Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, explained what "Death to America" truly means. He clarified that the seemingly threatening message wasn't aimed at American citizens, but towards its policies, which he still believes aren't conducive to Iran.
While addressing Iranian students ahead of the anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was greeted with "Death to America" slogans in unanimous chorus from the audience. While this is certainly not new in the country, Ayatollah clarified that the statement wasn't aimed at actual people residing in America, but towards the American policies.
While speaking with the students, Ayatollah categorically referred to the "U.S. policies and arrogance." Needless to mention, the Supreme Leader, the majority of the Iranian administration, and the population still remain highly skeptical of America. Almost all of Iran has traditionally been very suspicious of the United States, and view its policies as threat to the country and the way of life of its citizens.
Iranians have long delivered the offensive message in private, but this might be the first time that such a highly regarded personality like Ayatollah has mentioned it openly on a podium.
Ayatollah was speaking on the occasion that commemorated the 37th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. Interestingly, his speech has always been greeted with chants of "Death to America." But, it was apparent, the Supreme Leader wanted to clarify that it wasn't to be taken literally. Explaining the same, he said the following.
"The slogan and shouts of 'Death to the US' by the Iranian nation has strong logical and rational support and stems from the Constitution and fundamental thoughts that brooks no injustice and oppression. It means death to the policies of the US and arrogant powers and not death to Americans themselves.Khamenei also added that he strongly believed that the U.S. "will not hesitate" if given a chance to destroy Iran.
"The slogan does not mean death to the American nation; this slogan means death to the U.S.'s policies, death to arrogance. And this logic is accepted by every nation when explained in clear terms."
"The nature of the U.S. attitude is continuation of the same hostile aims from the past, and the nation will not forget this."It may not have been a coincidence that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had made the same clarification a few weeks ago, when he said that " 'Death to America' was [about] American policy than the American people," reported Mediaite.
The anniversary of the Iranian Revolution is a dark day from America's perspective. On November 4, 1979, radical student militants had forcibly occupied the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. In one of the longest-standing hostage situation, 52 American citizens were held captive for 444 days. Thereafter, the U.S. severed all diplomatic relations with Iran. But from Iran's point-of-view, November 4 is referred to as the national day against the "Global Arrogance," reported CNN.
Despite the violent past, Iran's current resident Hassan Rouhani has been trying to rekindle relationships. In fact, a landmark nuclear agreement was recently signed by Iran with the world powers. The agreement will open Iran's nuclear program to international scrutiny, ensuring that the country isn't harboring plans to develop nuclear weapons. In exchange, the crippling sanctions imposed against Iran would be significantly reduced, allowing the country's sluggish economy to bounce back with renewed international trade.
Though Iran's administration seemed to be quite encouraging, its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei never wholeheartedly backed the deal. He even reiterated that though the deal has been signed, the U.S. is not to be trusted, reported Huffington Post.
While Iran still harbors strong anti-American sentiments, will the Ayatollah's clarification about "Death to America" curb the fanatic and aggressive outlook against America?
[Photo by Alireza Sotakbar / Getty Images, Anadolu Agency / Getty Images]