Former Iranian fighter pilot: 'Ahmadinejad incites war'

In Channel 10 interview, Bahazad Masawi says Iranian regime is "world's biggest terrorism supporter"; says Iran and Israel not enemies.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
November 16, 2010 21:53
3 minute read.
Former Iranian fighter pilot Bahazad Masawi.

bahazad masawi_311. (photo credit: Channel 10 News.)

 
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Iran has a nuclear military plan and intends to acquire atomic weapons, a former Iranian air force lieutenant said in an interview broadcast on Channel 10 news Tuesday night.

Bahazad Masawi, a former fighter pilot who defected from Iran and is in hiding in Paris, said: “Ahmadinejad creates terror and incites war in the area. This is not good for the Iranian people. Ahmadinejad makes the situation in Iran and in the entire region worse.”

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The former pilot, who flew Iran’s F-14 fighter jets, stressed that Israel is not an enemy of Iran.

“The Iranian nation is not an enemy of the Israeli people and in the past they were not enemies either; they had always been friends,” he said. “It is not possible to separate the Iranian people from the people of Israel. King Cyrus is the one who saved the Jews.”

Masawi expressed regret in the interview for Iran’s support for Hizbullah and other terrorist organizations.

“All of the state’s money finances terrorism; the Islamic regime in Iran is the biggest supporter of terrorism in the world. Everyone knows this,” he added.



Speaking on his role as a pilot in Iran’s air force, Masawi said, “We had no access to the fighting techniques of the Israeli Air Force; it belongs to Iranian intelligence. They are the ones who are involved in this issue. We had no need to spy on anyone; our job was to fly.”

Masawi fled to Paris a few days ago, he told Channel 10, through a network of military officers who oppose the Islamic regime.

Speaking about the regime, the pilot said, “One young man comes out and speaks against the Iranian regime, shouting in the streets, ‘Death to the dictatorship,’ and then they arrest him, rape him, imprison him and then kill him.

“This is called a dictatorial regime. This is not a just regime.”

IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi will tell the top American officials he is to meet with Wednesday in Washington that tougher sanctions can succeed in stopping Iran’s enrichment of uranium.

Ashkenazi on Tuesday wrapped up a three-day visit to Canada, which included meetings with the top defense leadership and his Canadian counterpart Gen. Walt Natynczyk.

A senior officer traveling with Ashkenazi said that the chief of staff planned to present Israeli assessments on Iran’s nuclear program during his meetings with chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Michael Mullen.

Ashkenazi is perceived in Washington as serving a restraining role in the Israeli defense and political establishments.

He is attributed with holding back from escalating Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in early 2009 and has voiced moderate views on Iran in the past.

Ashkenazi said several weeks ago that the latest round of sanctions imposed on Iran was having an effect on the regime but that additional sanctions pertaining to the energy sector and banking system were required to further pressure Iran into changing its current course of action.

Israeli intelligence assessments conclude that Iran will continue to enrich uranium at low levels, as it is currently doing, and then – when it believes the price it will pay internationally will be low – it will go to the breakout stage and begin enriching to higher levels required for a nuclear weapon.

During his meetings with Mullen as well as with Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy, Ashkenazi is also expected to discuss Israeli concerns with the current military buildup in the region, recently highlighted by US plans to sell $60 billion worth of advanced military equipment to Saudi Arabia, including 84 F-15 fighter jets and JDAM smart bombs.

The IDF is primarily concerned with the sale of the JDAMs to the Saudis.

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