Reza Kahlili (an alias) recently wrote the book, A Time To Betray, a portrayal of his double life as a Revolutionary Guard member and CIA Agent. Although it is impossible to independently verify his recounting of all the events and facts it is a fascinating read about the despotic Iranian regime. The best part of the book is when he discusses his personal experiences and reactions to the brutal Iranian government from its inception in 1979 through today. NewsRealBlog talked with the author about his feelings, past and present, regarding the radicalized extremist Iranian system.
NewsRealBlog: Why did you write the book?
Reza Kahlili: I am trying to get the word out about the dangers of the Iranian regime. I am the first one coming out. They did not know I existed as an American spy inside the system. I want to alert the American people that the US government has a reactionary foreign policy where they wait for something to happen and then react. My goal is to stop a nuclear Iran from happening.
NRB: Don’t you think by coming out you are endangering more Iranians since the regime is so paranoid?
Reza: This is the same line of thinking that has prevented any meaningful action against Iran. The Iranian government arrested people for espionage, interrogated, tortured, and killed them, regardless if I wrote the book or not.
NRB: A very riveting part of the book was your description of Roya, a girl arrested, sent to Evin Prison, and tortured because she was falsely accused of being part of an opposition group. Here is a portion of her letter to you before she hung herself:
“I wish I was one of those girls who were lucky enough to go in front of the firing squad. They took everything from me in that prison. I have nothing left…When I was in solitary confinement these filthy, evil men would come to my cell…not even animals would do what they did. They raped me, but it was more than rape. When they were through they kicked me in the back as hard as they could, threw me down next to the toilet…They would make us hold one leg up for a long time. If you got tired, they would lash you on the tired leg. Some would faint from the pain and bleeding. They cut my arm with a knife and told me that they would cut my throat the next time if I did not confess. The next day they sent me to a small dark room where another guard raped me. This was the routine.”
How do you feel when you read about the CIA being criticized for its harsh interrogation techniques compared to what happened to Roya?
Reza: Comparing those techniques, like putting someone in a cell with an insect, if they call that torture then they don’t know what torture is. Torture is what was done in that prison, the most disgusting things to innocent people. Besides that description they hang people upside down and beat them for hours, burning them with cigarettes, breaking bones until they protrude out, and gouge eyes out. This is torture.
NRB: Another powerful segment in the book was your description of a girl’s, Asieh, stoning for committing adultery:
“From what I could tell her sin was trying to feed her two children by the only means available: selling herself to a man…Now she was to face the punishment decreed by fanatical mullah’s in Allah’s name. A young woman was being slaughtered, and I had to know her pain. They’d covered her body from the waist down with dirt. The Guards started shoveling more dirt in the hole until they buried Asieh up to her shoulders. The crowd attacked the pile of rocks. Soon Asieh’s face was veiled in blood and her head tilted to one side. She was gone. But the crowd continued to assault her.”
It seems that Iran is made up of two different worlds: a medieval society VS a modern society. Do you agree?
Reza: Currently, the minority rules the majority. The minority are the fanatics that follow every word of the Koran. They want nothing more than the blood of all non-believers. The stoning of a human being is savage. This is their idea of justice. They believe that this idea of Islam will conquer the world.
NRB: Are you upset that the feminists in this country do not speak out more against these acts?
Reza: They have a responsibility to speak out. They should voice their support of women everywhere.
NRB: You described how you view yourself. Can you explain?
Reza: Iranians don’t see themselves as Arabs. We see ourselves as Persians.
NRB: Are you a practicing Muslim?
Reza: I was born a Shiite Muslim. I was a devout Muslim. Because of all the terrible things I saw in Allah’s name my family is not practicing as Muslims. This is currently a family of infidels.
NRB: Can you describe the Revolutionary Guard?
Reza: They are part of the establishment, formed to confront military leaders sympathetic to the Shah. They are the main radical base that secures the government. If they would be taken out this regime would topple. It is a separate organization from the regular military army.
NRB: Why did you join the Revolutionary Guard?
Reza: After graduation I was very hopeful that Khomeini would bring freedom and democracy to Iran. I joined when my best friend asked me to be a part of the Revolutionary Guard.
NRB: Why are you using an alias?
Reza: Besides the safety of my immediate family and myself, I have a good many friends and relatives back in Iran. I have recruited many agents for the Agency. If I blew my cover they would torture those who I knew in Iran and know all my contacts.