Doha — Qatar is secretly helping Iran control the dissidents at the FIFA World Cup, according to a leaked audio recording of the Iranian General of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Iran International on Sunday published a detailed report about the secret collaboration of Iran and Qatar to silence the dissidents in the FIFA.
Black Reward, a human rights activist group that gained access to Fars News Agency files, leaked an audio recording of a meeting between Iran’s Revolutionary Guard general and a group of media managers or representatives from outfits affiliated with the IRGC about plans to use the sporting event to the advantage of the regime in Tehran.
General Ghasem Ghoreyshi (Qasem Qoreyshi), deputy commander of the paramilitary Basij, and a group of journalists, including one from Fars News, are featured in a six-minute audio clip from a tape. They met with General Ghoreyshi to discuss the most recent events, including World Cup preparations.
The meeting was held on November 15th.
In his opening statement, Ghoreyshi claims that “anti-revolutionaries” had purchased 5,330 tickets for the match, and he continues, “Our boys have examined the list of the ticket holders and at least 500 persons” are well-known critics of the Iranian government.
This is the first piece of proof of Qatar’s cooperation with Iran, demonstrating that Qatari authorities are most likely where Iran got the list of ticket purchasers.
The Fars official then inquires with the General as to whether it is accurate that Qatar was ordered to revoke these tickets by Iran’s intelligence ministry. “Qatar has two different approaches with us”, Ghoreyshi said. “The first is a favorable response, and it has promised to do that [cancel tickets], but typically they don’t completely deliver. They advised us to provide the names of the unwanted individuals, and we would resolve the situation”.
Officials from the Islamic Republic, Basij militiamen, and regime supporters participated as “Team Melli fans” in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.
Ghoreyshi continues by claiming that Qatar occasionally does not comply. He then used Iran International as an illustration, claiming that if Qatar wanted to ban the television network from the World Cup, it had to request documentation from Iran. He then criticizes the host nation for yet not having done so. The general is interrupted by a reporter who informs him that Iran International had just the day before reported that its reporters had been denied access to cover the games. Ghoreyshi, who was ostensibly unaware, expresses surprise and claims that Iran and Qatar discussed the matter “the day before.”
Iran International reported in mid-November that Qatar has denied its reporters and TV crew permission to enter the country and cover the World Cup. After the original agreement, authorization was denied suddenly and without explanation.
Ghoreyshi acknowledges that Iran gave Qatar protest-related “videos” in order for Qatar to impose a ban on Iran International. Like other Persian broadcasters with overseas headquarters, Iran International broadcast what appeared to be user-generated videos from the protests.
He continues by saying that Qatar has even vowed to manage people inside the stadiums by forbidding the display of Iranian flags other than the flag of the Islamic Republic.
When the games began, exactly this occurred. Security personnel blocked Iranian supporters who attempted to enter the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan with flags other than the official one authorized by the Islamic Republic during Iran’s second match against Wales on November 25. Many people were prohibited from carrying or hoisting the current wave of protesters’ principal slogan, Woman, Life, Liberty, or the country’s historic flag with the Lion and Sun insignia. Police in Qatar even held some people for several hours.
All of this resulted from the regime’s worry that opposition figures would display anti-regime behaviors that Iranians at home might watch on television. However, when the Islamic Republic song played in the stadiums, many people did chant and jeer.
This goes well with the other conversations on the tape that hackers obtained. The exchange between the IRGC general and the reporter(s) exposes a well-thought-out strategy by the Islamic Republic to use the World Cup match in Qatar to score political points in the midst of widespread protests.
According to Ghoreyshi, the Mullah regime is covering the costs for its followers to travel to Qatar to see Iran’s games and demonstrate the support for the Islamic Republic.
Images from the stadiums actually reveal that hundreds of government representatives, powerful members of the regime’s inner circle, as well as journalists from hardline media, were present.