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'Death to America' urges end of arrogant imperialism: Author

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting with students in the Iranian capital, Tehran, November 3, 2015. (Photo by

Press TV has interviewed Kevin Barret, an author and political commentator currently in Morocco, to ask for his take on the recent remarks made by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, saying “‘Death to America’ does not mean death to American nation”.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Iran’s leader has spoken and one of the things that is key in what he has said is that the “United States cannot be trusted”, and of course nuclear negotiations do not mean that there is going to be further enhancement between the United States and Iran. He said that the slogan “Death to America” does not mean death to the American nation. That is pretty profound. What was your reaction when you heard that?

Barret: Well I was happy to hear that. I think everything he said makes a lot of sense. I was actually at a huge rally of millions of Iranians in Tehran a few years ago celebrating the anniversary of the Islamic revolution and there were songs “Death to America”. People asked if I was American and I would tell them yes and they would smile and welcome me.

It is obvious that in Iran the slogan “Death to America” does not mean that there is any hostility, whatsoever towards the American people, quite the opposite; it is obviously about ending this kind of arrogant imperialism that we have seen all over the world and unfortunately it has not ended yet. So that is why that the Supreme Leader is right.

Iran and any other countries that wish to remain independent need to be conscious of the fact that they just cannot totally trust the United States or any hegemonic power really and there are other possible hegemonic powers in the world as well.

So I think it is very much a good thing that the Supreme Leader of Iran is telling the Iranian people not go under and to imagine that now they can invite in all the big Western banks and have structural adjustment and essentially turn over Iran to the globalist. That would be a disaster and tragedy, but I think Iran’s leadership is up to task with maintaining Iran’s independence and it is authentic traditional identity. 

Press TV: Well Iran’s leader just like many other skeptical Iranians whether from officials to ordinary Iranians are very skeptical of US intentions when it comes to Iran because of repeated statements that are pretty extreme such as talks about “regime change” or “all military options are on table” and of course we cannot forget some of the atrocities leveled against Iran from the United States: the Iran-Iraq war that was backed by the US or that aircraft that was downed by the US which led to the deaths of hundreds. You know these are things that Iranians will not forget.

Barret: They should not forget them and just to wish Americans would remember them or even learn about them once. Everyone in Iran knows full well that the Iranian airliner that was downed by the US military at the end of first [Persian] Gulf war was downed intentionally. It was done to essentially prevent Iran from…..victory. And the Leader Ayatollah Khomeini was forced to say he said drink from the poison chalice of surrendering or not surrendering but finishing the war on terms that were far or less that Iran would have been able to get otherwise. And now we have another airliner down, the Russian airliner down over Egypt. It is quite possible that the same kind of state-sponsored terrorism sending a message, trying to intimidate foreign leader in this case President Putin of Russia.

The United States, unfortunately, is still full of people who are extremely arrogant, not everyone. The United States has a lot of different kinds of people in leadership positions, many different kinds of institutions. But the people who have power in the United States are not necessarily the proper people in the official chain of command. There are black op specialists, deep-state operators who are very unscrupulous working outside the law. So I would say Americans should not trust American power either, nobody should.

And it is great that in Iran significant part of class of educated people and significant part of the media is fully aware of these things. I think that is one of the reasons Iran has succeeded in maintaining its independence and its dignity in the face of so much adversity and so many attacks.   

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