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Defector Iranian Pilot Threatens to Seek Asylum in Israel So He Can Take Down Regime

An Iranian helicopter pilot who defected to Turkey last year has threatened to move to Israel and work against the Iranian government if it does not stop harassing his wife and son, the Times of Israel reported on Wednesday.

Maj. Ahmad-Reza Khosravi, who flew for the Iranian Security Service, told the Times that he fled Iran after repeated attempts to leave the service due to his ideological differences with the government. “If you do not leave me alone and stop harassing my family, I will seek asylum in Israel and start fighting you, even with arms,” Khosravi said in a message to Iranian leaders.

After 19 years in the service, Khosravi said that he wanted to resign “due to the differences in beliefs and opinions with the regime, and since I do not believe in the religion of Islam….I had problems with the regime’s policies, because they are based on deception, duplicity and lies.”

After his request for a discharge was rejected, Khosravi said that the government’s security services began a campaign of intimidation against him and his family. “All my actions and my private life were watched and my phone conversations were listened to,” he recalled. “I did not have any personal life; even my wife’s phone was under surveillance.”

Fearing for his life, Khosravi fled to Turkey last March. Because he was a member of Iran’s security services, he did not have a passport, a measure apparently intended to keep security personnel from fleeing. But he was able to meet with a United Nations official in Turkey and explain the situation.

“Since I was a military person who had defected from Iran, and therefore my life was in danger, the UN and the Turkish police took care of my issue with extra sensitivity and guarded me very carefully,” Khosravi said. He added that the Turkish police frequently checked on how he was doing.

When the Iranian government found out that he had escaped, it contacted his wife and threatened to have him extradited, he said.

Two Iranians were apprehended in Turkey in an apparent attempt to kidnap Khosravi and return him to Iran last September. They were recently sentenced to six year prison terms. Though one of the suspects denied his role in the kidnapping plot, the other acknowledged that a man by the name of “Hajji” had hired him to locate “the pilot.”

Khosravi believes that the story of his defection could inspire others to follow suit. “I can tell you that there are other pilots like me who are forced to work and live the way they do,” he said. “But they are not defecting because they fear this dictatorial regime and have to continue working under the hardships imposed by the regime.”

[Photo: Parsa Tomcat / YouTube ]