A former defense minister and general in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is living in the US under governmental protection after giving the American's crucial information on Iran's nuclear program, according to author Kai Bird who disclosed the revelation in his latest book, The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames,
Ali Reza Asgari was revealed to Bird as the Iranian informant as his investigated former head of the CIA Ames, who focused his career on the Middle East.
Bird, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, also wrote that Asgari was one of the key planners in a 1983 attack on an American Embassy that killed 63 including CIA chief Ames.
In December 2006, Asgari reportedly traveled to Istanbul with his family and after just a few hours he disappeared. Bird wrote in the book that the senior Iranian general, who he also named as a founder of Hezbollah in Lebanon, received asylum in 2007 from then US president George W. Bush to whom he provided critical information on Iran's nuclear progress.
Iranian nuclear facility. (Photo: AP)
Bird claims that in writing the book he interviewed 40 CIA agents both active and inactive before coming to the conclusion that Asgari was under US protection and also wrote that the Iranian made two phone calls from his asylum in the US to Iranian friends that were in Germany.
A CIA spokesperson strongly denied the claims written in Bird's book. Marie Sharp, the State Department Deputy Spokesperson, also addressed Bird's claims on Twitter where she wrote, "The things presented in Kai Bird's book are baseless accusations without any fact-checking."
Bird's claims aren't the first time that the theory has been presented that Asgari defected to the US. In 2007, the publication Asharq Al-Awsat reported that the general had been given asylum after his disappearance in Istanbul.
George W. Bush reportedly offered Asgari asylum in the US. (Photo: AP)
Sources at the Iranian consulate in Istanbul confirmed that Asgari had arrived in Turkey on an Arab airline on February 7, 2007. From the airport, Asgari arrived at his hotel and a few hours later disappeared. According to the Asharp Al-Awsat report, Asgari had been offered asylum and promptly left Turkey for the US.
Arab media reported that Asgari was temporarily held at an American Air Force base in Turkey before being flown to a NATO base near Frankfurt in Germany.
The Iranians were quick to blame the West and Israel as being responsible for Asgari's suspicious disappearance. In 2009 an Iranian new publication even reported that Asgari was being held in an Israeli prison.
According to the Iranian report, reporters spoke to security sources who said that, "Asgari was kidnapped by joint actions by the Mossad as well as British and German intelligence forces, and in the end was transferred to Israel."
The British publication Telegraph also named Israel's Mossad as responsible for Asgari's kidnapping because the general was responsible for intelligence operation in Lebanon and Iran.
In the last few years Iran has been trying to figure out exactly what happened to Asgari. In 2010, officials approached UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon for help.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi stressed in the request to the UN that all the signs pointed to intervention from the "Zionist regime" and demanded that the international community act on the issue.