Leader's Speech to Armed units in Shiraz

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on May 1, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution to armed units in Shiraz, Fars province.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Today's meeting with you esteemed commanders and dear youth, serving in the Army, in the Islamic Republic's Guards Corps, in Basij, and the police force takes me back to the Sacred Defense Era. The memories of the armed units of the Army and the Guards Corps of Fars province and Shiraz during the tough Sacred Defense Era are not something that one can ever forget.

In the first year of the imposed war - which was a hard time for the Armed Forces - the news was spread in Ahvaz that the 37th Armored Brigade and 55th Airborne Brigade were going to be sent onto the battlefields, which cheered up the defense officials there. On a trip to Khorramshahr in those days of hardship, I saw some brave youth who were ready to selflessly lay down their lives. I asked them, "Where are you from?" They said that they were from Shiraz. Later on the gradual establishment of Fajr and al-Mahdi divisions in Shiraz and Fars province proved to be one of our strengths on the battlefield those days. Each and every one of the backup units, training units, infantry centers, armored centers, electronics industries, and the backup services of Ministry of Defense left a memory of themselves during and after the eventful era of Sacred Defense.

For me, meeting you dear youth on this parade ground - on which you are ready to proclaim that you will bravely follow in the footsteps of the pioneers of this path - is reminiscent of the past.

You dear youth must in the first place note that according to Imam Sajjad (a.s.), armed forces are like a stronghold for national security. The nation will have the feeling of peace and security if you powerfully maintain your grandeur through equipping yourselves with weapons and boosting your spirit. Even in advanced communities, life is no pleasure in the absence of security. Security brings about mental peace. If the Armed Forces bravely, selflessly, and shrewdly identify and fulfill their roles at the right time, they will be able to provide security. The mere existence of armed forces and seeking to strengthen them do not necessarily imply belligerence in any country.

With the power of the Iranian nation in international arenas, we have proved that the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic of Iran will not pose any threat to the neighboring and non-neighboring countries. We were attacked, and we powerfully defended our country. However, the thought of invasion and occupation of other countries never crossed the minds of the Iranian people and their officials.

All the same, the Armed Forces must be powerful. The world in which we live is a belligerent world. The world is doomed to suffer from domineering policies. The motives of the global domineering powers are a warning to all nations to strengthen their internal structure and make the necessary preparations in this regard. When the superpowers can and dare attack other nations, even small excuses are used to justify their full-scale invasion.

Today, the case of Iraq and Afghanistan lies before our eyes. On what grounds did they enter Iraqi territory? On what grounds did they cross Afghan borders? They promised to bring security and freedom to the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people have lived the most insecure period of their lives during the last 5 years. This is indicative of the nature of the superpowers.

The situation in Afghanistan is almost the same. When arrogant powers think they can take steps towards the invasion of other countries, they will not hesitate to do so. Of course, the Iranian nation is familiar with the nature of the superpowers. The Islamic Republic, the Iranian nation, and the Armed Forces have proved their abilities to the superpowers and the invaders during the last thirty years.

They have proved that the great, intelligent, ancient Iranian nation is not an easy game for any superpowers. All people throughout the world have come to realize this fact nowadays. There is no army in the world today that can do to the Iranian nation what they have done to the Iraqi people in the last five year. The Iranian nation is powerful.

You official Armed Forces enjoy a great support called the Iranian nation. Millions of youth, iron wills, and warm and faithful hearts from various social classes - nomads, city dwellers, villagers, people living in various parts of the country, and people working in various professions - all share the same characteristics: they all have an iron will. This is the greatest support that a nation can ever enjoy. You must be ready and powerful.

We will take no heed of the hostile language and the threats of mouthpieces of the arrogant powers. The Iranian nation will not be concerned by these words, because they are simply the enemies' psychological warfare. The Iranian nation knows well that the enemies of this nation are not daring and intrepid enough to enter a battle which would be impossible for them to get out of. We are well aware of this fact, but you should remain vigilant and powerful.

Armed Forces - the Army, the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps, Basij, and the police - must become stronger on a daily basis. That is the essence of innovation. Innovation is not just limited to manufacturing weapons. Although innovation in manufacturing armament and in new methods of preparing weapons is one of the most important instances of innovation, we are in need of innovation in training, organization, backup, and military guidelines. You must take long, steady strides and move powerfully towards pre-specified goals. You must increase your strength. You must make this stronghold and this fort more secure for the Iranian nation.

The world of global politics is filled with impiety. This has caused the global arrogant powers to betray even their own friends. You definitely witnessed what they did to the doomed Saddam Hussein. They only strengthened his forces for as long as they felt the need for his existence. The Americans backed Saddam Hussein during the Iraqi imposed war as much as they could. They provided him with aerial maps, intelligence and weapons. They even helped boost their psychological state and got their allies to support the Iraqi regime financially. They supported Saddam Hussein on all sides because they felt the need for his presence. They were hopeful that he could undermine the powerful and proud nature of the Iranian nation in the world.

The Iranian nation managed to recognize the nature of the superpowers, and it is still familiar with the nature of those powers. The strong stance of the Islamic Republic against the criminal US regime is rooted in such in-depth knowledge of their nature.

I wonder if there is a person who does not know that the presidential terms of the current US president have been the most insecure period in the recent history of mankind. The presidential terms of George Bush are the dark period in which the world became an insecure place and in which terrorism engulfed the whole world. This dark stain will be registered in history next to his name. Of course, he is going to leave in a matter of months and will leave the problems to the next president. But this is a case that will always remain open, and it will never be closed.

Our youth must learn lessons from these things. You must know who you are and recognize the greatness of the thought that established this Revolution and this sacred government. "Neither the East, nor the West" is a slogan that rejects all arrogance and all arrogant powers. It is the independence slogan of the Iranian nation, a slogan that shows our trust in the faithful youth who live in various parts of this country. This slogan is alive and immortal. The slogan poured forth from the heart that was in contact with the invisible world, God, and servitude to God. It was taught to the Iranian nation by that great wise old man, the brave scholar [Imam Khomeini].

My dear youth, the Armed Forces belong to you. The whole country belongs to you. You should equip yourselves with knowledge, practicality, piety, faithfulness, and purity to the extent you could. Remember that God is with you, and God willing the prayers of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) will protect you.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings