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A former high-ranking intelligence official in Iran has called for his country to form better relations with the United States and Israel and says the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is on the verge of collapse.
In an exclusive interview with the Bangkok Post Sunday, Mohammad Reza Madhi, a former officer in Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards' intelligence service, described Mr Ahmadinejad as ''crazy'' and unfit to lead his country.
''He has already destroyed international relationships with many countries and made them enemies of Iran,'' said Mr Madhi, who was forced to flee Iran in 2008 after being jailed for 73 years on what he described as ''trivial'' charges. ''This has cost the Iranian people so much. His ideas are dangerous.''
Iran's opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi said on Friday he was ready to sacrifice his life in defence of the people's right to protest peacefully against the government after the worst unrest since the disputed June presidential election.
* Full story : Iranian insider predicts regime change
Mr Madhi, who says he was once the right-hand man of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and passed on information to respected cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who died last month, has been in regular contact with the opposition Green Path of Hope group since he left Iran.
He said while his country should remain the Islamic Republic of Iran, religion and politics must be separated. ''The good clerics should help the people and the government, while the bad ones should be ousted from government,'' he said.
Mr Madhi said a motivation for Iran improving international relations was the poor economic situation in the country and the need for it to be part of a globalised world economy.
''We cannot close our eyes to the United States and Europe. They are strong political and economic powerhouses. If Iran is to prosper, we need to have good relationships _ both political and economic _ with everyone, includ ing Russia.'' On Israel, he said: ''It is the Iranian government which doesn't recognise its right to exist, but the Iranian people might think differently.
''Israel's internal problems are its own affairs, not ours. We shouldn't get involved. It shouldn't concern us. My view is that Israel has the right to exist. We should recognise it.''
Mr Madhi was highly critical of Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, a spiritual adviser to a group of hard-line fundamentalists closely connected to senior leaders in the current Iranian government.
''He is a very crazy man who hates Israel and the United States especially. Unfortunately, President Ahmadinejad is one of his big fans as well.''
The former intelligence officer said that instead of imposing sanctions, western nations should look to supporting opposition groups and not recognise the Ahmadinejad government.
The fact is, there is no difference between Ahamadinejad’s and Mousavi’s policies. Their policies call for the maturation of their youthful instincts. At this point in history in June 2009, these youth are congregating under the symbol of Mousavi because of his shouts for their cause.
This proves that what is happening in Iran now has nothing to do with Islam, with the Shia madhhab or with religion. The crisis in Iran today is a class confrontation and an economic battle.
Originally posted by john124
Ex-spy chief says Iran government about to collapse
With all the stories of continued Iranian unrest, human rights abuses and the complications for Western nuclear diplomacy, beware what seems a notable uptick, too, in very fishy stories of the Chalabi/U.S.-soldiers-will-be-greeted-with-flowers type emerging as well.
For instance, take this piece today in the Bangkok Post by one Maximilian Wechsler, claiming to be an exclusive interview with a former Iran intelligence chief, Mohammad Reza Madhi, who the article says was supposedly Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's right-hand man.
Problem is, there is nothing except this article, being circulated by Iranian monarchist exiles (Reza Pahlavi, the son of the shah, has recently been traveling in Bangkok, the article notes and sources tell POLITICO) to show that Madhi is what he says he is. The article describes Madhi as "Iran's intelligence chief," while there are no other references that could be found to Madhi having any such position besides those generated by the article itself.
And a bit of digging shows that the writer of Sunday's Bangkok Post "exclusive," Wechsler, is himself a former documented Czech-Australian double agent and informant who, after he broke ranks with the Australian intelligence services, landed in Thailand and reportedly worked as an agent provocateur, among other gigs:
According to an intelligence officer, who knew Wechsler at that time and saw him at the Australian Embassy, he was also an agent provocateur. He established a connection with the Ananda Marga sect and was responsible for the arrest in Bangkok in 1978 of Ananda Marga members who were sold explosives by Wechsler. The three Ananda Marga — two Australians and one American — were charged with conspiring to blow up the Indian Embassy.
Wechsler, described as a freelancer by the Bangkok Post, has done several articles but has a history of working for various undercover, nonjournalistic efforts. See this fascinating history of Wechsler by Victoria University professor Phillip Deery, based on records released by Australia's security services and other interviews.