A Time to Betray

A Time to Betray

The Astonishing Double Life of A CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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.
Publisher: New York : Threshold Editions, 2010
Edition: 1st Threshold Editions hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781439189030
Characteristics: 340 p. ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Nov 17, 2016

Being an insider I find this book exceptionally accurate. I was there and knew the events on personal basis. This amazing book narrate how the system brainwash the new generation. Basically majority of the Iranians are very stubborn and during Shah's time they were thinking that having oil is a blessing and Iran could be a Police-State in the Gulf. Oil brought prosperity and trouble too. For all this I blame the stupidity of President Jimmy Carter who did not realize that in fact Shah was helping USA and his removal could seriously damage the stability of the region. The main culprit in the region is Saudi Wahabis extremism who were behind 911 otherwise many Sunnis are peacefully living in Iran. Instead of Shah the USA should have eliminated Saudi Kingdom. The book also reflects that for the last four decades Iranian government is not giving a shit to the USA and do not even care to resume any diplomatic relation. If USA Embassies allow student visa to Iranians one can see how many Iranians want to visit "Great Satan" USA. Leaving behind the CIA involvements which I disagree, I totally enjoy the 340 pages of the book.

Jun 11, 2012

Amazing book. A revelation! An inside look into what really goes on inside Iran's Revolutionary Guards organisation! Very well written, too. Highly recommend for those interested in history unfolding in current events.

cyrusshares Dec 19, 2011

A must read book, also follow him on twitter www.twitter.com/Reza_Kahlili or visit his website www.atimetobetray.com
Follow him for latest updates and credible news on Iran and Islamic terror, he publishes articles daily and posts his interviews with TV and radio stations on the website.
He is a brave hero


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at WCLS

To Top