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 Derek on September 7, 2011 at 12:47am



Chomsky doesn't ever argue on behalf of the US. Apparently, he can't find one good thing to say about us


Here you go:


QUESTION: Finally, you've been very critical of the United States for decades -- everything it does, certainly in foreign policy, you seem to think is wrong. Do you actually like America? Or, I mean, are there aspects of the country that you appreciate and admire?


CHOMSKY: And I say it all the time. It's the most free country in the world. It's probably the most democratic country in the world. I just mentioned a few moments ago that it's one of the very few countries where it's free enough to gain access to internal records. These are all wonderful things. And furthermore, there's good reason why I'm talking about the United States, two reasons. One reason is, it's the most powerful country in the world, therefore it's the most important country to talk about. Second is, I happen to be here. There's an elementary moral truism -- so elementary, it's embarrassing to repeat it -- you're primarily responsible for the consequences of your own actions. It's fine if you want to criticize someone else, okay? It has no moral quality. You're responsible for what you do. And in a country that's relatively free the actions of that country are your responsibility. So, naturally, I concentrate on it.





Comment by Unseen on September 7, 2011 at 1:00am

I do stand corrected that he has acknowledged some of the advantages of living in a democracy. I have never run into that sentiment from him before. Too bad he doesn't leave the impression more widely that he feels that way but instead had to be asked about it in an interview. I would say "moral qualities" are illusory. No such thing. What is moral isn't factual, it's what someone believes, or a group of people. Kind of like religion. I regard morality (as opposed to ethics) to be a religious thing. An ethic applies in a jurisdiction of some sort.

Comment by Albert Bakker on September 7, 2011 at 1:08am

"Unseen" probably thinks Chomsky committed taqiyya there, didn't really mean it, it was a doppelganger who said that, the interviewer made it all up. And judging from much of his contributions the primary responsibility thing would be like abacadabra to his ears. No, Chomsky is the enemy and must move to Iran.

By the way news readers are incurable pessimists.

But I still have to hear Sassan point out what specifically this standing side by side by the "Iranian people" entails.

Comment by Arcus on September 7, 2011 at 2:36am

@Unseen: "International politics is all about power,"

It depends on which framework of international relations theory you subscribe to. I am firmly planted in the school of realism, but it appears quite a few others in the thread are Marxist. To which I say:

Comment by Derek on September 7, 2011 at 4:16am

Although realism (in the political sense) has its obvious strengths such as state interest/security - it seems to be too machiavellian in nature, and ultimately too negative in negotiations.


From wiki: "Realism or political realism prioritizes national interest and security over ideology, moral concerns and social reconstructions"


Pity about those moral concerns eh?

Comment by Arcus on September 7, 2011 at 4:22am

"Pity about those moral concerns eh?"

My personal opinion has nothing to do with anything. It is a model which attempts to describe the reality around us. I also find it to be the best descriptive model of reality with the greatest explanatory factor when analyzing int'l relations. 

What are your personal opinions on the theory of gravity? I find it's insistance on keeping me on earth to be immoral.

Comment by Derek on September 7, 2011 at 5:15am

I was referring to realism (realpolitik) as the political doctrine, used by the likes of Bismark, and in no way am I relating it to objective reality. See the part in my post that says "in the political sense"?  Sigh!


And yes, the "moral concerns bit" has nothing to do with your personal opinion. What made you think it had?

Comment by Derek on September 7, 2011 at 5:27am

No. It's not a descriptive model in the scientific sense. It's a political ideology that puts state interests before moral concerns. E.g Bismarcks use of it got him the name "the iron chancellor". what with his blood and "iron speech" that is, military power instead of diplomacy to achieve his goals.

Comment by Arcus on September 7, 2011 at 6:00am

" It's not a descriptive model in the scientific sense."


Political science: Now demoted from science to ideology to fit one internet arguers personal opinion.

Comment by Sassan K. on September 8, 2011 at 7:48am

Oliver Stone's son in Iran to "prepare" documentary

Tue, Sep 6 2011


TEHRAN (Reuters) - The son of film director Oliver Stone -- who
angered some Americans with a recent movie about anti-U.S. Latin
American leaders -- is in Iran doing the groundwork for a documentary,
Iranian media reported on Tuesday.


"Sean Stone has come to Iran and wants to prepare the ground for
making a documentary," Mehrdad Hojjati, an Iranian film producer, was
quoted as saying by the ILNA news agency.


Another news agency, Mehr, reported that Oliver Stone, whom it
described as an "anti-American system" director, would join his son on
September 26 to help out.

The reports did not say what the film would be about.


In his 2009 documentary "South of the Border," Oliver Stone
interviewed several leftist Latin American leaders, including Cuba's
Raul Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who is a close ally of
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a persistent critic of the United


In 2009, Stone said he had been in talks with Iranian officials to
make a documentary about Ahmadinejad but that scheduling on both sides
had prevented it.

The United States, dubbed "the Great Satan" by leaders of the Islamic
Republic, has not had diplomatic ties with Tehran since the storming of
the U.S. embassy in the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.


Sean Stone, 26, is listed on the IMDB.com website as a documentary
film maker and actor, having small roles in some of his father's movies.

(Writing by Ramin Mostafavi, editing by Paul Casciato)


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