(CNSNews.com) – Visiting Iran for celebrations marking the 37th anniversary of the rise to power of the ayatollahs, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has hailed the “wonderful revolution” and said Iran was emerging from sanctions “stronger” and “more influential.”
He also took the opportunity to criticize the United States, saying African-Americans have lived under “tyranny” from the days of slavery until the present time.
Farrakhan was due to take part in a public rally in Tehran on Thursday, along with Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)–Qods Force chief Major General Qassem Soleimani, and other leaders. Beforehand, he spoke to Iranian reporters after meeting with Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign affairs advisor to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“Since that [1979 Islamic] revolution, Brother Velayati explained the stages that this great nation has undergone in establishing that wonderful revolution,” Farrakhan said.
“I would hope that at this later stage, where you are now coming out from under sanctions—sanctions that were designed by the West to destroy the revolutionary spirit of the Iranian people, and cause the Iranian people to rise up against their government,” he continued.
“But thanks to Allah, the people of Iran stood firmly with their leadership. And the sanctions only caused Iran to look deep within itself. And now those sanctions are being lifted, but Iran is stronger, Iran is wiser, Iran is more influential.”
An Iranian reporter asked Farrakhan through a translator why the U.S. criticizes other nations for human rights abuses when human rights are “not well observed” at home.
“They hide behind noble words but the human rights record in America is dismal,” he replied.
“We have been in America for 460 years. We did not come on The Mayflower, or the [Columbus ships] Nina, Pinta, or Santa María. We came in the holds of ships as slaves, and we have lived under tyranny from that day to this day,” Farrakhan said.
“The native people – the Indians – have lost 120 million people under human rights violations. So America needs to straighten up inside before she tells anyone outside about their violation of human rights.”
Audio of the press conference was released by the Nation of Islam.
Thursday’s street rallies featured the unveiling of an Iranian-made drone, the Shahed [Eyewitness] 129, and a float reenacting the detention at gunpoint last month of 10 U.S. Navy sailors in the Persian Gulf.
Since the Jan. 12-13 incident the IRGC and state media have repeatedly released video clips and images with the stated intention of humiliating the U.S., and Khamenei awarded medals to the IRGC Navy personnel involved.