Iran supreme leader: 'Death to America' aimed at leaders, not citizens

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei clarified the meaning of his country's famous "death to America" chant on Friday, telling a crowd of Iranian Air Force officers that the phrase calls for death to U.S. leaders, not average American citizens.

Reuters reports that the Khamenei marked the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution on Friday with a speech to military officials that called out members of the Trump administration, including President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone MORE himself, by name.

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“As long as America continues its wickedness, the Iranian nation will not abandon ‘Death to America,’ ” Khamenei reportedly said. “ ‘Death to America’ means death to Trump, [National Security Adviser] John Bolton, and [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo. It means death to American rulers."

Iran and the U.S. have been suffering a period of raised tensions following the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement last year, which European nations have attempted to salvage in the months following the U.S.'s departure from the 2015 weapons pact.

In his speech Friday, Khamenei reportedly lashed out against European leaders, urging Iran not to "trust" Western nations remaining in the nuclear agreement.

“I recommend that one should not trust the Europeans just as the Americans,” Khamenei said. “We don’t say, don’t have contacts with them, but it’s an issue of trust.”

His comments follow a report last month detailing the country's efforts to begin enrichment of uranium fuel, a move that would violate the agreement.

“Preliminary activities for designing modern 20 percent [enriched uranium] fuel have begun,” the country's nuclear chief said last month. "We have made such progress in nuclear science and industry that, instead of reverse-engineering and the use of designs by others, we can design new fuel ourselves."

The Trump administration last year left the possibility of military action against Iran on the table as the U.S. seeks to curb Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.