(CNSNews.com) – As the regime in Tehran marks the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wants Americans to know that “Death to America” doesn’t apply to everyone, just to leaders like President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
“ ‘Down with USA’ means down with @realDonaldTrump, @AmbJohnBolton and @SecPompeo,” the ailing 79-year-old said in a posting on his official Twitter account, khamenei.ir.
“It means death to the American politicians currently in power,” the posting continued. “It means death to the few people running that country; we have nothing against the American nation.”
The tweets were excerpts from a speech Khamenei gave to air force officers and personnel late last week, in which he named the three U.S. leaders as the target of the chant, and said “we have no fight to pick with the American people.”
At the same time, he said the slogan would continue to be heard “as long as the U.S. practices savagery and vice.”
“The U.S. regime is the embodiment of evil, violence, creating chaos, and warmongering,” Khamenei told the gathering. “The U.S. regime has always lived off trespassing for fulfilling its interests. The U.S. is the embodiment of evil, then they complain why we chant ‘down with the USA.’”
(Regime-linked English-language outlets sometimes translate the Farsi chant marg bar Amrika as “down with America.” Some in the West – including apologists for the regime – say although “marg” indeed means “death,” translating the phrase as “death to America” is too literal, and tendentious. Whatever the case, the khamenei.ir tweet itself used the English word “death.”)
February 11 (Bahman 22 in the Persian calendar) marks the anniversary of the 1979 revolution, which saw the Western-backed Shah ousted by fundamentalist supporters of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei’s predecessor.
In a new tweet Sunday, Khamenei called Bahman 22 commemorations a “wonderful event, just like the revolution itself.”
“U.S.’s enmity against Iran’s newly-emerged Revolution is natural,” he said. “For 40 years, this young power has been growing & becoming stronger. With the emergence of this new, fully-motivated, hardworking spiritual power, arrogant powers cracked & are cracking deeper.”
Khamenei said Iran’s “enemies” have been hatching plots against the Iranian establishment for 40 years.
“[B]illions are spent, yet they’ve failed to achieve a single thing. Wishful thinking!”
“Enemies say the Islamic Republic’s lifespan won't be more than such and such number,” he continued. “I'd say these enemies will die craving to see the waning of the Islamic Republic, while the elevated ranks of the Iranian nation will increase day by day.”
The latter reference may have been to comments by Bolton – addressing a rally of Iranian dissidents in 2017, before he joined the Trump administration – to the effect it should be U.S. policy to ensure that the regime does “not last until its 40th birthday.”
‘Vicious and cunning enemy’
In his speech to air force officers, Khamenei raised a familiar theme of how Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), proved his belief all along that the U.S. is not “reliable” and cannot be trusted. Even those in the establishment who led the negotiations that led to the agreement now admit that to be true, he added.
“At the time of the nuclear negotiations a few years ago, I frequently insisted – in private meetings with the officials and public gatherings – ‘Do not trust the Americans, their promises, smiles and signatures; they are not trustworthy.’”
“Well, the result is that those [Iranian] officials who negotiated [with the Americans] at that time are now saying that the U.S. is unreliable.”
With debate now underway about various proposals by the Europeans as they try to keep the JCPOA alive, Khamenei said his advice is that they, too, should not be trusted.
Recalling the air force’s momentous decision, on February 8, 1979, to pledge allegiance to Khomeini, Khamenei praised the air force for its ongoing service in defense of the revolution, including its actions in Syria, which he characterized as supporting the liberators of the “holy shrines.” (Tehran deployed forces and proxies in Syria to help keep its ally, Bashar Assad, in power.)
He concluded his remarks by thanking the Iranian people for their “heroic resistance … in the face of brutal enemies,” and to predict a bright future despite current economic difficulties – which the regime blames on U.S. sanctions restored after Trump withdrew from the JCPOA.
“I am aware of the problems like inflation,” he said. “Yet, today the Iranian nation is standing up to a vicious and cunning enemy like a hero, like a prominent figure, and knows what it looks forward to.”
“The ideals and goals are clear. The Iranian nation is backing the revolution with extreme power.”