Why we’re a ‘favourite’ target of Iran

Canada is a major target of Iranian espionage

Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

A former member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards who secretly spied for the CIA during the 1980s and ’90s says that Canada is a major target of Iranian espionage.

Reza Kahlili is the pseudonym of an Iranian national now living in the U.S. who joined the Guards shortly after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and quickly became disgusted by the violence and radicalism that followed. Kahlili, who attended university in California, agreed to spy for the CIA during a visit to America in 1981. He described his time in the intelligence agency in A Time to Betray, a memoir published earlier this year.

As a well-connected member of the Guards, Kahlili says he learned much about the organization’s activities outside Iran and says numerous agents were sent to North America. “Canada was their favourite spot because it was very easy to get into,” he told Maclean’s. “They would send students over there, businessmen. They would set up a business but would actually be part of the network.” Canada is also attractive to Iranian intelligence agencies because of its proximity to the U.S.

Kahlili says he still has contacts within the Guards, and that this practice is ongoing. He says agents spy on Iranians in Canada and report on who opposes the Islamic Republic. Those who do may find themselves arrested when they return to Iran, or their families in Iran may be punished.

The CIA declined comment when contacted by Maclean’s. The Washington Post’s David Ignatius spoke with three former CIA officers who ran Iranian operations in the 1980s. All were unaware of Kahlili’s work. But a current U.S. government official told Ignatius that Kahlili was indeed a spy. And Ignatius spoke with one of Kahlili’s former case officers who described the Iranian as “legit” and “a very brave guy.”




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Why we’re a ‘favourite’ target of Iran

  1. Canada must close down the Iranian embassy in Ottawa

    • Then where will I be able to pick up a copy of the Socialist Worker? Every time there is a demonstration there it's the same group of commies who protest everything there handing out their bolshevist rag. They're probably doing more harm than good: when the people who are ruining Canada are the ones advocating for military strikes against Iran it gives one pause.

  2. Every Iranian knew this was the case at the University of Waterloo, and I suspect other universities, going back to the early 90's. Many of my Iranian friends were afraid of the Iranian Student Group. This should not be tolerated in our country. I'm sure the leadership of these institutions know this is going on, but are afraid to do anything for fear of political correctness police.

  3. "He says agents spy on Iranians in Canada and report on who opposes the Islamic Republic. Those who do may find themselves arrested when they return to Iran, or their families in Iran may be punished."

    Unbelievable.

  4. Kahlili has made some bogus claims connecting Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi and Hojjatieh Circle in iran before, and I don't believe him. He may very well be marketing for his new book "A Time to Betray".

  5. We're also a favourite target of Sri Lanka.

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