CNN Anchor: People Chanting ‘Death to America’ Were Very Friendly to Me

CNN Anchor: People Chanting ‘Death to America’ Were Very Friendly to Me


A stray comment from a CNN reporter is emerging
as a possible window into the mindset of the Iranian people amid growing anti-government
protests. CNN’s Erin Burnett was talking with Republican
Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio about recent developments in Iran when she said there was a dissonance
in Iran between public actions and private comments. Turner had noted that the chant “death to
America” is even used in Iran’s parliament, according to The Daily Wire, when Burnett
replied. “I will say, I was in Tehran when they were
chanting ‘death to America’ once. I was at a rally, the people couldn’t have
been more friendly to me personally as an American. It sort of felt like a thing and a trope as
opposed to anything that was actually seriously meant and considered. I understand your point, but my experience
was different,” she said. Turner agreed that the leadership and people
in Iran could be on different wavelengths. But the deadly intentions of the Iranian government
toward the United States have made themselves obvious over the 40 years since the Islamic
Revolution of 1979 — something the 43-year-old Burnett should be aware of, he said. “Erin, your entire life, Iran — pretty
much your entire life, just by a few years, has chanted death to America and they have
taken actions against Americans and American interests and in ways that are lethal killings
of Americans, given weaponry to people who do kill Americans,” Turner said. “So, it’s not just a slogan. This obviously is something that Iran has
systematically continued to do … “These are real threats from the leadership
of Iran, even though and I’m glad you had a safe and warm response, the people on the
street may be different than those who are controlling their military,” Turner said. See more of the interview here. The “death to America” exchange starts
about the 30-second mark: Some questioned Burnett’s comments, coming
as they did from CNN, which has been stoutly opposed to President Donald Trump and his
policies. Plumbing the depths of anti-government attitudes
in Iran became a major concern after protests that broke out Saturday in Tehran following
Iran’s admission that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176
people aboard. Initially, Iran’s government had claimed
the plane suffered technical problems. As reported by the Voice of America, Iranian
students called for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to step down and also criticized Gen. Qassem
Soleimani, whose recent funeral filled the streets of Tehran. “Soleimani is a murderer, his leader a traitor,”
the protesters chanted. Protesters refused to step on U.S. and Israeli
flags painted on the street and called out, “Our enemy is right here, they lie saying
it’s America.” Iran deployed riot police and tear gas to
disperse the protesters, according to The Guardian. President Donald Trump tweeted a reminder
to Iran that the nation is being judged as the world watches how its leaders respond
to the protests. “To the leaders of Iran – DO NOT KILL
YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned
by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters
roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!”
Trump wrote. One commentator said Iran could be at a crossroads. “This is an unprecedented moment in the
history of the Islamic Republic,” Milad Odabaei of McGill University said, according
to the Los Angeles Times. “Traditionally it uses external threats
to create national unity and push away dissent. “Now, [Iran] has to play a tightrope, and
is unable to gain the trust of the public and gather legitimacy. Its ability to draw on international hostility
to create a national front is radically limited,” he said. Iran had just been recovering from a wave
of anti-government protests in November. The U.S.-based Center for Human Rights in
Iran estimated that in November protests, at least 304 people were killed, with up to
7,000 people arrested.

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