The Tehran Conviction
Morrow, Jun 9 2009, $24.95
In 1953 rookie CIA espionage agent Jack Teller is in Iran posing as an American oil executive. There he makes friends with Iranian government official Yari Fatemi, who is optimistic about the future of his country under the recent free election of Mohammad Mossadegh as Prime Minister. Mossadegh nationalizes the oil industry in an attempt to improve the overall economy, alienating the free marketers of the west. However, not too long afterward he betrays his buddy and his Iranian family as part of the British-American covert Operation Ajax that overthrows the nation’s democratically elected Prime Minister and reinstates the figurehead Shah as the prime power.
Over the years Jack has felt remorse and guilt for what he did to his Iranian friend. So in 1979 when the Islamic revolution of Ayatollah Khomeini overthrows the Shah, he is shocked when Yari's sister Zahra, whose eyes accuse him of murder, visits him in New York. She tells him Yari is in prison awaiting state execution. Needing a chance for redemption or die trying, Jack obsesses over returning to Iran to somewhat rectify the betrayal that haunts him twenty-six years after the fact.
The third Teller espionage thriller (see THE BERLIN CONSPIRACY and THE LISBON CROSSING) is a great spy tale that also provides a deep look at two of the three key latter half of the twentieth century events that has shaped current Iranian-American relations. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action in both periods, but its Jack and Yari who bring human faces to both coup d’etat incidents. This may be the best spy novel of the year as Tom Gabbay provides an exciting thriller that also provides the Iranian perspective of the axis of evil is “The Great Satan” (USA) and Britain.