The “Iran International” channel, which is affiliated with the opposition in the Islamic Republic, reported this evening (Sunday) that according to documents that came into its possession, Qatar secretly agreed that the security mechanisms of the regime in Tehran could “control” Iranians who come to the World Cup, thus hiding any sign of opposition and protest against the regime. This, after protest signs against the regime were raised in the team’s games, following the violent suppression of the “hijab protest” in the country.

In the meantime, a group of activists called Black Reward managed to access the files of the Fars news agency, which is close to the regime, and leak an audio tape, containing a meeting between a general in the Revolutionary Guards and a group of reporters affiliated with the regime. In the tape, the parties are heard discussing various plans, including how the biggest sporting event in the world can be used for the benefit of the regime in Tehran. According to the report, the meeting was held on November 15.

Fans of the Iranian national team at the 2022 World Cup (Photo: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)

According to the tape, the general in the Revolutionary Guards reveals that “opponents of the regime bought 5,330 tickets for the tournament, of which at least 500 are known opponents of the regime.” This is the first evidence of cooperation with Qatar, showing that Iran obtained a list of ticket buyers from the authorities of the country hosting the World Cup. Afterwards, a Fars reporter asked the general, “Is it true that the Ministry of Intelligence asked Qatar to cancel the tickets?”, the general replied that “Qatar has two sides in dealing with us, one positive and one negative. The positive is that it definitely promised to cancel them. They told us to hand over the names, and they promised that they would ‘solve the problem’.”

The general went on to say that “Qatar has asked Iran to provide documents if it wants to ban the Iran International TV network from covering and broadcasting the World Cup games.” Afterwards, the writer interrupted the general’s words and said that “the network has already announced that it will refrain from covering the games”. The general replied that “this shows that Iran is discussing these issues with Qatar.”

About two weeks ago, the “Iran International” network announced that Qatar canceled the permits for its reporters and television crew to travel to the country and cover the soccer World Cup. The denial of permission came without explanation. The general in the Revolutionary Guards explained that “Iran provided Qatar with films related to the protests, as documents supporting the network’s ban on covering the World Cup from Qatar.” He added that “Qatar even promised to ‘control’ inside the stadiums and not to allow the display of Iranian flags, not the symbol of the Islamic Republic.”

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