Target USA -- Episode 167: Iranian spies in the US
From podcast one coming up in this episode of target USA one day in August. Twenty eighteen alley Raza. Jefferson de deputy director of the national council of resistance of Iran was in a restaurant in Los Angeles at a member guillano, this guy who was a waiter at this restaurant constantly try to be around a table that I was eating there and talking with others and tried to see you know, what my conversations are all about to be very friendly offering, you know, extra food turned down the waiter was a spy for the Iranian government collecting bits and pieces of information, which according to the FBI was part of what they call capture and kill up ration- Jeffords Audie and his colleagues who were based here in Washington managed to escape the danger. But the danger is still out there. Air. And we've got the details coming up on. This addition of target USA national security podcast from WTO in Washington DC. This is target USA. Russia could render huge arm to this country North Korea's secret missile capable of reaching the whole of the United States dangerous. Terraced DC is repeatedly mentioned someplace they would like to seek an attack criminal successful. America as a target on its back and on this program. We investigate the threats the people behind them, the agencies fighting them and the impact on you. This is target USA the national security podcast. I'm Jay Jay green. Unable the US government designated Iran's Islamic revolutionary guard corps, including its coots force as a foreign terrorist organisation. It may have seemed like a purely political act. There is a real threat when it comes to the Iranian government operating in the US in July of twenty eight teen I spoke with Alli resume Jefferson County deputy director of the Washington office of the national council of resistance of Iran about a brazen plot to bomb an event with more than one hundred thousand people in attendance. But it turns out that wasn't the only illicit activity of the Iranian government. There was some here in the US and Jefferson County himself was at target. When we started off our interview Jefferson d said the designation was long overdue while the designation of the Islam revolution. Guards corps, also known as I r g c as far. Aaron terrorist organization by the US department of a state is very important. In fact, it's long overdue because this designation treatment should have been done long ago in the mid nineteen eighties when the Iran regimes Aleutian guards wages terror operations against the United States other countries in the region people. Remember, the nineteen eighty three million barracks. Bombing in Lebanon, Honda's Americans would kills and whole host of other terror operations, including the nineteen ninety six. Hobo tower. Bombing were nineteen American servicemen were killed not to mention the terra perations in Iraq that over six hundred Americans directly as a result of the Iran regimes ideas, and e f peas sent to Iraq would kill and also Iran dissidents have been targeted by Iran regime, and therefore the F T O designation off the G C is warranted is well placed is long overdue, and we need to get into action in fully implementing it, obviously, there's something. Now all these years later that's prompted the current administration to take this action. The nobody was moved before to do something like this until now what are you believe what do you suppose is the reason why now all these years after? What you mentioned this problems. When this problem started, what do you suppose it's happening now? Honestly, speaking JJ, you know, the policies of the United States over the past few decades. And I'm not just talking about one administration over several administrations was basically trying to reach out to the Ron regime and try to appease Ayatollah hoping that the giving concessions with Iran regime, would alter the behavior of them to the contrary the regime got bolder and bolder every time the regime, the terror oppression got some kind of reward for it. And and that's why terrorism never ended and the world has now realized after nearly forty years of the rule of the Mola's that the only language you can really speak with the regime in Tampa, Ron is the language of firmness. And if you stand firm against them, then that they will back down. And and I think that's as a result of that second. I think the administration is seeing the sentiment of the people of Iran that throughout the widespread demonstrations all over the country, and how people themselves are very angry at the IRA G C, which is controlling the lion's share of the economy and sending the money to Lebanon to Syria to Iraq to Yemen to fund terror and and chaos, and that's why I think they realized that this is the time to do what they should've done long ago. You yourself have found yourself recently fairly recently in as a target of activities. Tell us about it. Well, you know, the Iran regime is very paranoid about the activities of the main organize opposition inside. Iran in light of the uprising in over one hundred forty cities across the country, and therefore they want to silence the opposition. They increase the number of arrests and killings inside Iran to no avail, and they did a huge campaign of demonization and propaganda against the opposition that didn't work, and then they started eliminating members of the opposition movement or gatherings, and you reported before about the July two thousand eighteen terror plots in Paris, which was foiled by the repair nations and the regime started thinking, okay, why we do something in the United States. So they had to Iran agents who were spying on our activities here because they know how effective we have been remember that the all the major nuclear sites of Iran were exposed. By our movement may off them right here in Washington item. By the still the day on August, fourteen two thousand two when I walked into the room before the media and exposed nuclear sites in towns and Iraq while one of them was a uranium enrichment facility. Be other one heavy weather facility. These were the two key nuclear sites of Iran that immediately after you know, my press conference, the International Atomic Energy agency got involved and asked to inspect the rain inside something we hadn't done before at all. And that's the whole thing trigger the whole international attention about the nuclear weapons program of Iran was triggered as a result of that press conference here in Washington again in two thousand eleven. You know, we revealed the organization that was run by the military that overseeing all of the nuclear weapons program of Iran regime, which was confirmed later on and the State Department designated that organization called Sapan. Three years later. So the regime has seen how effective we've been. That's why they were thinking of targeting ause tank God the Federal Bureau of investigation arrested to Iran regimes agents who are now in jail right here in the United States. And I'm sure there are many more of those ages who were still operating on the American soil resit when did this most recent situation take place where you're talking about these two people were spying on you and were arrested when when did that take place that was in August of two thousand eighteen that these two agents? Who were spying taking pictures collecting information and were operating in a in the most secret secret way and trying to lure us to come to places. What they could extract information to to get the the bay formation about our whereabouts are activities, just collecting bits and pieces of information, which according to the F B I was part of the the larger package that that what they call captured kill operation and thank God that the, you know, the authorities here the United States acting the just in time before they were able to do editing meaningful. But in reality that doesn't mean that the regime's operations has stopped the regime has is extensive network of activities both the Minnesota intelligence, plus, you know, other eight. Agents that they have here in the United States, and those who are also tied to the ir g c. So that's why the F T O designation will enhance the the situation for the law enforcement agencies here to really be able to go after the Iran regimes agents who are up to no good, and they have nefarious plans in this country. So that's why welcome that. Let me ask you how they were were to how how were thirties tipped off? How how did you find out about these two? What led you to believe that this was going on and tipped off with authorities? We didn't tip off their thority about these two individuals. We had no idea about their activities. And the you know what they were up to the Federal Bureau investigation on their own. They managed to find out about these two. One FM who had come from Iran. Someone who was actually born here thirty some years ago. But only when he was like a year old or two years old the family moved out of the United States to Canada and back to Iran. So he had he was you know, he had to citizenship he could travel back and forth. He had made some travels before. But he was predominantly based in them in Iran and a working for the regime and then a year. Before in in March of two thousand eighteen he was sent to day nited states with the mission of recruiting and other agent who was agreed card holder into United States who was working in a restaurant in Los Angeles that that happened to the restaurant that myself and some of my colleagues used to go there, and and and that's how they were spying. Remember, you know, this guy who was a waiter at this restaurant constantly try to be around the table that I was eating there and talking with others and try to see you know, what my conversations are all about to be very friendly offering, you know, extra food and and complimentary food and all of that, which was a little unusual. But you know, I didn't really know what the real incentives were just thought that you know, maybe somebody was just. Nice in a restaurant was working. And then later on when I saw the arrest taking place and look at the pictures and realize this is the guy that was so friendly to me and reaching out in the restaurant and a whole host of other spying activities. He had done, and that's how I found out and these two were arrested in the United States. Yes, both were arrested in the United States in August of two thousand eighteen and they appear before the court in Washington DC, they're still judicial proceedings going on about the case of these two individuals both of whom are still in jail. And you know, I'm I'm hoping that Justice will be served. Plus, you know, that would help tip information about other agents of Iran regime. Who are operating here in the United States? Okay. So this is due star and Ghorbani is that ES. Yes. Exactly. So what is taking place with them? Have they had have gone to trial? What's what's going on with that? Yes. They I don't think that trial has started. But I know they did appear before the judge one of in Chicago the other one here in Washington, but they believe both cases of now been moved to Washington D C and the legal proceedings are still taking place the trial hasn't started yet. So I don't know what the latest is says status on that. But you know, clearly, they have very serious formation and and evidence about their spying plotting against us in favor of the Iran regime. Restarted this conversation talking about the I R, G C and the. Concern that the US government has for activities that it is engaged in as a proxy of the Iranian government. And we've moved on to talk about some of these other elements, including you and your own personal concerns and safety. And none of what you have said. Or what's been done over the years seems to have stopped this activity by the Iranian government to try to target to try to use proxy organizations to attack the US and other western organizations even a plot some years ago at the cafe Milano restaurant in Georgetown to attack the Saudi ambassador, nothing seems to have stopped them. What do you think it would take to do that? First of all, I believe in terms of efforts to stop them. None of the things that was done was adequate in wasn pursued with the level of determination and the expansion needed to target them. Because overall the policy was very favorable, India, nited states towards Iran regime that were looking to work with the regime so that opened a lot of the gates and doors for the Ron agents to freely operate under different covers that all their, you know, part of business one improve relations on the tourism on there. Like the name of academics discussions panel discussions. They used so many different different covers so that that created an opportunity for the regime to operate freely. So that needs to really change which somewhat it has. And we the United States need to really focus. On them. But also on the midst of intelligence and security also known as 'em all I s which is behind a lot of these terror plots in Europe and also here they do work hand in hand in most of these operations with the IRA J C, but we need to have another separate attention on the MIS operations. But at the end of the day JJ, I think it'll until Sologub as this regime is in power, they will continue to do a terror plots in the region here in Europe and elsewhere, this is part of parcel of this regime. And and that's why it's so important to understand what the people of Iran are looking for what they're striving for and understand the reasons behind the nation on uprising in Iran that is Sikhs regime change by the arena and people not rocket style. And they want nothing from the outside world except just hold the regime responsible for whether actions they have done the famous actions. The rest is with the people of Iran just recognize the fact that they really people have the right to stand up against their repressive regime. Just the same way that this happened here in the United States people, you know. Stood up and and one the dependents of this country. It's the same situation for the people of Iran to stab for their firm beliefs for freedom for democracy for equal opportunities for everyone for religious freedoms for gender equality for, you know, leaving in coexistence with all their neighbor said than just exporting chaos on terror as a regime does and you know, the regime wants to push the choose Jews to the sea. That's like their agenda. Whereas we believe that you know, there has to be peace. It needs to state solution. Either in the region, we need to donate to have nuclear weapons program. It's only used to continue the rule after Talas with to have a non-nuclear, Iran. And that's why the leader of our movement. Mrs Marianne Brazzaville who was actually the keynote speaker in in Paris event in. In July were over hundred thousand people participated, and that was the target of that major terror plot. She has called for, you know, a ten point plan that says the future also Ron should be a free country based on only the vote of the population based on subversion of church and state fetal put it's called parties for the press, gender equality abolition of death penalty, putting aside all of these fightings and chaos and instability, and and seek as secular democratic nonnuclear Republic form of government in Iran, and that's very much attainable. And you the work that you've done as been commendable in all of the projects that your organization has been involved in it's been inclusive. It's been diverse in its been very diligent. So I'm grateful that you took some time to talk to me about this. This is great. Information would like to ask another line of questions before we end the conversation in that line of question involves American hostages in Iran. We know that there are a number of people that are believed to be held hostage somewhere in Iran, including including Robert Levinson, the former FBI agent. What do you believe is the latest on that? I don't have any formation about that. But also, I think the whole issue that you brought up the American hostages in Iran unfortunate-, unfortunately, did has been part and parcel of the policy of terrorism pursued by the regime since the time they came to power in Iran. This is not different than the hostage taking that they were pursuing in Lebanon. If you recall, many people may remember in the eighties and the nineties how the regime was. Using his proxy groups in Lebanon, taking Americans and also other western nationals hostage and start negotiating to get concessions and used them as like a bargaining chip. This is like so inhumane to to do these two human beings at the same tactic. They're using still now in different forms in different shapes. You know, taking Americans Americans hostage in Iran under different charges for excuses. One is accused of being a spy the other one like hurts the national security. This is all games that the regime's playing hoping that this way they can still get some kind of concessions. It will this will take the foreign policy of the United States as hostage because they knew they were hoping that this will make the United States cautious in doing anything tough or firm against the regime at the best way to counter it at this. You know in the in the short run is to stand really really firm and make sure Tehran understands the US is not going to negotiate on the issue of terrorism at all period. And then in the long run the ultimate solution as I said earlier is to recognize the right of the people of Iran to free their country and dad that way, you will see an end to terrorism and hostage taking remember all of the chaos that you see a shaping up in the region now were primarily as a result of the rule of the in Iran nine hundred seventy nine they changed the whole shape and face of terrorism. They changed you know, the finishing for a lot of things. And and that's why we feel that with a with a change of regime in Iran by people of Iran. It's going to impact hugely. All of the countries in the region. If it wasn't for the asset would not be empower, you wouldn't have these Shiite militias running the show in Iraqi within have, you know, who these threatening in in in Yemen, and also, you know, Hezbollah in Lebanon, which was a creation of the the Iran regime. All of that will will go away at you will see the potentials great potentials of the people in the region to flourish to build their society forward to be able to talk about a really deep rooted, culture and art, and you know, the values of humanity that has been forgotten as result of this repression, the chaos terror instigated, primarily by Iran rushing thing. I would I would ask you. This is going to continue for some time. It's not going to end overnight and. Who knows when but not likely anytime soon? So what are you and your colleagues doing about your safety? What I'm not? I'm not thinking about that you mentioned about, you know, my role here Atelli, honestly, JJ I feel like I'm a very very very small part of this. This is like much bigger than any of us. This is a nationwide movements that has been existence for over fifty years the thirst for freedom in Iran is so big and so deep rooted that nothing is going to affect it. Honestly speaking, I, you know, I think the law enforcement agencies here in the United States who have been a lot more vigilant. Now that they have been this is really their job their responsibility. My job is just to focus on our work. Our our mission. Our message to be able to spread the world about the the wrongdoing. Of the Iran regime by the same time to talk about the positive side. How? A free. Rodney democratic Iran is actually attainable. Is doable on what we can do to help that people are real achieving their goal, which would be the same goal that people have here in this country. You know, that's that's noble. But as you know, I'm national security reporter in the question, I actually asked you what you're doing about your security. So I'm asking specifically about that understanding that you can't go into detail. But I do would like you to answer that question. Well, as I said, I mean, you know, in terms, I can't go to the details about like the security, but all I can tell you is that you know, by. Understanding the nature of the regime that they're they're increased threat. It's really not a threat to my security only because you know, anything the regime to us in this country. That's that's hurting the safety security of everybody in this country. So I don't look at this as an individual look at the big picture that the law enforcement agencies should be very vigilant about the activities of the regime and understand their tricks their tactics, and we able to go after the network to really come down hard on the regime's minister of intelligence operations right here in the United States, including in Washington DC that way, everyone will be safer, including myself. Excellent. It's always a pleasure to talk to you do with you. And your colleagues the best. We will continue to watch this. Thank you so much. That's it for this episode of target USA coming up on our next episode. We promised to a look at the mall report and more importantly, the impact all of the consternation has had only US that's coming up in our next addition. If you have any questions or comments about the program, any topic suggestions or anything, you wanna know just shoot me an Email at J green at W T O, P dot com. That's the letter j the color green one word and whiskey. Tango. Oscar Papa W T O P dot com. Also, I've got a brand new news letter. It's cold inside the skiff. It drops every Thursday. What we do is dig into many of the national security and intelligence stories that you don't hear about and details specific tidbits of information that I found. Out that you won't find anywhere else. It's in there. You can subscribe at WTO p dot com slash alerts. Also, follow us on Twitter at t- USA podcast. That's tangle uniform Sierra alpha podcast. I'm Jay Jay green. 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