Accessibility links

Breaking News

A Call To End 'Death To America' Chants In Iran

An end to a revolutionary ritual?
An end to a revolutionary ritual?
The slogan "Death To America" was chanted in Iran during the revolution in 1979 and it became a part of all state-organized demonstration, where sometimes U.S. flags are also burned.

Now an Iranian journalist has raised an important question regarding what has become a ritual in the Islamic republic.

Mazdak Ali Nazari writes that "the time has come to think about the necessity of eliminating the 'Death to America' slogan."

Nazari raised the issue after watching Hollywood's "The Wrestler," which has been criticized by Iranian state media as being "anti-Iranian" and "insulting." In the movie a character is named "Ayatollah" and his opponent, played by Mickey Rourke, reportedly grabs an Iranian flag from him and snaps the pole over his knee before tossing it into the crowd.

Nazari writes that Iranians are upset that their flag has been treated with disrespect. He then asks, "Haven't we organized such scenes, even much worse, against the flag of the [United States],... how many times have U.S. flags been burned in Iran and how many times have we marched on the red and blue U.S. flag?"

He says those actions created fear among Americans watching those scenes on television and made them think that Iranians are their enemy. He asks, "When we shout 'Death To America,' which America do we mean exactly?"

Nazari then adds that there are better ways to reach one's goals and that radical measures do not lead anywhere. He says that "if we really like our country, if we really want to be respected, if we really care about our country, we have to act more responsibly."

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

Latest Posts