‘Death to America’ Means ‘Death to Trump,’ Iran’s Supreme Leader Says Express News

TEHRAN — When Iran uses the slogan “Death to America,” the country’s supreme leader said on Friday, it is specifically wishing death on President Trump and two of his senior officials.

“ ‘Death to America’ means death to Trump and John Bolton and Pompeo,” the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said, referring to John R. Bolton, the president’s national security adviser, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state. “It means death to American leaders, who happen to be these people at this time,” he added.

Ayatollah Khamenei has reflected on the phrase repeatedly as Iran prepares to commemorate the 40th anniversary of its Islamic revolution, and engages in an increasingly bitter standoff with the Trump administration. The United States has withdrawn from a nuclear accord with Iran, reimposed economic sanctions on the country, and stepped up measures designed to pressure and perhaps to change its leadership.

“Death to America” would remain part of Iran’s official discourse, Ayatollah Khamenei’s website, Khamenei.ir, quoted him as saying on Monday, until the United States changed its “evil and mean” ways.

Mr. Pompeo has led efforts to increase pressure on Iran, and recently met with an opposition figure, Masih Alinejad. In 2017, before his appointment to the Trump administration, Mr. Bolton spoke to an armed Iranian opposition group and predicted that the Islamic republic would collapse.

“These days there is talk about Europeans and their offers. My advice is not to trust them, just like with the Americans,” Ayatollah Khamenei said Friday at a meeting with senior Army Air Force officers. “I’m not saying cut ties with Europe; it is about trust,” he added.

Ayatollah Khamenei has also announced that 50,000 prisoners will be pardoned in coming days as part of the anniversary. Those facing charges of rape, armed robbery, acid attack and many categories of smuggling will not be eligible for the pardons; nor will those charged with embezzlement, money laundering, “security-related charges with a prison term of more than a year” or “distortion of the country’s economy.”

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