KAHLILI: Michael Moore, rethink your trip to Iran

Filmmaker fixates on anti-Americanism while ignoring mullah massacres

Illustration: Michael Moore by Linas Garsys for The Washington TimesIllustration: Michael Moore by Linas Garsys for The Washington Times


American filmmaker Michael Moore has asked for permission to travel to Iran to attend Cinema Verite, an Iranian international festival for documentary films, according to Mehr News, the mouthpiece news agency of Iran's Islamic regime.

In a big-headlined story in the Iranian media, Mr. Moore is quoted as saying he wants to visit Iran to do research about the country. In addition, he is an opponent of U.S. government policies, and he wants to show his objection by traveling to Iran.

Mr. Moore, who has directed several well-known documentaries, has always claimed to take the side of ordinary people and has portrayed himself as someone who stands up for the rights of the abused.

It is this reputation that makes Mr. Moore's proposed visit to Iran a betrayal of the very principles he claims to stand for.

Since the 1979 revolution, the Islamic regime of Iran has executed tens of thousands of Iranian youths without giving them the right to a defense. During the summer of 1988 alone, about 30,000 young people were executed and buried in mass graves because they were accused of being "mohareb" - enemies of Allah - all because they objected to the harsh rule of the clerics.

Mr. Moore should know - he should understand - that Iranian citizens have no rights. Women are subjected to flogging for failing to wear the Islamic hijab; men are beaten for drinking, even in the privacy of their home. People suffer amputation for stealing; they are stoned for adultery; and rape, torture and hanging are common for speaking out against the clerics. Thousands of Iranian girls, boys, poets, writers, activists, teachers, artists and others from every walk of life remain in Iranian prisons without the right to defend themselves. Iranian officials are routinely sanctioned for violating human rights in Iran.

The very cinema festival that Mr. Moore wants to endorse is subjected to extreme censorship by the Guidance Ministry, which decides which films will be shown and which will be banned. Many movies don't make it to the screen because they promote free thinking or give a hint of what freedom really means. Many directors and actors end up in prison because they try to defend the rights of the people.

More recently, one of the most influential Iranian filmmakers, Jafar Panahi, was imprisoned - because he supported the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom and had sympathized with the youths who had protested the fraudulent 2009 presidential elections. The secret police arrested him in March of 2010 along with his wife, children and friends. He was sentenced to prison and barred from making movies for 20 years.

Mr. Panahi stated in an open letter on the occasion of the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival, Berlinale (which he was barred from attending) "The reality is that they have deprived me of thinking and writing for twenty years; however, I cannot avoid dreaming that in twenty years the inquisition and intimidation will be abolished. ... They have condemned me to 20 years of silence. However, in my dreams, I scream for a time when we can tolerate each other, respect each other's opinions, and live for each other."

Many before Mr. Moore have traveled to Iran to show their opposition to the policies of America, the very country that has provided them the opportunity of free thinking and free will.

Mr. Moore fails to understand what endorsing evil does. He fails to understand that any affirmation, any recognition of the radicals ruling Iran is a direct insult to all the Iranians who have paid dearly with their blood to have what Mr. Moore takes for granted.

Instead of traveling to Iran, where the Islamic government will use him as a means for its propaganda, as it has done with others, Mr. Moore should make a documentary about the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom and democracy - a documentary about the injustices done to young people, middle-aged people, old people who want nothing more than their rights as human beings.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for an ex-CIA spy who is a fellow with EMPact America and the author of "A Time to Betray," about his double life in Iran's Revolutionary Guards (Threshold Editions, Simon & Schuster, 2010).

Views: 789

Comment by Unseen on September 6, 2011 at 2:08pm

Moore, and Chomsky, too, should just move to Iran. I turned against Moore when he stopped embarrassing business titans and started playing his juvenile gotcha game on ordinary people.

Comment by Ghost The Smoker on September 6, 2011 at 2:43pm

I am very disappointed at Micheal Moore for this. I hope this isn't true. but if it is SHAME ON YOU MICHEAL MOORE!!!

Comment by Dale Headley on September 6, 2011 at 2:52pm

   If Michael Moore does, in fact, visit Iran, for whatever reason, I, for one, will look forward to hearing his opinions when he returns.  He opened up a lot of eyes when he exposed corporate greed, puerile gun worship, expansionist militarism, and health care profiteering.  He just might give us a deeper insight into what Iran is all about, instead of the constant demonizing we hear on Fox News, and from shadowy, self-serving, Bush-era, CIA spooks like the pseudonymous Mr. Kahlil.

   Iran has never attacked me.  Offhand, I can't think of any country it has attacked.  It's only crime is that, like Iraq, it sits atop oil reserves that Exxon-Mobil covets.  The average Iranian citizen, on the other hand, must be worried that America, which has a long history of attacking countries for no other reason than acquiring their resources, might be preparing to rain bombs down upon them.  They have only to look next door to see the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women, and children who died for Cheney's greed and Bush's glory to be legitimately fearful.  Is it any wonder that they would welcome a truth-teller like Michael Moore to visit their country and tell their side of the story?   


Comment by justin gold on September 6, 2011 at 3:14pm

what is the problem with Chomsky?I'm sure you just see him as just a Contrarian but he's not,he's one of the worlds leading intellectuals who is extremely well read and happens to state hard facts on subjects whether their toward your liking or not.I feel ashamed for a lot of what my country has done to shape world history and some of the methods they used,the problem with  some Americans is that they don't like too or to admit to them,and that doesn't mean for one second that I'm anti-west either like some prat on here said(you know who you are).

Comment by Samantha J. on September 6, 2011 at 3:28pm

I don't know much about Michael Moore, but could it be he's saying these things so he can get into Iran without being killed, to make a documentary about it to bring back here? Like I said, I really don't know the man or his intentions, but isn't it extremely difficult to get into Iran in the first place unless you succumb to their will? Maybe it's a ploy to get inside access for his documentary? 


I don't know, but time will tell the truth, no matter what it is.

Comment by Bryan B on September 6, 2011 at 4:16pm

Let him go to Iran, Iraq or Timbuktu it doesn't really matter. His manipulative film editing doesn't make his stuff worth watching anyway.

Comment by Albert Bakker on September 6, 2011 at 4:26pm

Then you probably won't much agree with the last suggestion of mr. "Khalili" as to what mr. Moore should make either.

Comment by Sassan K. on September 6, 2011 at 4:40pm

Dale, Iranians are oppressed and can only hope the international community including the U.S. and NATO will assist the Iranian people the next time they rise up during the next round of fake elections in approx. 2-years. Obama failed them in 2009’, and hopefully won’t fail us now. Iranians are pro-American, pro-west – don’t get it twisted, we are not Islamists (the population). Iranians demand complete secular democracy.

Comment by Albert Bakker on September 6, 2011 at 5:03pm

What exactly will this assistance have to entail?

Comment by Arcus on September 6, 2011 at 5:24pm

Oh relax, it's great American satire. Much like Steven Colbert.  :)


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