Watch: Khamenei explains 'Death to America' chant

Iran's Supreme Leader blasts United States, explains why Iranians chant "Death to America" at rallies.

Elad Benari ,

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Chanting “Death to America” during rallies in Iran means “death to everything that America represents”, according to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei’s comments came in a speech he gave one day before the anniversary of the 1979 U.S. embassy takeover in Tehran, during which the infamous chant was yet again heard on the streets of Tehran – as it is every year.

Khamenei’s speech was posted on his official website and on social media outlets. It was translated to English by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“Human values have been trampled (in the U.S.),” stated Khamenei in the speech. “Discrimination, controversies, racism and human rights violations.”

“When you chant ‘Death to America’,” he continued, “when you are told to direct all your chants against America, it means: Death to all these things (that America represents).”

The crowd then responded with the “Death to America” chant.

Iran today, claimed the Supreme Leader, “holds its head up high” in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, as well as in the Persian Gulf.

“Everywhere you look Iran is a glowing figure,” he boasted.

The speech is the latest example of the anti-U.S. rhetoric that is still prevalent in Iran, even after it signed a nuclear deal with Western countries, including the United States.

Opponents have often cited the regular appearance of chanting anti-American crowds as evidence of Tehran's true intentions with regards to the U.S., but Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani last year urged Americans not to take the “Death to America” chants personally.

"This slogan that is chanted is not a slogan against the American people. Our people respect the American people," he insisted in a September 2015 interview on 60 Minutes, adding, "The Iranian people are not looking for war with any country.”

Rouhani, despite his comments, has personally presided over “Death to America” chants in Iran.

Khamenei has insisted his country won’t negotiate with the United States and must stand strong against Washington on the region’s conflicts.