Books,  Iran

Iran and the Bomb: An Insider’s View

Reza Kahlili, a pseudonym, has written a book due to be published tomorrow: A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran. The title makes it clear what the book is about. Kahlili has been interviewed by Reza Aslan of The Daily Beast. I copy the end of the astonishing interview below:

DB: What do you see Iran looking like five years from now?

RK: Obviously no one can see into the future, but there’s one thing that I believe: If the West sticks with sanctions, and its mild approach to trying to change the behavior of the Iranian leadership, Iran will become a nuclear power. If Iran becomes a nuclear power, if it becomes a nuclear-armed country, the Iranian people are going to pay a very, very heavy price. And you could see major destruction in Iran. Now I hope to God that doesn’t happen.

DB: What do you mean? Be specific. What do you mean by major destruction?

RK: I think Iran accessing a nuclear bomb, it is going to cause major war with Iran. And I believe the West is moving toward that by just dragging this thing along. This is going to come to a head, and war could break out. And I hope that’s not going to be the case. But if they become nuclear-armed, I think the Iranian people are going to pay a very heavy price.

DB: What’s the option? I mean you keep saying that the West isn’t doing enough—what is the option? What should they be doing?

RK: Look, if you can’t deal with the Guards right now, how are you going to deal with them if they have a nuclear bomb? If they have nuclear-armed warheads and if they cover the whole world? What are you going to do? Study the clerics, the leadership behavior for the previous decades, they’ve taken the world hostage many times over, and they have won. Now just imagine that they have a nuclear bomb. The Saudi kingdom would be in jeopardy. Iraq… forget about it, it’s already under control of Iran. They’re helping the Taliban. In Lebanon, Hezbollah is ruling. Jordan could be in danger, Syria could be empowered, Israel could be threatened day and night, Hamas would be empowered. You could see nuclear proliferation moving into Venezuela. It is going to be unimaginable.

We just don’t know how dangerous the consequences would be. It’s serious. This is a serious situation, and the West is not dealing with it the way they should. One thing they could do very simply is cut off shipping lines—all airspace and shipping lines closed to everything coming into Iran and going out of Iran.

DB: You know that according to all international laws what you are describing—the cutting off of shipping lines—is an act of war.

RK: Well, let it be an act of war. You’ve got two choices: Either take out the Guard right now, or wait until they have a bomb. It’s a matter of who takes the more serious step. Let it be an act of war and let’s see what Iran does. Give them a deadline. No one has taken a serious stand to see if they will back down, and unless you do, they’re going to become a nuclear-armed state. If Iran shoots one bullet [at U.S. troops], we can control the Tehran skies. I mean, I believe people will bring this government down, once they know that the West is serious about it and they don’t have to fire a single bullet. So the decision comes to this, and this is the bottom line: Do we accept Iran as a nuclear-armed state or not? Anything else is just total hot air. It is just one question, do we accept it or not?

Hat Tip: AT