This is one of the most heartrending, and at the same time, enthralling accounts I have ever read of courage, dissimulation and personal suffering in the genre of espionage memoirs. This is the story of a courageous man, who justly betrays and risks his life (and that of his family) to fight surreptitiously against the cruelties and injustices of the ruling government of his native country — Iran. This book struck a personal cord with me because it reminded me of painful and regretful similarities that beset my own family in my native country, Cuba, just before and after of the Revolution that brought to power the dictator Fidel Castro and his brother Raul in 1959.
As a very young child, I remember various members of my family arguing passionately but amicably for and against the dictatorial government of Cuban President, Fulgencio Batista, his coup and dictatorship, his trampling on the legendary Constitution of 1940, the lack of political rights, the cruel imprisonment and even systematic torture of rebels captured while fighting against his regime (an opposition in which my own parents played a clandestine part), etc. I remember one my great uncles arguing and warning us about the malevolent changes the triumph of the revolutionary “barbudos” could bring about — but my parents did not listen, and came to regret it! After the triumph of the Revolution in 1959 and the establishment of communism in Cuba, there was indeed drastic “change,” but this militated change was for the worse — the inception of a culture of deception, oppression, and horror, and there would no longer be friendly political discussions among families, but only mistrust, dissimulation, and fear.
Eerily, the same thing happened in far away Iran in 1979 with the fall of the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the takeover of Iran by the mullahs and Ayatollah Khomeini, and the inception of a brutal Islamic Republic. Our hero, young Reza Kahlili (a pseudonym) was brought up in a close, prosperous family in Teheran. He remembers the “good old days” of traditional festivities, gatherings, his loving grandfather patriarch defending the ruling Shah of Iran, his ruling dynasty, and the old Persian mores in amicable and engaging conversations among family members. Living in such a warm and jovial atmosphere, Reza, could not have imagine the horrific changes that would be brought about so rapidly in Iranian society with the advent of the “Islamic Republic,” which he joined with excitement after returning to Iran from studying abroad in California.
Nor could he have ventured to guess that most of his family and closest childhood friends would so soon be devoured by the Revolution and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, in which he compliantly served the tyranny. The proverb says “be careful what you wish for; you might just get it.” Alas, that is what happened for those who wanted change in Cuba and Iran, deriding and helping to overthrow Batista in Cuba and the Shah in Iran by revolution. Many of those citizens would end up crushed by Castro and the Ayatollah — who were significantly worse tyrannical figures than their predecessors. And the tragic concatenations that followed in both countries in their wake have not yet ended!
But let us now part from the comparison and focus on Iran and our hero, the subjects of this book. This is an excellent tome, expertly written, personal, passionate, and although it reads fast, like a suspense thriller, it also has interspersed background material recounting brief episodes in the history of Iran that are necessary to the narrative. For example, we learn the Iranians had mixed feelings about (and many resented) the British and Americans, among other reasons, because of interference in their nation’s affair. For example, in 1953 those governments, using the CIA as a vehicle, helped overthrow the democratically elected president of Iran, a (militant) nationalist, Muhammad Mussadegh, who had nationalized the oil industry, and had forced the Shah (a friend of the West) to flee the country.
It is also of historic interest that, as I remember a few years back in 2007, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, defending his country’s right to a nuclear program, stated, “the country of Iran was heir to a great empire and home to a 2,500-year civilization.” I was surprised at the statement, as I always thought the conquests of Mohammed and the religious and cultural revolution of the 7th century, imposed by the victorious Arabs on the conquered Sassanid Persians, had resulted in a new and distinct Islamic nation. Moreover, with the fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty, the last Persian monarchy, the drastic changes brought about by the revolution of 1979, and the inception of an Islamic Republic (a virtual theocracy), had brought about yet another distinct nation. Iranians have a long history as Persians and speak Farsi. Arabs have a more recent civilization, attaining historical distinction with the conquests of Mohammed and speak Arabic. I was gratified that Reza’s loving grandfather and many other more secular Iranians, cognizant of their heritage, agree with my cultural interpretation. These Iranian nationalist and traditionalists think of themselves heir to a distinct but vanishing Persian civilization that had been suppressed culturally by Arab Islamism, and more recently politically with the tyranny of the mullahs and the ayatollahs.
I will not reveal the heartrending stories of cruelty and betrayal, as well as dissimulation and courage, that revolve precariously around our hero Reza, who, as a member of the feared Iranian Revolutionary Guard, courageously spied against the cruel regime he ostensibly served. Suffice to say, the brutality of the regime against his friends and the Iranian people changed him into leading a double life, spying for the CIA for over a decade. Among the information Reza provided to the CIA was vital intelligence that probably prevented the collapse of the Saudi government. The Iranians had planned to use the hajj, the religious pilgrimage that Moslems must make to Mecca, to stage a coup d’etat. Armaments were sent for the hajj, but most of these were intercepted and many of the militants arrested beforehand, foiling the insurrection. Other information was communicated to the U.S. at great peril, but not necessarily used properly by the American government, which was bent on placating the mullahs through various administrations.
The double life took its toll, but Reza persisted in his clandestine espionage with the thought of bringing about genuinely real change for the betterment, the attainment of freedom, and improving the life of his countrymen. How he did his self-appointed mission, and how he survived spying at great personal risk from within the belly of the infernal beast are the enthralling subjects of this book.
Without reservations, this heartrending thriller is highly recommended for those who enjoy non-fiction thrillers, recent history, and passionate espionage accounts. Be ready to stay anxiously at the edge of your seat and hold back irrepressible tears of commiseration, sorrow and outrage! I assign it a 5-star rating.
Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D. is the author of Cuba in Revolution — Escape from a Lost Paradise (2002) and of other books and numerous articles on politics, espionage, and history, including “Stalin’s Mysterious Death” (2011), “The Political Spectrum — From the Extreme Right and Anarchism to the Extreme Left and Communism” (2011); “America, Guns and Freedom” (2012);”Violence, Mental Illness, and the Brain — A Brief History of Psychosurgery” (2013), etc., all posted at his website haciendapublishingdotcom
For more than a decade, Iran has successfully bought time from its nuclear detractors by negotiating in bad faith as it worked feverishly to develop nuclear weapons.
It now has bought six more months.
As I have reported many times, the regime’s strategists have always believed that the more their nuclear program is expanded, the less likely the West could demand its total dismantling and that the military option by the Obama administration is a bluff. The worst the West could do was to impose sanctions, they felt. They also believed that at one point the West would come to accept Iran’s nuclear program at some level and reverse sanctions.
The regime’s strategists have been proven correct.
An interim deal reached Sunday in Geneva between the Islamic Republic and the 5+1 world powers in reality accepted the Iranian nuclear program, allowing the continuation of enrichment with over 10,000 centrifuges despite six U.N. Security Council resolutions for Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment. The Geneva agreement calls on Iran to only curtail parts of its nuclear program in return for the easing of some sanctions.
Those sanctions — from the United Nations, the United States and the European Union — had all but brought the mullah-dominated nation to its economic knees. Inflation is rampant, unemployment skyrocketing and civil unrest boiling below the surface.
And now, for six months, pressure will be escaping from that financial disaster, giving the regime more time to become a nuclear-armed power. On Monday, Iran announced that as part of the deal, the United States has unfrozen $8 billion of its assets.
And what are we to achieve in the next six months in return? The radical leaders ruling Iran have been quite clear that enrichment will never stop.
President Reagan famously used the Russian proverb “Trust but verify” in dealing with the Soviet Union in the 1980s. It worked. But that phrase was only partly invoked in Sunday’s agreement.
Yes, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency may now oversee nuclear enrichment activity at Fordow and Natanz. But the agreement does not include inspection of other suspected sites, including a secret site only 15 miles from Fordow, where, according to sources, Iran’s most sophisticated lab is developing nuclear weapons and endeavoring to marry them up to delivery systems. Right next door to that secret lab is a vast area housing ballistic missile silos.
Yes, Iran has agreed to halt work on its plutonium plant at Arak, at which a second path to nuclear arms could be opened, but the agreement does not permit inspection. Trust us, Tehran told the 5+1. Trust has to be earned, not granted on demand.
Yes, IAEA monitors will have free access to important nuclear sites but not to the Parchin military site, where the regime conducted illicit nuclear experiments. It has been trying to cover up evidence of those banned nuclear tests so the world will not have proof of its deceit.
Iran says it wants to develop nuclear energy as a source of national pride. No nation would accept those crushing sanctions for pride. More deceit.
Iran says it wants to have nuclear energy for self-sufficiency. It already has enough oil for domestic consumption in addition to foreign exports. And it could have all the nuclear energy it needs for much less cost from foreign sources. More deceit.
No, what Iran really wants is to become a nuclear-armed power so it has the means to bring about the destruction of Israel and dominate the region. Israel and Western-allied Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia have formed an unlikely alliance in opposing Sunday’s agreement, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a “historic mistake.”
Indeed, it most certainly is. Iran is playing the same game that helped North Korea acquire nuclear weapons.
The Islamic Republic has negotiated over its illicit nuclear program with the U.S. and the world powers for over a decade, during which time it has successfully increased the number of centrifuges enriching uranium from 150 to over 19,000 today. It now has over 10 tons of low-enriched uranium — sufficient for several bombs — and has over a thousand ballistic missiles and, in collaboration with North Korea, is working on intercontinental ballistic missiles.
So the deal is struck — at least for six months — and the world powers won’t go back on it, a deal that leaves Iran’s nuclear infrastructure largely in place. But the mullahs will put that extra time to use as it continues on its path to becoming a nuclear power. Once it achieves that rank, it believes, the West must accept it as a fait accompli.
But Congress must also use the next six months to work on even harsher sanctions, ready to slap on the regime once it is clear that the clerics have played us for fools again. And then those sanctions must be kept in place until “Trust but verify” is replaced with “Dismantle and destroy.”
Or until the freedom-loving people of Iran have had enough of their dictators and rid the land of their scourge.
By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Friday, November 8th, 2013 @ 12:43PM
On the first day of the second round of negotiations in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1, the U.S. offering of a “reverse sanctions program” in return for the suspension of part of Tehran’s uranium enrichment has been leaked. Described as a process of steps towards total abandonment of Iran’s bomb ambitions, this would translate to the a major dropping of some sanctions for a finite term (6 months?) when Iran takes the first step. But Iran’s position on its nuclear program has remained the same, enriching as much uranium as they wish and keeping it, along with claiming the freedom to expand its nuclear capabilities in any way it sees fit. So, why this public offering?
On November 3, AP reported that Khamenei had admonished hardliners not to undermine negotiators engaged in talks with the West. However, Khamenei also said on the same day that he was not optimistic about the negotiations “and called America the most hated power in the world.” He also reiterated his regime’s view of Israel: “We have said since the very first day (of the Islamic Revolution), and we do say it now and we will say it in the future as well, that we believe the Zionist regime is an illegitimate and bastard regime.”
Former Revolutionary Guard member “Reza Kahlili” notes that the regime’s media outlet Kheybar Online published a statement by Hossein Allahkaram, who is described as a radical theoretician, saying, “Though to improve the economy and relieve some sanctions these matters (negotiations) are considered, the value of enriching to 20, 40, 60, and 99 percent that Iran is capable of doing is much more (important) than a good economy.”
Indeed, the Obama administration was lifting some sanctions already before Hassan Rouhani’s visit to the U.N. General Assembly in NYC. the U.S. restrictions on funding and sending medical items and sports exchanges were promised. And in advance of the current meeting, the Obama administration leaked that it was considering releasing $12 billion of Iranian assets held in the United States, which would undoubtedly be followed by Europe’s unfreezing another $35 billion in assets. Nearly $50 billion would seem like a prize for at least the cessation of all uranium enrichment. But neither Obama nor the Europeans are making such demands.
After the first meeting of the new round in Geneva, Fars News was quick to show that Iran had the upper hand, with lead negotiator Seyed Abbas Araqchi saying that the P5+1 had accepted Iran’s proposed framework for continuing the talks.
The Obama administration’s longstanding plans regarding Iran were laid out on the eve of the Geneva talks by the Wall Street Journal. While using back channels is nothing new, Obama seems to have used them with Iran since the beginning of his presidency. According to the Journal, the lead dog in this has been NSC staffer, Indian-American Puneet Talwar. Talwar early on “conveyed a succinct message for his Iranian interlocutors: The U.S. wants to peacefully resolve the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program” and “is ready to deal.” The article also mentions that former UN Ambassador Susan Rice was charged with conveying much the same message to the Iranian UN ambassador during her stint there.
To veil their intentions, Obama’s staff used the United Nations Association, Asia Society vice president Suzanne DiMaggio, and the Council on Foreign Relations in efforts to bring Rouhani and Obama face-to-face during the recent UN General Assembly meeting. The Journal noted that ”U.S. diplomacy has also been aided by Hossein Mousavian, a former top Iranian diplomat and now a visiting scholar at Princeton University.”
Obama himself recently admitted that soon after his inauguration, he wrote to Iran’s Supreme Leader to lay out his intentions for arapprochment with Iran. It’s no wonder, then, that just before Obama’s 2012 reelection White House adviser-in-chief Valerie Jarrett, who has childhood friends in Iran–some in influential positions, decided to leak the news that the White House was near a deal with Tehran. She wanted to assure the boss’s reelection by producing good news. Now we know that she had the evidence to show this if Obama had allowed it.
It seems that as far as Obama is coincerened, the deal with Tehran has already been consummated. Indeed, in a CNN interview, Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif said, “It is possible to reach an understanding for an agreement before we close these negotiations tomorrow evening. I believe the ingredients are there. There is a window of opportunity now that needs to be seized.” However, Iran’s appetite fior concessions and humiliation of the U.S., “The Big Satan,” may bring up some new demands.
As with prior “negotiations” with Iran, whatever temorary deal is reached in Geneva, Tehran will coninue to stall while progressing towards becoming a nuclear power. With this, the U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East will be complete and its pledge to have Israel’s back will be ignored.
In the meantime, the news about the American “reverse sanctions program” has led the Saudis to let it be known that they are ready to collect the nuclear bombs they’ve ordered from Pakistan.
In addition to abandoning Washington’s traditional policy of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons, the Obama administration’s actions are all but leading to setting the region on fire. War in the Middle East will disrupt oil production in and transportation from the region and cause severe damge to U.S. economic and strategic interests as well as push the world into chaos. Nonetheless, in complete disregard to the predictacle outcome, Obama forges ahead with his plans to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Why?
Despite President Obama’s outreach to the new president of Iran, Islamic radicals walked over a U.S. flag and spat on Obama’s image on their way to Friday prayers last week.
Mashregh, the media outlet of the Revolutionary Guards, published a photo of the image of Obama alongside the U.S. flag laid on the ground and radicals walking over them. The picture shows one individual spitting on Obama’s image.
In an effort to emphasize the Islamic Republic’s view of the United States as the “Great Satan,” mass rallies will be held across Iran to shout “Death to America” and assail worldwide Zionism on the anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover of Nov.. 4, 1979, Brig. Gen. Seyyed Masoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of the Joint Armed Forces Headquarters, announced on Saturday.
“The crimes of leaders of America and international Zionism in their confrontation with the Iranian nation will never be erased from the public’s memory,” he said.
Jazayeri stated that ever since the Islamic Revolution, America has engaged in aggressive policies of blocking Iran’s wealth, helping Iraq in its war with Iran in the 1980s and espionage. Referring to the embassy takeover, he said, “If the American spies in Tehran under the cover of diplomats who were hatching plots were not arrested, today we would have witnessed 10 times more damage to our country and the surrounding countries.”
While the efforts of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was lauded by regime leadership and Guards commanders, his telephone call with Obama drew criticism.
The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, referring to the call, stated that some aspects of Rouhani’s efforts in New York were “not proper” and said the Islamic regime has no trust in America. The chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards in an earlier statement criticized Rouhani for taking the call and said he should not have spoken to the U.S. president.
Rouhani in interviews after returning home had stated that the White House had requested the call five times and he decided to take it while en route to the airport.
At the Friday prayers, Mohammad Hossein Safar Harandi, a member of the Expediency Discernment Council of the regime, said the new approach by Rouhani is a tactical approach and referred to the Sureh Al-Fath in the Quran: “God in the Sureh Al-Fath points to a condition which is similar to the current condition … a situation where the hand of the infidels and nonbelievers is restrained from the believers.”
Harandi said that Allah for the “final victory” sees engaging the U.S. as necessary.
According to a Guard member who recently defected to Turkey, Iran’s economy is teetering on the brink and that soon the government will not be able to even pay its employees. He said the regime fears a massive uprising not only by most Iranians who resent the regime and its ideology but also from the poor, which would then assure the downfall of the regime. Thus this new approach by regime leaders to engage the U.S. in seeking sanctions relief without giving up their nuclear program.
The same tactic was used by the regime in 2003. A recently revealed video of Rouhani before the Iranian June presidential elections shows Rouhani boasting about deceiving the West and advancing Iran’s nuclear program during his tenure as the head of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear negotiating team in order to jumpstart the program while promising cooperation.
Referring to the image of radicals walking over the U.S. flag, one prominent Iranian pro-democracy advocate, Shabnam Assadolahi, sent a tweet to Obama: “A must-see photo: @BarackObama are you still open to dialogue and communication with this dangerous regime?”
Despite several United Nations resolutions and sanctions by the U.N., United States and European Union demanding a halt to Iran’s illicit nuclear program, the Islamic regime has significantly expanded the program and currently has over 18,000 centrifuges, with enough enriched uranium for more than six nuclear bombs. At the same time it is set to complete its heavy-water plant, which would give the regime a second path to nuclear weapons by acquiring weapons-grade plutonium.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani openly bragged of shepherding a major expansion of Iran’s uranium enrichment programs a decade ago, when he led Iran’s negotiations with the West that were seeking to limit those programs. He still serves the continuing objectives and policies of Iran’s same supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that call for destroying the “little Satan” Israel and the “great Satan” America. Rouhani’s current approach, which many describe as “moderate,” actually promises more of the same under Khamenei. Thus, Iran’s alleged moderate approach provides cover for achieving a uranium and/or plutonium nuclear capability—possibly within months. Will U.S. and other Western Diplomats again be taken in by Rouhani’s softer diplomatic approach than the bombastic pronouncements of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who also served the wishes of Khamenei? Stay tuned.
Last Sunday’s New York Timeshopeful editorial projected that all eyes at today’s United Nations General Assembly will be on Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, hoping he will provide “concrete evidence” that he is more willing than his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to engage more constructively with the West. Ahmadinejad, you may recall, insisted on proceeding with Iran’s nuclear program, denied the Holocaust and seemed unconcerned as his country slipped into deeper economic distress. Now, the economic pain of effective sanctions may have persuaded the Ayatollah to change horses midstream without actually changing course.
The Times correctly noted that Rouhani has a sophisticated, Western-savvy team including his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who received degrees from American universities and spent most of his adult life in the United States. They have raised expectations for a more constructive role, via a charm offensive in full swing with policy wonks, journalists and business people at invitation-only breakfasts, dinners and meetings during this week. As a prelude, they included signals to the Jewish community (including world-wide Rosh Hashana greetings via Twitter) suggesting peaceful future relations with Israel. In setting the stage for his speech today, he—allegedly a “moderate conservative,” announced yesterday that he will present a new “true face of Iran.”
In warning of things to come, I joined Reza Kahlili in noting that Rouhani had openly boasted that when he led Iran’s negotiations with the West on Iran’s nuclear programs, between October 2003 and August 2005, Iran’s 150 centrifuges grew to over 1,700. (Reza Kahlili is a pseudo name of a counterterrorism expert who served in CIA Directorate of Operations as a spy in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. He currently serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, an advisory board to Congress, and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran.) Click here for Reza’s latest report, including a link to the video of Rouhani’s interview—watch his body language, which illustrates his obvious pride in deceiving the West.
The high points of his comments on his 2003-2005 progress are summarized below. In the video, Rouhani summed up the purpose of his negotiations and his strategy—which should provide some insight for his current charm offensive: “We needed time” to complete the uranium enrichment. Iran invited Britain, France and Germany to engage in the so-called E-3 talks and successfully sought to get them to block U.S. efforts to transfer the Iranian nuclear dossier to the United Nations, which might have provided more scrutiny of Iran’s programs and inhibiting sanctions.
Rouhani called Iran’s widely publicized claim that it stopped its nuclear program in 2003 a statement for the uneducated and admitted that the program not only did not stop, it significantly expanded during and after his tenure as Chief Negotiator. By 2005, there were over 3000 spinning centrifuges, growing to over 10,000 today.
The Past as Prologue?
Fast forward to today—in view of Rouhani’s record of deceit and his recent offer to negotiate on Tehran’s nuclear program—and his reported exchange of letters with President Obama as we have approached today’s “crunch time” at the United Nations. Will they meet? To what end? And to quote a previous Secretary of State in a somewhat different example of deception in high places (Benghazi), “What difference does it make?”
Last August 9th in the New York Times, Amos Yadlin and Avner Golov argued regarding “Iran’s Plan B for the Bomb” that “it would be dangerous to think that Iran’s proposal for negotiations alone would pave the way for a deal”—and that any effective negotiation must deal with three dimensions:
Uranium enrichment from a low level (3.5 percent to 19.75 percent) to weapons-grade level (90 percent);
Iran’s progress toward a quick “breakout capability” through the stockpiling of large quantities of low-enriched uranium that could be further enriched rapidly to provide weapons-grade fuel; and
Iran’s parallel track to a nuclear capability through the production of plutonium.
Yadlin, a former chief of Israeli military intelligence and now director of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (where Golov is a researcher), and Golov acknowledge Iran’s thousands of centrifuges and enough low-enriched uranium permits Iran to produce several nuclear bombs if it chooses to further enrich the fuel. At the same time they might not cross what is perceived as Israel’s red line: 240 kilograms (about 530 pounds) of uranium enriched to a level of 19.75 percent. And they quoted Western experts Graham T. Allison Jr. (Director of Harvard’s Belfer Center and a Former Assistant Secretary of Defense), Olli Heinonen (Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center and a former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency) and a recent Institute for Science and International Security report to note that:
If Iran decided to develop a bomb today, it could do so within three to five months—and at the current pace of installation, Iran could reduce its breakout time to just one month by the end of this year, and by mid-2014 to less than two weeks.
Yadlin and Golov also emphasized the near-term possibility of an Iranian plutonium bomb—via a heavy-water reactor in Arak that could become operational in time to produce weapons-grade plutonium next summer. Note that of the three countries that have publicly crossed the nuclear threshold since the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty entered into force in 1970, two — India and North Korea — did so via the plutonium track.
At his last United Nations session (September 2012), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu focused on uranium enrichment, reinforcing the wide perception of the Iranian nuclear program. This year’s update of his “red line” analysis should include Iran’s potential to attain such a swift breakout capability using uranium—and should add a concern about Iran’s possible ability to build a plutonium bomb without detection. Time is running out.
An inescapable bottom line is that, despite U.N., U.S. and European sanctions, the Islamic regime never halted its nuclear program and have inched ever closer to production of nuclear bombs—they are now dangerously close to their goal. Its decade of negotiations with the West bought time to make gains in both its nuclear and missile programs. As the world community—and especially the United States—considers Rouhani’s charm offensive including a Washington Post OpEd companion to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s lecture to the American people in the New York Times, it should also carefully consider what might be next in the unfolding events of the Middle East—where U.S. recent dithering leadership seems to have given the baton to Russia and undertaken a cheerleader role. Certainly, Israel will.
It seems like eons ago that the President’s alleged outrage over Assad’s alleged use of Chemical Weapons to kill innocent civilians and especially children warranted an “unbelievably small” but remarkably effective attack on Syria—which it is claimed so impressed the leaders of Russia and Syria that Russia’s Vladimir Putin took the baton from a seemingly off-hand comment by Secretary of State Kerry and shifted attention to an alleged historic agreement that allegedly would eliminate in record time the chemical weapon stockpile of his client Syrian President Bashar Havez al-Assad. Is this a comedy or a tragedy?
To be sure, such an achievement would historic indeed if ever realized—and most of the world’s media is eagerly anticipating such good news. Seemingly forgotten is the long standing alliance between Russia, Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and other unsavory elements—an orchestra now being directed by Putin. Surely, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not been fooled—his comments at the U.N. General Assembly should be interesting.
In about a year or so Assad and Putin will announce that they “think” they might have in theory rounded up a lot of the WMD, and will soon make plans to turn it over to “authorities,” subject to further negotiations.
John Kerry will periodically announce that “his” plan has worked and that Assad still cannot kill with WMD any of those he kills by other means, as Obama adds that Putin still “owns” the crisis and that the U.S. keeps all options on the table.
Assad will stay in power, given his own ability to use Russian weapons to stalemate the insurgents, who increasingly become even more unsympathetic and up the profile of Islamist groups in their midst. We may see 200,000 total casualties, to the extent they are reported, by this time next year.
Europe and the U.N. will decide that they really don’t much care what Assad or his enemies do.
Most in the region will still argue over who is the new outside arbiter, a militarily and economically stagnant Russia under a canny and audacious authoritarian, or a once overwhelmingly strong U.S. led by Hamlet.
Iran will follow the Assad model—welcoming Russian support, and, like Assad, swearing off any intention to ever use WMD, as it requests new rounds of negotiations, and its leaders give TV interviews to showcase their new moderate and engaged attitude.
Obama will reference “Bush” and “Iraq” if ever asked about what’s up in Syria.
The American public will have a vague idea that about a year earlier something happened sometime to someone in Syria, but what and when and where and why they are not quite sure.
A periodic op-ed in the New York Times will deplore the ongoing violence in Syria.
Ignore the above if Assad is stupid enough to use WMD yet one more time just to embarrass further the U.S.; the pressure on Obama would be such that he really would have to order an unbelievably small shot across the Syrian bow.
I would also recommend the discussion of why we should be skeptical of Rouhani’s charm offensive by my fellow Independent Working Group member, Ilan Berman.
In any case, if negotiations with Iran should resume, Western leaders should increase their current leverage — sanctions and credible military threats. They should ensure that any future agreement with Iran addresses all the above three dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program, and we should increase our support for programs to defend against the growing possibility that Iran may succeed in getting nuclear-armed ballistic missiles that can attack the U.S. homeland as well as our overseas troops and allies.
Moderate messages from Tehran should not be allowed to camouflage Iran’s continuing progress toward their goals—especially given President Rouhani’s record of deception coupled with his image of moderation.
Implications for America.
A nuclear armed Iran is far more important to our national security interest than other distractions associated with the above unfolding pattern of events. Don’t imagine that Israel is the only nation threatened by Iranian nuclear arms. The United States is as well—particularly when such weapons are mated to ballistic missiles that can be launched from Iran or off our coasts to attack us. And as we have repeatedly pointed out we have significant vulnerabilities—particularly from a high altitude nuclear explosion over the United States that creates an electromagnetic pulse (EMP).
I again repeat for emphasis, if/when Iran gets nuclear weapons and can mate them to ballistic missiles that they already have, they will pose an existential threat to the United States in any of the following ways:
Nuclear-armed ICBM attacks over the North Pole—we need to strengthen our current defenses, especially for the Eastern Seaboard; congress is aware of this problem and pressing for improvements—though recent statements by Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, suggest that funding for these programs may not be available in the appropriations currently being considered.
Nuclear-armed satellite attacks over the South Pole—we are vulnerable to this mode of attack, which Iran (and North Korea) may have practiced; and this clearly possible threat appears to be being ignored.
Nuclear-armed short, medium, or intermediate range missiles launched from vessels off our coasts—we are vulnerable to this mode of attack, but could employ Aegis ships normally near or on our coasts to provide limited defenses if we trained their crews to do so. Aegis Ashore sites, like those to be built in Romania and Poland, also could address this problem. The administration is supposed to address this issue next year in response to a congressional directive.
Nuclear-armed short, medium or intermediate range missiles launched from the south—from the vessels in the Gulf of Mexico or from Latin America—and we are totally vulnerable and will require the deployment of effective defenses to counter such attacks. Aegis Ashore sites could provide this defense. The administration is also supposed to address this issue next year in response to the same congressional directive.
Any of these attack modes can detonate a nuclear weapon above the United States to create an EMP that could cause irreparable damage to the key large transformers of the electric power grid—and under certain well known conditions that could cause a complete failure of the electric power grid for an indefinite period. The ultimate result anticipated by credible experts could be that the consequent chaos would lead to the death of several hundred million Americans within the following year.
Thus, it is very important to harden the electric power grid so that if an attacking missile gets through the defense and detonates its nuclear weapon high above the United States, we will not lose our electric power indefinitely. If we can accomplish this hardening of the electric power grid, then we will have a good chance of reinstating other critical infrastructure upon which our survival depends. Such hardening will also protect us against EMP from the solar storms. For a more complete summary of these issues, see our August 2ndemail.
In addressing these concerns, it should be emphasized that the federal government’s first duty is to provide for the common defense. Providing effective missile defenses and hardening the electric power grid as quickly as possible should be a national priority.
High Frontier Plans.
We at High Frontier will continue to stick to our knitting, by seeking as quickly as we can to inform “the powers that be” of existential threats to the American people—as we have discussed in our emails for many months—and to urge them to “provide for the common defense” as charged by the Constitution they are sworn to uphold. Hopefully, key federal authorities and members of congress will soon begin to deal more effectively with the existential threat posed by natural and manmade electromagnetic pulse.
But frankly, we have come to doubt that Washington will act in an expeditious way. Thus, we are also taking the message to grass roots America. Our local and state authorities need to understand these issues and what they might do if their federal representatives continue to fail “to provide for the common defense.” The end of this month, I will be in the Florida panhandle, seeking to advise the folks there of their absolute vulnerability against ballistic missiles launched from the Gulf of Mexico—and what can be done about it if only their representatives do their jobs.
In particular we will be observing that it would be wise for the Florida state legislature to follow Maine’s initiative and harden the electric power grid in Florida, while holding the Washington authorities accountable for their oath to provide for the common defense. Hopefully, in joining such an effort, other states will be encouraged for follow them.
And what can you do?
Join us at High Frontier in seeking to alert the public and your local and state authorities to the existential threats posed by both man-made and natural EMP events—and what can be done about these threats.
We can use your help in spreading this information to the grass roots and to encourage all “powers that be” to provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do. Will you do your part?
In a newly revealed videotape of a pre-election interview, Iran’s new president bragged about deceiving the West over the Islamic regime’s illicit nuclear program and claimed credit for vastly expanding it.
Hassan Rowhani, dubbed a “moderate and reformist” by worldwide media in June after his election, took the oath of office Sunday with the blessing of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
However, the video shows Rowhani is anything but a moderate, one who not only is committed to the ideals and goals of the Islamic regime but one who proudly boasted of his deceptions during his tenure as the regime’s nuclear negotiator starting in October 2003 in talks with France, Britain and Germany.
“The day that we invited the three European ministers (to the talks), only 10 centrifuges were spinning at (the Iranian nuclear facility of) Natanz,” Rowhani said on the tape. “We could not produce one gram of U4 or U6 (uranium hexafluoride). … We did not have the heavy-water production. We could not produce yellow cake. Our total production of centrifuges inside the country was 150.”
But then Rowhani admitted the purpose of prolonged negotiations: “We wanted to complete all of these — we needed time.”
He said the three European ministers promised to block the U.S. desire to transfer the Iran nuclear dossier to the United Nations, using veto power if necessary. He called Iran’s claim that it stopped its nuclear program in 2003 a statement for the uneducated and admitted that the program not only was not stopped but was significantly expanded under his tenure.
While President George W. Bush was increasing pressure on Iran in 2007, a report by American intelligence agencies concluded that Iran halted its nuclear program in 2003 and that the program had remained frozen since.
In the interview, Rowhani said that when he took over the country’s nuclear project, the country’s 150 centrifuges grew to over 1,700 by the time he left the project.
“Do you know when Bushehr’s (Iran nuclear power plant) first phase was completed? The beginning of 2004,” Rowhani said on the tape. “Do you know when the next phase was inaugurated? The fall of 2004. Do you know when the project was completed? March of 2005. How about the heavy-water plant? Do you know when the production started? The summer of 2004. Do you know when yellow cake was produced? The winter of 2004. Do you know when the number of centrifuges reached 3,000? In 2005.”
Then Rowhani made his boldest statement: “We did not stop, we completed the program.”
He said that Iran’s nuclear activity was under the supervision of the supreme leader and that he, as Khamenei’s representative, was to make sure of this deceit.
So the question remains, would the U.S. and Europe engage in the same old song and dance allowing the Islamic regime time or have they learned their lesson by now?
In Keeping the EMET tradition of honoring righteous Muslims, Persians, and Arabs who have bravely spoken out against radical Islam, and its hatred of Jews and Israel, this year EMET is proud to bestow the Speaker of TruthAward to honor a courageous defender of truth, Reza Kahlili
We, at EMET are proud that we are the first Jewish, pro-Israel organization, who has taken it upon itself to say thank you to those incredibly courageous Muslims, former Muslims, Persians or Arabs who have risked everything, including exclusion from their family and friends, exclusion from their community, and even their very lives, to speak the truth about the Islamist assault on Western civilization as we know it.
People like those we will be hearing from tonight, such as Reza Kahlili should be awarded, praised, and feted for their unparalleled courage. They have managed to penetrate down through the layers and layers of societal bias and hatred, and reached down to what makes us all human. I do not know, if I were in their place, if I would be as courageous. They are among the very best specimens that humanity has to offer.
And we are proud tonight to honor those, who have dared to think outside of the box; who dare to stand with Israel, who dare to stand for the cause of human freedom and to stand against the mounting forces of radical Islam. We are proud to have with us today such heroes such in the struggle as Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett and Mrs Annette Lantos, who will accept the Award in memory of the late Rep. Tom Lantos; Rep. Jeff Duncan; Senator Ted Cruz; Brett Stephens of the Wall Street Journal and courageous author and speaker of the truth: Reza Kahlili.
As soon as the results of the Iranian elections were announced, the world’s media proclaimed that a “moderate and reformist” cleric, Hassan Rohani, would become the new president of Iran.
Not so. Rohani is every bit as brutal and deceitful as the clerical regime that has murderously cracked down on its people for decades.
For 33 years, the mullahs who dominate Iran have masterfully played leaders of the West as fools over the regime’s illicit nuclear weapons program. And now with the election of Rohani, which was preordained by the supreme leader, they are going to try it again.
The president-elect, a Shiite mujtahid, an Islamic scholar, attended religious seminaries in the city of Qom, the hotbed of radical clerics. He has served the Islamic Republic at the highest levels since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, among them as the deputy speaker of parliament, the head of the Executive Committee of the High Council for War Support during the Iran-Iraq War, the deputy to the second-in-command of Iran’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (1988-1989), a member of the Expediency Council, a member of the Assembly of Experts (the body that chooses the supreme leader), a former nuclear negotiator and, most importantly, the representative of the supreme leader to the Supreme National Security Council (1989 to present).
Rohani, as the head of the High Council for War Support, was deeply involved with the regime’s effort to eliminate its opponents and the 1988 mass execution of thousands of political prisoners as ordered by the then supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
In order to accurately analyze the political infrastructure of the regime in Tehran, one must look at the history of its elected officials or, better said, the officials selected by the mullahs to ensure the survival of the regime.
For decades the regime has painted a picture of a moderate faction in Iran and has consistently played the good cop/bad cop with its international policies to provide hope to the West that there might be an opening for dialogue to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons — all of it a sinister fraud to buy time to do just that. It also provides hope to its own people, who are suffering under the weight of a collapsing economy, that a “moderate” might be able to ease international sanctions and gain greater freedom within Iran.
Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani played this early on when, as speaker of parliament and through back channels, he engaged in direct dialogue with the Reagan administration, promising better relations and resulting in the Iran-Contra Affair to relieve pressure on the regime and get arms to fight Iraq. Meanwhile, the regime continued to arm the terrorist group Hezbollah, execute and assassinate hundreds of opposition figures inside and outside the country, and launch terrorist strikes against Israel and the U.S., including the Marine Corps barracks bombing in Lebanon.
This shortsightedness continued with President George H.W. Bush, who ignored the Iranian involvement in international terrorism and suppression at home in his secret negotiations with Rafsanjani, now the Iranian president, who had promised better relations. That effort also failed, just as President Clinton (who looked the other way at Iran’s involvement in the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia) failed in negotiating with Mohammad Khatami, the next Iranian president, who also offered cooperation while secretly purchasing parts for Iran’s nuclear project.
Interestingly, Rohani participated in the regime’s deceitful policies. He was put in charge of Iran’s nuclear team in 2003 by order of the so-called moderate president, Khatami, and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He succeeded in preventing further U.N. resolutions by agreeing to suspend parts of Iran’s nuclear activity, but, as the International Atomic Energy Agency indicated, Iran’s nuclear program never truly stopped.
In 2008, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, the former parliamentary speaker and secretary of the Iranian government during Khatami’s term, revealed that while Khatami was president and through Rohani’s efforts, “we had an agreement for the suspension of enrichment, but we were importing all the necessary parts for our nuclear activity. We were conducting our policies on two fronts: one to continue negotiations openly and keep the Americans away from such negotiations, and the other to continue our nuclear activities in secret.”
In 2009 when millions of Iranians came out protesting the fraudulent presidential election and shouting slogans against the Islamic regime, Rohani called them “thugs” and said that, “If the regime had not acted, the revolutionary forces (plainclothes police) would have put the protesters in their place.” He made a similar statement about the 1999 student uprising: “These students are so despised and inferior that they could not be labeled as a movement to change the regime. If the officials had not prohibited (the students from rioting), our people would have cut them in pieces.”
A Revolutionary Guard intelligence analyst who has defected to a Scandinavian country predicted the selection of Rohani as the next president one week before the election and said the regime constantly creates an image of division within its political system between so-called conservatives and moderates. The aim of tapping the perceived moderate Rohani as the winner is to deceive the West yet again by creating new hope that there could be meaningful negotiations over Iran’s illicit nuclear program, he said, while buying even more time to develop nuclear weapons and thereby becoming untouchable by the West.
The clerics this time around have found themselves under harsh international sanctions that have drastically worsened the country’s economy and raised the possibility of instability by hungry masses. Therefore, they once again needed to play the good cop by selecting Rohani and providing the hope to the West that if only more negotiations take place and sanctions eased, then the so-called moderates can bring change from within, a lure that has worked many times before.
The West, not understanding the political infrastructure of the clerical establishment, has continuously hoped for a Gorbachev-like figure in Iran, but now more than ever it must demand action rather than a smile and a nod. The Islamic regime is on the path to becoming nuclear armed and, in the clerics’ minds, untouchable.
Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani issued a press release Tuesday denying reports that he received a letter from Secretary of State John Kerry that said the United States would support him if he chose to run in Iran’s presidential election next month.
Whether his denial will carry any weight, however, may be moot, as Iranian media is reporting that Rafsanjani and another candidate, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s handpicked successor, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, were disqualified from the race.
In a May 15 exclusive, I reported on WND that a secret message from Kerry was delivered to Rafsanjani of U.S. support, according to a source affiliated with the office of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Over 100 of the regime’s media outlets, including Channel 1 TV, immediately picked up WND’s report, which forced Rafsanjani’s office to post a denial on his official website.
“After the false publication of internal media quoting American WND regarding a secret letter by John Kerry to Ayatollah Rafsanjani and on the threshold of the presidential elections,” Rafsanjani’s press release said, “some vengeful media in Iran, without considering the national interest of the country and with the goal of character assassination, have expanded on news and rumors of anti-revolutionary foreign media.”
The press release said it’s unfortunate that some “internal media,” based on their political tendencies, have chosen to become aligned with WND’s report.
After a warning that Rafsanjani might reveal some official regime secrets, the release asks, “Are (the media) willing to publish reports against all officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran!?”
The release said Rafsanjani’s office regretted this “anti-human and anti-moral” behavior by the “internal media” that have become the “loudspeaker” of the anti-revolutionaries and he reserved the right to take legal action against those in regime media who expanded on the WND report.
The outreach to Rafsanjani goes back to what led to the Iran-Contra Affair in the 1980s in which a direct channel of communication was established with Rafsanjani, who was then the speaker of parliament.
Rafsanjani had promised the American administration that once Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic Revolution, died, then relations between the two countries could improve, but his promises then and after continued to be hollow as he bought time for the regime to progress in various fields.
My reports of April 30 and May 2 on WND also revealed that Ahmadinejad had been arrested and detained for several hours recently and warned by regime officials to keep his mouth shut.
Earlier, the regime’s media outlet Baztab reported that Ahmadinejad had warned associates that if Mashaei was rejected as a candidate, then Ahmadinejad would reveal recordings confirming that the regime defrauded the voters in the 2009 presidential election.
Our revelation of the news caused a firestorm inside the regime, which then arrested the editor of Baztab for publishing the report. They then attacked WND and me for publishing the report of the arrest and the revelation about the recording, which reportedly quotes officials telling Ahmadinejad in 2009 that they would announce his total winning tally as 24 million votes where, in fact, the actual number was much lower.
The source who provided the information about Ahmadinejad’s arrest then revealed the content of the tape (which is a bit longer than 11 minutes) as being between Ahmadinejad and Vahid Haghanian, the head of the supreme leader’s office. The two discuss the fraud in which Haghanian said election officials added millions of votes to Ahmadinejad’s tally to declare him the winner.
During that phone call, the two argued as Haghanian told Ahmadinejad what Khamenei expected of him. Haghanian told him that they had to add millions of fake votes to declare him the winner despite having all the Guards and Basij personnel voting for him.
The actual results of the election, as provided by the source were:
• Mir Hossein Mousavi won the election with over 19,250,000 votes.
• Ahmadinejad was second with a little over 13,000,000 votes.
• Mohsen Rezaei had approximately 3,700,000 votes.
• Mehdi Karoubi had approximately 3,200,000 votes.
Millions of Iranians took to the streets after the 2009 election results were reported, calling Ahmadinejad’s reported 62 percent tally of voters a fraud and demanding a free election.
Thousands were arrested, with many tortured and executed. Mousavi and Karoubi have been under house arrest ever since.
It will be interesting to see if Khamenei steps in to get both Rafsanjani and Mashaei on the approved list for the presidency and if not what the reaction of the two factions will be but one thing is for sure and that is Khamenei to pick his own candidate out of the hat, as the regime always does, and as they did with Ahmadinejad himself, to keep the clerical regime alive longer.
It is important to point out that, the Iranian presidential election next month will not be free. The candidates have all been selected to run because they are loyal to the Islamic dictatorship.
Most of the candidates are criminals, including three with arrest warrants issued against them by either Interpol or Argentinian courts for the 1994 Jewish Community Center bombing in Buenos Aires: Mohsen Rezaei, the ex-chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards, and two former regime officials, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ali Akbar Velayati.
Another candidate, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, current mayor of Tehran and former police commander, has said of the 1999 student protests:
“I was the commander of the Revolutionary Guards Air Force at the time. Photographs of me are available showing me on the back of a motorbike, with Hossein Khaleqi, beating them (the protesters) with wooden sticks. … I was among those carrying out beatings on the street level and I am proud of that. I didn’t care that I was a high-ranking commander.”
Recently an audiotape surfaced on the Internet revealing his 2003 speech to the Basij paramilitary forces bragging about his role at the Supreme National Security Council meeting to get the authorization to attack the student protesters: “I spoke very harshly. Didn’t observe proper protocol, and I told them as head of the police, I will demolish anyone who would show up tonight on the campus to protest … with my behavior I intimidated them to get the permission to enter and also to shoot (at protesters).”
Under the Islamic Republic’s constitution, the 12-member Guardian Council decides the eligibility of who can run for office, and anyone with any history of opposing the regime is barred from participation. The council is made up of six Islamic faqihs (experts in Islamic law) appointed by the supreme leader and six jurists nominated by the head of the Judiciary (who is himself appointed by the supreme leader), and then approved by the parliament.
The last report by the source is that the security forces are present in Tehran and wide arrests are underway of associates of Mashaei and Rafsanjani.
April 27 2013- Counter-terrorism expert, Reza Khalili, accepted an interview with Alexander Backman where he gave Conciencia Radio his input into the Boston Bombings and how Iran could be related to the attacks. Khalili explained the type of bombs used, how the Tsarnaev brothers were really used as pawns or ‘burned assets’ and that these attacks were planned well in advance. The interview sheds light into the aim and scope that proxy state-sponsored terrorism has on America and the West.