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Did the United States just nab a top Iranian defector?

Pan-Arab daily newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat is reporting that, according to "an Iranian military source," a former deputy defense minister of Iran who recently disappeared in Turkey is now in "one of the northern states of Europe." The article claims that the retired general, Ali Reza al-Asghari, is being questioned before being transferred to the United States. Asghari is apparently deeply knowledgeable about Iran's infamous Revolutionary Guards and remains a strategy and logistics consultant for the Iranian defense ministry, so his defection would be a real coup for Western intelligence services.

Asghari is one of five Iranians reportedly wanted by Interpol for their alleged role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish Cultural Center in Argentina, so perhaps he was snatched in Turkey and has cut a deal in exchange for leniency. But that's just speculation on my part. (It appears to be a different guy. -BH)

(For those of you who don't read Arabic, you can read Haaretz's summary of the al-Sharq al-Awsat article here.)

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