Iraqi general, Ali Reza Asgari, who disappeared in Istanbul last February, has defected and is being held by the United States, Yedioth Ahronot published Sunday.
Asgari was considered by the US one of the top intelligence officials in Iran.
His defection was made possible thanks to an intricate CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) operation, climaxing in him joining Western intelligence officers in Istanbul, who than had him and his family transferred to the US.
Asgari, who according to reports is being held in a top-secret military installation, has been able to shed a new light on much of the Iranian regime's most inner workings, especially regarding the Iranian nuclear development project.
Up until now, Iran – according to known intelligence – has been building two nuclear plants, in Arak and Bushehr, and has been using centrifuges to enrich uranium.
Iran, Asgari told his interrogator's is working in another, stealth path, toward achieving its nuclear goal.
This third method involves attempts to enrich uranium by using laser beams along with certain chemicals designed to enhance the process. These trials are held in a special weapons facility in Natanz.
Keeping quietIran, said Asgari, is making special efforts to hide this path from the West, keeping it as a fallback in case international sanctions or a military strike should shut down or destroy the existing plants.
This new information has those who know its details in full worried.
The fact the Iranians are trying to find new ways to enrich uranium is not new onto itself, but the progress made, at least according to the information given by Asgari, is much greater than was suspected.
"You have to applaud the Iranian intelligence for being to keep this a secret for so many years," said a US source.
Western intelligence agencies are now busy analyzing the information Asgari provided them with, and estimating just how long is it before Iran has a nuclear bomb.
This, said the US source, is one of the reasons why the information given by Asgari, implementing Iran in various global terror activities, has remained under wraps.
Iran, added the source, had caught on to Asgari's defection, and had taken preventive actions to protect its intelligence assets, in anticipation of the information he may reveal.
Asgari, has failed, however, to help Israeli intelligence solve one of its most burning questions – what ever happened to Ron Arad.