Farrakhan arrived in Iran on Saturday, February 10, to celebrate the 17th anniversary
of the country's Islamic revolution. Sharing a podium with President Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani at a large rally in Tehran the next day, Farrakhan reportedly stated, "If
America wants the world to be democratic, Iran has had 17 elections" since religious
leaders overthrew the Shah in 1979 and brought the late Ayatollah Khomeini to power.
"This is a theocracy, but it is also a democracy."
Farrakhan was also reported to have maintained that "Iran is now in the vanguard
of an Islamic revolution that is sweeping the earth." An Iranian newspaper quoted him
as saying, "You can quote me: God will destroy America by the hands of
Muslims. ... God will not give Japan or Europe the honor of bringing down the United
States; this is an honor God will bestow upon Muslims."
In the same vein, Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that at a
February 13 seminar before theologians, in the holy city of Qum, Farrakhan stated that the
United States "as the only superpower, is on the decline and Islam will attract more
adherents as the supreme and inspiring power. We live in the center of corruption
and struggle in the heart of the Great Satan. Thus we need your spiritual
aid." The phrase "Great Satan" was used by the Ayatollah Khomeini to
describe the United States.
The same day, Farrakhan spoke before the Iranian parliament, promising to unite
American Muslims against Washington's policies toward Iran. In comments carried by
state-run Tehran television, Farrakhan reportedly stated that "we shall utilize
American Muslim unity as a lever of pressure against the United States' arrogant
policies." He asserted that Iran's "Islamic revolution is a perfect
example of a government based on the Koran."
Also on February 13, Farrakhan predicted that his preachings might lead to
imprisonment, perhaps alongside Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, the Egyptian cleric convicted in
January of conspiring to bomb New York City landmarks.
"Maybe there's a cell next to Abdel-Rahman for me, and maybe he and I will be
together reading the Koran and encouraging each other," Farrakhan said in a Tehran
radio interview. "America feels that a person like that ... who is listened to
and loved, as Imam Abdel-Rahman was, needs to be confined" when he preaches "the
message of true Islam, which inspires the militants among us as Muslims," Farrakhan
said. "So that leads me to myself. When you see in America nearly two million black
people answer a call by Louis Farrakhan," referring to his Million Man March,
"I'm in deep trouble inside America."
The following day, the U.S. State Department described Farrakhan's trip to Iran and, a
few weeks earlier, to Libya, as "shameful" and "cavorting with
dictators." A spokesman said of the Iran visit: "It's extraordinary that
... [he] went to Tehran to stand with people who support international terrorism all over
the world, including terrorist acts against American military personnel and American
During the course of his stay in Iran, according to the Associated Press, Farrakhan met
with President Rafsanjani, Parliament Speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, and Foreign Minister
Ali Akbar Velyati.