What Does ‘Death to America’ Mean?
Iran’s supreme leader has clarified the meaning of a standard chant at anti-US rallies, saying the slogan “Death to America” was directed at the US’s leaders, not its people.
In Iran, ‘death to America’ doesn’t mean what you think; “Death to America” expresses the anger many Iranians feel about U.S. policy toward Iran, said Foad Izadi, an assistant professor of world studies at the University of Tehran. Iranians remember that the U.S. overthrew the legitimate government of Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953 and supported the dictatorial Shah who followed.
The slogan “means death to American foreign policy,” said Izadi. Iranians “have problems with the American government, not the American people.” In fact, he said, Iranians are friendly to Americans. “When you walk around town, and people see you’re an American, everyone wants to take care of you.”
Ayatollah Khamenei Iran’s supreme leader said: “First of all, I should tell the American officials: ‘Death to America’ means death to Trump, [US national security adviser] John Bolton, and [US Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo. It means death to American rulers who are currently these individuals.”
“Death to America means ‘death’ to you, the few people ruling the country; we don’t mean the American nation,” the Leader said.
“Secondly, the Iranian nation will continue to chant the ‘Death to America’ slogan as long as the US remains evil and wicked,” he added.