Iran's Supreme Leader wants religious army

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader and commander-in-chief of the military, met with army personnel and their families on April 18, the Day of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

He blasted the military of the previous regime as one without spirituality, saying, "the defunct regime (of Shah Pahlavi), which was backed by America and other superpowers, amassed all its efforts on building an army of irreligious and unpopular identity. Nevertheless, following the Islamic Revolution, the Army picked a religious identity."

Khamenei then went on to pay tribute to several martyrs and former army commanders by stating that these men played pivotal roles in shaping the religious identity of the army. Finally, he exhorted the army to modernize and obtain sophisticated military technology through utilization of the nation's own resources.

In the same vein, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stressed that Iran would rely upon God and advised major powers to "return to the path of God's prophets".

Tehran Times also reported that Khamenei glorified the "religious democracy" and "anti-hegemonistic character" of Iran.