The Office of the Supreme Leader

The Leader’s remarks in meeting with students taking part in Rahiyan-e Noor convoys

 In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
(Arabic prayer)
Dear youths, my dear children, [and] those to whom belongs the future of the country! You are very welcome. In the real sense of the word, you are future owners and managers and officials of this country. Your every understanding, your every decision, [and] every measure that you take, which would influence evolution of your personality today, leaves its mark on the future of this country and this is a very important point.
 As for the Rahiyan-e Noor convoys, praise be to God, this successful move – which started in the country a few years ago and, praise be to God, has been developing on a daily basis – is a way to safeguard [the memories] of the period of the Sacred Defense (Iraq’s eight-year imposed war against Iran). The period of the Sacred Defense must be really venerated, endeared and safeguarded, because those eight years – the eight years of the Sacred Defense – guaranteed the honor of the country and the identity of the nation and provided the Iranian nation with the current security and dignity. Study as much as you can in this regard [and] be attentive, [and] follow up [on the Sacred Defense issues, because in this way] you will certainly reach the conclusion that if these eight years of the Sacred Defense did not exist at this juncture of our history with those characteristics, at the present time, our country and our nation would certainly have no dignity, no security, no health, no independence and no freedom. Those eight years – eight years of apparently war and pressure and fear and panic and numerous problems – held a divine bounty deep inside them. [That period] was a divine favor in disguise, which was bestowed upon this country and this nation. These are those things you, on your own, must take steps about and follow up [and] do research on; and rest assured that any person who would carry out a correct and complete research in this regard would arrive at the same conclusion. Well, we must safeguard, venerate and endear this period. This power that our nation and our country has at the present time is a product of that Sacred Defense and those golden eight years [which stand out] in the history of our country and at a specific juncture of its existence. We must keep that illuminated juncture [of our history] alive.
 At the present time, there are motivations [which are being promoted by] the enemies of this nation to make the period of the Sacred Defense slip into oblivion. They are trying to do this to either make it be forgotten or question it or taint it. At the present time, the powerful [countries] who are enemies of Iran are spending money to this effect, so that, it would be forgotten. What you are doing is a huge popular struggle against what the enemy does. The history and period of the Sacred Defense is a reserve and this reserve must be taken advantage of for the progress of the country, for the [promotion of] national growth, [and] for the preparedness in many arenas that any nation has before it. 
Well, there are many things to say about the Sacred Defense; let me tell you this. Up to the present time, they have written [many] books [on the Sacred Defense], have published memoirs, have made movies, [and] most of them [are] very good and really valuable, but there are various dimensions to the issue of the Sacred Defense, which have not been told yet, have not been researched yet, have not been worked on yet, and have remained untapped. Today, I will briefly mention two points about these various dimensions for you dear youths: the first point is about the cause of this war and that cause, which made Iran subject to this invasion. The second point is about the quality of the defense [mechanism] of the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation in this war, which had been imposed on it. I said before that when you look at its totality, this imposed war, this defense, those ill wishes, those acts of wickedness on the part of the enemy, those acts of bravery, [and] those sacrifices, which were done by the Iranian nation, all of these were on the whole a divine favor. However, these [factors] must be analyzed after all [and] must be known. Today, I will very briefly explain these two points for you, dear youths.
 The first point is [the question that] what was the main cause of this war? What happened that the Iranian nation, which had nothing to do with this western neighbor, [and had never] invaded it, was suddenly invaded [by Iraq] and this invasion took eight years; what was the reason? The reason was the grandeur and splendor of the revolution. When the Islamic Revolution came into being, the grandeur of this revolution and splendor of this revolution scared and struck panic in the hearts of the powerful global enemies [of the Islamic Revolution]; this is a reality. Those people who sat on the throne of the power that dominated the entire world, and [from there] threatened the entire world and were afraid of nobody; that is, the powerful [figures] of the Western capitalistic [system] topped by America and then Europe – [because] European countries really saw themselves at the pinnacle of power and strength – and of course, on the other hand, [the former] Soviet Union – which I will also explain about that – [and all] these powerful [countries], which saw themselves at the pinnacle of power, their throne of power became shaky with the breakout of the Islamic Revolution in the country, [and] the entire world shook under their feet. They were really scared, [and] could not correctly analyze what this phenomenon was, which had taken place in Iran. [They could not tolerate that] in a material world, in a world without religion, in a world, which did not care about [human] virtues, in a world, which was especially careless about Islam, [and] in a country, whose rulers obeyed all demands of the West with no objection, all of a sudden, a revolution would take place exactly to the opposite of what they wanted and to the opposite of their material and lustful and world-seeking goals on the basis of Islam, on the basis of religion, [and] on the basis of virtue.
 [This turn of events] was not understandable for them at all that [a group of] young people would enter the arena and stand against weapons; [they did not understand how] both [university] students and schoolchildren entered [this arena]. You know that one of the important arenas for the country’s bloody struggles [against the Pahlavi regime] was the presence of students [in those struggles], and the fact that students took part [in demonstrations] on the 13th day of [the Iranian month of] Aban (November 4). There was no distinction between students and adult men and the likes of these. [From] high-school students, and sometime younger than them, to old men, to various social classes in all cities [and] in all villages entered the arena. This issue basically had taken these [world powers] by surprise [and they could not understand] what this phenomenon was, which had come about; [and this is why] they became afraid. Well, as time went by, their bewilderment turned into more fear; I mean, as time went by, not only their mind was not put at ease, but their problems, worries, [and] concerns also increased. Why? Because they saw that this revolution was welcomed by Muslim nations all across the world. The nations in those countries whose leaders were dependent on America, chanted slogans in support of the Islamic Revolution. During the [Iranian] years [13]58 [and 13]59 (1979-80) [and] in the early [years after victory of the] revolution, almost in all Islamic countries, they talked and chanted slogans and preached and published articles in favor of the Islamic Revolution. This [phenomenon] made them really afraid, [because] they saw that they had lost Iran – [while before the revolution] they had control over Iran – [and] they were afraid that the prevalence of the culture of the revolution among nations, [and its spread] among Muslim nations would force them to lose other Islamic countries and other Islamic governments as well. Therefore, they decided to destroy this revolution at any cost; this was the point where the war [launched] by the Baathist regime of [former Iraqi dictator] Saddam [Hussein] started against Iran.
Saddam was a personality whom they knew – that is, they knew [him]; they know political personalities – [and they knew that] the ground for [taking] a selfish and arrogant and oppressive move existed in this person; he was by nature an invasive [and] aggressor person. At the time of [Iran's] revolution, Saddam was not the president of Iraq, [because] the president of Iraq was somebody else – he was Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr – [but] they arranged for him to be deposed and this [Saddam] become the president of Iraq, so that, they would force him, encourage him, and incite him to launch a military attack on Iran. The military attack on Iran, at first, started under the excuse that – I mean, they said this and chanted slogans [about it] – that they wanted to take oil-rich regions from Iran and annex them to Iraq. [Of course,] these were only allegations, [because] oil-rich regions were not the main issue; the main issue was the essence of the [Islamic] government, [and] was the essence of the revolution. They wanted to annihilate the revolution. America and the powerful [countries of] Europe – now, second- and third-rate European countries were of no significance, but the main [powers of] Europe, that is, Britain, that is, France, that is, Germany, that is, Italy, [and] these countries, which had a [high] standing in Europe, [and] had power – all of them rallied behind Saddam and helped him as much as they could; they helped [him] as much as they could.
At the beginning of war, [military] divisions of Saddam’s regime were few and their [military] capabilities were of conventional type. [However,] as time went by – as time went on [and] six months lapsed, one year lapsed, [and] two years lapsed – those capabilities were boosted on a daily basis. Well, the war exhausts [a nation’s] capabilities. For example, we had a number of tanks at the beginning of war, some of which were destroyed later. Assume that we had some artillery [power], part of which was lost [later]; a large part of our ammunition was consumed, [because ammunition] is naturally consumed in war [and] war diminishes [a nation’s military] capabilities. As the war continued, [military] capabilities of the Baathist regime [of Iraq] increased by manifolds; who gave it to them? France, Britain, Germany [and] America [did that]. [Even] the Soviet Union, which was against America, accompanied America in this case for its own special reasons: [because] the Soviet Union had a relatively large number of Muslim republics. The Islamic movement [in Iran and] the Islamic Revolution in Iran could have caused those republics to start thinking about their Islamic identity. The government of the Soviet Union could not stand this, [and] this is why in this case – in the case of [Iraq’s imposed] war against us, [and] in the case of fighting against us – it took sides with its age-old enemy, America.
So, we had America, the Soviet Union, NATO – [the member states of] NATO [military] treaty, which include Europe and America and the likes of these – and all dominant powers of the world, who rallied behind Saddam against the Islamic Republic in order to do away with the Islamic Republic; this was the [main] goal. The goal was not to conquer [the Iranian port city of] Khorramshahr or [the city of] Qasr-e Shirin and the likes of these. Their [main] goal was to conquer [the entire country], just as Saddam had said at the beginning of the war that ‘we are doing the interview here today, [but] we will do [the next] interview a week from now in Tehran’; this was their plan. This was the cause of war. I mean, the imposed war was a huge international conspiracy by the most powerful of the world’s powers against the nascent Islamic Republic. It was like that all wild animals want to attack a lonely and armless and defenseless human being; it was actually like this.
At that time, the Islamic Republic had no regular armed forces, nor an organized and regular intelligence body; after all, it was just after [victory of] the revolution [and] everything was in disarray. The only thing that the Islamic Republic possessed was a faithful nation and a charismatic leader like the venerable Imam [Khomeini]; this was the only thing that the nation had. In the middle of the war, this very country of France provided Iraq with its most advanced airplanes and helicopters; this very country of Germany provided Saddam’s regime with chemical and toxic material, so that, it would be able to use chemical substances in war fronts.
These [countries] that today criticize that given group [or] that given country on charges of using chemical material [in warfare], they officially [and] openly put chemical substances at the disposal of Saddam, so that, he would make chemical bombs, make chemical weapons and use them in war fronts and he used them, and after the lapse of [almost] 30 years from the end of the war – about 29 years have passed since the war ended – we still have people among our [former] combatants, and their number is not low, who are afflicted [and] are suffering because of chemical contaminations of that time [and] many have been martyred in this way. The British helped, Americans helped, their war maps and satellites helped [Iraq], [and] all evil systems of the world helped this selfish, vain, arrogant and wretched devil – that is, Saddam – against the Islamic Republic, so that, a war would be waged and this war would continue and this war would end in his victory. Of course, all these efforts were like an arrow hitting a rock or falling on the ground, and despite all those [efforts], [and despite the fact that] they did their utmost to take control of a handspan of the Islamic Republic’s soil, they failed. During eight years [of the Iraqi imposed war] the Iranian nation overcame all these powers. This is that first point [about the war]; this was the [main] cause of the war.
But [let us also talk about] the quality of war and the types of defense [mechanism] that were used by our combatants in the war front. None of you dear ones remember the period of the [Iraqi imposed] war. Of course, you naturally know some of the personalities [who are related to the war], [and] have read books about them. I recommend that you read these books that have been written about these dear and sublime and lasting, and in fact, exceptional figures. Read these books [to know that] the type of our defense was an extraordinary defense. It was accompanied with strong resolve and determination, [and] our battlefields were overflowed with firm determination and resolve and decision. [Our defense was accompanied] with faith; I mean, faith in one being on the path of truth and the enemy being evil; this is very important. In an arena, if that person who is fighting has faith, that is, [if he] believes in himself being on the path of truth, [and] believes in rightfulness of this path, it would help him advance. If this faith is the faith in Allah, [and] faith in the Occult, it would be extraordinary. This is the same factor, which brought those victories to Muslims in early years [after the advent] of Islam. This happened in our time as well. There was resolve, there was faith, [and] there was sacrifice [in our war fronts]. Sacrifice is the result of that faith; that is, laying down their lives was nothing to them. I mean, they were really ready to lay down their lives on the path of God and on the path of jihad in the way of Allah; [this is the ultimate degree of] sacrifice. These [books of] memoirs, which are written, are full of sacrificial events, which are really lessons for all of us. Whenever I read one of these books – [and] I read many [of them] – I really feel belittled within me by this grandeur existing in these steps [that our combatants took] and in these sacrifices. 
And innovation [was another feature of our defense]. [Another] feature of the Sacred Defense was the spirit of innovation and taking new steps – and if you have noted, you would have seen – that [our combatants] went beyond conventional traditions of many of the world’s armies – which for example, had great experience and passed [many] tests – blazed new trails and discovered new ways. It was really like this. One of the most important issues for our combatants was innovation followed by recourse to spiritualities. War fronts were an oasis of purity and mystic illumination for the normal and ordinary people, when they went there, whether they intended it or not! These were [some] characteristics of our combatants. Therefore, this war, itself, [was like a crucible that] forged humans. I mean, the Sacred Defense helped every one of our normal and ordinary youths – now they included schoolchildren or students or businesspeople or villagers or workers or farmers, [both] educated [and] uneducated – move more and progress more under this test, [and] soar higher in human ranks and [in terms of] elevation of [their] human grade.
How do you think these prominent and important personalities [and] the likes of [such war heroes as] Hemmat, [and] Kharrazi [looked like]? Martyr Hemmat, who is really a legend, or Martyr Kharrazi, who is also a legend, were ordinary youths. It [was] the war [which] turned these [young people] into prominent and great and really memorable characters. [Or consider other war commanders such as] the likes of Bakeri [and] Brunesi. When Master Abdolhossein the Mason, who was not educated, stood up in the war front among combatants and talked – those people who have heard him making speech [know that] – [he talked] like a sage, [and] like a profoundly wise man and convinced his audience. [This is why] the war trains [such prominent] humans. This Sacred Defense with these characteristics, which I mentioned, raises such humans. Chitsaziyan was a teenager boy [when] he went to war, [and in the war front] he turned into a lasting figure, [and] a brilliant star of whose remarks me and the likes of me and you and everybody must take advantage and we do take advantage [of what he said]. Thousands of young people like this were trained in the war front.
These [people] had wisdom and planning. [It would be wrong to] think that they went ahead with no plan, [and] attacked the enemy’s forces haphazardly; no, [it was not like that, because they acted] with plan and with wisdom. The movement of our youths in the war front was a wise and planned movement. They had wisdom and plan, had courage and bravery, [and] were given to sacrifice and worship as well. In the real sense of the word, they were roaring lions [in daytime] in the battlefields and [when] night [fell], they were in the real sense of the word, ascetics and hermits and supplicants [before God] and worshippers; [they were really] lions of the day and worshippers of the night; it was like this. 
Therefore, the Imam issued a message in one of his very profound remarks after one of the early victories [of Iranian forces] – [in the Iranian] year [13]60 (1981) a victory took place, [and it was] retaking of [the Iranian city] of Bostan, which was very important. After a period of retreats and various kinds of defeat, retaking of Bostan was considered a great victory. [Of course, what I say here] is the gist of his remarks, [and] his [complete] comment could be found in the book, [according to] which he said [the greatest victory of the Islamic Revolution] is not to retake that given city [from the enemy], but the greatest victory is to train and raise such young people. This is the greatest victory, [and] this is the truth of the matter. The greatest victory for a country is that young people of that country be both wise and with plan and faithful and hermit and be given to supplication and crying [in worship] and doing acts of worship, and also be given to standing against the enemy, and have insight, so that, despite all this propaganda, which has been launched by the enemy and proxies of the enemy at all times that still continues today, they would not be deceived. When this kind of youths exists in a country, that country would be immune [to any threat].
As I said before, you are [those who determine] the future of the country and set its future course. If you train and raise yourselves with such characteristics, you would attain the climax of sublimation and perfection in all aspects [of your life], not in the far future, but in the near future. You will reach the highest point both in scientific terms, and in material terms, and in political terms, and in economic terms; young people are like this.
This is the identity of the Sacred Defense. This war came into being due to hostility of powerful global enemies and the grandeur and sacrifice of our youths ended this war in our favor. They started the war with the intent of totally eradicating the Islamic Revolution and these [Iranian youths] entered the arena with this spirit and did something that the Islamic Revolution became more powerful and ran its roots deeper on a daily basis, and the Islamic Republic establishment became stronger; this is the identity of the Sacred Defense. This identity must be preserved, this [identity] must be safeguarded. What you do, [and] the movement of Rahiyan-e Nour [convoys] from across the country, [and] these several million people, including old and young, who move every year and go in this direction, is in fact one of the manifestations of [your effort for] safeguarding that brilliant period [of Iran's history] and this illuminated truth; that is, the truth of the Sacred Defense.
Well, forty years have passed since victory of the revolution and you are not older than 18 years and 20 years and 25 years and so on. They (enemies) expected and wanted that when this generation, that is, your generation, takes charge [of the country’s affairs] and it becomes your turn, nothing would be left of Islam and the revolution in this country so that the Americans, the powerful [countries] of the world, and the Zionist capitalists would be in control of the policy of this country, the identity of this nation, [and] everything [else] in this country. This is what they expected, they started the struggle [against the Islamic establishment] with this intention, they waged the war with this intention, [and] they continued their soft and hard attacks after the war up to the present day with this intention. Now, what has been the result [of all their efforts]? The result was that among this generation there are people whose talent for growth and maturity is more than the first [post-revolution] generation and their power in the face of the evil enemy and the aggressor and invading enemy is more and, without a doubt, if at that time, our youths managed to push the enemy back, today, our youths are much more prepared to push the enemy back. They used deception, they made plans while Islam and the Islamic Republic and the divine will undid their plans, [and] God willing, will [continue to] undo [their plans] on a daily basis. Good youths, be prepared!
Let me give some recommendations about Rahiyan-e Noor [convoys]. First of all, all [governmental] organs must help this movement for their turn. All various organs in the country, which can help this movement, [should] help. Of course, as they have said in this report, well, some organs are helping very well, but it is believed that this work must draw attention of all the country’s organs. The next point is that they must bolster the cultural and social aspects of Rahiyan-e Noor as much as possible. [They must] look [and see] how cultural depth can be really realized in this huge popular movement, then pursue [the achievement of this goal] and follow up on it. Another recommendation is about narrators [who explain the events of the Sacred Defense to visitors]. Those people, who are narrators of events in regions visited by Rahiyan-e Noor for these travelers and other people who go [there], must be totally honest in their narration. I am opposed to exaggeration and overstatement and the likes of these; there is no need for us to exaggerate, [because] what has happened [in reality] is honorable and motivating and attracting enough and it is not necessary for us to add something to it. Sometimes, it is heard that the role of divine assistance [in the Sacred Defense] is exaggerated in a way that is characteristic of laypeople. Well, divine assistance was certainly there, I was a witness to it, [and] I know that divine assistance existed. However, divine assistance was not in the way that laypeople sometimes imagine. The Almighty God definitely helps [those who fight for His cause]. The Almighty God ordered his angels in the Battle of Badr [in the early years of Islam] to go and support those who were doing jihad on the path of God, [and] help them. The Almighty God does this everywhere for devout people, but when explaining this issue, we must not use exaggeration and overstatement and the likes of these.
The prominent events in the period of the Sacred Defense [must] become part of school textbooks. Prominent and certain events, which have taken place [during the Sacred Defense] must be transferred to textbooks, so that, our young people would be informed of these events. Well, many books have been written [on the Sacred Defense]; some of [these] books are thick, are detailed [and] many people may not read them. Parts of them can be taken out and inserted at various places in textbooks as is deemed suitable. 
Making sure about safety of dear travelers is also one of those necessary things to which attention must be paid; those brethren who are responsible [for these convoys] pay attention to this [issue].
Know that with this movement of Rahiyan-e Noor, [and] with these motivations that one sees in various arenas among the young people of this country, just in the same way that the enemy has not been able to do anything against the Iranian nation in these [past] forty years, through divine assistance, it will not be able to do any damn thing after this either. Yes, they take bothersome steps, [and] take irritating steps [such as imposing] sanctions, [causing] economic problems [for Iran], [and] embarking on various [anti-Iran] propaganda. They do such things, [and] these steps bother our nation, but do not make it stop. When resolve is strong, when decisions are serious to move ahead, [and] to progress, [and] when young people are endowed with necessary insight and know the enemy that is in front of them, make no mistake in recognizing the enemy, and do not weaken the determination for countering the enemy within themselves, [then] the enemy would not be able to make a move, the enemy would not be able to deal a blow, [and] the enemy would not be able to bring this huge movement to a halt.
I hope, God willing, you dear youths would be able to take this country to the pinnacle of honor and might in the future when the affairs of this country fall in your hands.
Peace be unto you and so may the mercy of Allah and His blessings