Imam Khamenei

Ayn al-Asad was merely a slap, but the U.S. must leave the region

The following is the full text of a speech delivered on January 8, 2020, 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 Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Al-Mustafa Muhammad, and upon his pure, immaculate and chosen household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth

You are very welcome dear brothers, dear sisters, dear and glorious people of Qom. It is 40, 41 years now that we have been holding this ceremony in a magnificent way. The people throughout the country look to the people of Qom on the 19th of Dey and the occasion of that very important and determining event. First, I will raise a few points about the 19th of Dey and the Qom event and after that, I will speak about the dear martyr of these days, Shahid Soleimani.

As for the issue of the 19th of Dey, we should deliberate on it and we should learn a lesson. Most of you brothers and sisters who are present here were not born on that day. You did not see that day, but its memory is still vivid. Therefore, we should learn lessons from that living memory. The past should always serve as a guide and a beacon for the future. On the 19th of Dey, in order to defend the position of the great marja taqlid and the honorable and great leader of the Revolution – who was not in Iran at that time – the people of Qom showed resistance against the cruel armed forces of the taghuti regime. The people did not have anything. They were empty-handed. What made them pour onto the streets? Faith and religious zeal. Notice that these are two key words: faith and religious zeal.

When a number of the people of Qom poured onto the streets and confronted the police and the armed forces of the regime, some of them were martyred and some were wounded. The taghuti elements actually thought that they had completely subjugated them. On that day, neither the dissidents from Qom nor anyone else would ever have thought that the same movement would lead to a great transformation both in the country and in the world. But was this not the case? Allah the Exalted blessed the movement that had been launched by the people out of faith and religious zeal and therefore, the movement continued in succession. The arbaeens [40-day mourning ceremonies] that followed, pulled the people into the arena and our magnanimous Imam led the movement until it resulted in the great uprising of Bahman, 1357. In other words, the movement of a number of sincere people from Qom brought about that great Revolution.

Of course, there were many factors involved. The important point is that the starting point of the movement took place as a result of an uprising by the people out of faith and religious zeal. We should always bear this in mind. We can accomplish great tasks with faith and religious zeal, as was the case on the recent issue. A great feat was accomplished and a great incident took place. A revolution was carried out that shook the whole world and it brought about a great transformation. It changed the course of history – that of the country, of the region and perhaps of the world: in the future there will be better judgments in this regard. We should look at divine assistance like this. We should adopt such an outlook towards divine guidance and the divine hand of power in all stages of our lives.

On that day, the people were empty-handed, but today we are thankfully not empty-handed. On the contrary, we are well-equipped. Today, the Iranian nation is well-equipped in the face of global bullies. However, we are not merely relying on military instruments. Military instruments are valuable only when they rest on faith and religious zeal. Only in such conditions will military instruments be efficient and valuable. We should always remember this in the face of the vast front of the enemy. When Allah the Exalted says, “How often, by Allah’s will, has a small force vanquished a big one?” [The Holy Quran, 2: 249]- this is where it manifests itself. Sometimes, a small force can vanquish a vast and extensive front thanks to divine power provided that it is reliant on faith and religious zeal.

You should not allow this lesson to be forgotten, my dear ones. The officials in charge of promotional activities of the country, the grand ulama who live in Qom and other parts of the country, the youth active in cultural areas and the masses of the people should not allow this unprecedented lesson that occurred right in front of our eyes to be forgotten. It is a lesson that is marked by innocence based on faith and religious zeal. Allah the Exalted blesses such movements and He keeps creating these great incidents in quick succession.

Allah the Exalted has reiterated throughout the Quran that people should not forget what has happened to previous ummahs, “And that they should not become like those to whom was given Revelation aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard” [The Holy Quran, 57: 16].  One day, Bani Israel gained such spiritual power that they managed to overcome the Pharaoh despite the fact that their people, their women and their children were being tortured by him. They managed to resist until Allah the Exalted opened the path for them and helped them achieve that great success by drowning the Pharaoh and his troops.

However, after a short while, “long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard.” After the passage of some time, they changed, their hearts grew hard and they lost their reliance on God, their movement on the path of God and their patience and endurance. The result was that “They were covered with humiliation and misery, they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah” [The Holy Quran, 2: 61].  This is just one of the ayahs in this regard, but there are many others where Moses said to Bani Israel, “Oh my people! Did not your Lord make a beautiful promise to you? Did then the promise seem to you long in coming?” [The Holy Quran, 20: 86]. Until sometime ago, you were under the pressure of the Pharaoh. Did the incident occur a long time ago that you have forgotten it? You say, “Oh Moses, fashion for us a god like the gods they have” [The Holy Quran, 7: 138]. These are lessons. These are points that I have always repeated.

Today, pious, committed and enthusiastic youth are better than compared to the beginning of the Revolution in terms of quantity and quality. This is the case today. We are not dissatisfied, but you should take care to tread the right path. There is a great lesson presented to us by the Quran, the Holy Prophet and God: “Allah suffices for anyone who trusts Him” [The Holy Quran, 8: 49]. We should not forget this lesson and we should always keep it in mind.

Now, I wish to raise two, three points about our dear martyr – Hajj Qasem Soleimani. One point is about his character. Well, these days, many things have been said about that great personality, that good, dear, courageous and fortunate comrade of ours who went to heaven. And what they said about him and his personality traits are correct, but I too wish to raise certain points which I think are important:

Shahid Soleimani was both brave and insightful. His actions were not merely marked by courage. Some people have courage, but they do not have the necessary wisdom and acumen to utilize their courage. And some people enjoy wisdom, but they do not take action. They do not have the guts to take action. Our dear martyr both had the necessary guts and the necessary acumen. He would embrace danger and he had no fears. His courage showed itself not only in recent events but also during the Sacred Defense Era during which time, he was the commander of the Tharallah Army. Both he and his army showed exemplary courage. And he was a man of wisdom as well. He would think carefully and he had reasons for his actions.

This simultaneous courage and acumen manifested itself not only in the arena of the military, but also in the arena of politics. I said this many times to the friends active in the arena of politics as we were witness to his behavior and his actions. He was courageous and wise in the arena of politics as well. His words would exert tremendous influence and they were convincing. Above all, he was pure and sincere. He would expend his courage and acumen on the path of God and he was not a hypocrite and a pretentious man. Sincerity is very important. We should practice sincerity as well.

Another one of his qualities was that despite being a commander who had mastery over the military, he was very careful to observe shar’i principles. Sometimes, people forget about shar’i principles in the arena of war, saying that there is no time for that, but he was very careful in this regard. He would not use weapons if he did not deem it necessary. He would take care not to transgress against other people’s rights. He would exercise caution in areas that many people do not deem necessary, but he would try to be cautious. He would embrace danger, but at the same time, he would protect others’ lives as far as he could. He would watch over the lives of his comrades, his soldiers and his colleagues from among other nations who stood beside him.

An important point in this respect is that regarding the domestic issues of the country – well, most comments about him are about his regional battles and activities – he did not belong to any party and faction, but at the same time, he was a revolutionary in the complete sense of the word. The Revolution and being revolutionary were his definite red lines. Some people should not try to undermine this aspect of his personality. This is a reality about him. He was absorbed by the Revolution and being a revolutionary was his red line. Of course, he was not interested in aligning himself with different parties, different factions and the like, but he was completely committed to the idea of being a revolutionary. He was committed to the Revolution and to the auspicious and dazzling guidelines of our late Imam (may God bestow paradise on him).

One example of his insight and his courage was that – the enemies might know this well, but some friends might not know it – is that he managed to foil all illegitimate plots of the Americans in West Asia with the help of regional peoples – or it could be said with the support that he offered to them. That man managed to stand up to all the plots that had been hatched with money, with vast propaganda efforts made by the Americans, with the diplomatic capabilities of the Americans and with the bullying that they exert on politicians – particularly on some weak countries. He managed to foil all the schemes set up by them in West Asia.

Regarding Palestine, the Americans intended to consign the issue of Palestine to oblivion and to keep the Palestinians weak so that they would not dare speak of fighting, but that man empowered the Palestinians. He did something to make a small region like the Gaza strip – which is a small strip of land – stand up to the Zionist regime despite all their extravagant claims. He created such a disastrous situation for them that they asked for ceasefire after just 48 hours! This was done by Hajj Qasem Soleimani. He empowered the Palestinians. He helped them stand up and resist.

This is what our Palestinian brothers have said to me time and time again. Of course, I was already aware of his feats, but they testified to that. All Palestinian leaders acknowledged the same thing on their numerous trips to our country. That is while when we had meetings with such officials, who were in contact with him – these were ordinary official meetings – he would sit in a corner in order not to be seen by others. If we needed to know his opinion and if we needed his testimony, we had to look here and there to find him. He would not place himself within sight and he was not a man of pretention.

The US plans in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon were foiled thanks to the assistance and actions of that dear martyr. The Americans would like Iraq to be like the taghuti regime of Iran – the Pahlavi regime which existed in the past – or like today’s Saudi Arabia. They want it to be a region full of oil where they will be able to do whatever pleases them. As that person said, they want that country to be a “dairy cow”. They want Iraq to be like that. However, pious and brave personalities, youth and marja taqlids of Iraq stood up to the Americans and Hajj Qasem- may God bestow paradise on him- helped and supported that vast front in its entirety. He proved to be an active counsellor and supporter in that country.

The same thing can be seen in the case of Syria and Lebanon. As for Lebanon, the Americans are willing to deprive Lebanon of its most important element of independence – in other words, the Resistance Force and Hezbollah – so much so that Lebanon would be defenseless in the face of Israel and so that they would be able to advance as far as Beirut. As it happens, they did so years ago. However, Hezbollah became stronger on a daily basis. Today, Hezbollah serves as both the hands and the eyes of Lebanon. And our dear martyr played a brilliant and prominent role in this regard. He enjoyed acumen and courage. He was a brave mujahid and a diligent brother.

Nations are thankfully awake. Today, nations are awake, but the role of our dear martyr and his local comrades was exemplary. An example of his comrades is Shahid Abu Mahdi- may God bestow paradise on him. He was an enlightened, pious and brave man. When one looked at him, his face was an embodiment of this sentence: “My face is lit up with Your light” [al-Kafi, Vol.4, page 562]. Abu Mahdi was like that. He had a bright, spiritual and Godly face. Shahid Soleimani managed to accomplish these great feats with such pious, valorous and enlightened men. These points were about our martyr. Of course, one can say many more things about this dear martyr of ours, but this much is enough for the moment.

Another chapter about Shahid Soleimani is the blessings ensuing his great martyrdom. Whenever that dear martyr delivered a report – be that a verbal or a written report about the tasks that he had carried out – I would praise him both verbally and deep in my heart, but [today] I bow down in respect to what he started and brought about for the country and for the whole region [Audience weeps]. A great feat was accomplished. He caused a movement. His spirituality and his martyrdom made him so prominent and outstanding. See how the Iranians and the Iraqis bid farewell to him. Notice how the people in Kadhamayn, in Baghdad, in Najaf and in Karbala behaved in bidding farewell to that body torn to pieces. [Audience weeps]. I thank his pure soul from the bottom of my heart.

His martyrdom showed the whole world that the Revolution is alive in our country. Some people wanted to pretend that the Revolution is over and that it is dead – of course, some people are still trying to make this happen. However, his martyrdom showed that the Revolution is alive. You saw what happened in Tehran and in other cities. Of course, I am deeply sorry for and touched by the bitter incident that occurred in Kerman as a result of which, some of our dear compatriots from Kerman lost their lives and I wish to express my condolences to their families [Referring to the death of a number of people in Kerman during the burial ceremony of Shahid Qasem Soleimani].  I hope that the pure souls of the deceased will be raised with Shahid Soleimani.

With his martyrdom, Shahid Soleimani cleansed dust-covered eyes. The enemies felt humble in the face of the greatness of the Iranian nation. Of course, they may not show it, but they have no other option. The enemies who are trying to describe that grand mujahid and that Sardar and Commander of fighting against terrorism as a terrorist – in other words, the unfair and untruthful Americans who rave and rant all the time and whose words are actually worthless – had such intentions in mind, but the Iranian nation slapped them across the face!

An important and noteworthy point concerns our responsibility in the present time. After all, an important incident has occurred. Revenge and other such matters are a separate issue. Of course, they received a slap in the face last night, but this is different. Regarding confrontation, what is important is that the presence of the US in the region – which leads to corruption - will come to an end and such military moves do not suffice. They have started wars in this region. They have brought about discord, sedition and destruction. They have caused infrastructures to be destroyed.

Of course, they have had the same performance wherever they set foot in the world. For the moment, we have our own region in front of our eyes. And they insist on committing the same acts of corruption and destruction against dear Iran and the Islamic Republic. They continuously insist on this. The idea of negotiations, sitting behind a negotiation table, and similar moves are the start of interference and their presence. This should be stopped. This region does not accept the US presence in regional countries. Regional nations and popular governments in the region will undoubtedly not accept that either. This is an important issue for another place.

Our responsibility as the people and as the members of the Islamic Republic is first to know the enemy. We should know the enemy and we should not err in recognizing him. You should not say that all of you know who the enemy is. Yes, you know who he is. The enemy is comprised of arrogance, Zionism and the US. You know this, but there is a tremendous effort to make it look the other way and to change the people’s opinion with complex propaganda apparatuses. Everyone should be vigilant. It is very important to know the enemy. This is one issue and another is to know what his plan is, what he is doing and what he wants to do next. After that, we should know with what method we should confront the enemy’s plan.

Our people should know this because we are reliant on the people. The Islamic Republic is nothing and it is completely meaningless without the people’s demands and assistance and without their votes of confidence and their willpower. The people should know the enemy, know his methods and know how they should confront such methods. This is the duty of intellectuals. Today, we are fortunately not lacking in brave and insightful people in the country. We have insightful, brave, intelligent and well-informed individuals in military, scientific and political arenas. Therefore, we should listen to what they have to say. What they deem necessary to be done should be correctly implemented in the country and in society. We do not have a shortage of these individuals.

Fortunately, the graduates of Imam’s school increase on a daily basis. Once Imam said during the war that training youth and growing promising saplings is the master key of the Revolution. Imam said this once and what he said was completely correct as he was a man of wisdom. All victories and all these important tasks are small compared to the task of building outstanding individuals. Today, we fortunately have many of such individuals.

We should know the enemy. I would like to say this in a firm and definitive manner: the enemy is comprised of the US, the Zionist regime and the apparatus of arrogance. The apparatus of arrogance is not only comprised of the US and such governments, rather it is comprised of a collection of companies and global looters and oppressors who are opposed to every center which fights against oppression and looting. It is they who form the enemy. We do not consider as an enemy such and such a government inside or outside the region which might say something against us. We do not consider them as an enemy as long as they do not make a move in the service of the enemy and against the Islamic Republic. It is the former whom we consider as the enemy. Therefore, we should not make a mistake in identifying the enemy. If we know who the enemy is and how we should confront him, we will succeed. The enemy’s plan is to undermine the determination and willpower of our people in various areas. This is the enemy’s basic plan. He wants the people to have doubts regarding their faith and their firm determination. These are the two elements and key words which I previously discussed: faith and religious zeal.

Arousing doubts in the people’s faith and religious zeal is what the enemy is after. They know that should this happen, the offensive and even defensive power of the Islamic Republic will be influenced and eradicated. That is why they are hatching plots. Of course, this is not the only plot hatched by the US and other such powers, but it is the most important one. They hatch plots against the Islamic Republic in the arena of politics, the economy – you are witness to the sanctions – and security.

A few days before the incident of Aban – the incidents related to gasoline and other economic matters – an American agent as well as a few mercenary and treasonous Iranians gathered together in a small, really malicious and evil, European country to design schemes and plot against the Islamic Republic. And their plot was what we witnessed in the subsequent days on the issue of gasoline. In those days, the people were upset about the price of gasoline and some of them took to the street to protest. However, as soon as the people – part of the people, they were not very large in number – entered the arena, those deceived individuals and those agents and mercenaries embarked on implementing the plot of the enemy. In other words, their mission was to destroy governmental and public centers, to set buildings on fire, to kill people, to sabotage and to start a war. This was their plot beforehand. Of course, when I say, a few days before the incident, it was just an effort to update their plans-  they had already hatched the plot, they had already trained some agents and they had given money to those mercenaries. So, they do such things as well and they do them as much as they can.

On that day, I said in a meeting with the people [Supreme Leader’s meeting with a number of nurses] that American elements were rejoicing in Washington the day when that incident occurred in our country. They said to a politician [who was in Washington D.C. at that time] that Iran was done and over with, but it became clear after two days that they themselves were done and over with. They were very sad and upset and they were feeling really down. The enemy’s plan should be understood. And we should take our fundamental tenets into account in the face of this plan. The fundamental tenets are ideological principles – whether Islamic or revolutionary – and national unity. The unity which was fortunately witnessed under the pure coffin of Shahid Soleimani and his accompanying martyrs should be preserved. The people should adopt this orientation: the orientation of the Revolution, of commemorating revolutionary men and of respecting martyrs and whatever reminds one of revolutionary values.

All of us should know that the enmity of this front that I spoke about is not seasonal and temporary, rather this enmity is intrinsic and perpetual. They strike whenever they can. The cure for this is to strengthen ourselves in the area of the military, security, politics and the economy. We should strengthen ourselves in different areas so that the enemy fails to deliver his blows, otherwise his enmity is an intrinsic one. Some people think if we take a step back and show a bit of compromise, the Americans will stop showing enmity. This way of thinking is a big and grave mistake. Some people nurture the thought that we should not do something to enrage the US – some people say this: they write it in newspapers – this is the exact opposite of what the God of the World says, “And their similitude in the Gospel is: like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong. It then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, filling the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the unbelievers with rage at them”[The Holy Quran, 48: 29].

As it happens, the growth of pious personalities and strong saplings and religious youth is to fill “The unbelievers with rage at them”. The aim is to enrage the enemy. And that is why they are even angrier! They are angry at the youth active in the arena of science, of jihad, of public services and of the military. They are angry at them [Audience chants “Allahu Akbar!”]. I am very grateful, but this takbir shows that you are tired [Audience laughs and responds by chanting louder].

I hope that your voices will always be loud, that your tongues will always be eloquent and that your steps will always be firm on this path and may God show his mercy on our dear ones and the recent martyrs – Shahid Soleimani, Shahid Abu Mahdi and their dear comrades, whether the ones who were Iraqis or the ones who were Iranians. I hope that God will show His mercy on all those who help smooth the path of this nation.

The bill that our Majlis ratified yesterday was a very good bill [on the basis of which all commanders and officials and members of the Pentagon are designated as terrorists]. And the bill that the Iraqi parliament ratified the day before yesterday was very good as well. It concerned expelling American forces from Iraq. I hope that God will bestow His blessings on all of them so that they will be able to finish treading this path in a successful manner.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings



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