Iranian lawmakers on Sunday chanted “Death to America” during a session of parliament after the deputy speaker of the house accused the United States of being “the real-world terrorists” amid escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf.
“America is the real terrorist in the world by spreading chaos in countries, giving advanced weapons to terrorist groups, causing insecurity, and still it says, ‘Come, let’s negotiate,’” Masoud Pezeshkian said at the start of a session broadcast live on state radio.
In response, several lawmakers chanted: “Death to America,” – a slogan that became popular with protesters during Iran’s 1979 revolution, and one that is still used at official events today. It is not uncommon for Iranian lawmakers to chant “Death to America.” After the United States announced last year that it was withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear accord, the body recited the same chant while burning an American flag.
The slogan is also associated with Iran’s terror proxies across the region. In October 2018, the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen handed out student and staff ID cards at the University of Sana’a, saying, “Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam.”
Iran shot down a U.S. military drone Thursday, claiming that it had flown over waters that were within its territory. The U.S. insists that the drone was outside Iran’s borders and instead was downed in international airspace.
On Monday, Iranian navy commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said that “everyone saw the downing of the unmanned drone,” vowing that “I can assure you that this firm response can be repeated, and the enemy knows it.” The United States has reacted with maximum restraint to Iranian provocations, expressing opposition to a military escalation and urging the Islamic Republic to return to the negotiation table.