Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, in a meeting on Saturday with a group of professors, scientific elites and researchers from universities, science and technology parks, as well as scientific and research centers, sketched out the Islamic Republic’s 20-year objectives for turning into a “powerful, dignified, independent, religious, rich, and justice-oriented” Iran “endowed with a popular, clean, industrious, compassionate and pious government.” Noting that universities set the foundation for the achievement of such lofty goals, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution said: “‘Accelerating the pace of the scientific growth at universities and scientific centers’, ‘creating and strengthening the sense of [being part of] the dignified Iranian-Islamic identity among the youth’, ‘maintaining revolutionary spirit of universities and students’ and ‘[paving the way for] soft war commanders and officers’ to play their genuine role’ are among requirements for the Islamic establishment to become a prominent scientific power and a model of democracy endowed with [the values of] Islam and spirituality in the world.”
During the meeting, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution reiterated that holding meetings with university professors is aimed at respecting and venerating science and those who teach science. Ayatollah Khamenei then pointed to his numerous channels of communication with academics, scientific elites and students, saying: “Besides being symbolic, holding such meetings present a general image of the discourse-based, scientific and intellectual atmosphere prevailing at universities.”
Ayatollah Khamenei said the pundits, the wise and the elites in every country are concerned about the future of their country, adding: “Sketching out the future perspective is important in that administration of the country in the coming years will be up to students who are currently studying at universities and engaged in scientific endeavors.”
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution said this issue indicates the significant status of universities and university officials, adding: “The chain of science and knowledge, from education [ministry] to universities, shoulders the main duty for materialization of a favorable future for the country.”
Asking which favorable future could be imagined for Iran in 20 years, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “If the envisaged favorable future is to be a powerful, dignified, independent, religious, rich and justice-oriented Iran endowed with a popular, clean, industrious, compassionate, sympathetic and pious government, [then] it will be necessary for universities to be endowed with these indexes and train the young generation in such a way that it would believe in these elements.”
“If these indexes were not taken importantly in universities, in the future, we would witness a dependent, culturally libertine Iran suffering from social and ethnic and religious and political schisms and [an Iran] with an aristocratic governance,” stressed Ayatollah Khamenei.
“The result of such a future would be a country with summits of wealth standing alongside ravines of misery and chaos and deprivation whose clear example is the American society or the American Wall Street,” said the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, adding: “In such a future, all strata in the society would not be endowed with welfare and the country would be in fact an Iranian Wall Street.”
Summing up this part of his remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “This is why I always place so much emphasis on the issue of universities, professors and ministers of science, [research and technology] because achieving a favorable future for Iran requires training human beings who would be knowledgeable, patient, industrious on the path of Allah, and courageous, which such people are mostly nurtured in universities.”
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution went on to highlight the requirements for training such youths at universities, saying: “‘Scientific progress’, ‘moral discipline’, ‘religious self-restraint’, ‘political insight’ and ‘creating a sense of [having] identity and honor’ at academic environments are among the requirements of this important job.”
Regarding the country’s “scientific progress,” the Leader of the Islamic Revolution underscored the need for accelerating scientific growth, saying: “Not long ago, I warned about the slowing pace of scientific growth, because it has slowed down and making up for scientific backwardness has no solution but to speed up [the country’s] scientific growth.”
Ayatollah Khamenei referred to remarks made by some scholars about the slow pace of scientific growth in the West, saying: “If scientific growth has slowed down in the West it is because they have used up most of their potentialities [in this regard], but we have to make up for the backwardness caused by treacherous and ignorant governments over [the past] sixty to seventy years, so that, we will be able to reach high levels and summits in this global competition.”
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution pointed to the role played by university professors in creating and strengthening “Iranian and Islamic identity” among students, saying: “By explaining the country’s progress in [such areas as] aerospace, nano [technology], nuclear [technology], [as well as] environmental and medical fields, the professors can create the sense of identity in students.”
Noting that infusing any sense of humiliation and divergence among students is considered as treason, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Students must always take pride in being Iranian, Muslim and revolutionary.”
“Although we have historical backwardness with regard to scientific progress, we can make up for this backwardness through the effort and [high] energy of the country’s talented youths,” said the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.
Ayatollah Khamenei then referred to reports released by some reliable citation centers and creditable magazines of the world about scientific advances of Iran, adding: “In these reports, scientific advances in Iran have been referred to with such phrases as ‘Iran’s progress is stunning’, ‘Iran is an emerging scientific power’, ‘Iran is seeking to turn its resource-based economy into knowledge-based economy’ and ‘Iran’s progress in [the field of] stem cells, nuclear science, aerospace, energy exchange and information technology’, which these facts must be transferred to the young generation so that it would have a sense of identity while feeling proud about being Iranian.”
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution said the Islamic establishment’s new version of democracy is another source of honor for the country, emphasizing: “Iran’s Islamic establishment is the only government to have [ever] presented democracy along with Islam and spirituality.”
“Democracy in the West is, in fact, rule of [political] parties and parties in the West are more of political clubs consisting of some politicians and capitalists than being an extended network among people,” said Ayatollah Khamenei.
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution added: “If young students are told about these honor-inspiring realities, they will no longer have a feeling of divergence, and even if they go abroad to continue their studies, they will definitely return [home], because they will have a feeling of self-identity and honor.”
Regarding the Islamic identity of universities, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “University officials must be sensitive to any action or issue like co-ed [student] excursions that would harm the Islamic identity of universities, and deal with them.”
Political insight and attention to politics at universities was another requirement for delineating a propitious future for Iran, about which the Leader of the Islamic Revolution said: “I have always insisted on political activism in universities and years ago I even said ‘May God cruse those who put an end to political thinking and activism at universities’.”
“Officials of that time became very upset with this phrase, but their main idea was to prevent political activism in universities although they hypocritically speak differently about universities these days,” said Ayatollah Khamenei.
Stressing that universities provide a venue for the clash of ideas, discussions and debates, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution said: “The existence of such an atmosphere during the energetic years of student life is no problem, but problems arise when such an atmosphere is exploited for opposing the [1979 Islamic] Revolution and revolutionary values.”
“The existence of different political tendencies at universities is of no objection, but university officials including senior officials of the Ministry [of Science, Research and Technology], [as well as] university chancellors and professors must always support and steer the challenging atmosphere of universities towards fundaments and objectives of the Islamic Revolution and anti-revolutionary tendencies must by no means be supported,” Ayatollah Khamenei noted, emphasizing, “Universities and students must be always revolutionary.”
Ayatollah Khamenei cited reports about inclination toward supporting some currents that oppose the Islamic establishment in some universities, saying; “Higher education officials must be very careful so that universities would not turn into a venue for distancing from the concepts and values of the Revolution.”
“The existence of an atmosphere of revolutionarism, [and] religiosity and [venerating] the memory of the late Imam [Khomeini] are among indispensable requirements of universities,” stressed the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.
“Of course there must not be an atmosphere of coercion and [use of] force and security in universities, but a revolutionary and religious atmosphere must be created through well-thought and wise work,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution went on to give a number of recommendations to higher education and university officials.
“Preserving the spirit of hopefulness and vibrancy in scientific and research environments”, “attaching importance to basic sciences”, “orienting scientific articles in the direction of meeting the country’s needs”, “the necessity of elucidating a comprehensive scientific roadmap for universities and translating it into a [practical] plan” and “emphasis on Islamic humanities” were among recommendations given to officials by Ayatollah Khamenei.
The “significance of scientific diplomacy” was another recommendation given by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, who then emphasized: “Diplomacy and communications are important and we approve of them. However, we must watch out not to be duped and not let scientific communications serve as a loophole for security infiltration [by enemies], because the enemy takes advantage of any means, including scientific communications, for infiltration, and this has happened in the past and even now some instances are seen.”
In another part of his remarks, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution said the Economy of Resistance will clear the way for [the realization of] national honor and will help the nation meet existing demands, adding: “Certain [individuals] say how the current needs and problems of the society would be dealt with by laying constant emphasis on national honor. In response to them, we say: ‘The only remedy [for our problems] is the genuine and correct implementation of policies of the Economy of Resistance’.”
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution’s next recommendation to officials was the “significance and priority of cultural work in universities.”
In this regard, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Of course, cultural work does not mean holding concerts or organizing dances in universities, but officials must clear the way for devout students and professors and familiarize the minds [of students] with Islamic and revolutionary culture.”
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution described revolutionary professors as soft war commanders, while calling revolutionary students as officers of soft war, saying: “Your duty is to play a real and serious role, because the intensity of the enemy’s soft war has been multiplied compared to the past years.”
“Preventing the presence and recruitment of unreliable elements in universities” was another recommendation on which the Leader of the Islamic Revolution put emphasis, saying: “Anybody who challenges the [Islamic] establishment under any excuse like elections and the likes of that, is unreliable and is not qualified to be present in universities, just in the same way that no country will tolerate its ruling system to be challenged.”
At the beginning of this meeting, a group of professors, scholars and specialists in the fields of engineering and medical sciences and humanities addressed the audience, expressing their views and suggestions on a variety of issues.
Dr. Hossein Bolandi, Ph.D. in electrical engineering and associate professor at Iran University of Science and Technology
Dr. Masoud Derakhshan, Ph.D. in economics and professor at Allameh Tabatabaei University
Dr. Mostafa Qane’i, subspecialist in pulmonary diseases and professor at Baqiatallah University of Medical Sciences
Dr. Mohammad Reza Pakravan, Ph.D. in electrical engineering and associate professor at Sharif University of Technology
Dr. Hossein-Ali Qobadi, Ph.D. in literature and professor at Tarbiat Modarres University
Dr. Tavakkol Habibzadeh, Ph.D. in international law and assistant professor at Imam Sadeq (AS) University
Dr. Ali Akbar Farhangi, Ph.D. in management and professor at the Islamic Azad University
Dr. Hadi Ajili, Ph.D. in international relations and assistant professor at Allameh Tabatabaei University
Dr Ja’far Mehrad, Ph.D. in systems engineering and professor at Shiraz University
Dr. Zeinab Kadkhoda, dental surgeon and associate professor at Tehran University of Medical Sciences
Dr. Sousan Qahremani, Ph.D. in teaching language and associate professor at Az-Zahra University
highlighted the following points:
- Position of space science among modern technologies and the country’s capabilities in this field
- Necessity of consistency between the administration’s policies, particularly with regard to awarding oil fields E&P projects to foreign companies, and the policies of the Economy of Resistance
- Significance of developing knowledge-based economy in different sectors of the country
- Role and position of information technology and high-tech companies in the generation of science and wealth
- Necessity of establishing a central command center for providing medical and healthcare services to underprivileged areas
- Necessity of benefiting from religious and jurisprudential fundaments for formulating theoretical frameworks of the Islamic human rights and presenting annual human rights reports
- Significance of understanding the methods used and hidden layers of promoting English language in target countries and necessity of formulating a correct framework for teaching foreign languages
- Necessity of theoretical and practical regeneration of the Islamic Revolution’s discourse both inside and outside the country with focus on increasing the efficacy of the Islamic establishment.
At the end of this meeting, the university professors said their evening prayers under the leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei and broke their fast along with the Leader.