The Iranian president explains the meaning behind that 'Death to America' chant

Despite how the infamous Iranian chant of “Death to America” sounds, the slogan apparently has nothing to do with the average American on the street, according to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. 

In a preview of an interview with Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes, Rouhani reassured the host that Iran has nothing against the American people. Instead, the chant is merely symbolic of how Iran has opposed US foreign policy since the start of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.  

“This slogan that is chanted is not a slogan against the American people. Our people respect the American people,” Rouhani said. “But at the same time the policies of the United States have been against the national interests of the Iranian people. It is understandable that people will demonstrate sensitivity to this issue.”

Rouhani’s interview came as the US and other world powers prepare to begin implementation of the landmark nuclear deal reached among the parties in July, after congressional Republicans in the US failed to halt the deal.

Rouhani linked the anger that Iranians might feel toward the US to America’s support of the Shah during the Islamic Revolution, as well as US support of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. 

The Iranian president also told Kroft that Iran and its people are looking toward a peaceful region in the near future and have no desire for war. 

“The Iranian people are not looking for war with any country,” Rouhani said. 

Rouhani’s promises for the desire for peace come as Iran has broadened its support of armed groups throughout the Middle East. Currently, Iranian-backed and supported militants are fighting against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. In Syria, Iranian-backed groups, including the Iranian-supported Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, have also played a major role in suppressing moderate rebel movements aligned against the Assad regime. 

Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have also played key roles fighting in Syria and Iraq, at times on the front lines. Additionally, Iranian-backed Shiite militias have engaged in atrocities against Sunni civilians, such as burning down houses, which further deepen the divide between the sects in Iraq.

You can watch a preview of the interview here: 

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