Ayatollah Khamenei Death to America, remarks came as Iran marks the 40th anniversary.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has defended the “Death to America” chants that are a standard fare at anti-US rallies across Iran, but said the slogan was aimed at American leaders and not its people.
Khamenei’s website on Friday quoted him as saying the chant meant “death to US leaders, death to [US President Donald] Trump and John Bolton and [Mike] Pompeo”.
“It means death to America’s rulers … we have nothing against the American people,” he said.
Bolton is the United States’ national security adviser, while Pompeo is the secretary of state.
Khamenei said the Iranian people “will not stop saying ‘Death to America’ as long as the US acts maliciously” towards Iran.
Khamenei was referring to Trump’s State of the Union address this week in which the American president, among other things, said: “We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants death to America.”
Khamenei’s remarks came as Iran marked the 40th anniversary of its Islamic Revolution. He also warned Iranian officials not to trust Europeans.
Iran and Europe have been engaged in talks to save the 2015 nuclear deal after the US withdrew from it last year.
“These days, there is a discussion concerning the Europeans and their proposals,” Khamenei said. “My advice would be that they should not be trusted, just like the US cannot be trusted.”
Germany, France and Britain announced earlier this month that they have established a new system so their companies can continue trading with Iran without incurring US penalties for doing so.