Farkash: Street protests beginning of end for Iran

Former MI chief Farkash tells 'Post' Iranians primarily protesting deteriorating local economic situation.

aharon zeevi farkash 248.88 (photo credit: IDF)
aharon zeevi farkash 248.88
(photo credit: IDF)
Israeli forecasts regarding the impact of the demonstrations in Iran diverged on Wednesday, with former Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. (res.) Aharon Zeevi Farkash predicting the uprising in Teheran was the beginning of the end for the ayatollah regime. A day earlier, Mossad chief Meir Dagan told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee the protests would die down in a number of days. "What matters is the position of the [Supreme] Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenai], and this has not changed," Dagan said. "The riots take place only in Teheran and one more region, they won't last for long." Farkash disagreed and said that while it was difficult to accurately predict what would happen, the regime in Iran would never be the same. The demonstrators, he said, were protesting a number of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's policies but mainly the deteriorating economic situation. "There is no way this can be reversed," Farkash told The Jerusalem Post. "There is now an unprecedented rift in the elite that has directed the Islamic regime since the revolution in 1979." Farkash said there were rumors that the demonstrations and political instability were actually being orchestrated by Khamenai, who wanted to ensure that his son Mojtaba succeeded him as supreme leader. He said it was unlikely that the partial recount of the presidential vote would lead to a declaration that reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi was the winner, but could lead to a compromise under which he would receive a senior position in the government. Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Wednesday against trying to predict the outcome of the demonstrations in Teheran. No matter who the president was, the regime was still run by the ayatollahs, he said. "We should not confuse ourselves," Barak said. "Mousavi would not have been elected an Israeli member of Knesset or as governor of Maryland. These are religious radicals and there is no doubt that what we are seeing on the streets is real energy within young people who do not want what they see [around them]."