Missing Retired Iranian General Defects to US

And he could provide us with some very useful information about who is controlling the Iranian terrorists fighting in Iraq:

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.

He served until two years ago as deputy defence minister, a post he held for eight years and which presumably offered an uninhibited view of virtually every aspect of Iran’s security apparatus.

He was reportedly closely associated with Iran’s activities in support of the Shi’ites in Iraq.

US intelligence analysts contend that Iran has been providing armaments to Iraqi Shia fighters that have been used with deadly effect against coalition forces, particularly highly lethal roadside bombs.

General Asghari would presumably be able to address the question of whether these shipments have been made with “approval from top leaders in Iran”, as a senior US intelligence officer has claimed.

If he confirms that Ahmadinejad himself is sending Iranian troops and weapons into Iraq, how do we not go after Iran? I’d also like to know if he has any information about Ahmadinejad’s nuclear program.

Update: Pajamas Media reports that Asghari’s defection hasn’t been confirmed by any sovereign government but that Iran is panicking because the general had access to a lot of very sensitive information, including Iran’s nuclear secrets:

Although the story has not been confirmed by any sovereign authority, it is already evident that the saga has created panic inside Ahmadinejad’s administration.

Soon after his disappearance was discovered, Iran dispatched an operations team to Ankara to help the Turkish authorities to look for him. At the same time, a public relations campaign was launched with Iranian minister Mottaki has doing his best to downplay Asgari’s importance as an official in order to reduce the damage to the Iranian government’s image.

He wasn’t fooling anyone.It is clear that Asgari is a man privy to numerous secrets which Iran desperately does not want revealed. As well as being a former deputy defence Minister, Asgari was also a General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC). The IRGC, more than any other branch of Iran’s armed forces, is aware of, and has access to Iran’s nuclear program. Its members are in charge of monitoring and protecting Iran’s nuclear installations, and scientists.

Update II: Fox News has more:

A Senior U.S. official told FOX News that Asghari is not in CIA hands but said that it’s a “mystery” why he disappeared “and the U.S. intelligence community is seeking more clarity.”

Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that Asghari is being questioned by intelligence personnel before being transferred to the United States.

Update III: McQ at QandO says the upcoming meeting between Iran, Iraq, Syria and the US could be a lot more fun than originally thought.

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