'Death to America' doesn't actually mean death to America

'Death to America' is an anti-American political slogan which has been in use in Iran since the Iranian Revolution in 1979

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The Independent Online

The chant "Death to America" should not be seen as a threat of violence but rather a political protest, Iran's president says.

The presenter of 60 Minutes, Steve Kroft spoke to President Hassan Rouhani in Iran ahead of the progression of the US/Iran nuclear deal.

It was President Rouhani's first interview with a Western journalist since nuclear deal was agreed in July.

"This is not a slogan against the American people," the president said.

"Our people respect the American people. The Iranian people are not looking for war with any country."

"But at the same time the polices of the United States have been against the national interests of Iranian people," he said.

President Rouhani said that the Iranian people are "sensitive" about American policy since the US government supported Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi during the 1979 revolution and then Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

"It’s understandable that people will demonstrate sensitivity to this issue," he said.

"We cannot forget the past but at the same time, our gaze must be towards the future."

Hassan Rouhani is considered one of Iran's most moderate presidents. Despite this there has been staunch opposition to renewing relations with the US in the wake of the nuclear deal.

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