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From Russia With Love: Iran Gets Top Air Defense System

The mullahs will soon be able to protect their nuclear sites against attacks by Israel or the U.S.

by
'Reza Kahlili'

Bio

January 22, 2009 - 12:00 am

Esmaeil Kosari, deputy head of the Iranian parliament’s foreign affairs and national security commission, recently announced that Russia had started supplying components for S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran. The sophisticated S-300 missile defense system is capable of intercepting 100 ballistic missiles or aircraft at once within a range of over 90 miles at low and high altitudes. They are also effective against cruise missiles and, because of their range, a danger to non-combat aircraft such as AWACS planes, stand-by rescue planes, and other planes with protective missions.

Iran’s defense minister, Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, also verified such delivery, adding that Tehran would elaborate on the missile defense system “when the occasion presents itself.”

The U.S. administration’s failure to serve notice to Russia after its delivery of the TOR M-1 air defense system earlier this year to Iran has emboldened Russia to disregard the international community’s will in stopping Iran from its pursuit of building a nuclear bomb. The mullahs who rule over Iran will soon have the means to protect their nuclear sites against any possible attacks by Israel or the United States. Revolutionary Guards personnel were sent to Russia to train on the S-300 system, so when the missile system was delivered to Iran, the Guards personnel were ready for its deployment.

Iran, which has defied the world and the UN Security Council with the continuation of its uranium-enrichment process, is also expanding its ballistic missile program, which currently is capable of targeting Tel Aviv, Riyadh, U.S. bases in Iraq, and the Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain. Now with these new air defense systems, Iranian leaders feel more protected in their pursuit of a nuclear bomb.

When I worked as a spy for the CIA in the Revolutionary Guards, I reported on Moscow’s cooperation with the mullahs in establishing their intelligence infrastructure and providing military help in the mullahs’ confrontation with the West. The Russians and the mullahs share one common goal: the end of U.S. superiority and influence in the Middle East and the world. Therefore, any collaboration between the two that undermines the U.S. and the West both financially and militarily is seen as a legitimate act, and it is with this in mind that Russia will back Iran in its pursuit of nuclear arms to destabilize the balance of power in the Middle East; embolden Hezbollah, Hamas, and Syria; and bring fear among U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf.

On July 9, 2008, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that based on what he knows, it’s highly unlikely for the Iranians to obtain those air defense missiles anytime soon. Once again, U.S. officials, just as they have over the past 30 years since the Islamic revolution in Iran, have fallen asleep at the wheel, and this time the wreck could leave millions dead as the mullahs are ever closer to building a nuclear bomb. They will soon have enough enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs. With this in mind, allow me to introduce you to just some of the players running the Iranian government:

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

  • The Iranian supreme leader.
  • In 1997, a German court convicted two men of murder in the 1992 Mykonos Restaurant assassinations of Sadiq Sharafkindi, an Iranian-Kurdish leader, and three of his associates. Presiding Judge Frithjof Kubsch said the gangland-style murders had been ordered by Iran’s Committee for Special Operations, headed by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Iranian president at the time, Hashemi Rafsanjani.
  • Approved of the Marine Corps barracks bombing in Lebanon.
  • Approved of the Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie.
  • Approved of the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.
  • Approved of the 1998 murders of Iranian dissident intellectuals.
  • Approved plans for the Quds Force to engage American forces in Iraq.

Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani

  • The chairman of the Assembly of Experts (the body that chooses the supreme leader) and the chairman of the Expediency Council (the body that mediates between Parliament and the Guardian Council).
  • Approved of the Marine Corps barracks bombing in Lebanon.
  • Ordered the Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie.
  • Approved of the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.
  • Approved of the 1998 murders of Iranian dissident intellectuals.
  • Approved plans for the Quds Force to engage American forces in Iraq.
  • In 2006, an Argentine judge issued an arrest warrant for Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani over the 1994 Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires.

Mohsen Rezaei

  • The secretary of the Expediency Council and the former commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards.
  • In 2006, an Argentine judge issued an arrest warrant over the 1994 Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires.
  • Also on Interpol’s most wanted list.

Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar

  • Iran’s defense minister.
  • Involved in the Marine Corps barracks bombing in Lebanon.
  • Involved in the hostage-taking of Americans in Lebanon.

Ahmad Vahidi

  • Iran’s deputy defense minister and former Quds Force commander.
  • Involved in the hostage-taking of Americans in Lebanon.
  • Involved in the Marine Corps barracks bombing in Lebanon.
  • Involved in the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia in coordination with al-Qaeda.
  • In 2006, an Argentine judge issued an arrest warrant over the 1994 Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires.
  • On Interpol’s most wanted list.

Ali Fallahian

  • Former Iranian intelligence minister and close associate of and adviser to Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.
  • The mastermind of the 1998 murders of Iranian dissident intellectuals.
  • In 2006, an Argentine judge issued an arrest warrant over the 1994 Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires.
  • On Interpol’s most wanted list.
  • Also, international arrest warrants have been issued by a German court in 1996 and a Swiss court in 2006 for his leadership role in the murder of Iranian dissidents in both countries.

Ali Akbar Velayati

  • Former Iranian foreign minister and close associate of and adviser to Ayatollah Khamenei.
  • In 2006, an Argentine judge issued an arrest warrant over the 1994 Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires.

Let this be a wake-up call to U.S. officials.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award winning book, A Time to Betray. He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).
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