In the Islamic Republic, "Death to America" slogan has been chanted consistently and held with much reverence - with the exception of the Friday Prayer after 9/11; until Jack Straw called the Islamic Republic "UK's partner in the fight against global terrorism" and it was business as usual after that.
In 1995, Rouhani, himself, referred to the chant as the "Beautiful unifying chant" which unified Iran.
The recent rapprochement between Rouhani's team and Obama's administration, started a debate however as whether chanting this slogan should be continued? Rafsanjani, as usual these days, pulled up a new, as yet untold memoirs of his close conversations with the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, saying how Khomeini was against chanting this slogan and Iran's current Foreign Minister, Zarif (means delicate in Persian) delicately suggested, in an interview with ABC, that the slogan meant death to the US policies and not death to America as a country.
Last Friday, however, it seems any ambiguity as to whether to continue with this slogan was clearly resolved. Friday Prayer leaders who are all appointed by the Supreme Leader, spelled it out in black and white.
Translation of the sermon speech:
"We think America is a liar, a hypocrite and an oath-breaker,
[crowds chant death to ...]
From one side they smile these days and welcome negotiations and they lie by saying sanctions have brought Iran to the negotiating table, these are all lies, first sign of them telling lies is that in meeting with Netanyahu they say all options are on the table with Iran, including military option, well Iranian people have all the options on the table, including the option of 8 years of defence and a hard slap in the mouth of the aggressors,
[crowds chant death to...]
The liar president of US says they are not after regime change in Iran, for 35 years you have been wanting regime change in Iran and you couldn't, neither can you now, not that you didn't want to, why do you lie to the world?
In the sedition of 2009 [post-election protests] who was it that wholeheartedly supported the seditioners? It was you!
You let all your media in the hands of the seditioners, so that was the second point
Third point is
The basis of the hatred of our people towards America is these things, I said this as just one last example, otherwise if we want to list all their lies, and America's hypocrisies it will be a huge novel, this is the secret to the chant of death to America being alive amongst our people,
[Death to America...]
This slogan was chanted for 10 years during the time of Imam Khomeini, in his presence. In the last message by Imam given to the Mecca pilgrims, he referred 46 times to America with hatred, this is the way of the Imam, and the basis for it is clear too, the basis is that America is the Great Satan, Did Imam say this or no? Everyone heard this, In this 35 years has America become less of a Satan or has it become 35 times more of a Satan?
If in the last 35 years with regard to Iran, US was a snake, today it has become python, in every conspiracy formed against Iran, one constant pillar is always US, therefore we have logic on our side and we say logically Death to America
[Death to America]
Let the American know and let those who are trying to remove this slogan know, this slogans is the manifestation of the resistance of the Iranian people, and until he devilishness of the US remains, this magnificent slogan will remain amongst the people too, this is a reality without doubt
I have two more things to say and then I will finish. First thing is let the diplomats do their work, our FMA should do its work, everyone has their own task to do, we believe in fact these chants put more impact in the fists of our officials, and they can confront US with more strength, even collide with them, this is even in favour of our country's diplomacy, this was the first point, secondly, if one day according to the edicts of the Supreme Leader, because the US case is in th ehands of the Supreme Leader, it has been, it is and it will be, in this regard, the last word will be only with that of the Supreme Leader and no one else, if one day, negotiations take place, even restoring relations, our hatred towards America with the help of God will not wear away"
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