Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is attempting to wiggle his way out the "Death to America!" chant routinely heard at rallies on the streets of his country.
In an interview airing Sunday on
CBS' "60 Minutes,"
Rouhani tells correspondent Steve Kroft his countrymen's taunting chant is a actually a condemnation of U.S. policy going back decades rather than a death wish for Americans.
"This slogan that is chanted is not a slogan against the American people. Our people respect the American people. The Iranian people are not looking for war with any country," Rouhani says.
"But at the same time the policies of the United States have been against the national interests of Iranian people, it's understandable that people will demonstrate sensitivity to this issue.
"When the people rose up against the Shah, the United States aggressively supported the Shah until the last moments. In the eight-year war with Iraq, the Americans supported Saddam."
He said Iranians "will not forget" such deeds.
"We cannot forget the past, but at the same time our gaze must be towards the future," Rouhani tells Kroft.
The interview is Rouhani's first with a Western journalist since completion of the controversial agreement meant to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb and will touch on many subjects, according to CBS News.
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