In 1979, a coalition of Iranian liberals, leftists, and Islamists overthrew the tyrannical Shah Reza Pahlavi--and a new regime more dangerous and brutal than the last took its place.
An alliance of liberals, leftists, and Islamists made sense at first. The Shah oppressed them all more or less equally. But the Iranian Revolution, like so many others before it, devoured its children. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his Islamists emerged the strong horse in the post-revolutionary struggle for power, and they liquidated the liberals and leftists.
One young Iranian man, who now goes by the name Reza Kahlili, joined Khomeini's Revolutionary Guards right at the beginning. He quickly became disillusioned, however, when he saw young people tortured and murdered in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison. Repressing his countrymen was not what he had in mind when he signed up. Rather than quit and place himself and his family under suspicion, he contacted the CIA and agreed to work as an American agent under the code name "Wally."
"My role was to look and act the part of a devout Muslim enforcing all the new rules laid down by the mullahs," he writes in his terrific book A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran, which was released today by Simon and Schuster. "A full black beard was a mandatory accessory to the Guards' uniform, and I sported one along with every other member of the Guards. The image of a scowli... >>>
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