March 8, 2007

Former Top Iranian Defense Official Defects

Hatched by Dafydd

In a stunning blow to the mullahs of Iran, former Defense Minister Ali Rez Asgari has defected to the West, according to U.S. officials:

A former Iranian deputy defense minister who once commanded the Revolutionary Guard has left his country and is cooperating with Western intelligence agencies, providing information on Hezbollah and Iran's ties to the organization, according to a senior U.S. official.

Ali Rez Asgari disappeared last month during a visit to Turkey. Iranian officials suggested yesterday that he may have been kidnapped by Israel or the United States. The U.S. official said Asgari is willingly cooperating. He did not divulge Asgari's whereabouts or specify who is questioning him, but made clear that the information Asgari is offering is fully available to U.S. intelligence.

(Hat tip to Power Line, who got it from their Blog of the Week for Life Jules Crittenden.)

Asgari is a very, very big fish, despite having been out of office for the past couple of years:

Former Mossad director Danny Yatom, who is now a member of Israel's parliament, said he believes Asgari defected to the West. "He is very high-caliber," Yatom said. "He held a very, very senior position for many long years in Lebanon. He was in effect commander of the Revolutionary Guards" there.

Ram Igra, a former Mossad officer, said Asgari spent much of the 1980s and 1990s overseeing Iran's efforts to support, finance, arm and train Hezbollah. The State Department lists the Shiite Lebanese group as a terrorist organization.

"He lived in Lebanon and, in effect, was the man who built, promoted and founded Hezbollah in those years," Igra told Israeli state radio. "If he has something to give the West, it is in this context of terrorism and Hezbollah's network in Lebanon."

Not much more to say about this story. Consider this a heads-up for tomorrow's news -- and next week's hysteria in Teheran.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 8, 2007, at the time of 5:10 AM

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The following hissed in response by: MegaTroopX

overseeing Iran's efforts to support, finance, arm and train Hezbollah, The State Department lists the Shiite Lebanese group as a terrorist organization.

Fixed it. I hate when they use terminology like this. In effect, the WaPo is saying, "Hey, that's just the State Dept.'s opinion."

Disingenuous buggers.

The above hissed in response by: MegaTroopX [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 8, 2007 7:17 AM

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