Imam Khamenei

Like the Titanic, the U.S. will sink!

The following is the full text of a speech delivered on February 18, 2020, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, during a meeting with the people of East Azerbaijan. The meeting was held at the Imam Khomeini Hussainiyah in commemoration of the anniversary of the Tabriz uprising of February 18, 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 and dear sisters. This annual meeting is one of the sweetest and most memorable meetings for me. And the trips and the meetings that I have had in the course of these years to Tabriz and Azerbaijan and with the people there have been one of the best, sweetest and most memorable trips and meetings for this humble person. I am happy to once more meet with a number of passionate, pious, revolutionary, sincere and courageous people from Azerbaijan and Tabriz in this Hussainiyah. You are very welcome.

We have had many discussions about the characteristics of Tabriz and the people from Tabriz and Azerbaijan and there is still room for further discussions. The more we think about historic events during and before the Revolution, the more we feel the significance and the influence of the people of Tabriz and Azerbaijan. If we wish to make a brief judgment about the people of that area, we should say that in Azerbaijan, religious, national and revolutionary passion radiates in the behavior, personality and identity of the people. They have defended the country, the Revolution, nationality and religious identity. The day when people with some hostile motives were promoting deviant and anti-religious thoughts in Azerbaijan, the saviors of the Constitutional revolution of those days relied on the fatwa of fuqaha. No one would have believed that Sattar Khan and Baqir Khan would take orders and accept edicts from marja taqlids, but this was what happened. They preserved and protected religious identity.

An important point that was also reflected in the statements of the honorable Friday prayer leader is that in Azerbaijan and Tabriz, events take place on time, without any delay. In other words, they take place when they are necessary to take place. I have cited this example many times: in a production line, when a certain merchandise moves past you, who are standing somewhere, you have to do something on it. If you delay it for five seconds, it will move past you and the action will be incomplete. You have to decide and act at a moment’s notice. And this is exactly how Azerbaijan has acted. It has made its decisions and implemented them in the moment. On the 29th of Bahman of 1356 – today is the anniversary of that great event – they acted in the same way. In other words, they made decisions and implemented them on time and God blessed their actions. Later on, I will briefly discuss how God blesses such actions.

And they had the same performance when faced with issues after the Revolution. We were aware of the developments. In the Revolutionary Council, everyone followed the updates on the issues of Tabriz and Imam was aware of them as well. Some people were terrified, but Imam mentioned that no one should be terrified as the people of Tabriz themselves would take care of the fitna and that there was no need for others. And this is exactly what happened. They organized anti-revolutionary elements from different corners of the country in Tabriz in the first months after the Revolution so that they could create an uproar and a sedition, but those who took care of it were the people and the youth of Tabriz who took to the middle of the arena.

The same is true of the Sacred Defense Era. After the Sacred Defense Era as well, Tabriz has always played a pioneering role- in the fitna of the year 1388 and in subsequent events. It has always played a leading role. Despite the fact that Shahid Soleimani’s body was not brought to Tabriz, the farewell that they bid to him and the great social movement that they launched – I watched it on TV – really brought tears to one’s eyes. These are very important and significant gestures.

And the next gesture was the 22nd of Bahman rally which they participated in despite that freezing snow and that cold weather. These are things that one’s eyes see clearly. The eyes of friends see them and they become hopeful and the eyes of the enemies see them and they realize who they are dealing with. The enemy sees these things as well. The enemy is not sleeping and he is not blind either. He sees what is happening in Iran. So these moves exert influence. I will, later on, expand on this matter.

Timely presence at the scene is such presence to which Allah the Exalted grants His special grace. When you do something while there is great need for it, its blessings will multiply. As for the 29th of Bahman of 1356, I believe that if the people of Tabriz had not held a 40-day commemoration ceremony for the 19th of Dey, the 19th of Dey event would most probably have been consigned to oblivion. It would have been forgotten amid the various waves of propaganda in those days. However, Allah the Exalted blessed the moved and as a result, the people stood firm, resisted and showed courage by holding a 40-day commemoration ceremony for the martyrs of the 19th of Dey. Because it was carried out on time and in a proper and appropriate way, Allah the Exalted blessed it.

What was the blessing? The blessing was that following the movement, the public movement of the Iranian nation was inaugurated. After Tabriz, several other cities held a 40-day commemoration for Tabriz and then, it was not all about one single city. In other words, the people learned how they should proceed. It was the people of Tabriz who opened the path. This is how God blesses movements. And the public movement of the Iranian nation led to an event that is unprecedented throughout the history of our country: uprooting the taghuti regime and the establishment of an Islamic government. This is how divine blessings work.

I am very hopeful about Azerbaijan and Tabriz. I am very hopeful about the youth. Most of you who are present here are young. You do not remember that day. You did not see that day, Imam and the Sacred Defense Era, but you do not have smaller – if not bigger – capacities than the dear ones who engaged in jihad during the Sacred Defense Era. This is my belief.

Today, the youth of Azerbaijan are standing in the arena of the Revolution in a manly manner. They are ready to sacrifice themselves in the arena of soft war, on ideological and other intellectual matters and in the area of confronting the enemy’s hostile propaganda. And if it happens that another incident takes place and that other form of presence is needed, I see that youth are still prepared. Azerbaijan is really and truly ready to play its part on economic, political, scientific and various other matters and by Allah’s favor and grace, it will play its determining role.

Today, I want to speak a little bit about the elections. This statement is addressed to you dear ones who are present here and also to those who will hear it from other media. The issue of elections is very important. I will tell you that elections are a public jihad and they are a source of strength for the country. They are also a source of reputation for the Islamic government. You have witnessed how the Americans wants to pit people against the Islamic Republic with their propaganda. They are working really hard. They are always busy working. As they themselves put it, they have formed think tanks – they refer to their planning committees as “think tanks” – and they sit and think and make plans. There are tens and hundreds of individuals who are working, in different divisions, on Iran and on public opinion in Iran and they do several activities. The purpose of their activities is to separate Iranian youth from the Islamic government, but they will not achieve any result.

You can see what happens on the 22nd of Bahman rallies and what happened in the commemoration ceremony of our dear martyr, Shahid Soleimani. The same thing should happen in elections. We should do something to make the enemies see that despite their insistence on separating the people from the Islamic government, the people give a warm reception to elections, which are a source of reputation for the Islamic government.

And our friends and enemies have pinned their hopes on these elections. You should pay attention to this point. The enemies want to see how the people have been affected after they made so many propaganda efforts, after they created so many economic problems, after the westerners and Europeans went back on their promises and after the pressures that the Americans exerted – which they refer to as “maximum pressure”. The enemy is looking at this and wants to figure this out. And our friends all over the world too are looking at these elections anxiously to see what will happen. Of course, whenever I send a message to our friends, I always say to them that they should not be worried at all and that they should not be worried about the people of Iran because Iranian people know what they are doing, they know what they should do and they are doing it.

The elections will foil many of the sinister intentions that the Americans and the Zionists are nurturing in their minds against the country. The elections will foil those sinister intentions. The upcoming elections are a counter tactic to the tricks played by the enemies of Iran. They are an example of the timely presence that I spoke about. As I mentioned, God blesses timely presence, just like presence on the 29th of Bahman of 1356 which was blessed by God. The same is true here: presence in ballot boxes will be a source of blessing, God willing. If we do a good job, it might even transform things. The effect that it produces is like a transformation in the country.

I have said many times that Iran should become strong because if it becomes strong, the enemy will be disappointed and the enemy’s plots will be nipped in the bud and they will be frustrated. This is the result of becoming strong. One of the manifestations of strength is that we should have a strong Majlis, one that can immunize the country against the plots of the enemy by passing essential laws and guiding administrations towards the ideal. This is how a strong Majlis will work. Well, the greater the participation of the people in ballot boxes, the greater the Majlis will be.

Of course, this is one of the elements for the strength of the Majlis. There is another element which I will shortly speak about. Another element of strength for the Majlis is the participation of the people as much as possible. A Majlis that is formed with the votes of the overwhelming majority of the people will be a strong and reputable Majlis. The influence exerted by the elections is not particular to the four-year term of the upcoming Majlis, rather it will exert long-term impacts. This is because the members of parliaments that you send to the Majlis might make decisions and pass laws whose effects will last for many years. Therefore, the impact that a Majlis exerts – whether a strong or a weak Majlis – will be long-term. If God forbid, it proves to be a weak Majlis with lack of confidence in the face of the enemy, it will exert negative impact for a long period of time.

In my opinion, considering all aspects of the issue, presence and participation in elections in the present time is a shar’i responsibility, not merely a national and revolutionary responsibility. It is a shar’i responsibility as well as being a national celebration and a civil right. The people have the right to participate in the fate of the country. Participation in elections is a means to assert their rights. Therefore, elections aree specially important in terms of a shar’i and national duty and in terms of asserting one’s rights. This is one part of the issue.

Another part of the issue is how we should elect, about how and whom we should elect. This is very important. Of course, I have reflected on this matter in my previous statements, but I wish to stress them again: they should be religious, courageous, competent, pious, brave, dutiful, motivated and loyal to the people and the Revolution. My dear ones, one day we used to have certain MPs in the Islamic Consultative Majlis – in our Majlis – who have today turned into the servants and minions of the US and the enemies of Iran. They are the enemies of the Islamic Republic now, but they used to be MPs here one day! Therefore, we should be very careful.

They should be loyal to Islam, to the people, to the Revolution, to the country and resistant against the enemy. They should not feel weak and show weakness in the face of the enemy. They should not have greed for the trifles of the world and they should be self-sufficient on such matters. Some people might enter the arena of membership in the Majlis with the purpose of gaining wealth and money. Such people do not deserve to represent the Iranian nation. It should not be the case that some people pursue membership in order to gain power in some places – replacing this with that – so that they can use it as an instrument to gain financial resources.

There should be a good combination in the Majlis between youth and experienced individuals. I have always stressed the importance of youth, but this does not mean that we should ignore experienced, wise and veteran individuals. Youth are in fact the main players, the pioneers and the leaders. Therefore, their presence is needed in executive, legislative and other organizations. The issue of entrusting tasks to the youth, that I have previously spoken about, is a definite need of the country, but it does not mean that experienced, veteran, qualified and proficient personalities should be pushed out of the circle. No, the combination of the two will be an ideal combination.

Having a history of dependence and passivity in the face of the enemy should be considered a weak point and condemned as well. Those who have this history of being passive in the face of the enemy, who do not have the power to resist him and who have no self-confidence are really not eligible to represent the Iranian nation. This nation has self-confidence. Our people have self-confidence and anyone who looks at our country gets the same feeling.

Notice that today, many intellectuals, politicians and writers in the world have the same judgment about the Iranian nation. I do not know if the news in this regard reaches the ears of our dear people or not. They say that the Iranian nation is a brave, great and powerful nation that cannot be intimidated and coerced into doing anything. This is being acknowledged by everyone. They are people who think and write on Iran. Of course, it is evident that a member of the CIA does not acknowledge this. Well, it is clear why. Those who are affiliated with such and such a hostile government do not say so, but liberated personalities do. Such statements are abundant in foreign press and journals and we receive the reports in that respect.

I have already discussed the significance of the parliamentary elections. They are very important, but the upcoming Assembly of Experts elections, which are to be held in some cities, are very important as well and they should not be overshadowed by the parliamentary elections. The task that falls on the nation’s experts is a very important task.

Therefore, there are two fundamental elements regarding the elections: one is the essence of elections and the public participation of the people in them, which I have already explained. Everyone who loves Islam, the Revolution, the Islamic government and Iran should participate in the elections. However, they should not be influenced by various campaigns. Everyone who has these characteristics should make a good choice. Recently, I received a report – which was most probably a valid and reliable one – showing that one of the hostile countries in the region, whose name I do not want to mention, financed an English media organization so that it would say something in its Farsi channel to make the people drift away from revolutionary individuals. They spend money – petrodollars – in order to cajole the people into adopting a different orientation. This is the second element. The first is the essence of elections and the second is the quality of one’s election. These were the points that I wanted to raise about the elections.

The elections will be held in a few days and they are a divine blessing and test. It is an arena for showing one’s presence and I hope that by Allah’s favor, all the dear people of our country and the dear people of Azerbaijan and Tabriz will emerge victorious out of this test.

Now, I wish to say something about the recent rants made by the Americans. This is because lately, these first-rate idiots have formed rows, each of whom rants and raves about the Iranian nation, the Islamic Republic and the elections. Some of the things that they say are for the sake of influencing the elections. They wish to exert their influence on the elections in whichever way they can. They want to disappoint the people about participating in ballot boxes. Part of this stems from being in a weak position. After the martyrdom of our dear martyr and the crimes that they committed at Baghdad Airport, the Americans became passive. The US president himself and his companions became passive in the true sense of the word, realizing that they had not made a calculated move. They were lambasted by the whole world and inside the US as well, being blamed for what they did, and they noticed that it has had the opposite effect.

The Americans wanted to assassinate our dear martyr who had deep influence on the region, in order to achieve domination, but it backfired. The great demonstrations held by the Iraqis in Baghdad, the people’s movement in Syria, the developments related to Halab [Aleppo] and other such events in the region are the exact opposite of what the Americans were after. The Americans are passive. Their recent histrionics partly result from this passivity which they somehow wish to make up for. They make these statements with this purpose.

Of course, the martyrdom of Shahid Soleimani brought about a bitter loss for us. That martyr was very good and really dear and valuable. He would make you heap praise on him. This is correct in its own right and it was a bitter loss for us, but when we look at the incident, we see that it is like all other divine incidents where the Grace of Allah the Exalted prevails over force.

As for our martyr himself, Allah the Exalted says in the Quran, quoting Muslims, “Can you expect for us any fate other than one of two glorious things?” [The Holy Quran, 9: 52]. They said that they had one of the two “husnas” which means the best. We have one of the two best things. What are they? One is victory and another is martyrdom. Shahid Soleimani achieved both. He both achieved victory – it is many years now that Shahid Soleimani has been the victor in the region and the loser has been the US and its agents: this is the case in the entire region.  And [he achieved] martyrdom. In other words, Allah the Exalted granted both of the “husnas” to him.

However, following the incident, the Iranian nation showed its greatness, its unity, its motivation and its presence. What happened in Tehran, Tabriz, Mashhad, Ahwaz, Kerman and Qom was a very great event! The events in which tens of millions of people participate in the burial ceremony of a martyr in different cities are very rare. That event showed the greatness, the gratefulness and the insight of the Iranian nation. This is another side of the matter which was a divine blessing. It made many nations stand beside the Iranian nation in sympathy. Nations sympathized with the Iranian nation. In a foreign country – I do not want to say which country for a certain reason: if I did, then everyone would confirm that these statistics are correct – one thousand ceremonies were held in remembrance of Soleimani: one thousand ceremonies! Countries showed such sympathy.

Even in some European countries and in distant African countries, the people showed their sympathy. We have heard the news little by little and we continue to hear it. The news that we receive from here and there shows that the event made nations sympathize with us. It made their hearts closer to ours. This is a very great blessing. This is the strategic depth of the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic government. So, we won on this matter, on a matter which is seemingly very bitter – well, they took our dear martyr away from us and therefore, it is achingly bitter – but Allah the Exalted turned it into a complete victory in reality.

When the late Hajj Aqa Mustafa, the eldest and the knowledgeable son of Imam, passed away in Najaf – well, there was suspicion that he had been poisoned and the like – Imam said in his first speech that his demise was one of the “hidden blessings” of God, yet no one understood what exactly that meant. How could someone lose his eldest and his knowledgeable son – the late Hajj Aqa Mustafa was a prominent and promising talent and if he had survived, he would definitely have become a marja taqlid today – and then say that it was a hidden blessing of God?

Later on, when the people of Iran conducted fatiha for him, provoking the reaction of the court, and when the events in Qom and Tabriz and the subsequent events that took place, then the people understood what that hidden blessing was. The hidden blessing of God which began with a bitter event led to the formation of the Islamic Republic and the overthrow of the taghuti government. It is the same in the recent event. The recent event was bitter as well, but it led to the victory of the camp of the truth and the loss of the malicious enemy. He thought he did something special, but he suffered a loss in the end.

What I want to say is that the losses that the US has suffered are not particular to the recent event. The US has been receiving blows from and suffering defeat at the hands of the Iranian nation in a 40-year battle. And the reason behind the defeat of the US at the hands of the Iranian nation during the past 40 years is that they have used all the weapons that they could against Iran including political, military, security, economic and cultural weapons including media and various propaganda tools. They have done whatever they could. To do what? To overthrow the Islamic Republic which is what they have been trying to do in the past 40 years – from the first day until today. However, not only has the Islamic government not been toppled in the course of the past 40 years, but it has also become stronger. This is what the defeat of the enemy means. It is 40 years now that the people of Iran have been defeating America. We have become stronger while America has become weaker.

Dear brothers, dear sisters, dear youth, I want you to pay attention to this point: today, the US wants to show that it is standing on its feet by brightening up its face, but this is not the truth of the matter. Today, the US is one of the most heavily indebted governments in the world: its debt to different countries amounts to 22 trillion dollars! Today, class inequalities in the US are more visible than ever. This is not my claim, rather this is something acknowledged by one of the political personalities in the US who is a member of the ruling body in that country. He was a congressman and he is a senator. This is what he has claimed. I know his name, but I do not wish to mention the name of individuals. He says that in the Trump administration, who has been holding office in the past three years, more than 100 billion dollars have been added to the wealth of the five richest individuals in the US. The wealth of three of these five individuals is equal to that of half the people of the US! Notice how big the gap is- it means that the wealth of three individuals equals that of 160 million people! This is one side of the matter.

Another side of the matter is that the salaries that 80 percent of workers receive do not suffice to earn a living. Notice the big gap between the social classes. It is terrifying. The same person says – these are their own figures and the speaker is not a simple journalist, rather the person is an outstanding and well-known politician – that only one out of five Americans can afford their medication if they consult a doctor. If the other four visit a doctor, they do not have the money to afford their medication. The income gap between whites and blacks has tripled in the last 50 years. The current US president claims that he has improved the economic conditions. Yes, they say that the economy has improved, but for billionaires, not for the people of America. Such is the social condition in the US.

A former US president said that the US is an oligarchy, which means the rule of a privileged group of people without the public playing a role and with unlimited political bribery rampant. And there are various signs of poverty in the US and there are many homeless individuals who sleep on the streets. The figures in this regard are there, but it is not necessary to discuss them. Of course, one cannot be confident about their details either, but it is clear how it is. There are ten million poor individuals who do not earn enough to fill their stomach at night and there are many others who have to sleep on the streets at night. When it gets a little cold, you hear in the news that such and such a number of people die in the US. Well, why should they die? When the temperature drops to, for example, five degrees below zero, people do not normally die, but because such people sleep on the streets and because they are homeless, they die!

And when it gets hot – 40, 42 degrees – some people lose their lives as well because they live on the streets and are homeless. There are also figures related to crimes, corruption and decadence. There are weird phenomena which are common in that country in the area of social matters and one can understand that such phenomena are destroying that country like leprosy and they are eating away at it like termites. The Americans spice things up and keep up appearances in order to deceive some and intimidate some others in the world. However, their grandeur is shallow. I have written this down in my notes: as the grandeur and the glory of the well-known ship, the “Titanic”, did not prevent it from being sunk, the grandeur and glory of the US will not prevent it from being sunk either. America will sink!

What we are opposed to is the rule of oppression, transgression and arrogance. When we speak about the US, we mean these things. Of course, the US is not the only government which represents these vices, but it is the epitome of transgression, arrogance and taghut, which is, in fact, being managed by the Zionists – not the Zionist government, rather Zionist tycoons and company owners. Every other country which behaves in the same way is in this category. We are not opposed to any people as a nation. We are not opposed to any race and any nation. We are only opposed to arrogance, to oppression and to transgression against human and divine values. Today, the US is the manifestation of these qualities: it is the manifestation of oppression and arrogance and that is why it is hated in the world.

It tends to show off its worldly power to this and that. In the present time, it has tens of military bases in our neighboring countries, but they are of no avail to it. Those military bases are of no use either to them or to those poor creatures who fund them and who have pinned their hopes on them. If one day something happens, they will not serve their needs. That country – arrogance – is collapsing in spiritual and psychological terms and in terms of its intrinsic make-up.

What is important to us is to preserve ourselves on the divine straight path and to prevent our movement from slowing down. This is the important thing. The movement of the Islamic government and Islamic society towards lofty Islamic goals should not lose its momentum. In the present time, there is movement. This does not mean that there are no shortcomings, no negligence and no mismanagement. No, these things exist. If not, our movement would have been better and we would have progressed and advanced more and we would have untied knots more easily. However, despite these shortcomings, our movement is there.

What gives me hope is the existence of you youth. Youth should prepare themselves in scientific, pragmatic and practical areas and in terms of faith. The future of the country will be in your hands. By Allah’s favor, you should be able to help this country reach the peaks and you will certainly do so, God willing. I hope that the prayers of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) will protect you, God willing.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings




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