Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei addressed the American people during a speech before the Iranian Air Force, explaining that the words "down with the US" are not directed at ordinary Americans, but at their political leaders "running country", such as President Donald Trump, State Secretary Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton. He added that Iran has "no fight to pick with the American people".
The supreme leader added that the Iranian people will not cease using the chant as long as Washington continues to show "viciousness and savagery" in its actions or embodies "evil". Khamenei noted that the US can't be trusted, adding that he said so back in 2015, when the Iran nuclear deal was struck — an agreement from which Washington withdrew in 2018.
He also suggested that European states also can't be trusted, but hasn't called for cutting ties with the EU. At the same time, Khamenei slammed the latter for "procrastination" in creating a financial mechanism needed for European businesses to continue working with Iran without falling under US sanctions.
In May 2018, the US announced its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, which lifted sanctions from the Islamic Republic in exchange for ensuring the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. Later, in November, Washington introduced severe sanctions on the Iranian energy, banking and shipping sectors, despite protests from other countries, including the US' European allies.