A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran

A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran

by Reza Kahlili
4.4 46

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Overview

A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran by Reza Kahlili

A true story as exhilarating as a great spy thriller, as turbulent as today’s headlines from the Middle East, 2010 National Best Books Award-winning A Time to Betray reveals what no other previous CIA operative’s memoir possibly could: the inner workings of the notorious Revolutionary Guards of Iran, as witnessed by an Iranian man inside their ranks who spied for the American government. It is a human story, a chronicle of family and friendships torn apart by a terror-mongering regime, and how the adult choices of three childhood mates during the Islamic Republic yielded divisive and tragic fates. And it is the stunningly courageous account of one man’s decades-long commitment to lead a shocking double life informing on the beloved country of his birth, a place that once offered the promise of freedom and enlightenment—but instead ruled by murderous violence and spirit-crushing oppression.

Reza Kahlili grew up in Tehran surrounded by his close-knit family and two spirited boyhood friends. The Iran of his youth allowed Reza to think and act freely, and even indulge a penchant for rebellious pranks in the face of the local mullahs. His political and personal freedoms flourished while he studied computer science at the University of Southern California in the 1970s. But his carefree time in America was cut short with the sudden death of his father, and Reza returned home to find a country on the cusp of change. The revolution of 1979 plunged Iran into a dark age of religious fundamentalism under the Ayatollah Khomeini, and Reza, clinging to the hope of a Persian Renaissance, joined the Revolutionary Guards, an elite force at the beck and call of the Ayatollah. But as Khomeini’s tyrannies unfolded, as his fellow countrymen turned on each other, and after the horror he witnessed inside Evin Prison, a shattered and disillusioned Reza returned to America to dangerously become “Wally,” a spy for the CIA.

In the wake of an Iranian election that sparked global outrage, at a time when Iran’s nuclear program holds the world’s anxious attention, the revelations inside A Time to Betray could not be more powerful or timely. Now resigned from his secretive life to reclaim precious time with his loved ones, Reza Kahlili documents scenes from history with heart-wrenching clarity, as he supplies vital information from the Iran-Iraq War, the Marine barracks bombings in Beirut, the catastrophes of Pan Am Flight 103, the scandal of the Iran-Contra affair, and more . . . a chain of incredible events that culminates in a nation’s fight for freedom that continues to this very day.

A TIME TO BETRAY was the winner of The National Best Books 2010 Awards for Non-Fiction Narrative. It was also honored as the “Finalist” in the “Autobiography/Memoirs” category. It is now part of JCITA’s (Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy of DOD) Iranian Program’s readings.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439189030
Publisher: Threshold Editions
Publication date: 04/06/2010
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.52(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.24(d)

About the Author


Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym to protect the author’s identity. Reza was born in Tehran, Iran, and served in the Revolutionary Guards and acted as a spy for the CIA. He now lives in California.

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Time to Betray 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
john pattwell More than 1 year ago
The author while a member of Irans notorious revolutionary guard, spied for the CIA. He didnt do it for money. He didnt do it because he was a traitor to his country. He did it because he was a patriot, and he loved his country. He hated to see what radical islam was doing to Iran. A top 10 in my all time library. I highly recommend this true story, really a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Leads one to wonder why all the information this brave man fed us was not acted upon. I kept having to remind myself this is a true story while reading it. A page turner, no doubt.
Paddymeladdy More than 1 year ago
This book had the potential to be a thrilling account of espionage in one of the most dangerous places at the most dangerous time in the world. Instead, it focused largely on family matters and feelings. It was often repetitious. There were moments of intrigue; meetings with CIA operatives, close calls with the Revolutionary Guards and the typical tribulations of leading a double life. However these came second in importance to the author's struggle to be himself to his wife and his fellow Guardsman, while being someone else to the CIA. The book leaves the reader feeling as worn out as Kahlili must have been at the end of his journey. A quick but mediocre read.
BrenBS More than 1 year ago
I absolutely hands down feel this is the best book I have ever read!!! I feel as though it has opened my eyes and made me want to learn so much I wasn't aware of!! Everyone should take this time to read this book you will not be disappointed!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author makes his complicated life easier to understand in a culture that most Americans would not understand. He give an account of what life was like in Iran from 1973 through to 2009. After reading this book I am very thankful that I have the privilege to right this review.
Nook-loverLL More than 1 year ago
This book has changed my view of the Iranian people. I pretty much put them all in the same box. The book gave a view inside Iran that I hadn't seen before. As the author takes us through his time as a counter spy his writings help us to see, feel what he and the country were going through. He was brave, wise and worked hard to turn his country back into what it once was like. Thanks to the author for his openness, love for his people, for insight into his family's life and again his bravery, strength to endure and then write this book.
Sassan1 More than 1 year ago
As an Iranian-American who was born after the revolution but has had chances to visit Iran several times for significant periods of time, I find Mr. Kahlili's book to be both breathtaking and a testament to the horrors and pain inflicting upon the Iranian people to people like my grandfather to my little cousin. Reza Kahlili exemplifies his story as a young man attending USC to becoming a Revolutionary Guards member once the Revolution hit Iran in 1979. Mr. Kahlili allows the reader to understand how good and secular people were washed up into the fervor of the Islamic Revolution in 1979' and how such a madman such as the Ayatollah Khomeini was able to lie and brainwash a people with such a rich culture and ancient history. Mr. Kahlili's book is wrote in a manner that both the simple reader can easily comprehend along with an elegant prose that the more extensive reader can quickly get through. His story is more of a human story that not only details his spying days, but of his relationships with his family members and friends since childhood that both contributed to both the revolutionary fervor that was able to sweep him up during the revolution along with the values and ideals that his parents and grandparents taught him that allowed him to say "enough is enough, it's a time to betray" in joining the CIA for the sole purpose of helping Iran become free from tyrannical tyrants. "It's very important to understand this mentality of martyrdom and radical conviction. They truly believe that one day Islam will conquer the world. If we allow the Guards to go unchecked, the consequences could be devastating for the region - and the world." This quote comes from Mr. Kahlili's book and I think highlights the situation so well with Iran. The Iranian regime is a regime that has occupied and sent Iran back into the stone ages for the past 32+ years in a process I uniquely term "de-evolution". This is a regime that does not think in "this world" but rather makes decisions based on prophecy and world ending messianic beliefs. They go so far as to rape virgins before executing them so that they "don't go to heaven". This is a barbaric and primitive regime that has occupied the once great nation of Iran and the entire international community must understand that negotiating is not an option with these madmen. This regime will not be happy and will not rest until the "return of the hidden imam" and will do everything to facilitate this end-of-the-world prophecy including starting wars and allowing millions of Iranians to die for their fanatical beliefs. The international community must stand by the side of the Iranian people in overthrowing this barbaric regime. It is the right thing and necessary thing to do for not only insuring that Iranians have the opportunities to live in dignity, peace, and freedom but the international community will get rid of itself of a barbaric and dangerous regime that endangers world peace with their nuclear activities and ambitions.
georgie12 More than 1 year ago
The fact that this was a true story made it all the more riveting and I found myself putting the book down every so often to catch my breath. You felt the deep sadness for what was and would never be the same again - the horror of seeing close friends tortured and murdered and what seems to be a hopelessness for having a government of the people. I am certainly glad that he escaped with his family - but I was left feeling very depressed.
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NurmiHendriks More than 1 year ago
This is a must-read book. I had no idea that the Iranians were under a rule they did not want. It is only the radical Islamists who want the country to be what it is. The author of this book took great risks to go undercover and let the West know what was going on there. What courage! It is a gripping tale of how Rez Kahlili grew up with his childhood friends, came to the US to study, got into the Revolutionary Guard, saw how brutal the government was, knew it wasn't right and endeavored to do something about it. . The atrocities that occur there will occur here if people don't pay attention to how this can happen. I highly recommend reading this book to understand the situation in Iran,have compassion for her people and make sure the same thing doesn't come here.
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This is a powerful discription of what has been going on in the middle east. It helps us understand what is happening even now in Syria, Egypt, Yeman, Libya as well as Iran. I highly recommend this book to all my friends who are interested in knowing more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
eye-opening
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