Iran President Rouhani Defends ‘Death to America’ Chant: ‘Not a Slogan Against the American People’

In an interview set to air Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani defended the “Death to America” chants often heard at government-sanctioned rallies in Iran.

According to the preview clip of the interview, Rouhani suggested it wasn’t meant to be taken literally and it is rooted in the United States’ past involvement in issues dealing with Iran.

“This slogan that is chanted is not a slogan against the American people,” Rouhani said. “Our people respect the American people. The Iranian people are not looking for war with any country, but at the same time the policies of the United States have been against the national interests of Iranian people. It is understandable people will demonstrate sensitivity to this issue. 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, Americans supported Saddam.”

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

(h/t The Hill)

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