In a series of harsh anti-U.S. comments Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has tried to explain the "Death to America" slogan as a way of wishing death for Donald Trump, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.
Speaking to a group of Iranian air force officers on Friday, February 8, Khamenei said: "I have nothing against the American people. Death to America means death to America's leaders, who happen to be these individuals at this time," Mehr news agency reported.
The aggressive language may mark Khamenei's frustration in his self-declared struggle against the United states and his inability to confront America and the impacts of U.S. sanctions on his regime's existence. At the same time, Khamenei appears to be unaware that reducing his political campaign to a personal level, will perhaps not help boost his image or strengthen his position.
Although he tried to keep ordinary Americans out of his grudge against America, yet he ranted against what he called America's "vileness and viciousness."
He said: "The U.S. is the embodiment of evil and violence. It creates crises and wages wars to serve its interests, yet the Americans complain about us chanting Death to America."
Elsewhere in his speech, Khamenei advised Iranian officials "Not to trust the Europeans either," adding that "they are like Americans."
"We cannot trust and respect Europeans. We have tried them many times, the French, the British, the others. Every one of them in their own way…" said Khamenei angrily.
Iran’s Supreme Leader made these remarks about Europeans less than a week after France, Germany and the UK introduced a new financial mechanism to help Iran circumvent US sanctions and continue purchasing food, medicine and medical supplies.
"During the nuclear talks I kept telling Iranian officials not to trust the Americans' promises, smiles and signatures as they are not trustworthy… Now, I am not saying we should not have relations with Europeans. But trust is still an issue. They attack the people and blind them in the streets of Paris and then outrageously demand [respect for] human rights from us," Khamenei said, asking the French, "Do you know human rights at all?" adding that "They did not understand human rights, not today, not in the past, throughout their history."
The reference to blinding people in the streets is most likely meant to criticize the use of tear gas in recent “yellow vests” protests in France.
Khamenei's angry comments about the French and other Europeans, are indicative of his belief that others are responsible for economic hardships and political deadlocks largely created by the domestic and foreign policies of the Islamic Republic.
"Of course, we have relations with all of the world, excluding the exceptions. But we must know what agreements we make and with whom," Khamenei added, reminding once again, "we should not forget the measures taken by the French, the British, and the others at various times," Mehr news agency quoted him as saying.
Iranian leaders appear to be desperate in the face of US sanctions that have paralyzed the economy while the fate of the country's next year budget is still not determined as Khamenei has given another four months to parliament and the Rouhani administration to resolve bottlenecks caused by the sanctions. On the other hand, they have taken such strict positions vis-à-vis the United States, that they see no way out of the long-standing diplomatic deadlock that has isolated Iran.
In a comment mindless of the proportions of the country's problems, President Hassan Rouhani suggested in early February that "Iran might forgive the United States if America repents."
The meeting with air force personnel, is an annual event during the anniversary of Islamic revolution, reminiscent of a similar meeting, during which officers from the Shah's air force defiantly went to meet with Ayatollah Khomeini, shortly before the 1979 revolution in contravention of the oath they had taken to remain loyal to monarchy.