Death to America means death to ...

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on February 8, 2019 by Ayatollah Khamenei
محمدرضا دانشی پور    20 اسفند 1397    روابط بین الملل    2971

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on February 8, 2019 (Bahman 19th) by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, during an assembly with commanders and personnel of the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army.

The assembly was held in the Imam Khomeini Hussainiyah in commemoration of the Air Force officers’ historic pledge of allegiance to Imam Khomeini on the 8th of February of 1979.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Al-Mustafa Muhammad, and upon his pure, immaculate and infallible household

You are very welcome, my dear ones and you youth and honorable officials of the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army.

This annual meeting with you is a source of joy for me in the true sense of the word. In this meeting, I see young, hopeful, happy and promising faces. Wherever you are, your presence is a source of hope and a great blessing bestowed by God.

I thank the honorable commander for his heartening statements. The tasks mentioned in his short report include important matters. However, they need to be pursued and followed up. It is one issue to launch a movement, but it is quite another to pursue and continue it, which is a very important issue.

Also, I would like to thank our dear chorus singers. Both their poem and their song were very beautiful. I hope that you will be successful, God willing.

Dear ones, I will tell you that one of the blessings that God bestowed on our nation was that the country’s army stood by the people.

This was a very great blessing. During the Revolution, if the army had not accompanied and assisted the people, things would have been different, and unusual problems would have occurred.

The commanders of the army and the body of the army were completely different from each other. Each of the army forces played their part. I would like to briefly discuss the role of the Air Force.

The Air Force played a very prominent role. The first role that the Air Force played regarding the Revolution was the event of the 19th of Bahman. The 19th of Bahman was like the Revolution itself.

The Revolution was astonishing and so was the 19th of Bahman. When the youth at the Air Force – some of them were officers, some had high ranks and some were homafars [technical officers]- were rallying on the street, I was present there.

I saw them from one of the buildings where we were working and I went to the place where Imam was present. Later on, the youth at the air force came there and the rest is history. It was astonishing in the real sense of the word.

That event disappointed the enemy and weakened his morale to a great extent and it also gladdened the revolutionaries and boosted their morale substantially. It was really astonishing.

Indeed, the emergence of those groups of people from the Air Force – overall, they were comprised of several companies – who showed their presence at the school and who performed a song and sent their greetings to Imam was an unimaginable source of sustenance for the Revolution, for revolutionary fighters and for our magnanimous Imam:

 “And for those who fear Allah, He prepares a way out, and He provides for him from sources he never could imagine” [The Holy Quran, 65: 2-3]. It was truly a provision “from sources he never could imagine.” This was the first phase.

The next phase was the incident that occurred on the eve of the 21st of Bahman. This incident is discussed less frequently.

On the eve of the 21st of Bahman, the Air Force was attacked by tanks in retaliation for the former incident. Of course, the people rushed to their help. They also stood firm and gave the weapons inside army warehouses to the people.

They armed the people and they vanquished the enemy. Weapons, bodies and self-sacrifices overcame tanks, and the extremely enraged forces of the regime which had targeted the youth at the Air Force. This was another phase.

I remember that night completely. The youth of the country were marching on the streets – including on Iran Street where we ourselves were present – shouting, “They are massacring the Air Force. People, pour onto the streets!” And they would chant other such slogans. And the youth rushed to their help. This was another phase.

Another phase was the issue of revealing the coup organized at a base in Hamedan – the Shahid Noje Airbase. There too, the plot was revealed by an Air Force officer. A young officer who was a pilot at the Air Force – later on, I would meet that officer in the war who would become a disabled war veteran – came to my house at dawn, telling me about the matter and what they had planned. However, we could not believe it.

The young man had sweated hard to reach Imam in the dead of night – this is a long story – but he had failed to do so. They said to him that he should come visit me. So, he came to me and recounted the story. He was exhausted and afraid.

I summoned some people from intelligence and discussed the matter with them and they pursued the matter.

The day after that, the coup was supposed to be carried out in Tehran, but a youth from the Air Force foiled all their plots. These are parts of our history. The history of the Revolution and revolutionary incidents and the history of the astonishing roles manifested in the Revolution is unfortunately unknown to many individuals.

I put this down to the Air Force because it was that force which carried out that great feat.

Another issue is about the jihad of self-sufficiency. That was an innovation introduced by the Air Force.

At that time, I was working at the Ministry of Defense and I was busy attending to military affairs on behalf of the Revolutionary Council.

That proposal was not put forward by us, rather it was they who said that they were capable of establishing an organization under the name of the jihad of self-sufficiency.

The naming was theirs as well.

We ratified, supported and approved it, but the task would be carried out by the youth at the Air Force.

Among them, there were officers and homafars. They formed a group and began to launch the jihad of self-sufficiency in the Army.

The technical experts among you know what great tasks were accomplished by the jihad of self-sufficiency in the course of these past decades.

This is another work by and another characteristic of the Air Force.

Another issue is that the first counter-attack in the imposed war was made by the Air Force. On the second day of war- well on the first day it was they who attacked- it was the day after that or two days later that the Air Force attacked Baghdad and Iraq with that astonishing number of sorties with the result that everyone was very surprised. The enemy did not expect that.

Our resources were extremely limited. They were very limited.

We did not have an ounce of resources and ammunitions. Of course, we had resources, but we did not know about them. Our commanders were not yet ready to use them. Nonetheless, they attacked a large number of – about 140 – sorties or even more in the course of one day.

They went to Iraq and in response to the bombardment of our airports, they struck theirs. Therefore, the first counter-attack in the course of the imposed war was made by the Army and the Air Force.

In the course of the war too, one example of what the Army did is Operation Val Fajr-8. May God have mercy on Shahid Sattari. At that time, Shahid Sattari was a technical officer. He was a technical officer at the Air Force.

He was not a commander yet. He acted in a way during the operation Val Fajr-8 that our soldiers managed to cross the Arvand River and capture Faw. His role was very outstanding in those important events which really stirred the world. There, Shahid Sattari and his colleagues lost sleep for several days. They would constantly move those defensive weapons here and there.

They would constantly shoot down airplanes and would switch their places so that they would not be targeted.

They accomplished an indescribable feat.

Writers, eloquent individuals and choruses should recite and write about these events. These are great tasks which have been carried out.

Most of our people – our youth – do not know what happened at that time. One example of that is Val Fajr-8. There are other examples as well.

Another important task was building airplanes. The first fighter plane in the country was built by the Air Force.

I went there and visited that location. They made some changes to the fighters already available to us and thus, building two-cabin fighter planes was initiated inside the country.

This was carried out at the Air Force, which was an important achievement. And this continued to be the case until quite recently.

The last example is supporting the defenders of the holy shrines: an astonishing endeavor. This was another great task which was carried out.

Well, this is only one part of our youth’s past. Many of you who are listening to these statements did not see those days. You were not born yet, but this has happened. This is your history.

This is your past. This is your identity.

You should preserve this identity as much as you can. This is what I want to say.

What I want to say is that the most important task – all the things that I just mentioned and even ten times more than that result from this – is building humans and human resources: strengthening the identity and personality of a group and the people who form that group. This is the most important thing.

You should build individuals.

At the Air Force, a youth like Shahid Babai was cultivated. A youth like Shahid Sattari was cultivated there and there are many other martyrs – great martyrs – and all these were achieved thanks to the Revolution. In the taghuti regime talents existed, but they would not materialize.

What managed to turn copper into gold, what managed to completely change individuals and turn them into such outstanding personalities was the Islamic Revolution and the great movement of the Iranian nation.

Well, my understanding of the different matters of the country is one which has been fully reflected in my statements. All of you have heard it.

My view is an optimistic one. This does not mean that I am unaware of the events taking place in the country, that I am ignorant about the issue of high prices. These are all clear matters. I receive information and news much more than other places, but when I take an overall look, I see that the Iranian nation has stood against the hostile front of the malicious and deceptive enemy like a hero and an outstanding personality and it knows what they want to do and this is the important point. We know what were are after.

The ideals are clear to us. The goals are clear to us.

The people of Iran have stood behind the Revolution and the Islamic Republic with all their power.

Well, there are some complaints, expectations and instances of dissatisfaction, but these complaints and expectations have not made the Iranian nation turn their backs on independence, dignity and the honor brought about by the Revolution and they will not do so in the future either.

All of us have certain responsibilities on this matter.

This is my description of affairs: think of a mountaineer who is climbing up a difficult pass. He has climbed up an important part of this difficult, slippery, twisty and dangerous pass.

There have been many threats, but he has resisted them and he has gone up because he has to reach the peak.

As long as he does not reach the peak, threats will continue to exist.

However, when he reaches the peak, the threats will be ineffectual.

Everyone should show determination.

This is not particular to the Armed Forces. This is not particular to the Air Force.

This is not particular to some tiers of society, officials and youth.

This is related to everyone.

Everyone, wherever they are, should show determination and work hard.

They should recognize their responsibilities and fill in the boxes of the matrix. The boxes are filled like this:

you carry out your duty and fill in one box, then another person fills in another box and yet another fills in his own box. When the boxes are completed, the task will be accomplished and finalized.

This is the responsibility of everyone.

The enemy’s job is to cause panic. What he does is to cause panic, to intimidate and to make people hopeless.

This is his job which is what Satan does.

And this is not something that has begun today.

This has always been the case, throughout history – in particular, throughout the history of Islam. “It is only the evil one that suggests to you the fear of his votaries.”

This is a Quranic ayah. It is Satan who intimidates his own followers and friends: “Be not afraid of them, but fear Me, if you have faith” [The Holy Quran, 3: 175].

God says that you believers should not be afraid of Satan’s friends and followers and the powers which represent satanic powers, and that you should be afraid of Him alone and of deviating from the straight path.

If someone deviates from the straight path, this is a cause for fear. This is because when you deviate from the straight, proper and correct path, you fall into the desert.

You should be afraid of this, but you should not be afraid of the enemy. You should not be intimidated by him.

There is another ayah which says, “Yet fear them not, but fear Me” [The Holy Quran, 5: 3] and “Men said to them:

‘A great army is gathering against you’ And frightened them, but it only increased their faith.

They said, ‘For us Allah suffices, and He is the best disposer of affairs’” [The Holy Quran, 3: 173].

Notice that Quranic ayahs are lessons for leading a proper life and for making progress.

After the Battle of Uhud, Muslims had suffered the loss of many martyrs.

Someone like Hamzah – the Master of Martyrs – had been martyred.

The same was true of many other individuals.

Many had become wounded and finally, the battle came to an end. So, Muslims returned to Madinah.

Just before entering Madinah – when Muslims were still in Uhud and some individuals were suffering from their wounds and they were unhappy – the enemy thought of attacking again.

At that time, the enemy had been pushed away from Madinah because in the last phase of the battle, Muslims had struck the enemy, pushing him away.

So, the enemy thought of returning and launching a surprise attack because Muslims had returned to Madinah and had laid down their weapons. They wanted to put an end to the battle once and for all. In order to frighten the hearts of Muslims, they spread the rumor that the enemies were about to strike so that the people would be scared.

And what boosted the enemy’s hope was that a large number of Muslims were injured and exhausted. “Men said to them:

‘A great army is gathering against you.’

”The enemy’s agents said to the people that the enemy’s army is waiting outside Madina, waiting to attack you:

“And frightened them.”

They said that Muslims should be afraid because they were about to be ruined.

Later on, the Holy Prophet said that only those who were injured should pick up their swords and move out and that others should not join them. Notice that things are like this.

You who have been injured and wounded and you should pick up your sword and head out.

Some people had become injured and they were believers. They believed in the Holy Prophet and trusted him.

Therefore, they picked up their swords and went outside the city to confront the group of people who had gathered outside Madinah – three, six kilometers away – and they trounced them.

“And they returned with Grace and bounty from Allah.

No harm ever touched them” [The Holy Quran, 3: 174].

First, “They said, ‘For us Allah suffices, and He is the best disposer of affairs.

And then they went to the battle “And they returned with Grace and bounty from Allah.” They returned and brought bounties with them as well.

They defeated the enemy, won bounties and returned with honor. This is the logic of Islam.

He who wants to frighten and disappoint you is Satan. Today, these satans are busy working in radio, on television, cyberspace and social networks in order to frighten you.

However, you should not be afraid:

“Be not afraid of them.”

You should not be scared of them, rather you should be scared of deviating from the path of God because if you deviate from this straight path, our fate will be like the fate of those countries which are under the sovereignty of the US.

Our fate will be like the fate of the Saudi Arabia and of the Shah’s regime. In such regimes, all the resources of the country belong to the enemy and the people are humiliated and defenseless in the face of the enemy.

Well, I feel that the 19th of Bahman gives one a sense of self-determination and power. The 19th of Bahman of that year was the same.

On the 19th of Bahman, the youth from the Air Force who had pledged their allegiance to Imam were threatened.

Well, on that day, there were threats because the taghuti regime still held power. However, they overcame their fears, they trusted God and they refused to be afraid of Satan.

This was not done in secret either.

I remember the event and it is completely in front of my eyes. Many of them took out their identity cards and held them up, saying that this is us: if you want to know us, we are here.

They overcame their fears and did not lose their trust in God.

Today too, this still works for the Iranian nation and for the great movement of the Iranian nation – including you dear ones. Well, the 22nd of Bahman rally will be the same.

Later on, I will raise two, three points about the upcoming rally.

The 22nd of Bahman rally really crushes the enemy in the true sense of the word.

It is the manifestation of national movement. It is 40 years now that the people pour onto the streets every 22nd of Bahman, and not just in Tehran, rather in all the cities of the country.

And not just ten, twenty thousand people, rather huge and massive crowds.

Sometimes, there are crowds which amount to millions of individuals. I believe that this year, this movement will be even more glorious than previous years.

The US regime is the embodiment of malevolence in the true sense of the word.

It is the embodiment of violence. It causes crises and it wages wars. This is not something that has begun in the present time, rather this has been the case throughout all these years, parts of which we were witness to and parts of which we read here and there.

From the beginning – not the very beginning, not the time when the US achieved independence from England, rather a short time after that – their life has been dependent on transgressing against different parts of the world for achieving, protecting and ensuring their interests.

As for nations, they are not important at all.

They can be trampled upon by others. The US is the embodiment of evil.

That is while this regime insults the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation. They complain why the Iranian nation says, “Death to America.

First of all, I should clarify this about American leaders:

“Death to America” means “Death to Trump, John Bolton and Pompeo.”

Death to these individuals means death to American leaders.

We have nothing to do with the American people.

“Death to America” means death to you who are a bunch of individuals and the group of individuals who are running your country. 

In this current term, these few individuals are there and in other terms, other individuals will replace them.

The issue is not about the American people. Secondly, as long as the US government and regime continues the same malevolence, interference, evil and malice in its actions, this “Death to America” will continue to be heard from the people of Iran!

Well, these days, there is talk of the Europeans and their proposals in the country.

My advice is that we should not trust the Europeans either.

As for the US, two, three years before the discussions about nuclear negotiations, I used to constantly say to officials – both in private and public meetings – that I do not trust the US.

You should not trust them.

You should not believe them.

You should not trust their words, their promises, their signatures and their smiles.

They are not trustworthy.

Well, now the result is that those officials who used to negotiate in those days are saying today that the US is not trustworthy.

Well, they should have known about this untrustworthiness from the beginning and then they could have moved forward! Today, I am saying that the Europeans are not trustworthy.

I am not saying that you should not establish relations with them when it comes to the affairs of the country.

After all, we are a government and a system which is thankfully powerful and capable. The issue is not this.

The issue is that you should adopt a skeptical outlook towards them as they are not committed to anything.

Notice that they are blinding their own people on the streets of Paris! The people demonstrating on the streets of Paris are attacked by the armed forces of the French government and many of whom lose their eyesight!

They treat their people like this, but they ask us to respect human rights.

Well, what is it to you?

What is your claim on human rights which entitles you to question another nation about it?

Do you have any idea about human rights?

They have no idea about human rights!

This is not just the case today, nor was it the case in the past and throughout their history.

They are like this.

They request and demand something in a completely shameless manner and they use a very selfish and arrogant tone. They cannot be trusted and respected because they are like this.

We have witnessed this many times on different matters.

France, England, this country and that country are all like this, but in different ways.

Their behavior is like this. Of course, we have relations with the whole world except for a few exceptions.

And we will continue to do so, but we should know exactly whom we are faced with, negotiating with and signing a contract with and over what.

This was another matter that needed to be discussed.

As for the rally, the 22nd of Bahman rally is one of the wonders of the Islamic Revolution.

It is really wonderful like the Revolution itself. We used to see the annual celebration of revolutions in the world on television – the ones which had conducted a revolution and which would hold annual celebrations for it.

In such countries, a few individuals stand at a podium and the armed forces march past them and that is it! The whole celebration is confined to that.

However in our country, the people pour onto the streets for several hours in the dead of winter – such was the Iranian nation’s luck that their Revolution was conducted in Bahman during which time the weather is cold and it snows and rains.

These large crowds of the people walk on the streets and listen to speeches and this has continued for 40 years!

The issue is not about one, two years. This is the 40th year.

Well, this in itself is a miracle and one of the wonders of the Great Islamic Revolution.

So, this should continue with the utmost power because this breaks the enemy and it intimidates him.

The 22nd of Bahman rally is a manifestation of national determination.

It shows the determination of the Iranian nation. It is a representation of the public presence of the people of Iran on the scene. The presence of the nation shatters the enemy.

This presence on the 22nd of Bahman shows the presence of the majority.

It represents national unity:

national unity! There are differences of opinion, but when it comes to the Revolution, the 22nd of Bahman and the Islamic Republic, these differences fade away and everyone stands next to one another.

I would like to offer a word of advice here.

Sometimes, it is witnessed in the 22nd of Bahman rally that some people who dislike one another decide to chant slogans against one another. This is not appropriate.

There are some differences.

For different reasons, you have disagreements with such and such officials, managers and individuals.

Very well, there is nothing wrong with this, but the 22nd of Bahman rally is not the arena where you should settle your account with them.

This is my advice to everyone.

Everyone should be careful. You can chant your slogans and do your job.

You can preserve your ground if it is reasonable, but you should not use the rally as an arena where you can show your dissatisfaction, conflict and the like.

You should allow this great movement – which is a manifestation of national determination, national presence and national unity –to continue with the same grandeur.

My dear ones, the future of the Iranian nation will be much better than the present time. And the future of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic will be much better than present time conditions.

And the future of you dear ones – who are to step into your predecessors’ shoes and move better than they did – will be much better than your present-day conditions.

All of you should rely on God and work hard. All of you, wherever you are, should have a sense of responsibility and carry out your duties. Allah the Exalted will look at you kindly and He will open the path ahead of you, God willing.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings

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