• World
  • Iran

Iranian President: ‘Death to America’ Condemns Policy, Not American People

1 minute read

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says that when Iranians chant “death to America,” they don’t mean they want to kill Americans. Instead, he says, the slogan is a condemnation of American policy.

Rouhani explained the controversial chant to CBS’s Steve Kroft in an interview that will air on 60 Minutes on Sunday:

“This slogan that is chanted is not a slogan against the American people. 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’s understandable that people will demonstrate sensitivity to this issue. When the people rose up against the Shah, the U.S. aggressively supported the Shah until the last moments. In the eight year war with Iraq, the Americans supported Saddam. People will not forget these things. We cannot forget the past, but at the same time, our gaze must be towards the future.”

The interview was President Rouhani’s first with a Western journalist since the Iran deal was made in July.


More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com