My son, John, who is in 9th Grade of A Abeka Academy recently wrote this review of A Time to Betray by Reza Kahlili:
A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran, the autobiography of Reza Kahlili, reveals the atrocities committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s government against its citizens and the world. Reza, a former Revolutionary Guard, witnessed these first hand when his friend Naser was tortured and executed at Evin Prison. Enraged, Reza becomes a spy for the United States, gathering intelligence ranging from the Guards’ missions in Europe to the involvement of the Iranian government in the Lockerbie bombing. Through Reza’s life story, this autobiography reveals how dangerous nations can be that are deceived by false religions such as Islam.
Reza Kahlili, the titular CIA agent, had an interesting life leading up to his writing of this book. The book opens with Reza, an Iranian who had been educated in America, participating in the revolution against the Shah and becoming a Revolutionary Guard. After seeing the Guards execute his friend Naser’s innocent family members, Reza becomes a CIA spy in hopes that America will free Iran from the mullahs.
Reza’s experiences with the Revolutionary Guards show the reader how dangerous Islam is to everyone. Shortly after the execution of Naser’s family but before becoming a spy, Reza contacts Roya, a girl who had been arrested for her husband’s alleged involvement with the Mujahedin. In Evin Prison, Roya recounts that she had been raped and tortured, first in solitary confinement and later with other female prisoners. She had been given her freedom, but only in exchange for her promising to be a temporary wife to a mullah. After telling Reza about her plight, Roya commits suicide out of the despair she felt at having to sell herself for her freedom.
Throughout the book, Reza witnesses how horribly Iran treated Americans, committing several terrorist attacks against the United States. Before becoming an agent, Reza is present at the demonstration that eventually takes several Americans hostage at the United States’ Consulate in Tehran. He later reveals to the CIA that this entire “spontaneous” demonstration had been planned in advance and approved by Khomeini. Later, after becoming a CIA agent, the author notes that he had heard that the Iranians were more or less directly responsible for the bombing of American and French forces in Beirut. Near the end of the book, Reza learns that the Lockerbie bombing had been planned directly by the Iranian government as revenge against the accidental American attack against an Iranian commercial airliner. All these attacks are proof of the Iranian government’s insane hatred of the United States.
Iran and other Islamic countries are extremely dangerous to the entire world. This book’s insight into the Iranian government’s terrorist activities was interesting to the reader. The author did a decent job in convincing the reader that his stance was accurate, enraging the reader with the injustices committed. On a side note, the cultural aspect presented, both Persian and Islamic, were interesting to read about. Using these, the author explained how people such as Ahmadinejad justify their actions. At the same time, the author explains how they are wrong and how he himself was wrong when he believed the Ayatollahs’ form of Islam. Although this book’s topic is extremely complicated, it is explained simply enough that most people can understand it. The only negative comment I have is that it was full of despair until the very end. This book is good for people who want to know the true story behind Iran and will not purposefully blind themselves from the truth, living in denial. This book was enjoyable, and it was definitely worth reading.