The former Chief of MI6 predicted a regime change in Iran is inevitable after women rose up against authorities over their right to wear a hijab. Women and girls in Iran and across the world have taken to the streets following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested for wearing an “improper” hijab in early September. Despite the authorities’ crackdown on protesters, Sir John Sawers said the Islamic Republic’s security would struggle to push back against protests and criticism.
When asked if Iran is on the verge of regime change, the former MI6 chief told Sky News’s Kay Burley: “You can never rule it out.
“It’s like the Ernest Hemingway character who went bankrupt. How did it happen? First, gradually and then suddenly.
“And you never quite know when it’s going to get to that tipping point.
“And autocratic regimes are a bit similar to that.
“The likelihood is that sadly oppressive regimes will be able to suppress these demonstrations, but there is a real chance that the regime will fall.”
Because of the authorities’ overreach and longevity, the former MI6 Chief says a shift is likely to happen.
He said: “I think more likely, we will see a change of leadership at some point, the Supreme leaders being in power there for 33 years now.
“And I think its successor is going to have to accommodate these pressures from the streets.
“It’s just not acceptable in the 21st century anywhere in the world to tell people what to wear, what to believe.
“There is a level of freedom brought about by greater access to information, which means that these regimes just can’t suppress it.”
READ MORE: Iran urged to ‘immediately quash all death sentences’
Iran’s Parliament is trying to crack down on protests with a new legislation – approved by an overwhelming majority of lawmakers – to sentence demonstrators to death.
A total of five people have been handed the death sentence on the charge of “enmity to God” for their participation in anti-government protests in Iran.
Revolutionary Courts in Tehran said one of the unnamed “rioters” hit and killed a policeman with his car, the judiciary’s Mizan news agency said.
The second possessed a knife and a gun, and the third blocked traffic and caused “terror”, the agency claimed.