Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence argued that Iran’s “death to America” chants could be read “in a couple of ways” on Sunday’s “Weekends with Alex Witt” on MSNBC.
When asked about Iran’s “death to America” chants, Schiff said “well, you have this division within Iran, and that is that a lot of the Iranian people, probably most of the Iranian people, are actually quite pro-Western. And ironically, when you have these regimes that are so bitterly anti-American, their populations are often the most pro-American. But you certainly do have a very conservative wing. You’ve got the military that has a deeply embedded economic and other interests in the status quo, that is going to be repelling against any kind of an agreement, any accommodation with the West. And those chants, the ‘death to America’ stuff, really plays to that conservative crowd.”
He added, “I thought it was interesting that at one point when the Ayatollah was speaking, I think it was the Ayatollah, not the president, to a group, and they began a chant of ‘death to America,’ at least the translation was, yes, of course, ‘death to America.’ But you could read that in a couple of ways. It might be, well yes, of course, death to America. We always say death to America. Or, it could be, of course, that he really means it, but I think it’s playing to a conservative audience in Iran.”
Earlier Schiff stated that while it is “possible” that Congress could cause an Iran deal to fall apart, “I think we have averted the chance of Congress scuttling an agreement before we even see if we have one.”
He also said that sanctions against Iran should not be lifted, “they should be phased in so that we see whether Iran is meeting its commitment…it will be phased in, it has to be phased in, and I can only think that the Ayatollah and President Rouhani are posturing right now because I think they have to know that this is not going to happen right at the outset.”
(h/t Real Clear Politics)
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett