We've witnessed the burning flags and the hateful chants, yet Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khameini is trying to argue "Death to America" doesn't mean what we think it means.
On Tuesday, the night before the anniversary of the Iran hostage crisis of 1979, Khameini wrote that the slogan is not to be taken literally. It is instead aimed at western ideals.
“It goes without saying that the slogan does not mean death to the American nation; this slogan means death to the US’s policies, death to arrogance,” he said.
Oh, that clears it up.
Americans are unlikely to accept Khameini's explanation considering Iran's recent behavior. A New York Times piece published Tuesday reported just a few of the nation's callous actions against the U.S.:
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, said the “Death to America” slogan is eternal. New anti-American billboards in Tehran include a mockery of the Iwo Jima flag-raising photograph that symbolized Marine sacrifice in World War II. And an Iranian knockoff version of K.F.C., the chicken chain widely associated with the United States, was summarily closed after two days.
Iran has also failed to follow the guidelines outlined in its nuclear agreement with the White House by trying to advance its ballistic missile program, according to some members of Congress. Even if Iran did obey the nuclear deal's ground rules, Khameini insisted it would not signal a more harmonious relationship between the two countries.
To Iranian authorities, we are still the "Great Satan."