In a report published a few years ago by the US Foreign Policy, rays were shed on some secrets and behind-the-curtain tensions in the contacts the Israeli and American intelligence services had gone through back then. The report had it that some of the measures Mossad took were so impulsive which led to infuriating the then US President. The President could do almost nothing about it and Mossad officers were freely impersonating themselves as US secret service officers and established connections with Jundallah assets and other agents in Europe urging them to take action against Iran. Israeli sources spotted the writer of the report as Mark Perry, the prominent US author and analyst. In his background, Perry penned Eclipse: the Last Days of the CIA. The book contains Interviews with top-ranking CIA insiders inform this history of the agency that describes the agency’s reaction to and cause of various crises and how it provided defense information to Saddam Hussein. To delve deeper into the cooperation between the CIA and Mossad against Iran and also Mossad’s support of Jundallah, we held an interview with Mr. Perry, who served as an unofficial advisor to PLO Chairman and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat from 1989 to 2004.
AVA Diplomatic’s Exclusive Interview with
Mark Perry, US Author and Political, Military and Security analyst
In a news article you have called attentions to the cooperation between Mossad and Jundullah terrorist group against Iran, the interesting point is that Mossad agents had recruited Jundullah forces pretending to be the CIA. How is that possible? What kind of proof and documentations did you find for that?
The information I received is from confidential sources in the US intelligence services. However, the information can be also be gleaned from open sources available on the internet. In actuality, the Mossad officers in question attempted to recruit Jundallah assets while posing as intelligence agents not only from the CIA, but also from NATO. Of course, NATO does not employ intelligence agents – as only the sovereign member nations of that organization are capable of doing so.
How does the CIA make use of and benefits from the informative sources of Jundullah terrorist group in order to gather information against Iran?
Perhaps you should reread the article that I published. I never claimed that the CIA receives information from sources inside the Junduallah organization, and I doubt that they do. Rather, Junduallah is viewed as a terrorist group by the United States. It is the Mossad that gathers information on Iran from Jundallah, not the CIA.
The trial regarding Jeffery Sterling’s convictions proved that the CIA had in fact attempted to make allegations against Iran for making nuclear weaponry; and in “Operation Merlin” plotted to feed Iran false nuclear technology. Don’t you think that the CIA policies are contradicting the statements of the American authorities regarding their efforts for the verification of Iranian nuclear activities?
I think we may safely assume that there are parts of the US government which believe that Iran is in pursuit of a nuclear weapon. But many other policymakers are convinced that this is the case. I am not sure that you are correct in your assumption that Mr. Sterling’s conviction provides that the CIA is making allegations against Iran. My information is that the CIA’s assessments of the Iranian nuclear program have reflected their belief that it is still undetermined whether, in fact, Iran is in pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
James Risen with the help of the leaked classified information, revealed the unsuccessful plot of CIA to sabotage Iranian nuclear program. Have there been any other similar attempts by CIA against Iran?
The US is deeply concerned that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon and, as such, US government policymakers will often deploy US assets (including its intelligence services) to monitor Iranian actions – and even to sabotage a program aimed at developing such a weapon. James Risen’s work on this reflects this concern. But I have no idea of the current status of that program.
Based on the information revealed by the media Mossad is also attempting to obstruct the Iranian nuclear program. Considering the current conditions of Iran and US relations, would CIA support Mossad in those attempts?
Would the US CIA support a Mossad program aimed at Iran? It would depend on the program, on the Mossad plan – and on the relationship between the US intelligence services and the Israeli intelligence services. Historically, that relationship has been fraught with difficulties – not the least because of the Jundallah incident. There is no question in my mind that we are working with Israel in monitoring the Iranian nuclear program. This is not a surprise: they are an ally of ours.
The documents that were recently revealed by Edward Snowden suggest that the American intelligence services have used Irancell cellphone lines for espionage purposes. How much are these exposed information reliable?
I have no idea. I have not followed the story and am not an expert on what the American intelligence services are doing in monitoring Iranian cellphone lines.
In part of your book “Eclipse”, which you wrote after three years of extensive studies and interviews with prominent political figures, you have mentioned the CIA’s cooperation with Saddam Hussein against Iran. Have you ever gained access to further information regarding that cooperation that you have not published yet?
For me this is an old story. Eclipse was published fifteen to twenty years ago. U.S. cooperation with Saddam Hussein is a matter of the public record. I have not developed further information on this initiative.
How many of CIA attempts were aimed at further reinforcing Saddam Hussein against Iran?
I have no idea what an accurate response to this question might be. We worked with Saddam Hussein at the time out of fear of an expansionist and revolutionary Iran. This view changed with the end of the Iran-Iraq War, and was undergirded by Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. Our attention shifted after that action, as we then worked to roll back what we viewed as a Baath regime.
How does the economic relation between US and the Persian Gulf countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia impact the American foreign policy and its national interests? Does that include Iran as well?
We view the members of the GCC as reliable U.S. allies and we have close economic and political relations with those nations. We will maintain those relations, and we will undoubtedly work to strengthen them – particularly in the aftermath of the rise of ISIS. Additionally, while the US is not dependent on Middle East petroleum reserves to fuel its economy, the same cannot be said of Europe or Japan, our traditional global allies. My sense is that the U.S. is working with Iran not simply to ensure that it does not develop a nuclear program, but because Iran is a regional power with potential, and underdeveloped, economic power. The United States has three options in dealing with Iran: it can continue its low-grade economic warfare against that country, it can do nothing, or it can go to war against Iran. There is no appetite for a conflict with Iran in the U.S., and sooner or later we will be required to acknowledge their regional influence and power. I view our current nuclear negotiations with Iran as a necessary bridge to a long term policy of engagement. I think this is the view of the administration and the U.S. policymaking establishment.
How much does the increasing tensions between Netanyahu and Obama impact United States’ political approach with regards to Iran and how do the security institutions in the United States interpret that?
The U.S. has a strong strategic relationship with Israel, and this is unlikely to change. The relationship remains strong, despite the falling out between this administration and the government of Mr. Netanyahu. Military-to-military relations remain strong and deep. It is one of the salient principles of our government that our constitution gives the president nearly sole command of U.S. foreign policy – a purposeful principle written by our founding fathers in order to keep foreign policy issues from becoming partisan and divisive. The executive branch of our government is united behind Mr. Obama’s policies – because they are charged with implementing it.
What kind of influence do the American military forces have on this country’s foreign policy? Does the appointment of the new defense secretary change these policies?
The U.S. military has a strong influence on our foreign policy, though without being charged with actually designing it. They will follow the lead of our civilian leaders, and particularly the president, because that is the tradition of our military. The Secretary of Defense is appointed by the president; given that, it is rare for a secretary of defense to oppose a presidential foreign policy. Mr. Ashton Carter, the current secretary of defense, is an Obama loyalist – and would not change the current policies even if he could.