Photo Credit: Unknown, via Wikimedia
Ali Khamenei

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday used the commemoration of the “historical meeting of the Islamic Republic Army Air Force personnel with Father of the Islamic Revolution and Founder of the Islamic Republic the late Imam Khomeini on February 8, 1979,” to finally explain what Iranian fanatics really mean when they shout, “Death to America.”

“First of all, I should tell Americans: ‘Down with America’ means Down with Trump, John Bolton and Pompeo. It means ‘Down with the US rulers,’ who are these people in this era,” the Ayatollah, who succeeded Khomeini in 1989 after the latter had gone to meet his maker.

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Khamenei went on to say, “‘Down with America’ means down with very few people who run the United States. The American people are not our concern.” However, “As long as the US continues to be hostile and mischievous, the ‘Down with America’ will continue to be chanted by the Iranian nation,” he said.

The grand ayatollah also cautioned his flock, “Do not trust the Europeans. In the matter of nuclear negotiations, I have already mentioned that US officials are not reliable. […] These days, there is a discussion concerning the Europeans and their proposals. My advice would be that they should not be trusted, just like the US cannot be trusted.”

Khamenei related that at the time of the nuclear negotiations with world powers, “I frequently insisted—in private meetings with officials and in public gatherings—‘Do not trust the Americans, their promises, smiles and signatures; they are not trustworthy.’ Well, the result is that those officials who negotiated [with the US] at that time are now [also] saying that the US is unreliable.”

Well before the nuclear negotiations, on March 21, 2009, one day after President Barack Obama had offered Iran a “new beginning” of diplomatic engagement, Khamenei said a change of US “words” was not enough, adding: “We will watch and we will judge. […] You change, our behavior will change.”

As to his opinion about the Europeans, in 2013, Khamenei said France was “kneeling” before Israel, and that Israeli leaders were “unworthy of the title human.”

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