to “pull the trigger of war in the Middle East at the insistence of Israel.”
“The Christians say that Satan is a liar, and every day they keep a count of Trump’s lies,” Mr. Farrakhan said at a meeting with Mohsen Rezaee, secretary of Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council, which serves as an advisory board to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to The Jerusalem Post.
In other words, the 85-year-old Farrakhan has yet to cool his rhetoric despite coming under fire last weekend for the “death to America” chant at the University of Tehran.
Audio and video from his appearance show him speaking the Farsi words for “death to,” which sound like “marg bar.”
“America hates when you say, ‘Marg bar Israel.’ Am I saying it right?” asked Mr. Farrakhan, flanked by Iranian officials, at an appearance before students and media.
Several people in the audience corrected his pronunciation. He then said “marg bar” twice, to which they answered “America” and “Israel.” The crowd laughed as a smiling Mr. Farrakhan shouted, “OK!”
Does that mean he led a chant? The Iranian television announcer thought so, saying in Farsi, “Listen to the leader of the Nation of Islam chanting ‘Death to America,’” although Mr. Farrakhan did not say “America.”
“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,” Mr. Farrakhan said. “My point was to engage students in a talk about what gives a nation perpetuity versus that which undermines and destroys a nation.”
Not everyone was buying his explanation, given that the automatic rejoinders to “death to” in Iran would be “America” or “Israel.”
Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson called the denial “extremely unpersuasive, given his history,” a reference to Mr. Farrakhan’s record of anti-Semitic jabs, such as last month’s tweet referring to Jews as termites.
“If his defense is he only spoke the words ‘death to’ but he didn’t lead the chant, that seems to be the equivalent over what the definition of ‘is’ is,” said Mr. Jacobson, who runs the conservative Legal Insurrection blog.
After the “death to America” exchange, Mr. Farrakhan told the university audience, “If you mean death to America, death to Israel, then you must mean life for Islam, life for Iran, life for Muslims.”
Mr. Farrakhan also blasted the U.S. sanctions on Iran as “unjust” and warned the crowd not to trust the U.S. government.
“That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t communicate with America, but you should know who you’re communicating with,” Mr. Farrakhan said. “You’re communicating with those who make promises that they never intend to keep.”
His incendiary missives during the high-profile Iran tour come at an awkward moment for his liberal U.S. supporters, starting with Women’s March leaders Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour, as they prepare for a third massive anti-Trump rally in January.
Actress and liberal activist Alyssa Milano said this week that she won’t speak at the march in Washington unless his Women’s March allies denounce him for his anti-Semitism.
“Anytime that there is any bigotry or anti-Semitism in that respect, it needs to be called out and addressed. I’m disappointed in the leadership of the Women’s March that they haven’t done it adequately,” Miss Milano told The Advocate.
Congressional Black Caucus members also have come under fire for meeting and appearing with Mr. Farrakhan over the years, and while several have condemned his more inflammatory remarks, they have steered clear of criticizing him personally.
In his Thursday statement, Mr. Farrakhan insisted that “I am not and have never been an enemy to America, nor the people of America.
“However, I love America enough to speak unpleasant truths that are in the best interests of an erring nation that perhaps she may change her conduct and course,” he said.