This article is from TOS Vol. 6, No. 2. The full contents of the issue are listed here.
Interview with Reza Kahlili, an Ex-CIA Spy Embedded in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards
Craig Biddle: I’m honored to be joined today by Reza Kahlili, author of A Time to Betray, a book about his double life as a CIA agent in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The book is the winner of both best new nonfiction and autobiography/memoirs in the 2011 International Book Awards sponsored by JPX Media Group. Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym used for security reasons.
Thank you for joining me, Reza.
Reza Kahlili: Thank you so much for having me.
CB: Let’s begin with a little background on you. As I understand it, after the Iranian revolution of 1979 you became an officer in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and a spy for the CIA. What exactly is the Revolutionary Guards and what can you tell us about your involvement with them and with the CIA?
RK: The Revolutionary Guards were initially organized following the 1979 revolution that ousted the shah. They were charged with protecting the country and the new government, including the clerics, who did not trust the regular Iranian army and believed the majority were supporters of the shah.
The clerics formed this new, parallel military force drawing from the Iranian youth, primarily from poor neighborhoods. When the government offered them jobs and training, these youth got very excited and many joined. And the Guards promised not only to secure the country but also to help the poor and to help with the construction of the country. This made them even more attractive.
I had been in America studying computer in the ’70s, and by the time I graduated, the revolution in Iran had taken place. At the time, I was excited and full of hope that there was going to be democracy and freedom in Iran, so I returned. One of my childhood friends who had been there while the revolution was taking place, and had participated in it, had joined the Guards. And when he asked me to join, saying that my expertise and Western education would be major assets, I did.
Several months later came the seizure of the U.S. Embassy. That was the beginning of my awakening to the fact that the country was not going in the right direction and that a radical minority was taking over. There was also the mass killing of the shah’s officers without any hearings or legal processes. The Revolutionary Courts ordered their execution, and the Guards just lined them up and shot thousands of them.
And then the new government went back on its promise that the clerics would not interfere in government matters, that they would only address the spirituality of the people. The clerics started enforcing Islamic law, which was not supposed to be part of the new government. Soon Khomeini and other clerics declared that they were representatives of God on Earth and that anybody who opposed them would be regarded as a “moraheb,” an enemy of God, and executed.
Following that, tens of thousands of men and women were arrested, opposition political parties were banned, and certain universities were shut down to get rid of the Western influence in our education. Among the thousands taken to Evin prison, where they kept political prisoners, were my best friend and his siblings.
I witnessed the torture and the horror that this new regime was inflicting on Iranian citizens. Teenage girls were raped prior to execution—because of the Muslim belief that virgins go to heaven. Boys and girls were tortured in unimaginable ways, some of which I’ve described in my book, and then executed.
At that time, I began to despise not only the government but also Islam itself, and I was looking for ways to help. I knew something had to be done, and the only thing I could think to do was to go back to America and talk to the American authorities. They would understand the danger of the regime and help, I thought. And I had a lot of information on the Guards, who were expanding into Middle East terrorist activities under the clerics.
So I told the Iranian authorities that my aunt was sick—which was true; she was sick—but I used this to gain permission to travel to the United States, and my childhood friend who was now in the intelligence unit of the Guards helped me. Upon arriving in the U.S., I contacted the FBI, and after a couple of meetings they introduced me to a CIA officer. After a few weeks of debriefing with the CIA, the agency told me that if I would volunteer to go back to Iran and inform the CIA about the Guards’ activities, that this would help both the CIA and my country. They left it up to me; I could have gone my own way, and they would have let me go. But I decided to work with them, and I soon left for Europe for training, after which I went back to Iran and started my mission.
CB: Can you relay some highlights of what you did and discovered on that mission, and how the CIA used the information?
RK: That’s a long story, and I’ve detailed much of it in A Time to Betray. Basically, I had a friend in the intelligence unit and was able to get a lot of information from him. I also had contacts within the foreign ministry, in the war units, and others. So I gathered and provided a lot of data.
In one case, for example, I provided information about transfers of arms and explosives to Syria. These were transferred, in large part, via Iran Air commercial flights, which were loaded in Tehran, flown to Syria, and eventually transported to Hezbollah. Guard units themselves were also transferred to Syria and from there to Lebanon.
I provided information on the regime’s various efforts to expand its reach not only within the Middle East but also in Europe, Africa, and even America. The regime set up safe houses, established cells in mosques and Islamic cultural centers, and even fronted businesses.
I also provided information about Iraq’s and Iran’s quest for nuclear bombs. In the mid-1980s, the intelligence unit of the Guards learned that Saddam Hussein was looking to buy a nuclear bomb. He had already obtained and used chemical weapons, and now he was seeking the bomb. So Ayatollah Khomeini, the supreme leader at the time, authorized Mohsen Rezaei, then chief commander of the Guards, to start Iran’s nuclear bomb project. The Iranians approached Pakistan with billions of dollars to buy the actual bomb but ended up purchasing the centrifuges and the blueprints instead. The first centrifuges were transferred in Khomeini’s private jet.
In another instance, I was present in a secret meeting of the Guards in which Mohsen Rezaei announced the latest strategy: to form the Guards’ naval and air force units, to expand on their missile delivery system, and to focus on smaller units of naval and ground forces—but thousands more of them—countering the balance of power that the U.S. held in the region. This strategy has held to this day; they have thousands of missiles, and thousands of naval units, and so forth.
Another item was a pact, an unwritten pact, between Germany, France, England, and Iran that allowed the Guards and the intelligence unit of the Iranian government to assassinate their opposition members in these other countries as long as they did not harm their citizens or create an unsafe environment. From there on, the Guards assassinated hundreds of opposition leaders in the streets of Paris, London, and different cities across Germany—including General Gholam Oveissi, the former commander of the shah’s army, and his brother, in Paris; Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, a Kurdish political leader, in Austria; and Iranian-Kurdish opposition leaders, Sadegh Sharafkandi, Fattah Abdoli, and Homayoun Ardalan, in Berlin. The most notable figure they assassinated was the last prime minister under the shah, Shahpour Bakhtiar. He’d escaped the country after the revolution and stayed active in Paris promoting opposition to the mullahs. The Guards finally caught up with him, stabbed him thirteen times in the neck, and cut his throat.
CB: What was the incentive for the Germans, French, and British to grant the Guards permission to assassinate these people?
RK: The incentive was billions of dollars in contracts. They were given oil contracts, industrial contracts, and contracts specifically for the Revolutionary Guards. England and Germany even provided military equipment to the Guards, despite the U.S. arms embargo in place at the time.
CB: Spying on the Iranian regime for the CIA must be one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. What motivated you to do this kind of work?
RK: From day one, when I started these activities, everything I did was in hopes of this regime being overthrown. I saw that the regime is not only dangerous to the Iranian people, but that it is just a profoundly savage regime, a messianic regime, an evil regime. I saw that it was a danger to the stability of the whole region, and that if it succeeded in its efforts millions of Iranians and others could be slaughtered.
At first, I was certain that the U.S. would see this. But as I got more involved it became very complicated, because at the same time that I was working for the agency, the agency was involved in negotiations with the Guards in Europe—negotiations that resulted in the Iran-Contra affair. They actually talked with the same individual from the intelligence unit who was part of the abduction of William Berkeley, the CIA agent later killed in Lebanon in 1985.
The U.S. repeatedly misreads the Iranians because the Iranians always throw a back-channel contract or someone who provides hope for negotiations. In one instance, the White House had direct communication with Hashemi Rafsanjani, then speaker of the Parliament. He promised a normalization in relations with the U.S. after the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, so the U.S. decided to wait. These kinds of signals from Iran provided hope to American officials for some kind of a negotiated solution and kept them from taking action against the regime.
But you are right. Many times, it was very dangerous. I doubted sometimes whether I was doing the right thing, I had nightmares every night, I lied to my wife, I lied to my mother, I lied to every member of my family—all of whom despised that I was collaborating with the regime.
CB: I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been.
The Iranian regime is clearly hostile to America and Israel. You argue, however, that the Iranian people are generally not hostile to the West but want freedom and are, in effect, held hostage by the regime. This is supported by, among other things, the fact that after 9/11 Iranians held candlelight vigils in Tehran in support of the victims and the U.S., and, more recently, by the rise of the Green Movement, which appears to be substantially pro-freedom and pro-West.
But then we see elements in Iranian culture that contradict this. In the documentary Iranium, for instance, we see schoolchildren chanting “Death to America!” Of course that’s because they are being told to by their teachers and elders, but we also see grown adults chanting “Death to America!” in huge crowds. How widespread is the anti-Western mentality in Iran, and what do you think is its fundamental source?
RK: That’s a great question. Let me shed some light, because the majority of the people in the West do not understand this.
Ever since a year and a half into the revolution, the majority of Iranians have been looking for a way to overthrow this regime. And they have been paying dearly for the effort. Tens of thousands have been executed, many from the military and even from the Revolutionary Guards. And many teachers, students, union workers, and the like—people who we in the West don’t hear about because of lack of coverage by the media—are routinely executed.
Now, the Iranian people are some of the most Westernized people in that region, and they want nothing more than the overthrow of this regime. But here’s the thing: In the schools and the universities Islamic laws are enforced. If you don’t obey, you’re out or worse. So when you see in documentaries or on television students chanting, they are doing so because they’ve been ordered to do so.
As for shows of support outside of the schools, here’s how it works: Whenever the government wants to show that people are on its side and are anti-West, hundreds of buses are sent to the families of “the martyrs” (those who have given their lives in jihad) who are housed in buildings and given coupons for food and other things. These people are required to show up for Friday prayers and for demonstrations. Likewise, the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij, Iran’s paramilitary forces, are put on trains to show up. So all these people show up to put on a show, and the West then sees all these people raising their fists and saying “Death to America.” But it is a show.
If the Iranian regime dared for one day, for even half a day, to allow Iranians to come into the streets and say what they really want, then you would see tens of millions of Iranians in the streets shouting “Death to the Islamic Republic!”
If there were a free referendum today, “yes” or “no” to the Iranian Republic, more than 90 percent would say “no.” If there were a free referendum today saying “yes” or “no” to establishing ties with America, more than 90 percent would say “yes.”
There’s a saying going around in Iran that when the U.S. attacked Afghanistan, people were on the rooftops waving flags saying, “This way please”—and they’ve been saying “This way please” for more than three decades now. But all America has done is negotiate with their leaders and turn its back on their aspirations for freedom.
CB: On the issue of freedom, I take that idea to mean what the founders of America meant by it—the absence of force in human relationships. Freedom can be established and maintained only through the protection of individual rights—specifically the rights to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and, especially relevant with respect to Iran, the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. Do you think that Iranians generally understand that this is what freedom means—that it involves the government protecting each individual’s rights to live his life as he sees fit—including choosing his own religion—or even rejecting religion?
RK: Again, that’s a very good question. Here are the facts: The Iranian population is one of the most educated, not only in the region but in the world. And Iranians are highly sophisticated in their understanding of history and politics. Many have aspired and do aspire to the kind of freedom that we enjoy in America. That is why millions came out in the shah’s era demanding political freedom—freedom of speech.
Iranians have been fighting for that for decades, and that is exactly what they want. They don’t want one-man rule, and they don’t want rule by clerics. In fact, most don’t want anything to do with this religion. I can assure you that once this government is gone—which is going to be a huge benefit toward world stability, the global economy, America’s national security, and the “war on terror” in general—Iranians are going to turn their backs on Islam itself.
Prior to the revolution, many Iranians did not adhere to Islamic rituals, or do their Islamic duties, or even pray. They respected Islam and the prophet Mohammed and Allah, but they were not seriously religious. Now they cuss at Allah, the prophet Mohammed, and the most revered Shiite imam in Islam, imam Hussein—the one whose history gave birth to Red Shi’ism.
CB: Red Shi’ism?
RK: Yes, red, meaning that you have to shed blood to bring justice in Islam. You know, kill the enemy, sacrifice your life for the glory of Allah, engage in jihad.
But the Iranians now are not just disrespecting Islam or denying its sanctity; they’re cussing at it. And so, yes, they are looking for the same kind of freedom we have in America—including freedom of religion and speech. They want rule of law. They want an end to this religious nonsense.
CB: Would you say, then, that the Iranian people do not want any form of Sharia law?
RK: They don’t want Sharia law.
CB: Not even a little bit?
RK: Not even a little.
CB: Of course, we don’t hear Iranians in Iran condemning Sharia; but, then, nor did we hear Russians in the USSR condemning communism or Germans in Nazi Germany condemning Hitler. I take it that this is for the same reason. What happens if you openly condemn Islam or reject Sharia in Iran today?
RK: If you do so, you’re a moraheb—condemned for execution. The authorities will torture you and kill you. And many brave souls have given their lives just to speak their minds on this matter. Thousands more are in jails right now across Iran for speaking against the establishment. In fact, a minister just announced that the prisons are filled to the brim and that they must build more. The regime executed more than 150 people just from January through February of this year. They are executing them in secrecy so the United Nations won’t provide more than the minimal objection that it has so far.
CB: Some of the opposition today rallies under the banner of the Green Movement, which, as I understand it, is a mixed bag. What are your thoughts on the Greens? What do they stand for?
RK: Let me try to clear that up, as this has become very confusing to many people. This whole thing started with the contacts I mentioned earlier, between Hashemi Rafsanjani and the White House, back in the mid-’80s, when Mir Hossein Mousavi was the prime minister. The talks have carried on through today, with several U.S. administrations hopeful on negotiation as every one of them was promised a normalization in relations.
Now, you have to understand that Rafsanjani is no “moderate”; he headed up most of the Iranian-backed terrorism of the ’80s and ’90s, as well as the murders of many Iranian dissidents and political activists. Similarly with Mousavi—during whose reign more than thirty thousand people were executed just in one summer. But this was not the Green Movement. It was just early attempts by the Rafsanjani gang to gain power.
The Green Movement began in 2009, with their new effort to gain power. This is when they sought to have Mousavi elected president and thus to remove that office from the influence of Khamenei and his gang. The plan was that with Mousavi as president and with Rafsanjani as the head of the assembly of experts, a position he already held, Rafsanjani would be positioned for appointment as the next supreme leader. That was the long-term strategy.
Now, Mousavi won the election, but Khamenei ordered his defeat. Commanders of the Guards appeared at Mousavi’s office and told him to accept defeat as it was in the best interests of the Islamic Republic. They demanded that he make an announcement acknowledging that he lost the election, and he complied. This is what launched the popular version of the Green Movement—with the Iranian people calling not only for fair elections but also for freedom and for “Death to the Islamic Republic!”
Mousavi and Rafsanjani urged Iranians not to say “Death to the Islamic Republic”; they wanted people merely to ask for justice with regard to the presidential election. But the people shouted it anyway, and intelligence revealed six or seven months ago indicates that had the demonstrations continued at the same intensity for just a month or so longer, the government would have collapsed.
It is important to note that when the protests flared up, Mousavi and Karroubi went silent. Millions of people were out in the streets, burning Khamenei and Ahmadinejad in effigy and attacking the security forces, but Mousavi and Karroubi sought only to quiet things down. These men did not want to overthrow the Islamic Republic; they merely wanted to shift the power to themselves. And in their play for power, they lost. Rafsanjani even lost his chairmanship of the assembly of experts. And now both Mousavi and Karroubi are detained in their homes.
That’s how the Green Movement began and evolved, and why many people now regard its goal as an overthrow of the regime.
CB: Do you think the Green Movement is worthy of support now?
RK: Well, it’s still a mixture of good and bad because some of the early leaders are still active in the movement and are still loyal to the Islamic Republic. At this point, we need to support the Iranian people as a whole in their quest to end the Islamic regime—which is what the vast majority of Iranians want.
CB: If the regime is brought to an end, what is to replace it? Many people—including, unfortunately, many Americans—call for “democracy” in Iran. But I regard this as a grave error. Democracy is simply majority rule—one vote per person, and the most votes carry the day. It is not rule by rights-respecting laws but rule by the greatest number of men who agree. Under democracy, if the majority says, in effect, “Well we want freedom to some extent, but we don’t want to lose religious law entirely,” then you soon end up with theocracy again. What are your thoughts on this?
RK: Well, I think that analysis does not apply to Iran because Iran has already been there and done that. It applies to Egypt and other countries because in a full democratic process, where majority rules, the Islamists could take over and then enforce Islamic laws as we’ve seen happen in Iran.
As bad as it has been for the people of Iran, their experience with this Islamic regime—which started with a referendum “yes” or “no” to the Islamic republic—has provided Iranians with ample reason not to go down the same road again.
Free and full democratic government in Iran would mean that every four years people would have the chance to vote for a candidate for the presidency and a representative for the Parliament. It would mean freedom of speech and freedom of the media, so students and teachers would no longer be sent to prison for speaking their minds, and newspapers would no longer be shut down for criticizing the government. It would mean that people would no longer be hanged or stoned for opposing Islam.
I think Iranians have had enough. They want to wear what they want, they want to think what they want, they want open media, they want an electoral process in which anyone can run and everyone can vote.
CB: The problem I see with “democracy” is that it doesn’t mean freedom; it means majority rule. And if the majority’s desires change—say they come to want more religion, or perhaps communism—then that’s the direction the government goes.
So what I think Iran needs is the same kind of system that the American Founders established here. Yes, you get to vote, but the voting takes place in the context of a rights-respecting constitution, a constitution that says: You get to vote on certain things but not others. You get to vote on candidates for office, but you don’t get to vote on whether people have the right to freedom of religion, or property rights, or the right to the pursuit of happiness. Those are absolutes enshrined in a written constitution that stands before and beyond the process of voting. The constitution cordons off that which is not up for vote—namely, individual rights—and limits the government to protecting them.
Do you know whether anyone in Iran is working on such a constitution to serve as the basis for a democratic process?
RK: Oh, yes, people inside Iran and outside Iran are working on various possible constitutions, and some are similar to what you’re talking about. You’re absolutely right—the first element needed for the establishment of a democratic process is a constitution that protects individual rights. And then, as you’ve said, there can be elections.
CB: So you and I are in agreement on that. I just brought this up because when people say, “we want democracy,” a lot of times they mean by that, “we just want to be able to vote,” and that is just insufficient for freedom. Voting is a necessary aspect of freedom but it is not even close to a sufficient condition.
RK: Right, the constitution is the infrastructure that’s needed. Without that, it’s going to be very, very difficult to establish justice and freedom.
CB: Do you know of a particular constitution in the works or that’s on paper somewhere that you think is relatively good?
RK: Yes, there was an attempt just a few months ago in Washington, D.C., where many from the opposition got together to begin drafting a possible constitution, and that’s still being worked on. Also, I myself, as a board member on the Foundation for Democracy for Iran, will be forming a very active coalition to help guide the various efforts in the production of a viable constitution.
CB: That’s music to my ears because, in my estimate, that is essential to genuine and lasting change in Iran.
What do you think the American government can and should be doing today to help the Iranian people end this regime and establish a free republic?
RK: To be perfectly candid, it may be too late now. We lost the biggest opportunity in 2009, when, unfortunately, President Obama was wheeling and dealing behind the scenes, sending letters to Ayatollah Khamenei assuring him that America wouldn’t interfere with Iran’s internal matters, giving the regime the green light to suppress and kill—all with the hopes of negotiations at the October meeting in Geneva.
At this point what is needed is for America to have a serious discussion with our European allies and to let them know that they have to cut diplomatic ties with the Iranian government and expel all Iranian agents from their countries—we know who they are, as I worked for the agency for several years in Europe. We must tell our allies to ban Iran Air from their airspace and to close their ports to any ships going to or coming from Iran. We also need to tell the Iranian people that we support their aspirations for freedom, that we deny the legitimacy of the Iranian regime, and that we are willing to help them overthrow it. If we want them to overturn this regime, then we have to provide them with moral and material support.
Now, we are running out of time because the Iranians—with the help of North Korea and China—are developing nuclear warheads. They now have over a thousand ballistic missiles, including missiles that can hit every capital in Europe, and they’re working with North Korea to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Once they get the bomb, all bets are off. It’s checkmate. They will arm Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Venezuela, and others. Every U.S. ally in the region and throughout the world will be a possible target. Israel will be destroyed. America will either be hit or live in constant fear of it. And Iran will substantially control the world’s energy resources—40 percent of oil passes through the Persian Gulf.
The race is on, and our understanding should be that the Iranian regime must not obtain nuclear warheads. Whether we help the Iranian people end the regime or whether we take the regime out ourselves, the regime must go—now.
The question is: Do we want war before they have the bomb or after they have the bomb?
RK: But I’m sorry to say that the Obama administration is delusional, it’s weak, and it’s confused. Apparently nobody in the administration understands the consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran. Their dual process of negotiation and sanction has not worked. It has failed—as I predicted in February 2009 in an open letter to President Obama. And now they have thrown in the towel, they have no clue how to deal with events in the Middle East, and the Chinese and the Russians are taking full advantage of this situation.
CB: There’s no way on Earth that this administration is going to do anything that it ought to do with respect to Iran. But American citizens can demand that any Republican presidential candidate who wants our support must have a rational policy regarding Iran—namely, one that openly supports the Iranian people and advocates the overthrow of their regime.
RK: Yes. But it’s a long time to 2013.
CB: Indeed it is, and that leads to my next question. You recently wrote at PajamasMedia that the Stuxnet virus has disabled Iran’s nuclear centers. I read that with great delight, as I knew that the worm had done substantial damage, but I didn’t know it had actually disabled their nuclear centers. How do you know this, and what is the significance of this development?
RK: Well, perhaps I should have explained more. The Stuxnet virus affected many centers, including most notably the facilities at Natanz and Bushehr. That report was focused on the Bushehr facility.
At Natanz the virus destroyed over a thousand centrifuges, which the Iranians had to replace. But during the month that Natanz was shut down, they somehow accelerated their uranium enrichment processes elsewhere, which made up for that shutdown period. So they were still enriching at an alarming rate, and according to the IAEA they now have over eight thousand pounds of enriched uranium, sufficient for more than three nuclear bombs.
Further, they have enriched to the 20 percent level, which is very dangerous because going from 20 percent to more than 90 percent takes only a few months. The 20 percent level is actually 80 percent of the way to nuclearization.
Now, the Bushehr nuclear facility was important because, had it gotten off the ground, the spent fuel from Bushehr could have provided a lot of material, enough for 60 to 90 plutonium bombs within the first year or two. So it was essential for Bushehr not to take off.
The Stuxnet virus was inserted through a personal computer into the computer system of the Bushehr facility, and, as I stated in that article—which was based on a revealed document from the Guards’ intelligence units and the Ministry of Intelligence within Iran—the Iranians have been working hard to eradicate it. That document shows that they have basically thrown up their hands. They had set up two bases to work specifically on that problem; they gathered more than one hundred technicians and engineers; they repeatedly asked for help from a Russian company—but fortunately got no response. (They are working behind the scenes with the Swiss, but the final result, after a year or so of working to contain the virus or to come up with a solution to take care of this malware, is that they have come up empty-handed.)
According to recent reports, Iran intends to start the Bushehr facility despite the dangers posed by the virus, and the Russians have provided the fuel. If they get the plant running and the virus attacks, it could cause a “halt attack,” a complete stoppage in the power grid, which would result in a meltdown of the reactor.
CB: So the good news is that the virus is wreaking havoc on parts of the Iranian nuclear program—and may wreak more. The bad news is that Iran is finding ways to work around the problem.
RK: Right. Our purpose is to stop them or delay them in the pursuit of a nuclear bomb. And even though Stuxnet has been very successful, they’re continuing to make progress.
What’s more, as I reported three months ago, Iranian scientists have been sent to North Korea—with financial aid from the Iranian government to the North Korean government—to do joint tests, which were delayed because of the earthquake in Japan. The South Korean intelligence agency revealed right before the earthquake that the North Koreans were getting ready for a third nuclear bomb test.
There was also a report last month of an Iranian-bound Chinese ship being confiscated in Malaysia; the ship was transporting two containers with materials used for nuclear weapons. The Chinese are collaborating with Iran just as they collaborated with Pakistan.
Here’s the thing: Once our enemies see a weakness in U.S. policy, they redouble their efforts and speed up their activities. At this rate, it’s quite possible that this year or next Iran will have the nuclear bomb. Actually, I reported a couple of months ago that a Revolutionary Guards commander said, “Our project is going to shock the world very soon.”
CB: Frightening times. And all the more so when America is appeasing and cowering and failing to do what we can and should do to end the nightmare.
To try ending this interview on a somewhat positive note, what message do you have—not for the American government this time, but for the American people—about what we can and should do to help the Iranian people put an end to this regime?
RK: Well, I would first point out to everybody here in America that the events in the Middle East and the policies of the Iranian regime affect our economy, our security, and every aspect of our life here in America. It should be our top priority to address this matter—and to address it immediately.
So people should call their representatives and demand that they support the Iranian people in their efforts to oust the regime and establish a proper, rights-respecting government. People should also support the Iranian-Americans who are working tirelessly to bring this to the attention of the Congress and the White House. And finally, Americans should help get the word across to the Iranians that we support their aspirations for freedom and that we encourage them to overthrow the regime.
CB: Reza, I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with me today. It’s been extremely informative.
RK: Well, I appreciate that and I appreciate your time.
Reza Kahlili’s historical memoir, A Time to Betray, is required reading at both the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA) and the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, where Mr. Kahlili also lectures frequently. For more information, visit www.atimetobetray.com.
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