Source: Iran preparing to down American passenger planes

Reza Kahlili Contributor
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A source who served in Iranian intelligence says the Iranian regime is preparing to down Western airliners in case of an attack on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, has been preparing for war for some time as the Islamic regime closes in on developing nuclear weapons, says a source who served in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence and has recently defected to a country in Europe.

The source said the regime has taken several measures should war erupt:

  • Thirty-two command and control centers have been formed around the country so that the Guards and the Basij can act independently in battle. In case of a breakdown of communication with the central government, their orders are to suppress any uprising from within and confront any potential enemy.
  • All political prisoners and all activists within the country are to be slaughtered, as are those Iranian opponents outside the country, to ensure no viable opposition will remain to guide an uprising to overthrow of the regime.
  • Thousands of cells have been established in collaboration with Hezbollah to conduct terrorist acts against Israel, America and the West. One specific preparation, as discussed by the Guard commanders, is to target America’s civilian airliners in order to cause terror in the West.

Elaborating on the regime’s strategy, Morteza Mirban, the deputy commander of the Guards’ ground forces, recently told Basij News that the Basij forces have the capability to hurt aggressors even in their own countries.

Mirban boasted that soon the Guards will have armaments that the enemy could have never imagined.

Referring to possible terrorist attacks on U.S. vessels in the gulf, Mirban said, “Today over 3,000 boats are in the Persian Gulf and involved in commerce, constantly passing by America’s naval ships. The question is, how can America engage us in war not knowing how it will get hit next? If they (America) dare to take up arms, they will see how they will regret their act.”

Mirban said that “all of the enemy’s bases are within reach of our missiles, and with our allies such as Hezbollah, we are capable of hitting them thousands of kilometers away. The enemy is interested in life, but because of our ideology, no matter if we kill for Allah or be killed on Allah’s path, we are victorious.”

The source said that Iran is close to obtaining a nuclear bomb, which regime leaders believe will make them invincible. The source and others disenchanted with the regime also wonder why the West is vacillating and allowing Iran to pursue its destructive goals.

The Revolutionary Guards announced Sunday that they will conduct three days of war games starting Monday.

“Long-, medium- and short-range surface-to-surface missiles will be fired from different locations in Iran … at replica air bases like those used by (U.S.) military forces,” said Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guards aerospace division in charge of missile systems.

European oil sanctions against Iran began Sunday, but the Iranian regime met them with defiance and threats against the West.

“Our doctrine of threat against threat mandates that any confrontation will be responded to by a greater attack, and we are ready for it,” Brig. Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, the deputy head of Iran’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an speech marking the anniversary of the downing of an Iranian civilian airliner on July 3, 1988.

The guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes mistook Iran Air Flight 655, a civilian jetliner, for a fighter plane in the heat of confrontation with Iran over the Iran-Iraq war. All 290 passengers, including 66 children, died in that incident.

“There is a possibility that America will commit the same heinous crime (as it did in 1988), but this time the response will be harsh where we will make them regret their act,” Jazayeri said, according to Sepah News, the official media outlet of the Revolutionary Guards.

The only way to avoid such retaliation again is for America to leave the region, Jazayeri said. “Only then will it be safe.”

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the author of the award winning book “A Time to Betray.” He is a senior Fellow with EMPact America, a member of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).