Iranian general re-appears

This has got to have some folks in Iran nervous:

A RETIRED Iranian general who went missing in Turkey last month has defected and sought asylum in the US, according to a well-connected Arabic newspaper published in London.

The newspaper, al-Shark al-Awsat, cited “high-profile” sources saying former Iranian deputy defence minister and Revolutionary Guard commander Ali Reza Asghari had gone over to the West.Reports from Istanbul that General Asghari’s family had also disappeared in Turkey support the likelihood that he defected rather than was kidnapped by either the CIA or by Israel’s Mossad, as has been speculated. The general went missing from his Istanbul hotel a month ago.

Iranian authorities, who have been silent on the disappearance until this week, claim he has been abducted. “It is likely Asghari has been abducted by Western intelligence services,” said Iran’s top police officer, General Esmaeil Ahmadi Moghaddam.

Defection of such a high-ranking figure would leave no external enemy to blame and would be seen as a rejection of the Islamic state by someone who well knows its inner workings.

General Asghari’s crossing of the line, whether voluntary or not, is a resounding blow for the Iranian Government since he is privy to its most intimate secrets, particularly those concerning its nuclear capabilities and plans.

I don’t have a great deal to add to the comments made in the Pajamas Media report on this story other than to note that revelations about nuclear weapons development aren’t all that Tehran has to worry about coming to light. Other potential considerations include possible disclosure of details of the relationship between the Iranian military and Iraqi insurgents or Hezbollah, missile development, and information on agents in other countries (notably ours).

If true, this could change the course of our dealings with Iran. We may have a lot to talk about.

15 comments… add one
  • Dialog: Heh heh heh.

    SFX: hands rubbing in gleeful anticipation.

  • Hi Dave,

    This defection story smells a bit to me.

    The English-translation version of the Asharq Alawsat (which is London-published and 75% owned by Saudi royals) has no mention of the story cited in The Australian. The Australian’s article seems to be the source for all further versions I’ve seen. It makes it difficult to fact-check

    So why is a prominent Israeli historian writing for Murdoch’s aussie paper instead of Murdoch’s Jerusalem Post citing a story that few else can check, if it exists at all? Could it be a red-herring designed to divert attention from a US or Israeli intel op which is then “placed” in papers not obviously connected to the US or Israel? It won’t be the first time stories have been planted (the Daily Telegraph is a favorite)

    But it really gets interesting when Ken Timmerman gets involved at maxSpeak. (Timmerman isn’t above citing false sources himself – I caught him at it lying about what a Jane’s article said remember.) But his two main quoted experts, although he doesn’t mention the fact, are both ex-Shah regime insiders.

    And one of those Shah insiders, Alireza Nourizadeh, although Timmerman again doesn’t mention it, is a senior writer at…Asharq Alawsat.

    Maybe the original story will appear in an English version tomorrow – it will be interesting to see who the writer is.

    Whatever the original story, part of the story is now how the neocon noiuse machine is gearing up to make the most of the proferred narrative, using the usual tactics of hiding their sources’ affiliations, loyalties and interconnectedness.

    Regards, C

  • Yes, I went to the online English language version of the publication as soon as I saw the story, too, Cernig, and, as you say, it didn’t appear. Note that the Aussie story doesn’t say that the story was published in Asharq Alawsat only acknowledging sources at Asharq Alawsat.

    That’s why I didn’t report the story myself as a done deal only that it would be quite significant if true. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Hi Dave,

    I ‘phoned them, transatlantic. It was published in the Arabic version. Seems the editor will decide tomorrow if the English version will be published. As you say, we’ll have to wait and see.

    If Alireza Nourizadeh’s name is on it, then remember he’s an ex-Shah crony and one of Ken Timmerman’s regime change folks as you read.

    Regards, C

  • Could it be a red-herring designed to divert attention from a US or Israeli intel op which is then “placed” in papers not obviously connected to the US or Israel?

    Yeah, that’s the ticket. And here‘s your corroboration:

    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.

    We and the mullahs have it all figured out. The Israelis, the Shah’s corpse, the “neoconservatives” (wink, wink) and Murdoch, all in this together. By the way, the WaPo article? Written by Dafna Linzer… mm-hmm. Soudns neoconservative to me! (Ignore this — he’s another Mossad plant.)

    Dave, keep your glittering eye on this one!

  • Your article appears to this one:

    The actual article indicates Israeli sources making the claim.

  • WAPO is reporting that it’s factual:

    Doesn’t look like he’ll have much info on the nuclear program, but he could provide valuable insight on the Regime’s inner workings and the methods it uses to support Hezbollah and other groups.

  • It may well be an outirght lie. Time will tell.

  • It’s one of the more egregious smears, that many on the left write “neoconservative” as a code for “Jew”…

    Yeah, like Zalmay Khalilzhad and Amir Taheri.

    Give it a rest Ron, we’re not that dumb. We know that “neoconservative” and “rightwing Israeli” are two different sets. They simply share several members which is unsurprising given both sets tendency towards Islamophobia.

    Given I named my youngest for my best friend, who is a Cantor, I also find it personally insulting. Go throw your weasel insinuations at someone else.


  • Lounsbury, thanks. Who’s the byline?

    Regards, C

  • “It’s one of the more egregious smears, that many on the left write “neoconservative” as a code for “Jew”…”

    Well, if you search the H-Diplo logs for threads on Neoconservatism, back before the Iraq war, if I recall the time correctly, Juan Cole made a serious argument on the pro-Zionist ( and Straussian) origins of Neoconservatism. A point with which Eric Alterman and a number of left historians concurred.

    I was involved in this debate and can say that a) neither of these men are wingnuts and b) while people like myself disagreed strenuously, Cole and others put forth a coherent and articulate argument to this effect ( though wrongheaded and entirely ahistorical in my view). So I’m not sure we can write this charge off entirely as a Right wing “smear”, except when it is used as a blanket charge to squelch any criticism of neoconservative policies.

  • Well, the interesting thing is that the set of non-neo-conservative conservatives seems to contain some undefined members that are somehow not the same as paleoconservatives such as quasi-Nazi Pat Buchanan. If someone will fill that set in for me I’ll send flowers for Shabbos to Cernig’s cantor friend!

  • The article is cited to the Tel Aviv bureau.

    I would note that I find the NeoCon as Jew smear claim to be generally childishly unfounded.

    As for the facticity, given the only Sharq al Awsaat arty I have seen on the issue seems to attribute this to Israeli sourcing, I think getting oneself worked up is rather ill advised.

  • jack dobson Link

    I was just researching the issue, and realized something that’s just unbelievable…Timmerman and Diaoleslam are straight-up creating lies about the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and Parsi (its president)…as an international affairs student, I wrote a paper on them once…and when I was looking for information about Parsi on the web, I came across not one site linking Parsi or his organization to the regime in Tehran (from what it looks like to me, he’s really against it)…But I did some research on Diaoleslam…a colleague of Timmerman (both writers tried to defame Parsi in their respective articles)…and turns out this guy (Diaoleslam) is a member of a terrorist group named MEK, and that this group is on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations…What the hell? How are these guys pointing the finger at NIAC? Parsi and NIAC are pretty much the only voice of reason and peace among all the crazies…They seem to me like they represent the voice of ordinary Iranian Americans who don’t want to see their neighbors and friends in America die in war (Iraq, anybody???), and at the same time they don’t want their family members killed in Iran…But Timmerman and Diaoleslam, in their articles…seem to be the extremists, advocating for war. Crazy. BTW…here’s a link I found to NIAC’s response:

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