Supreme Leader Speaks to Graduating Army Cadets
When Islam’s liberating call is let out and when Islam raises its flag, its gravity attracts the world….
OE Watch Commentary: Many revolutions lose their fervor over time as the reality of governance begins to favor pragmatism over ideology. While ordinary Iranians may long ago have shifted their focus from creating a perfect Islamic republic to instead putting food on the table for their families, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei remains as fervent as ever, and continues to use his leadership position to preach that religion, ideology, and military power must be interwoven.
Khamenei’s speech, excerpted here, to graduating cadets at Imam Ali University, a main training center for the Qods Force, suggests that he still envisions the Islamic Republic’s military—not only Revolutionary Guards but also regular army—as a force meant not only to defend, but also to engage more broadly in the Islamic world.
At the same time, Khamenei’s comments illustrate a world view very much in line with a “conflict of civilizations” rather than a “dialogue of civilizations” about which former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami once spoke. He interprets the “Arab Spring” uprisings not as local movements for greater accountability and democracy, but rather as Islamist movements battling against the secularism of Arab presidents. That so many Islamist movements have failed—in Egypt and Tunisia in particular—is proof to Khamenei not of the lack of attractiveness of the Iranian model, but rather Western plots to undercut Islam. Here, Khamenei’s rhetoric parallels that of many Sunni Islamist thinkers, such as the late Abdullah ‘Azzam (Usama Bin Laden’s mentor) and the Muslim Brotherhood, in arguing that Western culture is a deliberate plot to undercut and undermine Islam.
While Western officials might compartmentalize their problems with the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iranian diplomats might also limit their diplomacy to specific issues such as Iran’s nuclear program, for the Iranian Supreme Leader, the problem between Iran and the West is not a particular grievance, but rather a broader conflict between religion and culture. End OE Watch Commentary (Rubin)
Source: “Biyanat dar Hashtamin Marasam-e Danesh Amukhtegi Daneshjuyan-e Daneshgah-ha-ye Afsari Artesh” (Remarks to the Eighth Graduation Ceremony for Cadets of the Army University),, 17 November 2014.
Supreme Leader’s Remarks to Army Cadets
Today, the world of Islam or rather the entire world of humanity, needs your Islamic message and the message of the people of Iran. Today, the world is faced with many events which have taken place because of selfishness and greed. With the existence of new, destructive and deadly instruments, today the world is in the hands of those people who understand nothing except for their personal and collective temptations. They do not understand what virtue is and they know nothing about human values and principles.
In such a world, when Islam’s liberating call is let out and when Islam raises its flag, its gravity attracts the world and today, Islam has done this. Of course, the enemies react to this so that they can damage the reputation of Islam. They use art, the military, politics and all possible tools in order to achieve this goal.
Today, one of the important and fundamental tasks which is carried out in well-known art and entertainment institutions in the world is frightening people of Islam. Why is that? If Islam had not threatened the interests of those who swallow the world, these reactions would not have been produced. When you see that they create, sculpt, arm and support certain groups in the name of Islam and the Islamic government and when you see that they use them to kill people and create insecurity in countries, this indicates the influence of Islam’s message.