Imam Khamenei

The two U.S. presidential candidates expose the true nature of the U.S.: Ayatollah Khamenei

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on November 2, 2016 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with thousands of university and secondary school students. The meeting was held on the occasion of the "National Day of Fighting Against Global Arrogance".

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 immaculate, pure and chosen household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth

This meeting is a very very enlightened meeting! This is because of the presence of you youth and teenagers. The reflection of divine lights in the enlightened and sincere hearts of youth illuminates and brightens up the environment. The likes of this humble person benefit from the sincerity of your hearts and from the reflection of divine lights in your pure hearts. You are most welcome here. You began the meeting in a very good fashion. Thankfully, the very good, masterly and exquisite recitation of the dear brother of ours, the ayahs that he had chosen and after that, the beautiful song that was performed in chorus – which had good content and which was very mellifluous – imbued the meeting with the scent of your innovations.

Well, this meeting is on the occasion of the 13th of Aban, which is tomorrow. Although the 13th of Aban is a day during which several events coincide – the event of our magnanimous Imam’s (r.a.) exile, and the event of the massacre of students on the streets of Tehran – the event which has turned this day into an outstanding day is the event of seizing and capturing the U.S. embassy or, to put it correctly, the Den of American Espionage. Therefore, the 13th of Aban – which has been named “The Day of Fighting Against Arrogance” and which is a correct name in my opinion – is the day of youth. It is the day of pious, revolutionary, courageous, bold and innovative youth. It is the day of those youth who do everything possible to prevent the enemy from making new moves and from moving forward. So, in this sense, the 13th of Aban is the day of youth.

Many years have passed from that day, but the meaning of that day still prevails. If you have heard that Imam (r.a.) has named this movement as “The Second Revolution”, there are certain reasons behind this naming. From the first hours after the victory of the Revolution or even since before the Revolution, the enemy tried to hatch plots. A few days before the Revolution, the Americans sent some agents to our country so that they could launch a coup d’état and foil the people’s movement. Of course, they failed to do so.

And when the Revolution achieved victory, they made all sorts of efforts, whether officials political efforts made by the U.S. Senate – from the very first days of the Revolution, the U.S. Senate adopted a position against the Islamic Republic and it announced its hostility and decision to impose sanctions: these were official and public methods – or unofficial efforts. They contacted their agents and mercenaries inside the country so that they could benefit from the existence of different ethnicities inside the country for creating discord.

Of course, they received a slap in the mouth. Both our ethnicities – our Arabs, our Turks, our Kurds, our Lurs and our Turkmens, who were the target of these plots – and our pious youth stood up against America. At that time, those youth were not referred to as Islamic Revolutionary Guards and basijis, but they were guardians and protectors of the Revolution and basijis of the path of the Revolution in the real sense of the word. They went and foiled that American plot. So, from the first hours, the Americans began to hatch plots. Of course, all those plots were different from what was being done inside the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

After our youth captured that center, after they compiled, collected and glued together the papers that had been shredded – the documents that had been put into a shredder – and after they turned those documents into books, it became clear what plots had existed inside the U.S. embassy throughout that time. There are about 70 volumes of these books. Have you read them? Why is there not any sign of excerpts from these books in our primary and high schools and our universities? Why? This is one of my objections. The new honorable Minister of Education [Fakhruddin Ahmadi Danesh-Ashtiani] is present at this meeting. Why do you not include these subjects in textbooks? Why do you not allow our new young generation to know what America has done to our country and what plots it has devised?

The students’ movement to capture the embassy was a reaction to all that malevolence and it was launched in a victorious fashion. It prevented the movement of that brazen and greedy superpower – America – inside the country. This is what the Revolution means. That superpower – which had gotten used to seeing for 25, 30 years that whatever he desired and wanted would happen in Iran, that Iran belonged to him and that its government, its system, its monarch, its oil, its resources, its mines, its future and everything that it had were his property – tried to attack because all those things had been taken away from him. However, he saw how our youth kept thwarting, thwarting and thwarting his attacks. The people of Iran stood firm and the leader of that great movement was our magnanimous Imam (r.a.).

I was in touch with the details of the events that took place on that day. In those days, I frequently went to the Den of Espionage. I went there frequently and I spoke to the youth who had gathered there and to others in the Revolutionary Council – at that time, I was a member of the Revolutionary Council. So, I know what moves were made in different corners of the country for foiling that movement. However, Imam (r.a.) stood firm. My dear ones, the issue of America is this.

I would like to explain two wrong notions that are being promoted. Two wrong notions are being injected into our public opinion. And the injectors are primarily the apparatus of arrogance and America and secondly, some individuals inside the country. These are individuals – I do not want to accuse everyone – some of whom are attached to intelligence services and political organizations or to special American centers and some of whom are not attached to these organizations. The latter are comprised of those who have become tired, the regretful, and those who have caught a whiff of material pleasure. The former are transferring these thoughts and these two wrong notions to them and they are developing and expanding them in different minbars and in different places. They are doing so inside and outside universities, in the press and in various other places. Today, I would like to explain these two wrong notions:

One is that they promote the idea that when Imam (r.a.) said, “Let out all your shouts and cries on America” [Imam’s Sahifa, Vol. 11, page 121] – today, this edict continues to be implemented – this was out of prejudice and arrogance. In other words, there is not any logic behind it. This is what they want to promote. They want to say that our youth, our revolutionary personalities, our people and our officials all of whom puff out their chest to stand up against America and all of whom make revelatory remarks about him are biased people. They want to say that their work is based on jahiliyya-like prejudice and dogma. This is what they want to say.

This is while the truth of the matter is 180 degrees opposite of this. When he said, “Let out all your shouts and cries on America”, there is a solid logic behind it. That logic is the fact that American policy is based on greed and transgression. American history is a manifestation of this during the 250 years that have passed from its life. Of course, in the beginning of its history, this existed to a lesser degree, but since a hundred years ago or a little time before that, this has been witnessed very clearly. The general policy of America is to ensure his domestic security through transgressing against other countries and occupying as many “zones of influence” as he can. This is how they are acting. This is their policy.

They implemented this policy in West Asia region. They implemented it in Iran during the time of taghut and they implemented it in our neighboring countries as well. They had great rivalry with the former Soviet Union. There was a tug of war between America and the Soviet Union. So, Iran was their zone of influence. The slightest negligence after the victory of the Revolution would have helped the enemy whom we had kicked out of the door to enter through the window. However, Imam (r.a.) did not allow this to happen and he prevented it.

When he said, “Let out all your shouts and cries on America” this means defending values, not only defending values particular to Muslims, but also defending all human values. Today, as the Americans themselves acknowledge, the U.S. government and the U.S. system have drifted miles away from human values. Did you watch the recent debate between the two candidates for the U.S. presidential elections? Did you see the truths that they revealed? Did you listen to them? They revealed the true nature of America. The truths that they revealed were several times larger in number [and worse] than the truths which we had disclosed. Of course, some people did not believe or did not want to believe them.

And what is interesting is that the person who spoke more candidly attracted more attention from the people of America. Because that man spoke more candidly and more openly, the people of America paid more attention to him. The other party said that he is adopting a populist method. Why populist? It is because the people were watching him and they saw that what he was saying was correct. They saw it in the realities of their life. Human values have been annihilated and trampled upon in that country. There is racial discrimination in that country. Just a few days before that debate, that man stood up in his presidential campaign and said that if you are colored – black or red-skinned - and if you are walking on the streets of New York, Chicago, Washington, California and other such cities, you cannot be sure that you will remain alive for a few more minutes! Notice that this is being said by a person who expects to go to the White House in a few days to manage the affairs of America! American racism means this.

Poverty has struck the Americans as well. He said that 44 million people are hungry in America! He and others said that less than one percent of the people of America are the owners of 90 percent of American wealth. Human values have been trampled upon in that country. There is discrimination, differentiation, racism and annihilation of human rights in America. When you shout, “Death to America” and when Imam (r.a.) said, “Let out all your shouts and cries on America” this means death to all these things. It was because of these things that Imam (r.a.) said, “Let out all your shouts and cries on America.”

All these things are one side of the issue. Another side of the issue and another important factor in this regard is that from the very first days, they prepared the ground for delivering a big blow to the people of Iran. In other words, they offered refuge to Mohammad Reza in America so that they could keep him, prepare the ground for other plots, strengthen his agents in the country with him at the top of the system and repeat what they did on the 28th of Mordad of 1332 – twenty five years before that time.

On the 28th of Mordad, Mohammad Reza ran away from Iran. However, the English and the Americans joined hands and came inside the country secretly. Later on, they used different embassies, they hid somewhere, they equipped and prepared their agents, they used the negligence that the people of those days had shown and they returned Mohammad Reza again. It was that returning that put an albatross around the people’s neck and created a disastrous situation for them. They wanted to do that again, but Imam (r.a.) prevented it. He blocked their path. He awakened the people of Iran and the people of Iran woke up.

Therefore, these anti-American slogans and this letting out one’s shouts on America is not out of prejudice, stupidity and obstinacy, rather it is based on logic, one that enjoys a rational and intellectual framework. So, both our youth and those who can write and speak and who have minbar – press, university, classroom and various other minbars – should know and pay attention that if the people of Iran chant anti-American slogans today and if they have continued to do so during the past 30-plus years, this is based on a solid logic.

Over the course of these years too, we fought against Saddam for eight years and the Americans kept supporting Saddam in a firm manner during that period of time. They helped him as much as they could. They showed enmity towards us before, during and after the war and during and after the issue of the Bar-Jaam [the JCPOA], all in different ways. A few days ago, that American negotiator [John Kerry] said outspokenly – which was broadcast on our TV as well – that they imposed sanctions on Iran even after the issue of the Bar-Jaam. America is this. Therefore, the resistance of the people of Iran against America is based on logic. So, the first wrong notion is that they want to pretend that the people have stood up against America out of their obstinacy. However, the truth of the matter is the opposite of this. The people have stood up against America based on logic. This is the correction for the first notion.

The second wrong notion – a wrong and inaccurate thought which is being injected by the Americans, which is being promoted by some people inside the country and which is more dangerous than the first notion – is that if we get along with America, the problems of our country will be solved.

This is one of those bizarre, weird and very dangerous mistakes. They say that if we get along with America, the problems of the country will be solved. Well, we can give tens of reasons why this notion is wrong. This is a false and deceitful statement. Compromising with America will not solve the problems of the country in any way. Not only will it not solve economic, political, security and moral problems, but it will also worsen them as well.

There are 10, 15 reasons that one can count and list for this issue. The last one is the issue of the Bar-Jaam. During the negotiations, I said many times that they are ones who go back on their promises, that they are liars and that they do not stick to their promises. Now, you can witness the situation! Today, those who are saying that they go back on their promises is not only me. The honorable officials of the country and our negotiators themselves – who made all those efforts, who negotiated with them for a year and a half, who had several meetings outside the country for 10, 15, 20 days and who went through a lot of trouble and exerted themselves at the negotiating table - are saying these things as well. 

In the meeting that was held about a month ago in New York – the meeting between ministers of foreign affairs – our honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs participated as well. They had participated as well. In that meeting, our Minister of Foreign Affairs presented a long list of indictments against them. He said to them that they did things that they should not have done and that they did not do things that they should have done. It was a bill of indictment for which they did not have any answers. Well, they are like this. They say that we should get along with them on the issue of Syria, Hezbollah, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. But whom should we get along with? Should we get along with those who do not stop showing enmity against us even for one moment? Their goal is to prevent the Iranian nation from growing. Their goal is to prevent the economic problems of our country from being resolved. Under these circumstances, will they come to help resolve our problems?

First of all, the other side are liars, deceitful, untrustworthy and back-stabbing. At the same time that they are giving something with one hand, they – as they themselves say – hold a stone in the other hand to strike the head of the opposing party. The other side is comprised of such people. Second, is America supposed to solve the problems of the people of Iran? America itself is suffering from crises! Why do they not say this? This is being said by all important organizations in the world that have a say on such issues. This is being said by the Americans themselves. America is suffering from crises. It has economic, international, political and moral crises. America itself has crises. Today, the debts of the U.S. government are almost equal the gross domestic product of the entire U.S.! This is a sign of crisis and this is being said by economists.

They say that whenever a government’s debts get close to its GDP, that government is in crisis and that economy is a crisis-stricken economy. Today, America is like this. Its debts are close to 60-plus percent of its GDP. Now, whom does it want to help? On the contrary, it wants to suck up others’ resources so that it can fix itself. So, will it come to help the economy of another country? These were the reasons for the inaccuracy of the second notion in terms of economy.

In terms of politics too, they are in crisis. I tell you with complete confidence that if a people spark an uprising against a dictator, a government and a regime anywhere, their slogan will be “Death to America”. There is not any exception. One day, the slogan of “Death to America” was particular to our country. However today, the first slogans of all the people who stage an uprising in West Asia, in East Asia, in Europe itself, in Latin America and in Africa are against America. This is the political situation that America is in. Is there any crisis which is worse than this?

America had some plans for West Asia region. You do not remember this. Of course, this did not happen a long time ago, but you youth do not remember those days in any case. The American secretary of state of the time said on that day that they want to create “The Greater Middle East”. She mentioned “The Greater Middle East” on the issue of Lebanon and the 33-day war. What does “The Greater Middle East” mean? They refer to West Asia region as the Middle East. “The Greater Middle East” means a region extending from Pakistan to the Mediterranean region. It means that all the countries that are located in this region are Middle East countries.

America had formulated a general plan for the whole of this region so that it could keep all those countries in its fist with Israel playing a pivotal role. “The Greater Middle East” means this. Today, “The Greater Middle East” that that secretary of state had devised – that poor person who said this was a lady – has reached the point that they have become desperate on the issue of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and North Africa. On the issue of Libya, they have gotten stuck deeply in mud. As for the issue of Yemen, they entered the arena, but they have become desperate now. This is the political-international situation of America. Is there any crisis which is worse than this? Does that country want to come to your help? Is that country supposed to solve the problems of our country?

But we are in the opposite condition, Thank God! This is God’s work. It is God’s mercy that gave courage, insight and resistance to the people of Iran so that they would endure the problems. The pious men and women of these people managed to act in a way that they have made the people of Iran proud in the Middle East. Iran is a brilliant country in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen, in the Persian Gulf region and wherever you look. However, they are in crisis in terms of their economy. They are in crisis in terms of politics. They are in crisis in international terms. They are in crisis in terms of morality.

As for morality – whether issues related to sexual ethics or issues related to financial corruption – the statements that they themselves make, the things that are published in their own press and the things that they themselves say are a manifestation of this. Of course, what they say is much less than what the truth of the matter is. What those two honorable presidential candidates [audience laugh] say – one of whom will go to the White House in a few days and will become the president of that country – is most probably true. They have an unfriendly relationship with each other, but they have joined hands to reveal the true nature of America and to destroy America’s reputation and they have succeeded in doing so [audience laugh].

How can that country come to Iran’s help? Why do they instill into minds the wrong notion that if we resolve our problems with America and if we compromise with the Americans, the problems of the country will be solved? This is not the case! Compromising with America will not solve the problems of the country. On the contrary, it will increase those problems. If we have political problems and if we have economic problems, we should solve them on our own. It is you youth who should solve our problems.

Let me say a few things to you youth. Our dearest ones are you youth. You are like my children. You are our children. You are our youth. You are our hopes. Our future is in your hands. The future of this country is in your hands. When we go, it is you who will stay. It is you who should manage this country. I would like to say a few things to you. My dear ones, you should prepare yourselves for the future. You should prepare yourselves for managing this country. The cure for the problems of the country – whether the problems that we have today, the problems that we will have later on or the problems that every country and nation has- after all, no country is without any problem- and the solution for them lies in the bubbling of willpower and resistance from inside the people.

Willpower, resistance, firm determination and steadfastness should bubble from inside the people. Eyes should be open, spirits should rely on God and our self-confidence should be strong. If we rely on God and if we trust ourselves, our spirits will become strong in scientific, managerial and administrative areas.

What I would like to emphasize is revolutionary spirit. You should preserve this spirit. What does “revolutionary spirit” mean? It means the capability of revolutionary people to have courage, to take action, to be initiative, to show innovation, to break dead ends, to untie knots, to be fearless, to be hopeful about the future and to move towards a bright future by relying on God. Revolutionary outlook means this. Such people are revolutionary and this spirit should be preserved.

Some people act in the opposite manner. Some people say the opposite things. Some people manage affairs in the opposite manner. They make youth lose their trust in the future. They make them lose their trust in the Revolution. They make them drift away from the warm breath of Imam (r.a.). Well, under such circumstances, revolutionary spirit will be ruined. This is while they complain about the present era. They complain about the present era as well! Who builds the present era? As Saeb says, “The crime that the builders of the present era commit is worse than that of the present era” [from a poem by Saeb Tabrizi].

Who builds the present era? It is we who build the present era. We are the builders of the present era. If the present era becomes bad, we should look at ourselves because it is we who build it. When we do not take firm steps, when we ignore Imam’s (r.a.) recommendations – who had sharp eyes and a wise heart full of wisdom, who understood matters clearly, who made correct decisions and who enlightened the path for us: Imam’s (r.a.) testament is in front of us and those who doubt these things should look at his testament - when we make the people drift away from these things, when we make youth drift away from these things, when we drag them towards decadence – this is while by nature, youth tend to observe modesty – and when we draw them towards immodesty and the like, it is clear that the result will be bad and the present era will be ruined.

Of course, they have fortunately not managed to do so and they will not be able to do it in the future either. Our youth are very good. If we inject decadence in the name of freedom and if we instill the idea of compromising with and surrendering to the enemy in the name of reason and a rational outlook, the present era will be ruined. So, this path should be continued in a firm manner.

The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) says in Nahjul Balaghah, “The heart will become wavering after being normal and men will be misled after safety” [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 151]. Some hearts used to walk on the straight path one day. They were on the right path and they used to move forward in the correct way, but later on, they were forced to return from that path.

The Arabic word “zigh” means being overturned: “Let not our hearts be overturned” [The Holy Quran, 3: 8]. This exists in the Holy Quran. It means, “Oh God, do not let our hearts turn upside down.” It means, “God, if we understand things correctly, do not make us suffer from lack of understanding.” The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) says that some people used to move forward on the correct path, but their hearts were overturned. Why are they overturned? God does not oppress anyone. It is we ourselves who become corrupted with materialistic things, who show inappropriate kindness, who become corrupted with over-ambitiousness, who associate with bad friends and who become involved in partisan games. This is how our hearts are overturned and how we turn away from that correct path and the initial resistance that we had.

“And men will be misled after safety.” One day, their hearts were healthy, but later on, they were led astray. These are vexations which should be destroyed and in the face of which we should seek refuge before God.

My advice to you youth is that you should look with open eyes and with insight. You should not accept all remarks by any speaker. The starting point for the movement and for the Revolution was our magnanimous Imam (r.a.). You should consider his words as hujjat [standard for determining the correctness of an action]. You should look and see what Imam (r.a.) was saying.

They should not say that even if Imam (r.a.) had been present today, he would have acted in the same way. This is not the case. This is wrong. We spent many years with Imam (r.a.) and we know him better than they do. If Imam (r.a.) had been present today, he would have let out the same Ibrahimi and idol-shattering cry in the present time. This is the same cry that awakened the people and helped them to achieve the Revolution [audience chants “Death to America”]. Well, when you say, “Death to America” I agree with this and I do not have any objections to it.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings