...the President and his supporters sure make it hard. In his speech last week at American University he said:
Just because Iranian hardliners chant “Death to America” does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe. (Applause.) In fact, it’s those hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hardliners chanting “Death to America” who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus. (Laughter and applause.)
That last part seems to have gotten the Conservatives in an uproar, and I suppose I can see why, though I am reluctant to join in the usual Internet rush to burn someone over what may have been a ham-handed joke.
It is actually the first sentence that floors me. Either the President is straight-out being deceptive, or he is a total foreign policy naif. Iran is not like the US. People in Iran are not allowed to consistently chant messages with which the rulers do not agree. As a minimum, they are met with violence and arrest (e.g. in 2009 with the Green movement). So if anyone is chanting "Death to America" at public events, it is with the tacit approval of the nation's rulers. It may very well be that the mass of Iranians don't agree with that message, but in Iran, what the mass of Iranians believe is largely irrelevant.