Khamenei: 'Death to America' directed at Trump

Iran’s Supreme Leader explains that “Death to America” chants is directed at Trump and US leaders, not the American nation.

Elad Benari ,

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, explained on Friday that the slogan “Death to America”, which Iranians regularly shout at rallies, is directed at President Donald Trump and US leaders, not the American nation.

Khamenei said that the chants will continue as long as Washington continues its hostile policies, according to Reuters.

“As long as America continues its wickedness, the Iranian nation will not abandon ‘Death to America,’” Khamenei was quoted as having told a gathering of Iranian Air Force officers marking the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

“‘Death to America’ means death to Trump, (National Security Adviser) John Bolton, and (Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo. It means death to American rulers,” he explained.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, often touted as a “moderate” president, has personally presided over “Death to America” chants during rallies in Iran, even though he claimed that Iranians “respect the American people”.

Similarly, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, with whom the Obama administration negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal, was caught on camera last year joining in a public chant against the US, UK, and Israel.

Khamenei’s comments come amid tensions with the US after Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

While European signatories of the nuclear deal have been trying to save the accord and even introduced a trade mechanism that would bypass US sanctions on Iran, Khamenei said they could not be trusted either.

“I recommend that one should not trust the Europeans just as the Americans,” Khamenei said, according to Reuters. “We don’t say, don’t have contacts with them, but it’s an issue of trust.”

While the European Union continues to support the nuclear deal, it has stepped up criticism of Iran’s ballistic missiles program.