Missing Iranian official may connect Iran with Iraqi Mahdi militia

There’s been lots of speculation about whether an Iranian official who recently disappeared may have defected to the West or been kidnapped by the US or Israeli intelligence, and about what information he can provide:

The Iranian former deputy defense minister who disappeared in Turkey last month left his country with documents that prove that there is a link between the Iranian military establishment and terror groups including Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, the pan-Arab newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Friday.

A former colleague of Ali Reza Asghari, 63, told the newspaper, which is published in London, that the document also cites groups such as the Mahdi Shi’ite militia operating in Iraq.

Asghari, a retired general in the elite Revolutionary Guards, went missing in what may have been a Western intelligence operation. Turkish newspaper Hurriyet said in an unsourced report that he was involved in Iran’s nuclear program. If so, he would be a major asset for Western or Israeli interrogators.

“In the 1980s and early 1990s, Asgari [sic] was responsible for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon. This is his real importance, not his connection to the Iranian Defense Ministry,” [former Mossad agent Ram] Igra told Israel Radio.

“He lived in Lebanon and, in effect, was the man who built, promoted and founded Hezbollah in those years,” Igra said. “If he has something to give the West, it is in this context of terrorism and Hezbollah’s network in Lebanon.” — Ha’aretz

It would not be big news to find out that Iran is responsible for Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. However, the US government would like to show a connection to Iraq.

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