Ex-CIA agent: Iran blast largest sabotage case in decades
Exclusive: Iranian dissident-turned CIA agent Kahlili tells ‘Post’ if such a blow was given to Fordow nuclear facility, it harms Iran drastically; says Tehran “has decided to retaliate against Israel from Lebanon.”
Iranian dissident-turned CIA agent Reza Kahlili told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that an alleged blast at the Fordow nuclear installation in Iran is “the largest case of sabotage in decades.”
Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization has dismissed reports of an explosion as “Western propaganda,” while the The Sunday Times cited Israeli intelligence figures as confirming the claim.
Speaking to the Post on Monday, Khalili expressed confidence that the alleged blast will receive “further coverage in the US,” and that “more information” will become available to verify the incident.
“This is the center of the Iranian nuclear program. It’s essential for the regime, its activities, and its nuclear program. If such a blow was given to Fordow, it definitely harms [Iran] drastically. They were reaching for 20 percent uranium enrichment, and were increasing output,” he added.
Situated near the holy Shi’ite city of Qom, the existence of the Fordow enrichment plant, dug deep into a mountain, was kept secret by Iran, until it was discovered by Western intelligence in 2009, and the question of how long it had been in operation remains unanswered.
Kahlili, a pseudonym used to protect him from the Iranian regime, published A Time To Betray in 2010, in which he described a journey which took him from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards to being a CIA agent in the 1980s. He now resides in California, and says he is in touch with a number of insiders in the Iranian intelligence and security communities, as well as inside the office of Iran’s supreme leader.
Asked why satellite imagery was not being released of rescue efforts at Fordow, Kahlili said only state intelligence agencies have access to live satellite feeds. “Why don’t they put it out? My only assumption is that no one wants to take credit because of what the consequences could be by the regime,” he said. “This is a very sensitive time. I’m sure that soon, very soon, more information will leak out. Chatter will get loud enough to provide further information.” Kahlili went on to say that the “first suspicion is Israel” within the Islamic Republic. “I have verified information that there was a meeting [called by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei. A decision was made to act in Lebanon. A request was made to [Hezbollah chief Hassan] Nasrallah to vacate southern Lebanese villages. Islamic Republic Guards are on their way there. A decision has been made to prepare for missile launch from a certain area in Lebanon against Israel,” he said.
Khalili said one of the sources who initially leaked information of the blast came from within the security forces guarding Fordow, adding that precise information of the attack was not being released in order to protect the source. “The source has been collaborating for a ling time,” he said. A second source came from the Iranian Intelligence Ministry, he said, adding that it was very difficult to safely get information out of Iran.
Iranian authorities have not yet made any progress in their attempt to enter Fordow, Kahlili asserted, adding, “I fear there is radiation involved.” Iran’s defense ministry dispatched drilling vehicles, “the same they used to carve tunnels an create underground facilities, to see if they can make any headway in opening emergency exists, because they collapsed. Among those stuck in the facility are dozens of foreign nationals. These are contracted scientists,” he said.
Kahlili said a second mysterious blast occurred in Tehran last week, at an IRGC base called “21 Hamza.” “There are injuries, and there have been arrests of IRGC members who are being questioned. The Intelligence Ministry suspects sabotage,” he added.