The head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Yossi Cohen, confirmed on Tuesday that Israel has active agents in Iran and warned of the Islamic Republic’s aggressive military expansion throughout the region.
"The Iranians are spreading across the Middle East with a vast array of forces, and there is little holding them back," Cohen said during a closed event at the Israeli Economy Ministry.
According to Cohen, Tehran has a "ground and aerial corridor that pours militants into the Middle East." He also mentioned the recent wave of anti-government protests, saying that despite the fact that Iran’s economy has improved since the signing of the nuclear deal, the citizens of the country are not benefiting from the new situation and therefore took to the streets.
Iran is on course "to realize its dream of creating what almost amounts to a land and air bridge allowing them to dump troops across the Middle East," he said, adding that Israel is monitoring the Iranians closely from abroad and from within Iran.
"We have eyes and ears, even inside Iran," Cohen said.
Commenting on the ongoing mass demonstrations in the Islamic Republic that began during the final days of 2017, the Mossad chief said, "The average Iranian citizen went out to protest due to the economic situation, and the expectation that President Hassan Rouhani would improve the economy. That’s what’s brought them out to the streets."
"We don’t need to start speculating, even though I would, of course, be very happy to see a social revolution in Iran," said Cohen. "That’s something that could perhaps happen in the future."
Addressing the American involvement in the Middle East, Cohen said, "The United States of the past year is changing its policy. We observe a positive change. We are seeing a change that may give greater consideration to Israeli security interests, making it somewhat easier for us to force the Iranian expansionism to change direction and maybe change in our favor. We are starting to see changes, from our perspective, dramatic changes in the Americans’ understanding of the extreme threats posed by Iran’s dramatic ambitions."
"The Mossad has a responsibility to gain absolute superiority in the world of espionage," Cohen stressed. "We can’t afford to be in second place – be it in manpower, in cyber defense, in our ability to obtain intelligence, in operations and the personnel running operations, in technology and command, and in dealing with staff welfare and human resources."
Cohen emphasized that "they are not stupid out there, overseas or in the desert. The organizations that challenge us are good and strong, and they, like us, try to improve all the time. This is a challenge that forces us to recruit talented people with rare qualities. Anyone entering the service undergoes a rigorous screening process. And the job at the Mossad can take you and your family out of the country more than once."