Jerusalem – The Middle East Newsline revealed yesterday that Israel, for the first time, placed its foreign installations on alert for an Iranian strike.

Israeli officials said their Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry have increased security on embassies and legations throughout the world. They said the government declared an alert after Tehran accused the Jewish state of abducting a senior Iranian official.

“The prospect of an Iranian retaliation or provocation exists,” an Israeli official said.

The alert was issued after Israel was blamed for the disappearance of a former Iranian deputy defense minister in Turkey. An Iranian delegation has been sent to Turkey and demanded the whereabouts of Ali Reza Asqhari, missing from an Istanbul hotel since Feb. 7.

The 63-year-old Asqhari, believed to have been a senior official in Iran’s missile and nuclear weapons program, arrived in Istanbul from Damascus and had been registered in the Ceylon Hotel. But it was not clear whether he checked into the hotel.

“It is likely that Asqhari has been abducted by the Western intelligence services,” Iranian police chief Gen. Esmaeil Ahmadi Moghaddam said.

Israeli officials said Iran could retaliate by seeking to attack Israeli embassies or abducting government representatives. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was said to operate a special unit for such attacks.

Last week, Western intelligence sources said Asqhari, a former IRGC general, was believed to have defected as part of a CIA campaign to recruit Iranian scientists and defense officials. Asqhari was said to have been the Defense Ministry’s liaison with Iran’s strategic programs under Ali Shamkhani, who served as defense minister until 2006. At one point, Asqhari was also the IRGC’s liasion with Hezbollah, the sources said.

On Tuesday, the London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat reported that Asqhari defected and was taken to the United States. The United States has not commented on the report. Yesterday, the Saudi-owned newspaper quoted an Iranian military source as saying that Ashqhari was taken to an unidentified northern European state where he was being interrogated on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 2007


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.