president signed the torture warrant makes one blush. They are the people who burnt the incriminating documents of the Guantanamo interrogations at the order of their high-ranking statesmen. They are so careless about human rights, and they humiliate nations. If you go and interview the people of Iraq, the first thing that they are going to mention is that they are being humiliated and that they are not treated respectfully. Unemployment and hunger are not the first things they are going to mention. The Arab youth have a pride. Before the eyes of their wives, they go and put handcuffs on them and make them lie on the ground on their faces and stomp on them with their boots. They make them embarrassed.
They are, as you see, woefully ignorant of the meaning of human rights. In Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, they did those things to the prisoners, the memory of which makes one blush. I blush when I sometimes think about it. But at the same time, they moralize about human rights and accuse the Islamic Republic or any other governments that oppose them throughout the world of the violation of human rights. Well, is this not ridiculous? Now the same ridiculous thing that is done by the enemy outside the country is sometimes modeled by the people inside the country. They repeat the same thing.

Examples of American Type of Democracy

As for democracy, those who supported coups - you know as well as I do that there are some governments now that have come into power through a coup, but I do not want to mention any names - and who strongly supported the hereditary despotic governments could not or did not want to establish democracy whenever they entered a country with their military forces in the name of democracy. In Iraq, they first installed a military backed governor. But when they saw that things did not proceed well, they appointed a political governor. Later on they objected to the holding of elections, but the elections took place against their will. And currently they are constantly threatening the government, the parliament and the administration that have been elected by the Iraqi people. Now it is these Americans say that we do not have democracy! And I am really astonished to see that there are some people who repeat the same accusations. These are instances of engendering despair and use of slanders, which act against the national self-confidence of our nation.

Elections: True Manifestation of Democracy

On the whole, we have been holding an election each year. Is it not the case? Do our people not take part in the elections? Is there anything else that is being done by the countries that claim to adhere to [the principles of] democracy? People are so enthusiastically taking part in different elections in which various parties compete with one another. Those who are doing that are, you may argue, our enemies. All the same, it is surprising that there are some people inside the country who explicitly or implicitly say that there is no democracy in the country. For example, they say that we must try to establish democracy in the country. "Establish" something that is already there? These statements act against the self-confidence that our people need to have.

The West Must Be Held Accountable for the Violation of Women's Rights

As for the issue of women's rights, I have told you my dear sisters, my dear daughters, dear young female students many times before and I firmly repeat now that it is the West, not Islam or the Islamic Republic, that must answer for the violation of women's rights. Those who eliminated the boundary between sexes, those who promoted sexual freedom in their action, speech, advertisements and even their philosophy must be held accountable. The result was that - given the strong natural attraction that men have for women - women were downtrodden and their rights were violated. Women were used as a tool for publicizing and selling their products - just like an object. If you pay attention to Western magazines, you will see that they show a woman in the nude just to sell a particular product. Is it really possible to do something that is more insulting to a woman than this? They have to be held accountable.

Hijab Helps Protect Women's Honor

Hijab is an honor for the person who observes it. A woman's hijab is an honor for her. In the past, in most countries - I say most countries because I do not know about all counties - even in Europe until two or three hundred years ago, aristocratic women used to wear hijab (veil) on their faces. Perhaps you have noticed this in some historical movies. They used to wear a kind of hijab on their faces so as to stop others from seeing them. This is an honor for women. In ancient Persia, the wives of aristocrats and senior officials used to wear hijab. But the wives of ordinary people did not all wear hijab, and there was no obligation to do so. Then Islam stepped in and abolished all these discriminations and said that women must wear hijab. It meant that the right to wear hijab was for all women. That was an Islamic view [that brought about this change]. Now they accuse us of violating women's rights. They are the ones who have to be condemned. They are the ones who must justify why they have used women as an object of promiscuity. Yesterday, I was given the figures of domestic violence - these figures were reported a week earlier - which said that two-thirds of the women throughout the world are beaten up by their husbands! I believe this is pitiful. It moves one to tears. This violence occurs mostly in developed Western countries, and result from sexual harassment and sexual demand that men have of women. This slandering is about the issue of women. They talk about women's rights and complain that we have imposed hijab on women. They themselves have turned the lack of hijab into a law and imposed it on women. They prevent female students from entering the university just because they are wearing a head scarf. Still, they condemn us for having made hijab obligatory. Our laws are all attempts that we have made to preserve women's honor, but their laws are there to disrespect women. And there are some other slanders similar to this that the West is leveling against us.

Slanders Are Aimed at Self-Confidence

I am worried about the negative effects of these slanders and that is one of the reasons why I am talking about self-confidence. I am worried that these slanders may affect a small number of our "elites", that our nation is made to feel embarrassed before the Western slanderers, and that they are emboldened to attack us and dent our self-confidence. You must note that slandering is one of the three methods that they use to shake the self-confidence of nations.

The Possibility of Tough Measures

The possibility of being faced with tough measures is another issue, which is of course less likely now than in the past. Here too, I must say, we are being treated somewhat unfairly. They talk as if it were we who attracted the domineering US government's threats towards ourselves. That is not the case. As I said, since the victory of the Islamic Revolution not a day has gone by without being faced with the threats of a US military attack. This possibility is of course lower than before. When the previous administration took office, it initially said that the American artilleries were aiming at our country before and that these threats were withdrawn after it took office. So you say these threats were there only before you stepped in? [I disagree because] It was during the term of the previous administration that someone who is the personification of evil himself labeled the Iranian nation as "axis of evil". President Bush, whose whole being is infested with iniquity, described our nation as one of the three axes of evil countries. This happened when they [previous administration] treated Americans with kid gloves. At that time, some people inside the country occasionally said some things to please them. Of course you have to note that top government officials, our presidents and high-ranking officials at all times were all upright individuals who were interested in the foundations and fundamental principles of the government. They were revolutionary. This criticism is not leveled at these people. Rather, it is leveled at those who are around them. Hangers-on always do some things that their masters do not agree with. However, these are facts.
Of course, as a nation, as a country and as a government we must always be vigilant against military threats. We are threatened now by America as we were in the past by Russia or an evil neighbor like Saddam Hussein. We are and we must always be vigilant. Today, although everybody says that America has put aside the military option - which some people believe has never been an option - I believe that we must be vigilant and I act accordingly. Our officials and our nation must be cautious.
I will go over the main points now. National self-confidence is a constant necessity for our nation at all times, especially now. The reason is that the enemy has failed in a variety of his confrontations with our nation. They are now looking for new methods, new strategies and new machinations. "They deceived and Allah deceived them" [Quranic verse]. As Allah's servants, you must show your own vigilance when faced with their machinations.

The Necessity of Reflecting on the Issue of Self-Confidence

We must avoid anything that undermines this self-confidence - some instances of which I mentioned before. This is especially true of the elites. They must think, study and grow in their own right. They must highlight whatever that bolsters this self-confidence - elites could do so in student periodicals, professors in classrooms, and students in student gatherings or wherever they can prove to be effective.

Effective Students

One of these brothers said that although students have proved very effective they do not consult them about all issues. Well, how is it possible to consult thousands of students? Currently, there are some fifty or sixty thousand students in Yazd. Consulting should be done in an appropriate manner. Decisions are not made without any consultation. All I am trying to say is that the influence of university students is exercised less through discussing things with the authority than through channeling human resources. You can be influential in your own families. You can influence your brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. With your speech and behavior you can influence the people around you, your relatives, your friends and your peers. This is the best achievement and victory for students - that is, exerting influence where they can do so. Of course, the opportunities for this influence are sometimes greater. This is especially true because you are young and you should appreciate this youth. You should not take the youthful patience and vitality for granted. When I was your age - of course I should perhaps not talk too much about my own youth because you are far better than we were at that time, but there is no harm in knowing the point I am going to tell you - and I was young, the situation was such that we could not gather somewhere mostly for security reasons. We had to stand somewhere and discuss things and exchange views for three or four hours. The youth have energy, vitality and capabilities. They can exert their influence by relying on this very youthful energy. Thus, we must eliminate as many of factors that undermine self-confidence as possible and strengthen as far as we can the factors that bolster it.

O God, enlighten these dear youth and their pure hearts, which are capable of being close to You. Make them attain more nearness to You than ever before. Bless them.

O God, make the future of this country, which is going to be shaped by these youth, far better than it is and it was.

O God, place the souls of the great teachers of this school, especially our magnanimous Imam Khomeini and our dear martyrs, among the souls of saints.

O God, place the souls of the eminent martyrs of this city and province - the honorable martyr Ayatollah Sadooghi and other dear martyrs of this province - among the souls of saints.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings