REZA KAHLILI is the pseudonym of a former Iranian Revolutionary Guard member who worked undercover as a CIA agent for several years in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
He spent an idyllic childhood in Tehran, the capital of Iran, surrounded by a close-knit upper middle-class family and two spirited boyhood friends. The Iran of his youth allowed Reza to think and act freely, and even indulge a penchant for rebellious pranks in the face of the local mullahs.
His political and personal freedoms flourished while he continued his education in America during the ’70s. He returned to Iran shortly after the Revolution eager to help rebuild his country, honestly believing that freedom and democracy would prevail and lead his country into a glorious future.
Even though most Iranians had enjoyed varying degrees of success under the Shah, the ayatollah Khomeini’s message resonated with a population weary of oppression and desperate for the political choice denied them under the Shah. To this end, Reza joined the Revolutionary Guards, an elite force that served Khomeini.
Instead of finding a new beginning for his country, he discovered a tyrannical ayatollah bent on plunging Iran into a dark age of religious fundamentalism and causing his fellow countrymen to turn on each other. Shaken to his very core after witnessing the atrocities at Evin Prison, atrocities that hit very close to home, a shattered and disillusioned Reza embarked on a mission that would change his life forever. He returned to America and emerged as “Wally,” a spy for the CIA.
Counterintelligence, coded communications, escape tactics and evasion, dominated his new life. He risked exposure daily and after several close calls, he managed to leave Iran. His CIA activities continued in Europe for a few more years before he and his family finally moved to America.
After the 9/11 attack, Reza Kahlili activated a handful of sources within Iran and once again contacted the CIA. He continues as an active voice for a free Iran and works toward ending the thugocracy of the mullah’s regime. He has written several articles for various media expressing his opinions and hope for a free Iran.
He now lives in California and is a frequent lecturer on Iran and IRGC.
“A time to Betray” made the Washington Post’s Book world Bestsellers for the week of August 10th, 2012.
“A Time to Betray” was announced the Winner of The 2011 International Book Awards in two categories of: Autobiography/Memoirs and Best New Non-Fiction. It was also honored as the “Finalist” in the Non-Fiction Narrative.
“A Time to Betray” was announced the Winner of The National Best Books 2010 Awards (category: Non-Fiction: Narrative). It was also honored as the “Finalist” in the “Autobiography/Memoirs” category.
“A Time to Betray” was named the book of the month by Magazine of The Marines / Leatherneck in January of 2011.
“A Time to Betray” is part of JCITA’s (Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy of DOD) and CI CENTRE (The Leader in Counterintelligence) Iranian Program’s readings.
William Baldwin’s company, Beyond Comprehension, has purchased the screen rights to “A Time to Betray”. Baldwin and producing partner Warren Kohler reportedly “will develop the project as a limited series or miniseries.”