Heydari — who defected soon after he was asked to identify his son in photos taken during the protests that followed the 2009 vote in which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected — said the regime in Tehran was aiming to develop two or three bombs. It saw nuclear weapons as “insurance” to guarantee its survival.
Regime leaders “believe that when they acquire a nuclear bomb, [others] will start to behave toward them as they do toward North Korea,” said Heydari. “As a matter of fact, the leading way of thinking in Iran is [devoted to] protecting their own security, and nobody else’s,” he added.
“They are busying themselves with ideological preparations for the arrival of the hidden Imam and are preparing the ground for that in a practical way; for this purpose, they are willing to spill much blood and destroy many countries.”
Heydari, who was previously stationed at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport as the representative of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said that while he worked there he noticed that Hezbollah groups would come to Iran, acquire knowledge and send it back to Lebanon, under the auspices of the Revolutionary Guards. He said that Hezbollah had contacts with terrorist outfits in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Taliban and al-Qaeda, with which it had close ties.
Heydari, who went on to serve as an Iranian diplomat in Georgia, Germany and finally Norway, said he knew of civilian airplanes from South America arriving with no passengers but with weaponry and material for the nuclear program. He spoke in the interview of uranium purchased for and transported to Iran by Venezuela.
“Venezuela might buy uranium from another country, and after that, send it to Iran by civil flight,” Heydari said. He suggested that the uranium was bought from “the mafia.”
He also said he had been told when serving as a diplomat to try to recruit western nuclear scientists for large salaries and had personally arranged for dozens of North Korean nuclear personnel to come to Iran. He said Iran used diplomatic mail to import material relating to its nuclear program.
“If the US and Western countries believe Iran belongs to the Axis of Evil, as George Bush said, and that it aids international terrorists, they have to oust this regime,” said Heydari. He said that with strong enough sanctions, such as closing all Iranian embassies abroad and preventing Iranian ministers from leaving the country with the threat of their arrests, it would be possible “to help the Iranians.” In order to achieve results, he said, Iran must be treated “like the apartheid regime in South Africa.”
Heydari described his rise up the Foreign Ministry ranks, saying that he was considered loyal to the regime because he had participated and sustained wounds in the Iran-Iraq war. He said that though he wasn’t a religious man himself, he and other government employees had been instructed to “uphold the religious principles,” pray several times a day, fast when necessary, grow beards and “dress like Hezbollah men.”
He said he gradually began to realize that he was “not alone” — that many other Foreign Ministry employees were only pretending to be religious and ideologically loyal to the regime.
He was posted as consul to Norway in 2008. In 2010, he resigned and has stayed in Oslo since, in a location strictly guarded by the Norwegian authorities.
During the interview, Heydari claimed that five other Iranian diplomats — in Brussels, London, Geneva, Milan and Paris — had defected recently.
The interview was brokered by an Iranian Jewish woman who immigrated to Israel 13 years ago, and arranged it via Norway’s security authorities. It took place in an Oslo hotel; Heydari had insisted on a public location, the report said.
Heydari acknowledged that his relatives still in Iran have asked him not to speak out publicly, but said he felt the imperative to speak, and had no problem with the interview being screened in Israel.