'Moderate' Iranian president explains those 'Death to America' chants

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani told Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes that we shouldn't take the chant "Death to America," which has been repeated after Friday prayers at every mosque in Iran since 1980, too literally. 

The Hill:

“This slogan that is chanted is not a slogan against the American people,” he said, via a translator, in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” set to air this weekend.

“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,” he added.

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.

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,” Rouhani said in the interview. “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.

The Obama administration took steps this week to advance the implementation of the deal bynaming an American coordinator for the pact and beginning to outline the sanctions that would be rolled back once final implementation is reached, which is likely to be some point next year.

Critics of the agreement — which enacts limits on Iran’s nuclear powers in exchange for the lifting of sanctions on its oil and financial sectors — 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.

We supported the Shah because the alternative was either commies or nutcases like the ones currently in power.  Sure, the Shah was a thug, but sitting as he did at the crossroads of a vitally strategic choke point the Straits of Hormuz, where 70% of the West's oil traversed it was critical that Iran not fall into the hands of an enemy.

Thank you, President Carter.

The theocrats have executed at least 10 times the number of Iranians who were executed by the Shah.  And the Revolutionary Guards have tortured far more dissidents than the Shah could have ever imagined.  Perhaps the Iranian people should wonder what their country would have been like if we had prevented these bloodthirsty maniacs from achieving power.

Claiming that threats to our existence are just an exercise in metaphor is ludicrous.  But those so inclined to be hoodwinked will believe it. 

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani told Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes that we shouldn't take the chant "Death to America," which has been repeated after Friday prayers at every mosque in Iran since 1980, too literally. 

The Hill:

“This slogan that is chanted is not a slogan against the American people,” he said, via a translator, in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” set to air this weekend.

“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,” he added.

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.

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,” Rouhani said in the interview. “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.

The Obama administration took steps this week to advance the implementation of the deal bynaming an American coordinator for the pact and beginning to outline the sanctions that would be rolled back once final implementation is reached, which is likely to be some point next year.

Critics of the agreement — which enacts limits on Iran’s nuclear powers in exchange for the lifting of sanctions on its oil and financial sectors — 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.

We supported the Shah because the alternative was either commies or nutcases like the ones currently in power.  Sure, the Shah was a thug, but sitting as he did at the crossroads of a vitally strategic choke point the Straits of Hormuz, where 70% of the West's oil traversed it was critical that Iran not fall into the hands of an enemy.

Thank you, President Carter.

The theocrats have executed at least 10 times the number of Iranians who were executed by the Shah.  And the Revolutionary Guards have tortured far more dissidents than the Shah could have ever imagined.  Perhaps the Iranian people should wonder what their country would have been like if we had prevented these bloodthirsty maniacs from achieving power.

Claiming that threats to our existence are just an exercise in metaphor is ludicrous.  But those so inclined to be hoodwinked will believe it.