March 11, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9225

IRGC Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani In 2011 Speech: 'We Ask God... To Take Us Out Of This World As Martyrs'; The Islamic Revolution Influenced All Developments In The Arab World And Caused The U.S.'s Defeat In The Region

March 11, 2021
Iran | Special Dispatch No. 9225

On December 30, 2020, the Iranian news agency Tasnim, which is affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), published for the first time a June 11, 2011 speech by IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani. The publication of the speech was to mark the first anniversary of Soleimani's January 2020 killing by the U.S.

In the speech, Soleimani praised martyrdom and the elevated status of the martyrs, and expressed his desire to die a martyr as had his comrades who had fought in Iran and outside it, for the Islamic Revolution and the Iranian regime. He praised the Islamic Revolution and discussed its influence on the Arab world. Claiming that the revolution was being exported to the world through war and through the martyrs who are elevated from amongst the people, he stressed that the martyrs had succeeded in exporting the Islamic Revolution to Lebanon through Hizbullah and to Gaza through Hamas. These two extensions of Iran had themselves succeeded in triumphing over and expelling Israel, he said. He went on to say that the Islamic Revolution was also the motivation for the 2011 Arab Spring, when young Tunisians had, he claimed, followed the example of Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah and the Islamic Revolution, daring to rise up against the regime of Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and to depose him. He even claimed that Iran's Islamic Revolution had had successes even outside the region, and attributed to it the American defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan. The revolution and Iran's revolutionary regime, he said, were the only ones that had succeeded standing up to and fighting the West's scheming against the Islamic world since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1917.

Speaking at length about Egypt, whose political situation at that time, four months after the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak, was not clear (a year later, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi would be president), Soleimani discussed the relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and in the region and Islamic Iran and its revolution, stating that Iran considered the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood founders "saints."

Soleimani focused particularly on Hamas – referring to it as "the main branch of the Muslim Brotherhood" – and on other friends of the Iranian regime, i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the region, among them Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and others in Afghanistan and Malaysia. The proof of the success of the Islamic revolution and its Islamic messages, he said, is the fact that Iran was already, in 2011, fighting outside its national borders, in Baghdad and Lebanon.

It should be noted that at the time he made these statements, in 2011, Soleimani was not yet operating openly to actualize the export of the revolution – that is, he had not yet brought about Iran's spread in the region, including to Syria and Yemen. His subsequent ability to do so was due, inter alia, to the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal and to the Iranian regime's achievements in its negotiations with the Obama administration.  

Subsequently, in 2014, Soleimani gave several speeches praising war, the Islamic Revolution, and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and against the U.S. and the Sunni Islamic states (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8457, Archival: IRGC Qods Force Commander Soleimani: 'War Is A Grand School For Love, Morals, [And] Loyalty' , January 3, 2020)

The following are the main points of IRGC Qods Force commander Soleimani's June 11, 2011 speech:

"This War Was The Fundamental Basis Of The Export Of Our Revolution"

"By nature, when we, the children of the war, look at each other... [we realize that] whether we want to or not, we are all going [to die]. Many of our comrades have died. Those who were martyred went in pride, and it was they who succeeded in preserving this spirit of martyrdom, who lived as martyrs in their souls, and then died, and they too went in pride. We too will go... This is a path from which there is no turning back; this is the fate that awaits us.

"Now we ask... What would [a martyr] want to see when he enters the [next] world? He would want to see his fellow martyrs – [IRGC ground forces deputy commander] Hassan Bagheri [who died in 1983 in the Iran-Iraq war]; [IRGC division commander Mohamed Ibrahim] Hemat [who died in 1982 in that war]; [IRGC division commander Haj Hossein] Kharrazi [who died in 1986 in that war]; [IRGC Air Force commander Haj Ahmad] Kazemi [who at the time of his death in an airplane crash in 2005 was commander of the IRGC ground forces]! Every one of us has many comrades whom we will be glad to see [when we die]...

Left to right: IRGC "martyrs" Soleimani, Kazemi, Kharrazi, and Hemat. Source:, March 1, 2013. 

"Nothing could have changed our society like that Holy Defense [i.e. the Iran-Iraq war], and this war was the element that extensively spread the fundamental Shi'ite education in our society.

"Following [UN Security Council] Resolution 598 [ending the Iran-Iraq war], the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] said: 'We have exported our revolution'... In my view, what was presented to the world as a model and later left its influence on the world and can be called 'exporting the revolution' was this war.

"This war was the fundamental basis of the export of our revolution. Perhaps nothing played as great a role in the internal development of our country's cultural dimension as this war (even more than the revolution itself). The impact is essential and fundamental. The liberation of [the Iranian city of] Khorramshahr [from Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war] in 1982 gave birth to later liberations called 'exporting the revolution.'

"Indeed, one of our points of pride is that we understood the Imam [Khomeini], and the Imam is the greatest point of pride in our lives. I do not think that in all our society there is anyone who knows the Imam better than Supreme Leader [Khamenei] and who is more determined to follow the Imam's path.

"[Khamenei] has a rare phrase: 'The Imam Khomeini is unique after the masoumin [in the Shi'a, the 12 imams who came after the Prophet Muhammad and are considered infallible]. Thus, we had many great men after the masoumin; there are many Companions of Muhammad and children of the great imams, such as Malik Ashtar [a supporter of the Imam Ali]...

"The Imam [Khomeini] gave the religion a unique place in the war... After the liberation of Khorramshahr, he did not give a medal to anyone, and said that it had been God who had liberated Khorramshahr – that is, giving religion a special place in the war. The Imam stated that God was the ultimate ruler in the war. [Even] when we were entangled in Operation Badr [in 1985]... and [IRGC commander Mohsen] Rezai and [Iranian Army ground forces commander Ali] Sayyad [Shirazi] went to the Imam and brought him the message [that it had not gone well], the atmosphere in the command center was tense about the [Operation] Badr incident. The Imam [Khomeini] said: 'They reported to me that there are people who are upset. I wanted to say that there is nothing to worry about. We are not in a higher place than the imams. Sometimes it appeared that they [the imams] did not succeed. Even [Imam] Ali, Imam Hassan and even Imam Hossein [appeared to not succeed], and compared to them we are nothing. The main meaning of [the acts of] God is that everything that God wants is honey-sweet. We must welcome everything He wants with open arms. Do not worry about a thing; be strong. From now on, be certain that you will be victorious in the next operation. Even today you have won. If you [fight] for God, you will not fail.'

"The spirit infusing the Imam's statements was 'God's will,' and this led to the formation of that special spiritual atmosphere, higher than the tawaf [circling] of the Kaaba [in Mecca]. The spirit of faith, unity, and self-confidence were the backbone that led to stability in the waging of the war.

"Once I traveled to Bandar Abbas to speak, and several students [from there] wrote to me – girls who were not from the families of the children of the war or from families of martyrs – they wrote: 'We are four friends and we have each chosen [to join] the family [of a martyr]. I am [now] from the [family of the martyr] Hemat; she is [now] from [the family of the martyr] Zin Aladin; this third girl is [now from the family of the martyr] Kharrazi; and the other girl [is now from the family of the martyr] Kazemi."

The Islamic Revolution's Impact On The Arab World: Hizbullah, Gaza, The Arab Spring, Defeating The U.S.

"These days, some ask whether recent world events were influenced by our revolution... The Leader [Khamenei] has said several times: 'Whether they accept it or not, such events were influenced by the Islamic Revolution.' Well, the events following our war were extraordinary in the Muslim world – each event incredible in its own way... Can anyone deny that Hizbullah in Lebanon is not influenced by our revolution? Or that Hizbullah's main foundation is not influenced by our war? We have given the greatest martyr in living memory for the sake of founding Hizbullah – [IRGC official] Haj Ahmad Motaveselian.[1]

"If we accept that Hizbullah is influenced by [Iran's Islamic] Revolution, we must also examine how the activity of Hizbullah, as an Arab organization, influenced the Arab world. Hizbullah defeated Israel in 2000. At the time, many doubted whether Israel had indeed fled. There were questions as to whether the victory was a result of Hizbullah's activity or because Israel was exhausted, abandoning [the battlefield] and leaving of its own accord. But that 33-day war [in July-August 2006] left no doubt.

"In the [1967] Six-Day War, Israel defeated the armies of three important, wealthy Arab countries in six days. During [Hizbullah's] 33-day war with Israel, Israel was no longer as it once was in 1967...

"In 2006, the whole world gathered its resources in celebration of Israel's victory and being rid of Hizbullah Yet militarily, Hizbullah was 100% victorious. Israeli commanders themselves admitted that during that war, Hizbullah shook Israel like a magnitude 9 earthquake. There was an historic and unique statement, made by [Ehud] Olmert, then-prime minister of the Israeli regime, who announced that for the first time in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, all or most Arab countries had sided with Israel in a war on an Arab organization [Hizbullah].

"The resistance is not as it once was, when [Hizbullah secretary-general] Hassan Nasrallah issued a denial, saying, 'I have no missiles.' Today the situation is reversed, with him announcing 'I have missiles that can target your buildings with precision' and 'Even if you send six divisions [to fight Hizbullah] I will bury them.'

"It takes a lot of confidence for an organization to come out and say something like that. Why does Hizbullah have this confidence? Because it has moved from the phase of threats against it to the phase of its deterrence and threatening the enemy. Don't such events and victories by an Arab organization headed by a cleric influence Egypt, Jordan, and the other Arab countries? Look at what happened in Palestine: These events influence others, one after the other. When Israel fled southern Lebanon in 2000, this event was followed by its [2005] retreat from Gaza, with Jewish rabbis crying as they retreated. Therefore, the retreat from Lebanon resulted in the retreat from Gaza, and the [powerful standing up to Israel] in the 33-day war resulted in another victory in Gaza, in the 22-day war [Operation Cast Lead, December 2008]. These events took place along the border with Egypt.

Soleimani (Source: Tasnim, Iran, December 30, 2020.

"The young Tunisians said something interesting: 'When we heard Hassan Nasrallah say "we will bury six Israeli divisions," we said "We can defeat the police of [the tyrant Zine El Abidine] Ben Ali [whose ouster during protests in 2011 kickstarted the Arab Spring].' This faith was awakened [by the influence of the Islamic Revolution]. The Holy Defense and the Islamic Revolution influenced this Islamic awakening [of the Arab Spring]. I do not believe that there has been a single major world event, today or in the past, that was not influenced by our revolution in one way or another. Why would we want to deny it? This is the wealth of the Islamic Revolution, the estate of the Islamic Revolution and of the blood of our martyrs – even if the Egyptians do not accept this.

"Is it conceivable that anything would have happened in the world without the Islamic Revolution? Since the Ottoman Empire collapsed in 1917, every effort has been made to neutralize the Islamic world. The only government that [successfully] freed itself from the yoke of the Crusades was the Islamic Republic [of Iran], which was the great masterpiece of Imam [Khomeini]. It was not only the founding of the Islamic Republic, but Imam [Khomeini's] carrying out the first exporting [of the revolution]; all that is said in the world today, such as human rights, terrorism, etc., are not implemented in Europe – [this language] is used to control the Islamic world.

"The great defeat of the hegemony of Israel, and the great defeat of the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan, are influenced by the Islamic Revolution. The Americans claim that Iran has swallowed up Iraq. They say this, of course, to other countries, to sow discord. It should be remembered that the U.S. did not arrive [in Iraq] already hobbled; it arrived [in Iraq] with 160,000 soldiers."

"The Founders Of The Muslim Brotherhood Are Saints For The Islamic Republic"

"We believe that what is happening in the region is [thanks to] the Islamic Revolution, and is influenced by the Holy Defense. If we want to know, for example, what Egypt's attitude is toward the Islamic Revolution – it is the main reason [Egyptian president] Mubarak insisted on the difference between Iran and Egypt. [Yet] there are parameters in which Iran and Egypt might interact with one another, and one of them is religion. It is true that we are Shi'ites, and they [the Egyptians] are Sunnis. But Egypt follows Shafi'i Islam, that is sympathetic to the Ahl Al-Bayt [according to the Shi'a, the offspring of the Prophet Muhammad who deserve to rule]. Second, [in Egypt] there are nine million Sufis with special status because of their love for the Ahl Al-Bayt. The third thing is structure, like the Muslim Brotherhood, which is an important political structure and an axis and engine of this revolution.

"An important part of what happened in the Arab world was influenced by Egypt, whether it was Arab nationalism or the Muslim Brotherhood. It spread from Egypt to the Arab world. The Muslim Brotherhood founders are saints for the Islamic Republic [of Iran], for the Shi'ia, and for the Shi'a elders.

"One of our main streets is named for Hassan Al-Bana, the main founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. One of the most respected figures among our clerics is Sayyed Qutb [ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt]. One of the most important essays [by Supreme Leader Khamenei] was the translation of a commentary on Qutb's books [into Persian]. These were the founders of the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Hamas – one of the main accusations against which is solidarity with the Islamic Republic [of Iran] – is the main branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The main members of the Islamic Revolution, such as [Turkish President] Erdoğan and [former Turkish president Abdullah] Gul, [Afghan leader] Ahmad Shah Mas'oud [who fought the Soviets and the Taliban]; and [Burhanuddin] Rabani in Afghanistan [president of the Islamic State of Afghanistan and theologian close to Muslim Brotherhood circles]; Malaysian [prime minister] Mahatir Mohamed, and so on – they are the main figures of the Muslim Brotherhood. There are similarities also on various other levels, and many Egyptian humanists and writers have written about the Islamic Revolution of Iran... This is true also in Yemen, Bahrain, and Libya – such that today, with God's grace, the export of the revolution has been implemented, and we must thank God that the blood of the our martyrs and the efforts of the Imam have borne fruit."

"Today Iran's Victory and Defeat Are In Baghdad And Lebanon"

"Many ask, Why do we insist on standing fast against America? Couldn't the Islamic Republic smile at America and [by doing so] solve many problems? If not for the steadfastness of the Islamic Republic, and had we joined hands with America, who knows if events like [the Arab Spring] would have happened in the world?

"The fact is that Iran's victory and defeat do not take place within its borders. Today Iran's victory and defeat are in Baghdad and Lebanon. This is the wonderful fruit [of the Islamic Revolution] that must be appreciated...

"We will all leave [this world], but we ask God to make our path successful – first, to take us out of this world as martyrs, and second, to unite us with our martyr comrades."[2]


[1] Motaveselian, the military attaché for Iran's embassy in Beirut, was one of the four Iranian diplomats who disappeared on the Damascus-Beirut route in July 1982. He also was commander of the IRGC forces in Lebanon. Iran has always claimed that the four were ambushed by Lebanese Phalangists and transferred alive to Israel in 1990. Soleimani's recognition of Motevaselian as a martyr was in fact an admission by a senior Iranian official that Motevaselian was no longer alive.

[2], Iran, December 30, 2020.

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