I wish to raise some points about the Sacred Defense. Of course, many of them have already been discussed, but they should be repeated again because as I said, the forces of distortion are after casting doubts.
The victory of the Islamic Republic, the defeat of the enemy
The first point is that as I said, the enemy waged the war with the purpose of overthrowing the Islamic Republic and the Islamic government, replacing it with a weak and docile government, thus re-dominating the country, but the enemy failed. So, a very fundamental and important point on which some people are casting a doubt – whether Iran achieved victory in the war or not – is that the Islamic Republic’s victory in the imposed war is as clear as the existence of the sun. The entire power structure of the world launched an all-out attack in order to overthrow our country’s political system, achieve domination over it and disintegrate its lands – they wanted to disintegrate some western and southwestern areas of the country – and they utilized all their power in order to do so, but they could not do a damn thing in the end! Is there a victory superior to this? Is this not a victory? The Iranian nation achieved a brilliant victory.
First of all, they could not separate one single inch of the country. Secondly, they failed to make the Revolution and the Islamic Republic take even one step backwards. After the end of the war – after those eight years – the Islamic Republic was much stronger and much more capable than before the war and it proved to be even stronger and more enthusiastic. These are the astounding victories that were achieved. In the wars waged during the era of kings and taghuts in the past one, two centuries, Iran had always suffered a defeat. This happened both during Qajar and Pahlavi eras. It even happened in the war in which Iran announced its neutrality. Both during the first and second world wars, Iran announced its neutrality, but the country was occupied in both wars! The first occurred in the time of the Qajar dynasty and the second, in the time of the Pahlavi dynasty. In World War II, American and Soviet forces marched on the streets of Tehran and committed corrupt actions in front of the people’s eyes. Some parts of the country in the north and in the south were occupied by those forces and they had direct presence. Then, the rulers of those three countries held a meeting in Iran without any permission or visa, unbeknown to the rulers of Iran – in other words, the incompetent king and the stupid and incapable entourage. Mohammad Reza Shah of Iran participated in their meeting, but they humiliated him. In the meeting between the three rulers, with the Shah entering later, two of them – Churchill and Roosevelt – did not stand up to show him respect. Only Stalin stood up. Later on, the communists quoted Stalin in their memoirs as saying that because the others ignored him, Stalin stood up in order to appeal to him. This was the country’s situation. The enemy would show his presence easily. In the wars with Russia, the Caucasus was ceded. And during English mischiefs in Bushehr, southern parts and Persian Gulf, we received serious blows. This was true of all wars. No victory was achieved in them.
However, in the Islamic Republic era, the glorious country of Iran managed to stand up against the powerful world gathered against it – the east, the west, Europe, the US, the Soviet Union, reactionary countries and everyone else – and it managed to achieve victory. This is the first point which is a very important one and which is part of our national identity. When it is sometimes said, and correctly so, that the Sacred Defense Era is part of our national identity, this is because it was the manifestation of the Iranian people’s lofty and outstanding identity as they succeeded in winning in the war.
The Holy Defense, one of the most rational movements of the Iranian nation
The second point is that the Sacred Defense was one of the most rational events for the Iranian nation. Some people accuse the people active in the Sacred Defense of lacking insight, citing some mistake made here and there by a group of people. This is not the case in any way. The actions done during the Sacred Defense were intelligent and rational from start to finish. In the beginning, the speeches made by Imam or others indicated the right decision to enter into that arena. After that, we witnessed cooperation between the Guards Corps and the Army. Notice that this is a very important matter. In those days, the Army was a traditional and well-established organization in the country and the Guards Corps was a young newcomer in the revolutionary arena. It was necessary for them to work together, something that was not easy, but it happened.
Of course, when Bani-Sadr fled the country, this happened in a better and more complete manner, but it existed before that too. I myself witnessed in Abu-Dhar Base that the late Shahid Pichak was the second-in-command to the Army commander of that base whose name I do not remember. A Guards Corps commander was the second-in-command to an Army Commander. They would work and live together. In the western part of the country, the Abu-Dhar Base was a sensitive place as they were in charge of a large section of the war. When the new development took place – Bani Sadr fleeing the country and Imam undertaking the responsibility to command the Armed Forces – the cooperation between the Army and the Guards Corps became even clearer. This cooperation showed itself in the Imam Ridha Operation, during lifting the siege of Abadan, in Fath-ul Mobin, in Bayt-ul Moqaddas, in Khaybar, Badr and other operations. It was a great achievement. What wiser and more reasonable course of action can one find? We could also refer to innovative and courageous tactics which were really extraordinary. For example, we can refer to the tactics utilized in the Fath-ul Mobin Operation during which the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic managed to attack and to defeat the enemy camp from behind. Those tactics were really innovative. During the Bayt-ul Moqaddas Operation, all sorts of tactics were utilized. In an aerial defense during the Val-Fajr-8 Operation, Shahid Sattari created a marvelously innovative feat in the space of a few days. In the same operation, another great feat was achieved when passing through the Arvand River. All these were intelligent, great and rational actions.
Few armed forces can achieve the purpose with such mental capability and such spiritual power. Even, accepting the terms of the resolution at the end of the war was a wise course of action in circumstances described by Imam as "drinking a cup of poison”. At that time, it was a wise course of action to adopt and it was necessary to do it. If it had not been wise and reasonable, Imam would not have done it. We were witness up close to the developments and we knew that it was a wise measure. Therefore, the issue of the Sacred Defense was a rational phenomenon from start to finish. It was one of the most rational moves made by the Iranian nation and therefore, we should be vigilant about the distortions in this area.
A new model for the presence of the people and the emergence of talents
The third point is that during the Sacred Defense, a new model was presented for popular presence. The way the people participated was extraordinary and on the basis of that presence, talents were cultivated. I will provide brief explanations for each:
First of all, all the people of Iran – everyone who was willing to participate in that arena – managed to find their place through a lively, efficient, volunteer-based and enthusiastic network. For example, a thirteen, fourteen-year-old solider who had joined the frontlines by tampering with their identification card knew where his place was. He could find his place in order not to be idle. For example, he was charged with bringing water, sending messages as a courier and other such duties.
The same was true of a seventy-year-old man who would join the frontlines. He too would be able to find his role. It was completely clear what role an old man would fulfill and thus, no one would remain idle. Neither that thirteen-year-old boy nor that seventy-year-old man would remain idle. As for eight, nine, ten-year-old girls at school who wished to have a share in that endeavor, they too would find their place. They would embark on writing letters to unknown soldiers and they would send the letters by putting them inside food packages and other popular gifts. It happened frequently that when soldiers in the frontlines opened food packages, they found these letters in which a seven, eight, ten-year-old girl had written, "Dear brother in the army, you are struggling hard. I pray for you…” and so on and so forth. In other words, a little girl was also able to participate. Honorable ladies too could provide supplies for the frontlines with their sewing machine, their food, their jams, their pickles, their bread and doing the laundry.
Once, I paid a visit to Ahwaz and I saw a group of ladies – honorable ladies – gathering somewhere and washing the soldiers’ dirty clothes. This signifies that everyone was able to find their place and to help. Surgeons could also show their presence and they did so, as we were witness. Small businesspeople, the clergy in mosques, workers in factories, poets, panegyrists, drivers, entrepreneurs, welders, rural farmers, employees in government bureaus and all kinds of other people could participate in that large network. It was a new model. This is unprecedented in the world. We have not read anywhere about such models, nor have we seen it anywhere. There are many books and movies about various wars and we have read many of them, but such popular cooperation and assistance is completely unprecedented in the world. It was a new model and a new way of creating it. Everyone was able to cooperate, to have a part and to offer their assistance.
And in such collective movements, exceptional talents usually show up. For example, such and such a young man from a village in such and such an area of the country – for example, a village in Kerman – would go to the city and would join the forces and later, he would become a personality like Hajj Qassem Soleimani. So, a great movement was in place. Such and such a young student decided to join the frontlines without having previously held a gun in their hands. And amid the war, he became an outstanding and influential figure in a very strategic military base in the space of a year and a half, for example. We could cite a youth who worked as a journalist in a certain newspaper and who later on, would join the frontlines, turning into a personality like Shahid Hassan Baqeri – a genius in the area of military intelligence - in less than no time. There was no shortage of such astonishing phenomena. Talents were cultivated and eternal personalities and great martyrs were born in the war, some of whom I mentioned.
I used to see some exemplary young officers – notably, Shahid Sayyad whom I knew from early revolutionary days. I think that at that time, he was a young officer with the rank of a lieutenant or a captain. He was in contact with me and we used to see each other. However, he turned into an experienced and competent commander, able to guide and command the Ground Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army for a long time and to participate in the most daring endeavors.
The same is true of Shahid Babai and others. This innovative model of popular presence could always be employed. Today too, we can benefit from this model. If we show determination and look at the people and at our affairs with the right outlook, we could benefit from this paradigm. Of course, war conditions and the economy are different from each other. Thinkers and intellectuals can consider and pursue this model as a means of national power. Should they do so, then the role of the back-up forces will become as significant as the frontlines in this model. This is because not everyone can hold a gun. Interests, dispositions and capabilities are different. Some people can play, as they did play, their part behind the frontlines. Firstly, we should mention that financial assistance and transfer of food was very important and influential. The same is true of attending to the wounded and the glorious act of seeing off [funeral] the martyrs. I have said many times that if martyrs had not received such honor and respect, the thrill of martyrdom would not have blazed the way it did.
Whenever the bodies of martyrs – one or more – entered a city, the people’s presence and warm reception and their act of seeing them off to their resting place was a very important and influential event. Presenting cultural and promotional activities, composing poetry and slogans, nullifying the enemy’s psychological warfare – as the enemy was constantly engaged in psychological warfare and some people in the cities and villages of the country were constantly nullifying them – hosting and accommodating war-stricken people and the people’s decision to stay in their cities – for example, cities like Dezful - while their cities were under heavy bombardment- was really astonishing. One of the glorious acts behind the frontlines was the decision of some people to stay in their cities – cities in Kurdistan, Khuzestan and other provinces. Some people stayed in their cities while they were subject to the heavy and regular invasion of the enemy.
The manifestation of the loftiest moral virtues and spiritual values
The fourth point is that in the Sacred Defense Era, the most exalted virtues showed themselves. Both moral virtues and spiritual transcendence were witnessed during the Sacred Defense. One cannot really find precedents like this. Of course, there are a few examples here and there, but witnessing it in such large and massive numbers is really unprecedented. I know no other arena like the Sacred Defense in which we witnessed such moral characteristics: both moral virtues, and spiritual transcendence, religious qualities and the like. The biographies written indicate the existence of such qualities. The same is true of testaments and other writings about soldiers’ sentiments. Sincerity, honesty and warmth are examples of moral virtues.
Basically, the frontlines were a place where you could easily see sincerity and warmth. Everyone had a friendly relationship with others. They had purity and worked for God. In that arena, some people practiced sincerity and showed their divine intentions in action. They also exhibited humility and a spirit of serving others. We have frequently read in biographies astonishing events narrated by soldiers: for example, such and such a battalion were sleeping in their tents and when they woke up in the morning, they saw that all their boots had been polished. Who had polished them? It is not clear. After doing some research, it becomes clear that their commander had collected their boots and then polished them, or that he washed their dirty clothes or that he had washed the toilets. These are astonishing events. Such was their humility and their spirit of rendering service, doing altruistic things and sacrificing themselves.
We can also refer to their spiritual qualities, their midnight tears, their dawn prayers, their monotheistic enthusiasm and love, and their indifference to material trifles and in certain cases, we witnessed their connection with alam-al ghayb [the Unseen World]. Some of those dear ones and those mystic youth – mystic in the true sense of the word – had developed such spirituality in the frontlines that they could see and predict the future. They could see their martyrdom, the martyrdom of their comrades and the event that would happen. These points exist in soldiers’ biographies and they are really important.
Of course, it is evident that the last point existed, more than the others, thanks to Islam. Of course, prominence in other areas existed thanks to religious faith as well, but in particular, the last point originated from entrusting one’s heart to God, to Islam and to religious faith. One becomes really astonished at the effect of such deep faith. For example, martyrs’ mothers had such deep faith. Well, you and I do not understand motherly affection at all. No one except for mothers themselves can really understand motherly feelings. However, these mothers sent their youth to the frontlines. When their children went to them to ask for their permission, they responded, "Because you are going there for the sake of Islam, you may go.” When they brought them the bodies of their youth, they expressed their joy at having offered them in the way of God. They said, "I have offered my son in the way of God.”
I have thankfully had the blessing to regularly and frequently meet with the families of martyrs – with their mothers and fathers. I witnessed that the mothers of martyrs had an astonishing spirit and sense of altruism, which was truly great to an immeasurable extent. This would not have happened if it had not been for Islam and for a great spirit of self-sacrifice – which constitutes a brilliant chapter in the voluminous book of the Sacred Defense. This is another point.
The Sacred Defense generated an investment for the country
The fifth point is that the Sacred Defense Era stimulated investment for the country and it engendered valuable assets for the country. The fruits of the Sacred Defense are many. First of all, the security of the country was achieved thanks to the Sacred Defense. In other words, the Sacred Defense showed that one should pay a very high price for attacking and transgressing against our country. This was proved thanks to the Sacred Defense. This ensures the security of the country. When a nation shows that it has the determination and power to defend itself and to reciprocate aggressors’ aggression, this makes transgressors hesitate before launching an attack on this country and if they wish to act intelligently, they understand that it is not in their best interest as they would have to pay a very high price. Our security originates from this.
Secondly, the Sacred Defense gave self-confidence to our nation. The confidence that you sometimes witness in a large number of our people in the arena of science and many other arenas – industry and other such areas – originates primarily from the Sacred Defense. During the war, a 20-plus-year-old could rally a crowd and an army behind himself with complete power and self-confidence and he would deliver a serious blow to the enemy. Well, such things give self-confidence and assurance to the people. The Sacred Defense succeeded in proving that the Iranian nation would be able to pass through the morass of an imposed war with honor.
Moreover, we achieved our movement towards technological and scientific innovation during the Sacred Defense Era. This is because we needed many things during the Sacred Defense, but we did not have access to them. We did not have the necessary resources, but our pious and altruistic forces thought of building and manufacturing them. For example, the late Shahid Hassan Tehrani Moqaddam launched the missile manufacturing endeavor. Once, he as well as others asked us to go and pay a visit to their achievements. Well, we went there and witnessed that they had really begun the endeavor. Well, we needed missiles, but they would not give them to us. The enemy had missiles and he would strike us with them. This made our talented forces think of doing something. And they did a brilliant job. They did it in the best way possible which has continued until the present time. So, the movement towards innovation was another blessing of it.
Another lesson taught to us by the Sacred Defense was venturing into things that seemed impossible. The Sacred Defense generated this investment for us by teaching us that although certain things seem impossible if we show determination, they will become possible. We learned this in the Sacred Defense Era. This is another one of our assets.
It also bolstered our human resources. Fortunately, countless personalities among the individuals present during the eight-year Sacred Defense Era would later on – today, yesterday, and tomorrow by Allah’s favor – become engaged in rendering services in various parts and areas of the country. An example of these personalities is our dear Shahid Soleimani who had a brilliant performance in the arena of diplomacy, international affairs and the like. Our friends, our pious brothers and the dear people of Iran are not fully informed yet about the scope of Shahid Soleimani’s activities. They are aware of things like his presence in such and such a front, but details and delicacies of his work exceed these things. In the future, the subtleties and delicacies of his activities might gradually become clear, God willing. This was a human resource created in the war. In other words, the likes of Shahid Soleimani were molded and shaped in the war and during the Sacred Defense Era. This was another point.
Removing the false facade and exposing the reality of Western civilization
Another point about the Sacred Defense is that it familiarized us with the embellished nature and reality of the western civilization. Of course, because the Iranian nation had previously come to harm at the hands of westerners – the English in one way and the Americans in another way – they were aware of their nature to some extent, but not as much as what they learned about westerners in the Sacred Defense.
Of course, the Iranian nation had witnessed western governments’ hostility and treachery in many incidents such as the occupation of parts of the country after World War I and World War II and the English’s mischief and malice in the south – in Bushehr, in Persian Gulf areas on the issue of the war between Iran and some other powers and also on the issue of Afghanistan. They had witnessed the treachery of western governments, but not as much as what they saw in the Sacred Defense Era. What was seen during the Sacred Defense Era was not less if not more than what we saw in westerners throughout the course of many years. It either equals or even exceeds it. The West was against us with its two faces: not only the capitalist west, but also the communist west. This is because communism is also one of the products of the west. It was against us with its two facets. England, France, Germany and even Yugoslavia, which was a country in the eastern bloc, moved against us. As for the Soviet Union, it was clear. In other words, all westerners had deprived us of the slightest resources and weapons. They really deprived us of the slightest resources. We had nothing coming from the outside. We did not even have light weapons and small ammunitions.
However, they would give everything to the other side. They gave him Mirage to bombard us, Super Etendard for striking our ships as well as giving him satellite information on the movement of our forces and the places where they stated. Their assistance to the Iraqis ranged from money to tanks, chemical weapons and all sorts of other things. They even gave him chemical weapons and Saddam used them against us. He also used them against his own nation. In Halabja, he used chemical weapons and in our country too, he used them many times. In other words, the West and Europe violated and trampled upon all their philanthropic and human rights claims in their interaction with the Iraqis. They invalidated all their claims by defending the corrupt, dictatorial and anti-human regime of Saddam. Having a deep understanding about these matters is very precious to us. We should really know who westerners are and we should decide, think and work accordingly.
Revealing the abilities and capacities of the Iranian nation to the world
The last point that I want to raise is that a great incident occurred in the Sacred Defense Era: the fact that it revealed the capabilities and capacities of the Iranian nation to the whole world. In other words, it turned into a medium. All media in the world were against us. Global media were against the Revolution. Of course, the same situation exists today. It was also the case at that time. In the beginning of the Revolution, official media in the world either lied, denied our strong points or slandered everyone including Imam, the government of the Islamic Republic, the masses of the people, the judiciary branch, the Armed Forces and everyone else. They worked continuously against them and they wanted to portray the Iranian nation as bad people in the eyes of people all over the world.
The Sacred Defense turned into a completely loud medium for displaying certain truths about the Iranian nation. It enhanced the Iranian nation’s reputation and it showed the nation’s courage and resistance to the whole world. It was a really astonishing and important event. It showed our national solidarity. It exhibited our capabilities behind the frontlines to the world and everyone was informed about them. And it also revealed the enemy’s lies. These were a few points about the Sacred Defense.