ONE NIGHT IN TEHRAN: A Chapter Comment

Posted: June 30, 2015 in Chapter Comments, Two Days in Caracas
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Chapter 6

VEVAK, or the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is responsible for civilian intelligence in the country. However, this definition doesn’t begin to cover the full scope of its activities. VEVAK is considered one of the most vicious secret police agencies in the world, and conservative estimates put the number of people murdered by them at well over one million people. While they regularly torture and intimidate Iranian citizens for committing minor crimes, Iranian Christians are more at risk of being recipients of their brutal practices than any other group.

THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER SIX:

“I knew it was just a matter of time before Farid broke down and told them everything they wanted to know about me and the network, so I left the apartment immediately and went to ground. Once I felt safe, I started the process of alerting my other assets. Unfortunately, VEVAK had already found most of them.”

Although the debriefing procedure didn’t require it, I told them in excruciating detail how I’d found the bodies of three of the other six people I had recruited for Operation Torchlight. I deliberately didn’t gloss over the particular aspects of each person’s death, because I wanted at least two people in the room to understand how their actions had affected real flesh and blood people. This gruesome accounting took me a full thirty minutes, and before I finished, I knew everyone in the room was uncomfortable.

When my voice cracked at one point, Carlton interrupted and said, “This might be a good time for a break.”

“No, I need to finish this.”

When I started again, my voice was strong. “I still hadn’t located my last two assets, but I knew Omid, one of the first bankers I’d recruited, had been out of town for a couple of weeks, so I went to his house. It was a tall, three-story structure located in an upscale residential area. After watching the house for a couple of hours, I determined no one was at home, so I picked the lock on the back door and went inside to wait. Omid returned home within the hour.

“After he got over the initial shock of seeing me, I explained the kind of danger he was in. However, he refused to come with me. Instead, he wanted to join his family who had gone to visit relatives on the Caspian coast. He insisted he could take his family and get out of Iran from there. I decided his plan was a good one, and we went up to his office on the third floor so he could get some cash and documents out of his safe.”

I took a swig of water and continued, “As we quickly gathered the things he would need, he began chatting incessantly. It was just nerves, and he wasn’t really saying anything important; it was more a stream of consciousness thing. But, as we descended the stairs to the first floor, he looked back at me and asked, ‘Hammid, what is the most important thing in the world to you?’ And that’s when three VEVAK agents burst in the front door and shot him.”

 

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