Ex-Mossad chief: Iran protests could tear country apart into chaos

The former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo spoke at a conference on Wednesday, talking about the ongoing Iranian protests.

 Iranian protests in front of security forces in Saqqez, November 2022 (photo credit: 1500tasvir)
Iranian protests in front of security forces in Saqqez, November 2022
(photo credit: 1500tasvir)

The ongoing protests in Iran could tear the country apart and lead to chaos, former Mossad director Tamir Pardo said Wednesday during a conference at Netanya Academic College.

“When we look at Iran, the nature of man since the dawn of history has been” to seek freedom and equality, he said.

Paraphrasing his paradigm for human beings everywhere, Pardo said, “I am not ready to have fewer rights and obligations than the person sitting next to me. In places where there isn’t freedom and equality, in the end, there is always tumult and the spilling of blood.

“How does one come out of this? No one knows. It could lead to chaos and the tearing apart of the country.”

“There are situations, like in Libya, where until this day they have not emerged from this [internal civil wars], and the volume of blood spilled in the streets is enormous, and an entire generation has been lost,” he said. “In Syria, a full generation has been lost.”

A police motorcycle burns during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's ''morality police'', in Tehran, Iran, September 19, 2022. (credit: WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)A police motorcycle burns during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's ''morality police'', in Tehran, Iran, September 19, 2022. (credit: WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)

Pardo compared the “if and when” of the Iranian regime possibly falling as a result of the protesters’ pressure to an imbalanced glass vase.

Everyone, he said, can look at such a vase and see that it will eventually topple and crack into many pieces. In the analogy of Iran, however, until the moment of its exact tipping point is found, there is no way to know if the regime is about to fall or if it is still a long way off from losing control.

The protests erupted across the country in September

Protests erupted in September, after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was tortured and beaten to death by Iran’s “morality police” for not covering her hair according to their modesty standards.

By mid-November, reports indicated that about 400 Iranian protesters had already been killed by the regime, with some 15,000 arrested.

Despite the regime’s massive crackdown, there are no signs of the protests losing steam, nor are there signs that the regime is close to falling, given that it is propped up by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Basij paramilitary volunteer militia, whose members are estimated to number in the millions.

Pardo also expressed concern about freedom and equality in Israel, saying he hoped the incoming government would not pass restrictions on basic human rights. He said he expected that if the government does, Israel’s citizens would know how to protest.

A rising number of supporters of the country’s opposition parties are concerned that some extremists in the coalition – some of whom have made statements against LGBT and other minority groups – may roll back aspects of Israel’s secular democracy in an unprecedented manner.