Israel intelligence confirms ‘major blast’ at Iran nuclear plant

Fordo nuclear facility, IranBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Intelligence officials in Israel have confirmed reports of a “major explosion” that is believed to have severely damaged an Iranian nuclear enrichment facility, but refused comment on rumors that Israeli jets were seen flying nearby around the time of the blast. The blast was initially reported late on Sunday by Reza Kahlili, an Iranian former agent of the United States Central Intelligence Agency inside Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. Citing Hamidreza Zakeri, a former officer in Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and National Security, Kahlili said that the explosion severely damaged the nuclear enrichment plant in Fordo, centrally located in Iran’s Qom Province. According to Zakeri, the blast was strongly felt across a three-mile radius around Fordo and “destroyed much of the installation” itself. The former government official added that around 240 plant workers had been trapped underground by the powerful explosion. Following the blast, according to Zakeri, Iranian troops quickly cordoned off the plant and prevented anyone from getting closer than 15 miles from Fordo. A few hours after Kahlili’s report, Seyyed Shamseddin Barbroudi, Deputy Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency told Iranian media that there had been “no explosion in Fordo Nuclear Facility”. His denial was echoed by Alaeddin Boroujerdi, member of the Iranian Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Policy and National Security. He told the Islamic Republic News Agency that rumors of an explosion at Fordo were “Western-made propaganda” aimed at destabilizing Iran.  On Monday morning, however, the London-based Times newspaper said its “sources in Tel Aviv” had confirmed the blast took place in Fordo. Read more of this post

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News you may have missed #661

Reza KahliliBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Britain increases pay for key intelligence staff. Having seen many of its key intelligence staff lured away by tech heavyweights like Google and Microsoft, the UK government is apparently offering bonuses and payouts to key intelligence staff to ensure they don’t leave their jobs at the Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ). The UK Cabinet Office has stated that the bonuses to be paid to its key staff have been already given the green light.
►►Ex-CIA spy sees split in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Reza Kahlili (codenamy WALLY) is the pseudonym used by an Iranian defector to the US, who claims to have worked as a CIA agent in the 1980s and early 1990s. Kahlili (pictured), who says he was a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the ideological protectors of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, argues that a serious split is developing within the IRGC, with one faction favoring the overthrow of the government.
►►A rare look at Fort Bragg’s Special Warfare Center. The US Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg is a CIA-approved paramilitary training facility, aimed at members of the US Army Green Berets, Navy SEALs and Marine Corps special operators. The piece claims –rather unconvincingly– that the Center is “an illustration of how special operations and intelligence forces have reached an easier coexistence, after early clashes where CIA officers accused the military operators of ineptly trying to run their own spy rings overseas without State Department or CIA knowledge”.

Interview with alleged CIA spy in Iran

A Time to Betray

A Time to Betray

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
US government-owned Radio Liberty has aired an interview with an Iranian defector who claims to have worked as a CIA agent in the 1980s and early 1990s. The defector, who goes by the pseudonym Reza Kahlili (codename ‘Wally’), has authored what appears to be a CIA-sanctioned book, entitled A Time to Betray, in which he says he was a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The IRGC is a sizable branch of the Iranian military that is ideologically committed to the defense of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Kahlili, who now lives in California, says he concluded his studies in the US and returned to Iran shortly after the Revolution. But he quickly became disillusioned with the Islamic regime, and in 1981 met with the CIA in the United States and offered them his services. Read more of this post

Mysterious “CIA spy in Iran” calls for stronger US policy

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A mysterious CIA informant, who claims he worked for the CIA inside the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the 1980s, has called for “a strong Western hand” against the Iranian government. In an article published earlier today in The Christian Science Monitor, the informant, who uses the pseudonym “Reza Kahlili”, says that defending “what remains of democracy and freedom in Iran” is one of the West’s “most important decisions of our era”. “Kahlili” makes vague mentions of working “for years alongside” Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, “as a CIA spy working undercover […], starting in the 1980s”. In arguing for a stronger Western stance against Iran, “Kahlili” alleges that, in the 1980s, unnamed European governments made secret pacts with the Iranian government, allowing them “to assassinate opposition members abroad without interference, as long as European citizens were not at risk”, in exchange for steady supplies of Iranian oil. Read more of this post