Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore on Sunday announced he had personally messaged Iran’s supreme leader to ask that the ayatollah not respond to a U.S. airstrike against his top commander “with violence of any kind.”
In posts to his social media accounts, Moore reported that he had recorded the message of peace on his podcast and “DM’d” it to Ali Khamenei. He said he had suggested that instead of retaliating for the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, Khamenei should “let me & millions of Americans fix this peacefully.”
Moore said he was waiting to hear back from Khamenei, and assured followers, “I’ll post his reply.”
In the meantime, he noted that this podcast, “RUMBLE,” could be found on iTunes or Spotify.
Soleimani, 62, was Iran’s pre-eminent military leader – head of the Revolutionary Guards’ overseas Quds Force and the architect of Iran’s spreading influence in the Middle East. Muhandis was de facto leader of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces umbrella body of paramilitary groups.
Can Michael Moore and the supreme leader of Iran save America from war?
However, among commentators on both the political left and right, the overwhelming response to Moore’s diplomatic overture was ridicule.
“Be not afraid, for Michael Moore has slid into the Supreme Leader’s DMs to stop all out war,” joked ABC News foreign correspondent Julia Macfarlane.
Be not afraid, for Michael Moore has slid into the Supreme Leader’s DMs to stop all out war. “When the Ayatollah responds, I’ll post his reply.” pic.twitter.com/MDqJc9wU88
— Julia Macfarlane (@juliamacfarlane) January 5, 2020
“Oh, ok then. Michael Moore has got this,” said New York Times Magazine contributor Thomas Chatterton Williams.
Oh, ok then. Michael Moore has got this. pic.twitter.com/k9bzA5pHTh
— Thomas Chatterton Williams ? ? (@thomaschattwill) January 5, 2020
Journalist Ben Sixsmith imagined how the exchange between Moore and Khamenei might unfold.
Ayatollah: Thank you for message Michael. I would like to refer you to General Suqdiz.
Michael Moore: General Suqdiz?
Ayatollah: Suq diz nuts.
— Ben Sixsmith (@BDSixsmith) January 5, 2020
Some conservatives were more direct, calling Moore fat, self-promoting, deluded and traitorous.
When the Ayatollah leaves you on read. pic.twitter.com/F0SALyCSQB
— neontaster (@neontaster) January 5, 2020
Right-wing Twitter users had already slammed Moore for suggesting in a tweet Friday that Americans would be quickly “trained to hate” Soleimani. Moore failed to mention the commander’s role in promoting conflict and terrorism across the Middle East, including attacks in Iraq that the United States has said cost hundreds of American lives.
Hi @MMFlint. Do you know this man? No? Ask the people of Aleppo who live in the rubbles of Soleimani’s aggression. Child soldiers in Yemen, enlisted by his militia. Minorities in Iraq, slaughtered by sectarian henchmen. Or Israelis in the firing line of rockets. You’re welcome. https://t.co/wte5OJFePO
— Julie Lenarz (@MsJulieLenarz) January 4, 2020
Democratic presidential contenders on Friday called Trump’s strike reckless and warned it could lead the United States to another war in the Middle East. Liberals activists protested in Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities on Saturday, and some celebrities spoke out in support of Iran and against their own country.
“The USA wants no more threats!”
For his part, Trump showed no sign of backing down from conflict with the Islamic Republican. In a series of tweets Saturday, the president threatened to hit 52 Iranian sites “very hard” if Tehran attacks Americans or U.S. assets.
Iran, Trump wrote, “is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets” in revenge for Soleimani’s death. Trump said the United States has “targeted 52 Iranian sites” and that some were “at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.”
“The USA wants no more threats!” Trump said, adding that the 52 targets represented the 52 Americans who were held hostage in Iran for 444 days after being seized at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in November 1979 – an enduring sore spot in U.S.-Iranian relations.
Trump did not identify the sites. The Pentagon referred questions about the matter to the White House, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As hundreds of thousands mourned Soleimani in the streets of Iran Sunday, lawmakers in the Iraqi Parliament voted to expel the United States troops from the country.