The controversial leader of the radical Chicago-based Nation of Islam movement warned President Trump that the resumption of sanctions on Iran could lead to the destruction of the United States, and defended his participation in a group chant of ‘Death to Israel, Death to America’ earlier this week in Tehran.
Louis Farrakhan, 85, arrived in Iran over the weekend to celebrate the 39th anniversary of the takeover the American embassy in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
On Sunday, Farrakhan spoke at an event at the University of Tehran, denouncing the United States, saying the US had “never been a democracy,” and leading a group chant of “Death to America, Death to Israel”.
During the event, Farrakhan criticized the US over the decision to restore sanctions on the Iranian regime, after the US dropped out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May. Farrakhan cited statements by Iranian leaders decrying the US as the “Great Satan”.
"Is it not true that you have called America the 'Great Satan'? Well, if you believe what you say, then would not Satan be actively involved in trying to destroy a nation that is set up on the belief and practice of submission to the will of God? So we should not be surprised at what Satan does to ill affect the righteous."
At a press conference on Thursday, Farrakhan responded to questions from journalists regarding the group chant on Sunday, and warned that the US would be destroyed if it went to war with the Iranian regime. Farrakhan also blamed Israel for ‘insisting’ the US challenge Tehran.
"If the trigger of war in the Middle East is pulled by [Donald Trump], using your surrogates at the insistence of Israel, then the war will trigger another kind of war which will bring China, Russia - all of the nations - into a war. And it bothers me to say this to you, Mr. President, but the war will end America as you know it."
Farrakhan denied that he had led the chant Sunday of “Death to Israel, Death to America”, claiming that video footage of the event only showed him asking how to pronounce the chant properly.
“I asked a question about how to pronounce the chant in Farsi during my meeting with Iranian students and an examination of the video shows just that.”
But the Nation of Islam leader also defended Iranian students who participated in the chant, saying they had “a right to chant it”.
"When these Iranians chant, 'Death to America, Death to Israel' - no chant can bring about your death. But it is your policies that are eroding trust for you in the world, favor for you in the world. If you do this, you will bring - about not the Iranian chant - you will bring about the death of the greatest nation."
"I know that chant came from the people of Iran. This sanction [regime] is what is hurting the people of Iran. They have a right to chant it."
Farrakhan also sparked controversy last month when he compared Jews to termites, saying he is “not an anti-Semite, I’m anti-termite.”
Farrakhan has long been a controversial figure within the Black Muslim community in Chicago, praising Adolf Hitler as a “very great man”, and slamming Judaism as a “gutter religion” during a 1984 speech, leading the US Senate to condemn him in a unanimous 95-0 vote.
Earlier this year, Farrakhan accused Jews of practicing “Satanism” and ‘infecting’ the world “with poison and deceit”.