Qatar has been cooperating with Iran in an effort to control which media outlets cover the World Cup in a bid to ensure the event is beneficial to the Iranian regime.
An audiotape obtained by Iran International reportedly contains discussions between a Revolutionary Guard general and a group of Revolutionary Guard-affiliated media managers discussing how to ensure that the world’s biggest sport even paints Tehran in a light way. positive, the outlet reported on Sunday.
The recording, reported by Iran International to be from November 15, features General Ghasem Ghoreyshi, who tells the group that “anti-revolutionaries” have bought “5,330 tickets” for the World Cup, adding that “our guys have reviewed the list of ticket holders and at least 500 people” who have bought tickets are known opponents of the regime.
Ghoresyshi appears to be referring to the Qatari authorities, who allegedly shared a shopping list of Iranian tickets with the IRGC. However, Ghoresyshi also expressed disappointment for the Qatari authorities when asked if the rumors that the tickets had been canceled were true, saying that the country has not fully lived up to that promise.
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“Qatar has two different behaviors with us: one is a positive response and has promised to do that. [cancel tickets]but usually they don’t fully comply,” he said in the recording. “They told us to give us the names [of unwanted people]and we will solve the problem.”
Ghoresyshi also expressed frustration that Qatar had not yet banned Iran International from covering the World Cup, though another attendee interrupted the general to report that the outlet had announced that Qatar had banned them from covering the event. Ghoreyshi expressed surprise at the development, saying that Iran had discussed the issue with Qatar “the day before.”
Iran International, which has often reported unflattering news for the Iranian regime, announced earlier this month that its reporters and television crew had been banned from the World Cup.
Later in the recording, Ghoreshyi boasts that Qatar had agreed to control the spectators in the stadium, banning flags other than the official flag of the Islamic Republic from entering the stadiums.
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Qatar reportedly made good on that promise during Iran’s second World Cup match against Wales, with stadium security detaining people with flags, such as Iran’s old flag with the emblem of a lion and a sun, or a simple flag of three colors. Some of those spectators with unapproved flags were reportedly detained by the Qatari police.
The report comes amid protests that have rocked the Iranian regime in recent months and authorities in the country fear the protests could spill over into the World Cup, where anti-regime spectators could display banners or display behavior that would be broadcast. to the fans at home. .
Ghoreshyi admitted in the recording that Iran was paying the expenses of pro-regime fans to Qatar to attend the games and show their support for the regime.
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Despite the efforts, some spectators attending Iran games have been heard singing anti-regime chants and booing during the Islamic Republic anthem.
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