Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi) (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Rouhani claimed that Iranians are misunderstood when they shout “Death to America.” They mean the country, not the people. Get it?

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that chants of “Death to America” frequently heard during Iranian rallies and similar statements made by the Islamic Republic’s leaders “should not be taken personally.”

In an excerpt of an interview to be broadcast Sunday evening on CBS’ 60 Minutes, Rouhani told host Steve Kroft that the slogan – shouted weekly at Friday prayer services and at public events in Iran – is not an attack on the American people and not a real death wish for Americans, but, rather, a protest against US policies, which are “against the interests of the Iranian people.”

“When the Iranian people rose up against the Shah,” Rouhani said, referring to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, “the United States aggressively supported the Shah until the last moments. In the eight-year-old war with Iraq [1980-1988], the Americans supported [then-President] Saddam [Hussein].”

“People will not forget these things. We cannot forget the past,” he stated.

The Iranian president also claimed that Iran was not eager for war. “Our people respect the American people,” he said.

In an interview with Iranian state-run TV last Tuesday, however, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, Lieutenant-Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), boasted that the Islamic Republic has the ability to reach any target within a 3,000-km range, specifically mentioning American army bases in the Middle East.

“Any US airbase whose airplanes can reach the Iranian airspace as well as their aircraft carriers can be targeted by Iran’s unique high-precision-striking ballistic missiles and drones ,” Salami declared, adding that it would be “almost impossible” to intercept these projectiles.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves while attending a meeting with a group of environmental officials and activists at his residence in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, March, 2015. (AP/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader)

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (AP/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader)

Only days after the signing of the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 on July 14, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asserted: “Our policy against the arrogant US government will not change at all.”

Khamenei’s address, which was delivered at a mosque and recorded by Iranian TV, reportedly received wide applause accompanied by chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” which the Supreme Leader affirmed to be the “slogans of Iran.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry, in defense of the Iran nuclear deal, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 28: “I don’t believe they’ve said that. I think they’ve said ‘Death to America’ in their chants, but I have not seen this specific.”

Kerry conceded that Iran has “great enmity” towards America. However, “I have no specific knowledge of a plan by Iran to actually destroy us.”

By: United with Israel Staff


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