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A Time to Betray: A Gripping True Spy Story of Betrayal, Fear, and Courage Paperback – February 12, 2013
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About the Author
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He spent an idyllic childhood in Tehran, the capital of Iran, surrounded by a close-knit upper middle-class family and two spirited boyhood friends. The Iran of his youth allowed Reza to think and act freely, and even indulge a penchant for rebellious pranks in the face of the local mullahs.
His political and personal freedoms flourished while he continued his education in America during the '70s. He returned to Iran shortly after the Revolution eager to help rebuild his country, honestly believing that freedom and democracy would prevail and lead his country into a glorious future. Even though most Iranians had enjoyed varying degrees of success under the Shah, the ayatollah Khomeini's message resonated with a population weary of oppression and desperate for the political choice denied them under the Shah. To this end, Reza joined the Revolutionary Guards, an elite force that served Khomeini.
Instead of finding a new beginning for his country, he discovered a tyrannical ayatollah bent on plunging Iran into a dark age of religious fundamentalism and causing his fellow countrymen to turn on each other. Shaken to his very core after witnessing the atrocities at Evin Prison, atrocities that hit very close to home, a shattered and disillusioned Reza embarked on a mission that would change his life forever. He returned to America and emerged as "Wally," a spy for the CIA.
Counterintelligence, coded communications, escape tactics and evasion, dominated his new life. He risked exposure daily and after several close calls, he managed to leave Iran. His CIA activities continued in Europe for a few more years before he and his family finally moved to America.
After the 9/11 attack, Reza Kahlili activated a handful of sources within Iran and once again contacted the CIA. He continues as an active voice for a free Iran and works toward ending the thugocracy of the mullah's regime. He has written several articles for various media expressing his opinions and hope for a free Iran.
He now lives in California.
"A Time to Betray" was the winner of the 2010 National Best Book Award, and the 2011 International Best Book Award. The book is set to become a movie.
"A Time to Betray" is now part of JCITA's (Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy of DOD) Iranian Program's readings.
Top Customer Reviews
I'm a hard-hearted guy. I don't cry at sappy movies. But Khalili's rendering of his two best friends and their youthful idealism, and the separate paths they chose in the Iranian Revolution, repeatedly got me choked up. The story is tragic and horrifying, the espionage is nail-biting, and as the risks get more intense, I kept saying, "I can't believe this guy is doing this!"
I stayed up all night reading this, surprised the author waited over two decades to tell his story-- why not cash in on his heroism back in 1988?-- until I realized he's driven by one mission, which can be summed up as: "The governing mullahs in Iran cannot be negotiated with, because they've been explicitly planning Armageddon all along." If we can't trust this insider, who can we trust?
I'm not an effusive guy, just groggy from lack of sleep after I stayed up all night with this book. I dare you to read page one. Get hooked by this story and remind yourself what courage is really all about. Our nation should work for a free Iran, if only because the culture produces sterling characters like this author and his childhood friends.
This book wears a mask. Behind the mask there is neither Mister Phelps nor a tape that will self-destruct, but there is an almost unbelievable bundle of real flesh and blood courage and there is a real `Mission Impossible.' Without the mask there would be no book, or only a posthumous one.
So, for God's sake put aside reservations about filters and pseudonyms and fictionalized settings for this stunning first-hand account of a double agent living a double life one heartbeat away from certain death, deep inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran.
Read the book.
If it doesn't change your life, it will change your outlook.
It did mine. It changed my view of Iran, which I previously believed to be a nation of madmen. Now I know it is only ruled by madmen, but, just under the surface, it is the home of unmatched heroism.
Despite the vast gulf between our life histories, I feel a kinship with Reza, the man who lived this double life. He came to America as a young man when Shah Pahlavi was still in power and Iran lived in unbalanced prosperity without freedom. Reza drove around in a shiny red Mustang with mag wheels, enjoying his youth just like I did in my shiny red Oldsmobile 442. If we had passed each other on the highway, no doubt we would have waved.
While we were driving around in our shiny red muscle cars, Reza and I were similar in one other respect: we both had two close friends of the kind that might hand off a frog instead of shaking hands just to mock our superiors--or as easily die for each other. Like my friends, Reza's loved American Westerns and each had our favorite hero. Reza's, like mine, was Steve McQueen.Read more ›
You are right there with him as he tries to carry on a normal life working for the Revolutionary Guards, all the while spying for the CIA. The events that turned him into a spy are heart wrenching. You get to know his family and friends as if they were sitting next to you. You feel the terror and sadness of the young people of Iran as they try to deal with a new Thugocracy that's taken over their country. You understand Reza's confusion and being torn, trying to find the right thing to do. You get anxious and feel the panic as he finds himself in situations that you know he can't get out, but he manages. He's still around.
This is the first book I've read about Iran (and I've read several) that paints an accurate picture of the Iranian culture, families, friendships, neighborhoods, home life, schooling, military and the government.
This book should be required reading for everyone in our government so they can understand what's really behind the intentions of the ruling clerics and Amahdinejad. This is an insider's front row view of what's really going on in Iran. Iran's ruling clerics are truly bad people who mean to do us harm and Kahlili clearly presents case after case testifying to it.
Reza Kahlili is an alias and after you read this book, you'll understand why he can't use his real name. I expect since radical Islamists won't know where to find him, they'll attack this book. After you read this book, you'll understand why they'll attack him. This is the most definitive indictment of the corruption and true intentions of some very nasty people.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Since I have lately been in Iran i see the life changing there and I hope for the solution between USA and Iran coming soon. Beautiful clever people but rotten regime.Published 7 months ago by Kjersti-Ann Lawrence
this is a somewhat interesting story of an Iranian who was in the middle of the guard and saw the changes religious fanatics brought to Iran. Read morePublished 9 months ago by K. Hulse