It’s not just as a mystery writer that I am fascinated by the kidnapping, defection or whatever it is of former Iranian general Ali Reza Asgari. But the Times Online story this morning – “Defector spied on Iran for years” – has really tickled my writer genes. From their Tel Aviv correspondent:
It is unclear which intelligence organisation he was spying for. “He probably was working for Mossad but believed he was working for a European intelligence agency,” said an Israeli defence source.
Probably? Now who was telling that to the Times and why? Whether you spell defense with an s or a c, that Israeli source had his/her reasons. A message was being sent to the Iranian authorities. But then they have been reacting to this “defection” for over a month. How does all of this relate to the sudden dialog between Iran and the US? I’m really in the realm of speculation here, but if it is true Asgari was a spy and did, as the article says, carry with him documents “disclosing Iran’s links to terrorists in the Middle East”, if I were the Ayatollah Khamenei, I would be mightily displeased and looking for a fall guy. This could be very bad news for Ahmadinejad. We shall see.
MORE: Another piece of information possibly gleaned in these documents was the extent to which Khatami was indeed a reformer. He was president of Iran until 2005. According to the Times, Asgari began spying in 2003.