“Death to America” Doesn’t Mean What you Think it Means – Yeah, Right


Iran’s Supreme Leader claims that his constant chant of “Death to America” doesn’t mean what you think it means.

As NBC News reports, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei just claimed that “Death to America” doesn’t mean death to America:

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that the slogan — a frequent feature of anti-American rallies in Iran — was aimed at the U.S. government and not its people.

"Your ‘Death to America’ slogan, and the cries by the Iranian nation, have strong logical support behind them," he told Iranian students in Tehran, according to The Associated Press. "Obviously by ‘Death to America’, we don’t mean death to the American people. The American nation is just like the rest of the nations. It … means death to U.S. policies and its arrogance."

Yeah, right.  That’s one of the most atrociously ridiculous things you will ever see.

So, when he tweeted a picture of President Obama with a gun to his head, did he mean anything by that?

What about the imprisonment, torment, beatings, and maltreatment of American Pastor Saeed Abedini – who languishes in one of the worst prisons in the world merely for being a Christian and an American?

What about the imprisonment and false conviction (for what exactly we still do not know) of Washington Post reporter – and U.S. citizen – Jason Rezaian?

What about the years of unjust imprisonment of former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, who was merely visiting his family?

What about missing former FBI agent Robert Levinson, which the Iranian regime has refused to cooperate with any information on his whereabouts – presumed imprisoned as well?

What about American businessman Siamak Namazi who was arrested last month in Iran?

What about American Nizar Zakka which Iran just announced yesterday that its intelligence service arrested in Iran?

Each American has been falsely charged with vague national security related charges.  As United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, told Congress last week in a briefing I attended, Iran uses these vague national security related “crimes” to charge anyone it wishes to abuse their human rights.  In fact, new legislation that has been touted as granting additional rights to those accused in Iran, such as the right to representation by counsel, specifically does not apply to national security related crimes.

When Iran’s Supreme Leader and thousands of radical Islamists chant “Death to America,” they mean exactly what they are saying.  Each of these falsely imprisoned Americans is experiencing first hand the vehemence with which Iran’s Supreme Leader views the American people.

If he really means, what he just said, if he really has no animus to the American people, he can show it by releasing these, now six, falsely imprisoned U.S. citizens and allow them to return safely to America.

Until he does, we at the ACLJ will continue to vigorously advocate for Pastor Saeed’s freedom (and you can join this effort by joining over 1.1 million others in signing our petition at BeHeardProject.com.).

Matthew Clark is Senior Counsel for Digital Advocacy with the ACLJ. Follow Matthew Clark: @_MatthewClark.