meeting with student

Only those who believe in the people and youth and who pursue justice should hold executive power

The following is the full text of a speech delivered via videoconferencing on May 11, 2021 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, with the participation of a number of student groups and academic personalities. Before Imam Khamenei began his statements, a number of students delivered speeches and expressed their viewpoints about the current affairs of the country.


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 Muhammad, and upon his pure household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth

I am really happy and pleased that I have thankfully had another opportunity to hold this meeting with you dear students. Although I wish I could see, speak and listen to you up close in a direct meeting, this is how things are and I have no complaints. These circumstances will undoubtedly change one day. I hope that God will bestow on us the blessing to carry out our duties under all circumstances.


The level of the meeting has improved


Today’s meeting was very good. Of course, I do not wish to sit in judgement over many of the issues raised here, but the level of today’s meeting was higher than the level of previous meetings. Very good points were raised. In my opinion, the very essence of student viewpoints and the solutions put forward by them – of course, in today’s statements, not many solutions were presented, most were general statements which were beneficial of course – as well as the criticisms in the minds of students about the current circumstances is very valuable for public opinion as it could improve society’s mindset. I hope that Allah the Exalted will bless you and this meeting and that He will help us succeed in doing what pleases Him.


Ramadhani outlook should influence our social and public behavior

Well, we have reached the final days of Ramadhan. For this reason, I would like to mention that the month of Ramadhan is the month of divine banquet, mercy and guidance. With our actions in the month of Ramadhan, we should feel the effects of this divine mercy in ourselves. Moreover, we should preserve these effects and feelings in other months and in the remainder of your blessed lives, God willing.

This Ramadhani conduct and the delicate feelings – as a result of attention to God – that fasters and guests of God get in the month of Ramadhan should influence our personal, public and social behavior. It should also influence our scientific, academic, governmental and political behavior because piety and spirituality should show themselves in all these important arenas. As I mentioned earlier, this mental state and this gate of mercy should remain open until after the month of Ramadhan.

In Sahifa Sajjadiyyah, there is a prayer that Imam Sajjad (greetings be upon him) used to read on the first day of the month of Ramadhan – it is recommended that everyone read it. At the end of the prayer, Hazrat Sajjad says, “Dear God, make us be like that in other months and days as well, until the very end of our lives” [Sahifa Sajjadiyyah, Dua 44]. It means, let us have this feeling in other months as well. And then it says, “And make us be among your righteous servants.”


The massacre of students in Afghanistan and of Palestinians in Quds

For today, I have prepared a discussion which I will try to mention briefly. Fortunately, it corresponds with some of the things mentioned by the dear friends at the meeting. The discussion is about the issue of seeking and desiring transformation. I will raise certain points in this regard, but before entering into the discussion, I feel it is my duty to express my sorrow over the two incidents of bloodshed in the world of Islam.

One is the bitter, heart-wrenching tragedy in Afghanistan and the martyrdom of innocent, young schoolgirls who were attacked without having been guilty of any crime. May God's curse be on those who spread crimes to such an extent that they allow for the slaying of a large number of innocent, teenaged girls.

In the recent events of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Palestine and Holy Quds, the Zionists' malicious behavior is being seen by the eyes of the people of the world. It is truly everyone's duty to take a stance and condemn this malicious, criminal, barbaric behavior of the Zionists in recent days. Fortunately, the Palestinians are awake and firm. They must continue on this path. One can only talk with the language of strength with these criminals. They must increase their strength, stand strong and confront them. They must force them to stop their crimes and to surrender to truth and justice.


As I mentioned, there is an issue which I want to discuss with youth in general and with students. And there are some points that I want to address to student groups later on.


The need for transformation

What I want to discuss with youth, in particular young students, is about seeking and bringing about transformation. First of all, we should say what we mean by transformation and what transformation means. Secondly, we should explain why we need to bring it about. Thirdly, we should specify the logic behind and the discourse around it, explaining the goal of the transformation and the direction toward which it should move us. I will raise a few points in this regard. Fortunately, your minds are prepared for such a discussion because I noticed these points in the statements of many of you. This is a source of satisfaction and pleasure.


The meaning of transformation

As for what we mean by transformation, transformation is the creation of an exponential and jihadi movement in all administrative and governmental areas of the country and also in some areas of public lifestyle – later, I will explain this more. To put it briefly, it is the preservation and reinforcement of the principles and main guidelines of the Revolution and an innovation in methods and performances.


What the westernized mean by transformation: Changing the essence of the Revolution

Of course, transformation is a general term. When many people in the world want to speak about us, they bring up the issue of transformation as well. Inside the country too, those who have a tendency towards western concepts and methods speak of transformation, but the kind of transformation which they seek is directed at the essence of the Revolution. This means, in a sense, retrogression. Their transformation is actually a retrogression: a return to a previous state. They want to reject revolutionary concepts. In their statements on transformation, they encourage and call on the country and the Revolution to ‘normalize’ itself – in other words, to become closer to international norms – and they consider this as the benchmark for transformation.

Our purpose of carrying out a transformation is to strengthen the Revolution, but their purpose of transformation is to exert a change so as to reject the Revolution and its principles, to make the country close to the norms established by the system of domination. Therefore, the word transformation is not enough. In our statements and according to our logic, transformation means moving towards the solidification of revolutionary principles, tenets and main guidelines, but with new methods and new ways.


The need for bringing about transformation

Regarding the need for bringing about transformation – we should really believe in this need – we need it because as well as the country’s achievements, which are many – some of the friends at the meeting pointed to these achievements, but what the country has achieved in various areas is much broader in scope – we have some shortcomings and serious problems that should be resolved. We have serious problems in the areas of economy and justice. We have fundamental problems in the area of social maladies, part of which has really turned into a chronic disease and therefore, this problem needs serious solutions. So, these shortcomings exist and they result from our negligence – in other words, we have shown negligence in certain cases in the course of time, in the course of decades. As well as these shortcomings, certain ill-intentioned moves have made some individuals move away from and turn their backs on the Revolution and therefore, the situation requires that we think of a transformation.

Besides, as a result of our negligence, many capacities have remained untapped. There are many capacities in the country. There are plenty of opportunities, in the true sense of the world, which have remained unused and this is a source of damage to national interests. Well, these problems cannot be eliminated with an ordinary move. With a normal, ordinary move in the administrative affairs of the country, it is not possible to do this. What we need is an extraordinary, exponential and innovative movement. There should be innovation and this is a necessity. This is one of the necessities in the “second step of the Revolution”. Of course, in the past, certain activities have been done in line with bringing about transformation, but there is a need for a more complete and comprehensive movement in this regard.


The necessity to carry out a transformation in governmental and managerial areas and in the people’s lifestyle

As for the areas where transformation should be carried out, as I mentioned before, this includes various governmental and managerial areas of the country because evidently, there are shortcomings in economic, social and intellectual areas. Bureaucratic hurdles and paperwork and unnecessary rules and regulations, which are sometimes detrimental, prevent us from working hard to resolve the problems – this is evident in the area of the economy as well as in other areas. Therefore, an important area where transformation should be carried out is the managerial sector of the country.

Another area where transformation is necessary is the people’s lifestyle. In this area, we should really carry out a transformation. There are some bad habits among our people which should be addressed. It is not possible to resolve them with advice and with minor solutions. What is needed is transformational work. We could cite extravagant consumption norms as an example. There are bad consumption norms in our country including water, foodstuffs and electricity. There is a show-off competition. We rejected the aristocratic lifestyle and we described it as a bad habit. This is completely correct, but the problem is that aristocratic extravagance has become prevalent among non-aristocratic classes as well. Unfortunately, there is a competition in marriage ceremonies, in families and in many other aspects. We should combat this. As for other norms, we could refer to the rise of the marriage age, the aging of the country’s population and other such matters, as mentioned by the friends. Therefore, in all these areas, transformation is necessary.


The logic behind transformation: Strengthening the main lines of the Revolution and moving towards the ideals

What is the logic behind transformation? In other words, which condition do we desire to reach in carrying out a transformation? If this logic is not transparent and well-calculated, we will end up in chaos and tumult. That is why in the beginning of the year, we say, “Change our condition to the best of conditions.” A transformation should help us achieve the best of conditions.

Some people speak of change under the heading of transformation, but it is not clear what this change leads to. A change in itself is not considered a value. A change towards becoming better and progressing is a value, not a change in itself. Therefore, we should find “the best of conditions”. In my opinion, this is the same as strengthening the main lines of the Revolution and smoothing the path of ideals. The great and main ideals of the Revolution are justice, independence and Islamization of society. The movement towards these ideals should be facilitated and smoothed. In the present time, we are faced with many difficulties in this area and there is a need for a transformational movement. Of course, these ideals, which should receive our attention and towards which we should move, have different levels. You should work on them in student meetings and debates in order to find their details and then, you should explain them to the people.


The necessity to preserve the major ideals of the Islamic Republic

Generally speaking, some ideals are the main ideals of the Islamic Republic. They are long-term and mid-term ideals which play a fundamental role and which should receive due attention: ideals such as the creation of an Islamic community, the administration of social justice and the establishment of independence, freedom and other such concepts. These are the fundamental ideals.

Some ideals exist at smaller levels and they are in fact the constituents of the high-level ideals. For example, scientific progress is an ideal – it is definitely one of our ideals – but it is a constituent of a whole that will help form the Islamic community and independence.

Another ideal is power in foreign policy which means protecting the country and the political system of the country from the network created by arrogant powers and the system of domination. Power in foreign policy was manifested in the beginning of the Revolution in the slogan of “Neither east nor west”. On that day, there used to be an eastern superpower, namely the communist system, and a capitalist system. The slogan meant that the Islamic Republic should protect itself, and it did protect itself, from entrance into the network of dependence on those superpowers. Well, this is also an ideal that should be preserved, pursued and improved every day. Another example is economic self-sufficiency, which is a minor ideal constituting the main ideals.

Some of the other ideals that we are and should be pursuing and that we should pay attention to in our search for a transformation are, in fact, some policies whose goal is to run the country and to immunize the Revolution. For example, we could mention the creation of organizations such as the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Construction Jihad and Basij. These are some of the policies which form the body of the main ideals.

We could also refer to the Islamization of universities or the transformation of the IRIB into a public university comprised of 40 million people – the population of the country in those days - and 80 million people – the population in the present time. This has been one of the ideals. It has been one of the things that we have been pursuing and should be pursuing. There are other such ideals as well. Therefore, as you can see, the main lines of the Islamic Republic, that should be protected and facilitated, exist at different levels including the upstream ideals such as the formation of the Islamic community, the midstream ideals such as scientific progress and the like, and the downstream ideals such as the executive policies that were just referred to.


Achieving the ideals involves many complexities

Well, the first generation of the Revolution, primarily the activists in the late 1350s and the 1360s, accomplished certain tasks in all these areas – whether upstream or downstream areas. Good things were done under the guidance of our magnanimous Imam. The difficult matter of the imposed war helped us gain experience in these areas. The same is true of the sanctions imposed from the very first day or the bloody incidents occurred in early revolutionary days. All those incidents prepared the first generation of the Revolution and guided them towards the realization of the main goals of the Revolution and the Islamic Republic.

However, there is a reality that should not be ignored: achieving these ideals, with the greatness that they enjoy, involves many complexities. On that day, we did not pay attention to the complexities. On that day, we would look at issues with a naïve outlook. Many matters used to be taken lightly. Revolutionary enthusiasm would finally cause the task in hand to be carried out, but it would be carried out with a simplistic outlook and without considering the complexities and difficulties on the way.


The Islamization of universities was one of the complexities

Let me cite an example: the Islamization of universities. Well, Imam (may God bestow paradise on him) would insist on the Islamization of universities. He would attach great significance to universities and believed that universities should become Islamized. Thus, certain moves were made. Actually, many things were done. I myself was the head of the Council of Cultural Revolution during the eight years of my presidency. The Council would work on academic affairs and many things were done, but during all those years when I myself was one of the activists, we failed to consider the complexities of the task in hand and we used to look at it with a simplistic attitude.


Training subservient elite was the goal that universities in previous eras pursued

Well, universities were established in our country during the time when western policies were dominant. I am saying this in order to clarify the difficulties of the task in hand [Islamization of universities]. Universities were created during the rule of individuals handpicked by westerners. Their foundation was laid at the time of Reza Shah who had come to power with the help of the English. The universities of the country were devised by westernized people. In other words, those who established the universities were people who were attached to the west. I am not saying they were westerners’ infiltrators. One cannot definitely claim this, but they were undoubtedly infatuated with the western culture and obedient to the west as they did not have any voice in the face of westerners. Therefore, they based universities on western colonialist ideas. Well, the plan for establishing universities in our country was a replica of the western educational plan and westerners at that time were at the peak of colonialism. Of course, colonized countries achieved freedom one after another, but those days were the peak of western colonialism. They had a specific plan for establishing universities in countries dependent on them.

Their plan was to train an elite obedient to the west and consuming western products. They wanted obedient intellectuals who were consumers of western products. Universities’ goal was to train obedient individuals who were consumers. What does consumerism mean? It means acquiring the remainder of outdated western sciences and encouraging one’s society to consume western products, thus turning society into a market for western products.

In other words, they produced consumerist elites who in turn produced a consumerist society. This is the essence of their goal. This plan – the establishment of universities – used to be implemented in colonized countries. In those days, some countries were officially the colonies of England and some other countries were not official colonies. For example, our country was not officially a colonized country, but it was completely under the influence and political domination of westerners. This was how universities came into being. Of course, Islamic ideas managed to infiltrate into universities, thanks to the power of influence of Islamic philosophy, but universities in general slanted towards western philosophy and the westernization of intellectuals’ minds. They wanted to cultivate intellectuals who would think and act like westerners did, who would work for westerners and who would build a consumerist society. The same elite would hold governmental positions as well.

Well, is it a simple task for the Islamic government to turn such universities into Islamic universities? Is it an easy job? Turning a university which has moved like that and which has been run in that fashion for many years into an Islamic university is not an easy task.

In those days, we did not pay careful attention to the complexity of the job. Of course, later on, academic personalities themselves discovered important points in this regard and they acted on them and things improved a little bit, but this issue continues to be an important issue for the Islamic government. This is not possible except with a transformation.

Well, this was an example that I cited and the same is true of other areas. The same thing holds true for the economic and scientific movements of the country. So, as you can see, in the course of all these years we began good projects, but they remained half-finished. This is because there is a simplistic attitude that should be corrected and redirected towards the correct path.


Pious and revolutionary intellectuals should produce ideas and thoughtsا

Of course, today, the intellectual society of the country has many experiences. Certainly today, the pious intellectuals who believe in religion and in the Revolution understand matters much better than the intellectuals in early revolutionary days and evidently in pre-revolutionary eras. The points that you students raised today and the ones existing in your minds or discussed in student groups would not be discussed those days even at the highest academic levels. They did not have access to such issues in any way because people thought in a different way. So, today, the intellectual and revolutionary society of the country has many experiences as it has seen the failures, the difficulties, the obstacles and the enmities.

Our intellectuals have witnessed these in the course of time. Therefore, the society of intellectuals looks at the affairs of the country by bearing in mind the difficulties that it has been witness to. So, planning can be done in a stronger and more complex way compared to the past, and this is the right course. In other words, practical solutions should be presented by paying attention to these problems and obstacles.

Besides, there are new issues which did not exist before. For instance, cyberspace is a new issue and a new phenomenon which did not exist before. Therefore, in order to prevent the problems resulting from this phenomenon – after all, every phenomenon has certain pros and cons – and in order to immunize the country and society against the problems and the harm resulting from it, we need new and innovative ideas and new sciences today. The same is true of the rise in the marriage age and the like. In these areas, we need new and innovative ways and methods. In my opinion, the country can move in these areas and it is revolutionary and pious intellectuals who should empower the country and who should produce thoughts and develop the science to move on this path. This is a transformation that should be carried out. The transformation that we have in mind should push us towards this direction.


Youth are the expectional path towards transformation

Now, how should this transformation be carried out? In my opinion, youth are the exceptional path towards it. We have good and competent youth. In youth, there exists new thoughts, the ability to find new ways, the necessary power and energy, and the courage to take action. All these qualities exist in youth and these are really valuable because the necessary tools of the trade for a transformational movement are the same things: new ideas, innovativeness, the courage to take action and complete eagerness to launch this movement. These are the necessary tools for a transformational movement and they exist in youth. Therefore, we should look out for youth in order to accomplish this task.


Veterans should work alongside youth

Of course, I want to tell you that you are dear youth to me and I really like you. I have spent a long portion of my life with and alongside youth and I am completely familiar with and like young people. However, despite this praise, there are certain shortcomings in youth’s work and we are witness to these shortcomings as we have seen them in the course of time, and we see them in the present time as well. Even your statements, which are sweet and valuable to me, contain certain shortcomings as well as those sweet parts. Therefore, seasoned veterans and experienced individuals should stand alongside youth. This is what I have said many times. When I spoke of a young revolutionary government some people thought that what I meant was an administration whose members, all of them, were aged between 30, 35.  This is not the case. Youth’s presence is essential and without their presence, nothing can be done, but this does not mean that veterans and experienced individuals should not stand by youth’s side.

The main condition that all of these individuals – whether the young ones or the ones who are in their middle age or are at an advanced age – should have is faith and sincere and revolutionary motivation. In my opinion, a young revolutionary administration, as I mentioned before, can have all these qualities.


Youth should be present in various sectors of the administration

The administration is not confined to, for example, 20 ministries and ministers. Of course, cabinet membership can reach 200-plus people, but the administration is not confined to them either. The administration is a large organization where hundreds of efficient and determining managers work, all of whom can host – so to speak – pious, intellectual and revolutionary youth and these youth should be able to participate in decision-building, decision-making and executive areas. Some youth should participate in decision-making sectors, some should participate in decision-building sectors and some in executive sectors and they should be able to take action. In my opinion, this is something quite possible. If an administration holds office whose high-ranking officials believe and have confidence in youth, as our magnanimous Imam did so and as he did things with the help of youth, if such an administration is elected, then in my opinion, problems will be solved very soon.

Despite all the problems that are in front of our eyes today, despite all difficulties, complexities, obstacles, hurdles and enmities that are shown to us from inside and outside the country, I believe that all these tasks and all these ideals, demands and dreams are attainable. In the past too, youth accomplished great feats. Youth were present in revolutionary activities, in the Sacred Defense Era and in Construction Jihad. There were young students then, some of whom joined the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, some joined Construction Jihad and some worked in revolutionary committees and accomplished great feats.

Fortunately today, the country is thankfully in a good condition in terms of training pious, revolutionary, self-confident and specialist manpower. In other words, we do not have a shortage of manpower. There are certain forces and resources which should be identified. If there is not a tendency to enlist the help of youth, youth identification is not carried out and then, the administration and the whole system and government will be deprived of the advantages of their presence.

I was asked if I am interested in employing youth in the councils – the ones related to the Leadership such as the Council of Cultural Revolution. Yes, I am interested and I have thought of this for some time. There were certain obstacles in the past, but it will be done, God willing. I will appoint some youths in these councils so that they will participate in decision-making and in the execution of the decisions.

So, this is a summary of our discussion about transformation: First of all, transformation is necessary and it is what we need in the present time. Secondly, transformation is feasible. Thirdly, the way to carry out transformation is to establish an administration which believes in transformation and in transformation-engendering elements – in other words, intellectual, pious and revolutionary youth.

The condition for this is that they should be religious and revolutionary individuals. Otherwise, if they are young people with the characteristics that I mentioned before - such as courage, competence and innovativeness - but who are not religious, this is of no use. If they are not revolutionary, they will not be able to guide the country towards a transformational movement the way they should. Therefore, they should be young, pious and revolutionary. These elements should exist in the entirety of the administration. To conclude, transformation is necessary and possible and the condition for it is the presence of an administration which believes in youth and which employs them, and this will be done. These were my statements about the quest for transformation.


Officials should pay attention to student learning during the pandemic

I would like to issue some warnings about universities which are minor warnings, but which are important nonetheless, considering the current circumstances in universities and after that, I will raise some points with student groups.

One warning is about learning during the pandemic. I am worried. The things that are reported to us about university professors and students are a source of concern. The current circumstances might really disrupt and damage learning. I request that officials of higher education in various sectors – whether the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and Azad University – pay attention to this matter. One year and several months have passed from the coronavirus pandemic and we do not know when it will come to an end. We hope that it will not last long, but we do not know when for sure. The issue of student learning is really important. I am worried. You should not let learning drop in quality.


Online education tools should be updated and criminal networks should be confronted

One issue is about online learning tools which have become common both in the educational system and in universities. I have heard that these tools have certain flaws and shortcomings that make learning difficult. These shortcomings should definitely be eliminated and this is addressed to executive officials.

I have also heard that there are some criminals who create fraudulent networks. This invalidates examinations. Therefore, this ugly phenomenon should be confronted. If it is true and if such a thing exists, it should definitely be confronted. It has been reported that such a thing exists.


Executive officials and student groups should raise hopes in students

One important point about students is that there is an extensive and well-calculated propaganda effort to make our students hopeless. They either want to make them completely hopeless about the future, which leads to depression and fates even worse than depression, or they want to make them lose the hope of continuing their work in the country and this leads to turning one’s back on and leaving the country. This is a very bad phenomenon. Of course, this has always existed, but today, they have accelerated it. Therefore, I ask you dear friends to pay attention to the issue of raising hopes. Even some of the statements that pious and active students made today might be construed as disappointment, but the statements of some friends were totally hope-engendering. In my opinion, you should strengthen this. The same is true of officials. You should not allow students to become depressed, disappointed and dysfunctional because students are valuable elements for the country.


The administration should prepare the ground for students to find employment

One of the necessary tasks that the administration should carry out is to pave the way for students to find employment from the time they are students. Of course, regarding students of technical sciences, I brought up the issue of the relationship between industries and universities many years ago. Fortunately, despite the fact that it was done late, there is finally an organization, created by the Vice Presidency, for developing a relationship between students and industries and certain tasks have been carried out which are good, but they should increase in number and be backed up. However, in other areas too, student employment is a very important matter. One of the most important duties of government officials is to think in what sectors – governmental and private sectors or the other sectors that might be created for students – students should be employed after their graduation.


Military service proposals

The issue of military service, as suggested by a few friends, is a significant one. This is one of those complex matters that I mentioned earlier. It is not a simple and easy one. Of course, they have put forward certain proposals and some organizations are busy examining them, but the issue cannot be wrapped up with slogans because this is a complex issue and one should think about its different aspects in order to reach the correct decision, God willing.


Student groups are a great opportunity for the country

As for student groups, I wish to raise some points. First of all, the existence of student groups is a great opportunity for the country. Some people say that there are too many of student groups, but it is completely alright in my opinion. Some student groups have a particular political taste and a particular opinion about universities, politics and the affairs of the country and some student groups have somewhat similar tastes with a little difference. There is no problem with having many student groups because these groups are a great opportunity for countries since they can become centers for producing thoughts. We need this: We need these groups to produce thoughts. They can also lead student movements and create jihadi and transformational waves, as mentioned before. These groups could potentially become an important element in launching jihadi and transformational movements, which we discussed before. They can channel various social and even scientific activities. Recently, we witnessed that student groups truly played their part in the area of social movements.


Examples of activities done by student groups

Last year, according to the report that I received – I also witnessed this in media as well – good activities were done by student groups: the last one, and one of the most important ones, was presence in the arena of anti-corona activities. To be fair, jihadi youth did well. Entrance in the arena of anti-corona activities is not merely a jihadi activity, it also shows one’s preparedness to do risky things. This is important and as an example, we could mention jihadi activities during the Sacred Defense Era and other such risky activities. Youth used to show their presence in those arenas. The fact that they enter the arena of anti-corona activities shows that they are ready to cherish risky and dangerous arenas as well.

Student groups also had a good performance in the area of the problems related to privatization. Some of their activities produced results and by Allah’s favor, they will produce more results. The move made by youth and student groups regarding the issue of privatization was very good. Of course, the gentlemen at the meeting made certain statements about privatization some of which we might agree with and some of which we might not agree with. Privatization is a very good measure provided that it is carried out in a satisfactory way. The problems in this area result from carrying it out in a poor way, not from the privatization policy itself. Therefore, in my opinion, the moves made by student groups are very good moves.

Student groups had a good performance in the area of foreign and international matters such as their reaction towards the insulting French publication. Students also made a good move regarding the explosion which took place recently in the Kabul University. Students should continue to be active in the area of Yemeni and Palestinian issues. Some students expressed their viewpoints on FATF. In my opinion, the essence of expressing one’s viewpoint was very good no matter what the opinion itself was. It showed the broad scope of students’ outlook towards various matters. The speakers also pointed to the strategic law ratified by the Majlis [which was ratified in order to safeguard the interests of the Iranian nation in the face of the sanctions and which specified that the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran increase the level of enrichment] expressing their approval of it. All these points are very good because they help the identity of the groups to be strengthened. In other words, when you embark on adopting positions, expressing viewpoints and taking action – and by doing so, you are actually creating orientations – this will help the identity of your groups to be strengthened.


Expectations of student groups:  Strengthening one’s religious and revolutionary character

Well, there are certain expectations. My first expectation of student groups is that you should strengthen your religious and revolutionary character. You should not underestimate the significance of this matter because this is really important: the matter of strengthening one’s intellectual and religious character. The participants at the meeting asked me to introduce books and personalities. In my opinion, you can make acquaintances with many people at Qom Islamic Seminary. Many good tasks have been accomplished in Islamic seminaries, in particular the Qom Islamic Seminary, in recent years. There are some personalities who can be trustworthy reference points for you on intellectual, Islamic and religious matters.

Another thing that I expect of you is self-edification. I strongly request that you pay attention to self-edification and self-improvement. Imam has been quoted as saying that those who are afraid of the US are afraid because they have not engaged in self-edification. I believe that this is the truth of the matter. In those days, something came up and Imam asked, “Are you afraid of the US?” The answer was no. Then, he asked us to do such and such a thing. He asked something important to be done, but it is a long story. The point is that self-edification influences even social activities. The purpose of self-edification is not merely to help you become a good person. A good person also plays his own role in various areas such as social, international and revolutionary areas.

 We have learned a lesson from the past. In the 1360s, some student groups were considered the pinnacle of the Revolution. As the youth put it, they were the pick of the bunch in being revolutionaries. They really felt confident even in the presence of us who had a longer history of being revolutionaries. Of course, some of them did jihad, were martyred and accomplished great feats. They really persisted in the correct line of revolutionary principles, but some of them changed their viewpoints to 180 degrees. That was because revolutionary ideas had not deeply infiltrated their minds, and their faith had not gone beyond the level of slogans. When faith has merely a slogan form and lacks depth, these dangers creep in. Therefore, one should pay attention to this.

As you know, early on in the Revolution – before I became president: in the year 1358 – students came to me at the request of Imam and thus, I linked up and worked with students. So, I am completely aware of the depth of student activities and I know how the situation is now and how it used to be in the past. I know how some students veered off course. First, they veered off course and then, they deviated gradually. Sometimes, this deviation leads to a complete friction. If there is faith and piety, there will really be no problem. In other words, students will not link up with the enemies and opponents of the Revolution.

In the Holy Quran, Allah the Exalted says to His Messenger, “Therefore, stand firm in the straight path as you are commanded – you and those who with you turn onto Allah” [11: 112]. Both you and those who are with you should stand firm. This is very important. If this resistance exists, student groups and the people in them will have a happy ending, but without that resistance, there will not be piety, deep faith, and profound and reasonable thinking. Then, it is difficult to envisage a happy ending. As Hafiz says, “The verdict on piety and drunkenness depends on one’s fate.”  


Making an effort to influence students’ minds

Another point which is addressed to student groups is that you have an important opportunity towards which you are responsible: the opportunity of being among a large number of students. Student groups meet millions of students. This is a really great opportunity. In other words, your plan to make students think like you should be a serious, systematic and fundamental plan. It is not at all necessary for students to join your groups, but it is necessary for them to be influenced by you. You should do your utmost to influence students in intellectual and religious ways and to untie their ideological knots.

Some friends pointed to these ideological knots. Yes, there are some ideological knots which should be untied. The Leader’s representatives in universities too have important duties in this regard and they should work harder in this respect. As for the elections, the task that is readily available to you is that you should encourage students and others to participate. Some of the statements that were made today – which had a sympathetic nature and which are really correct – should not make some individuals be discouraged from participating, despite the fact that these comments are sympathetic. We should pay attention to this.


The importance of holding enthusiastic elections

Now that we spoke of participation, I would like to say something about elections. An enthusiastic election is important for the country in every respect. On the one hand, it is important in the sense that it is a realization of democracy and the people’s presence. We should not underestimate this and we should not say that because the people did not participate in such and such a governmental move, there is no democracy. No, the very essence of the people’s presence for electing the officials of the country – from top to bottom – is a very important issue from a human and civilizational perspective. This is democracy.

On the other hand, as you know, the people’s presence greatly influences the capabilities and power of the elected administration. An administration and a president will be elected and the more popular support they enjoy and the stronger they are, the better it will be without any doubt because it increases the country’s deterrence power, it ensures security and it brings the country credit and reputation. Therefore, participation is very important.

Therefore, the most important issue is having a high turnout and after that, making a good choice in order to form an administration which is confident, which has the necessary managerial capabilities, which is popular and which will be brimming with hope.

Executive officials should not be hopeless. If we place a disappointed and depressed person at the top, the task will evidently not progress. Executive officials should be brimming with hope and believe in domestic capabilities. He who believes that it is not possible to do anything in defensive, political, economic and production areas, does not really deserve to rule over the people.

Those individuals should hold executive positions who believe in the people and in youth, who have confidence in youth and who appreciate the value of young assets. They should have a revolutionary performance and pursue justice in reality, not just mention justice in words. They should be advocates of justice and opposed to corruption in the real sense of the word. Justice does not only mean economic justice. Although economic justice is an important part of justice, justice should be administered in different areas. If such an administration holds office, God willing, then it can employ hundreds of young and pious managers in various sectors, from top to bottom, so that the country’s affairs will move forward, God willing. You should be after this.


The Leadership does not get involved in individuals’ decisions

I do not wish to get involved in the choices that individuals want to make. In previous eras, those who wanted to run for presidency would come to me asking, “Do you agree?” I would say, “I neither agree nor disagree”. This was the case in previous eras. Anyone asking me, “Should I run for the presidency?” would hear the answer, “I neither agree nor disagree.” In other words, I would say that I did not have any opinion.

This year, I said that I would not do that either. If someone asks, “Do you agree?” I will not say “I neither agree nor disagree.” They themselves should do research and between themselves and God, if they feel eligible enough and if their candidacy is legal, they can enter the arena. Otherwise, they should not do it. The people too should look at their plans and then make their choice. You thankfully raised good points about choosing individuals on the basis of slogans. By Allah’s favor, these things should be corrected.


I hope that Allah the Exalted will help you succeed. You dear youth are the provisions of the Revolution and a source of enlightenment for officials. I too have been your friend and have been admiring you for many years. I always pray for you. There is no day and night which goes by without me praying for the youth of the country, in particular for active youth. I will continue to pray, God willing. I hope that God will help you, that you will benefit from the pure prayers of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) and that the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam and the pure souls of our dear martyrs will be pleased with you.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings




  • Election;
  • Students
  • University students
  • Youthpower