Thursday, 24 August, 2017

‘Death to America’ not against American Public, Iran’s Rouhani says

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the slogan “Death to America” is not meant to be taken against ‘American Public’ and merely draws from a long history of political antagonism between the U.S. and Iran.

In an interview with the CBS show “60 Minutes” to be broadcast Sunday in the United States, Rouhani said the famous Friday ritual is a reaction to previous Washington policy decisions that hurt Iran, AFP reported.

In the fierce domestic American debate over the deal, critics of the agreement repeatedly point to Iranian chants of “Death to America” as one of the many reasons why Tehran cannot be trusted to uphold its end of the bargain.

But Rouhani, seen as a moderate reformer, attempted to reassure his CBS interviewer Steve Kroft and the wider audience.

“This slogan that is chanted is not a slogan against the American people. Our people respect the American people,” he insisted, in an extract from the interview released Friday.

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

“But at the same time the policies of the United States have been against the national interests of Iranian people, it’s understandable that people will demonstrate sensitivity to this issue.”

In particular, Rouhani mentioned the U.S. government’s long support for the shah — whom the CIA helped to reinstate in 1953 by overthrowing the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq — even as support for him was eroding amongst Iranians.

“When the people rose up against the Shah, the United States aggressively supported the Shah until the last moments. In the eight-year war with Iraq, the Americans supported Saddam.

Rouhani also pointed to the U.S.’s support for Saddam Hussein during the bitter eight-year war between Iran and Iraq in the 1980s.

“People will not forget these things. We cannot forget the past, but at the same time our gaze must be towards the future.”

The interview with “60 Minutes” comes as the nuclear deal between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers enters a new stage, following Congress’s inability to stop it in its tracks.

 You can also see:

“Death to America” means “Death to American Foreign Policy”

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