June 17, 2006


Spy who turned tide with Libya is brought back to target Teheran (Toby Harnden, 18/06/2006, Sunday Telegraph)

The American spy who persuaded Libya to renounce its weapons of mass destruction is to return to the Central Intelligence Agency, where he will direct an aggressive drive to recruit informants inside Iran to aid possible negotiations over Teheran's nuclear capability.

Stephen Kappes, a former United States Marines officer who resigned from the CIA after a clash with its then director, Porter Goss, has been brought back from self-imposed exile in London by George W Bush. [...]

Mr Kappes is a Farsi and Russian speaker who, while stationed in Frankfurt in the late 1980s, was in charge of collecting information about Ayatollah Khomeini's regime and debriefing Iranian exiles.

Mr Kappes is understood to have told friends months ago that he favoured direct engagement with Iran, even suggesting that there might be a case for restoring diplomatic relations with the country and reopening the American embassy in Teheran, closed since the 1979 hostage crisis. [...]

In October 2003, Mr Kappes led a 15-strong American and British team that went into Libya to test an overture by President Muammar Gaddafi, suggesting that he might be willing to give up his weapons of mass destruction. The information gathered by Mr Kappes helped to persuade the Libyans that the West had clear evidence of the military intent of their nuclear programme.

Libya was easy because Saif al-Islam had prepped the ground. The question is whether similarly powerful members of the Iranian regime are ready to cut a deal and come in from the cold.

Ayatollah's grandson calls for US overthrow of Iran (PHILIP SHERWELL, 18/06/2006, Sunday Telegraph)

The grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, the inspiration of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, has broken a three-year silence to back the United States military to overthrow the country's clerical regime.

Hossein Khomeini's call is all the more startling as he made it from Qom, the spiritual home of Iran's Shia strand of Islam, during an interview to mark the 17th anniversary of the ayatollah's death. [...]

Mr Khomeini briefly emerged as an unlikely critic of the Islamic Republic in 2003, when he called for armed invasion during a visit to Washington and New York.

The cleric returned to Iran at his family's insistence and was protected from retribution by his grandfather's widow, Batol Saqafi Khomeini.

It is not clear why he has chosen now to speak out again or whether the regime was aware that he would be talking to Al-Arabiya after banning other media organisations from interviewing him. A translation of his comments, made on May 31, was first released last week by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

He said that if he came to power in Iran, one of his first acts would be to make wearing the hijab (veil) an optional choice for women.

Mr Khomeini's mentor is believed to be the regime's best-known religious critic, Grand Ayatollah Ali Montazeri, who was released from house arrest in Qom in 2003 after six years for criticising the rule of Ayatollah Ali Khameini.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 17, 2006 11:54 PM

Left unsaid, was the fact, he was deputy station chief, in Frankfurt, one of the bases for Iranian exiles,when the Iranian network was compromised.

Posted by: narciso at June 18, 2006 12:47 PM

Also left unsaid, if suggested, is that Steve Kappes agreed to return only if Goss was sh*tcanned.

Posted by: ghostcat at June 18, 2006 2:24 PM