To ensure that the World Cup is advantageous to the Iranian regime, Qatar has been working with Iran to control which media outlets cover it.
Iran International claims to have audio of conversations between a Revolutionary Guard general and a group of media managers connected to the Revolutionary Guard discussing how to make sure the biggest sporting event in the world portrays Tehran in a favorable light.
General Ghasem Ghoreyshi is heard on the recording, which according to Iran International is from November 15, telling the group that “anti-revolutionaries” have bought “5,330 tickets” for the World Cup. He also says that “our boys have checked the list of the ticket holders and at least 500 people” who have bought tickets are known adversaries of the regime.
Ghoresyshi seems to be referring to the Qatari authorities, who are said to have given the IRGC information about Iranian ticket purchases. When asked if reports that tickets had been canceled were accurate, Ghoresyshi also expressed disappointment in Qatari authorities, claiming that the nation had not fully complied with that pledge.
“Qatar has two different conducts with us,” he said in the recording. “One is a positive response, and it has promised to do that [cancel tickets], but typically they don’t fully deliver.” “They told us to give them the names, and we’ll take care of the problem,”
A meeting participant interrupts the general to inform him that Iran International had announced that Qatar had barred them from covering the World Cup. Ghoresyshi also expressed frustration that Qatar had not yet prohibited Iran International from covering the event. Ghoreyshi expressed surprise at the development and recalled that Iran and Qatar had spoken about it “the day before.”
Iran International, which has a history of covering stories that are critical of the Iranian government, revealed earlier this month that its reporters and TV crew would not be allowed to cover the World Cup.
Later on in the recording, Ghoreshyi brags that Qatar had agreed to regulate spectators at the stadium by forbidding fans to enter with flags other than the Islamic Republic’s official flag.
According to reports, Qatar kept its word during Iran’s second World Cup match against Wales, with stadium security stopping spectators carrying flags like the traditional Iranian flag with a lion and sun emblem or a straightforward three-color flag. Some of those spectators carrying prohibited flags reportedly even had to deal with Qatari police detaining them.
The report comes as the Iranian regime has been rocked by protests in recent months, and authorities in the nation worry that the unrest may spill over into the World Cup, where anti-regime supporters may act in ways that would be broadcast to supporters at home.
In the audio recording, Ghoreshyi acknowledged that Iran had covered the travel costs of fans of the regime in Qatar so they could watch the games and express their support for it.
Despite their best efforts, some Iranian fans have been heard booing and singing anti-regime chants during the Islamic Republic of Iran’s national anthem.
On Monday night, Iran is scheduled to play the US, and the source claimed that Iran intends to send additional actors, numbering “into the thousands.”
Following the September death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, while she was in police custody, protests have broken out across Iran in recent months. According to the strict interpretation of Islamic law used by the Iranian government, Amini was charged with improperly donning a hijab.
According to the UN, thousands of people have been imprisoned for participating in peaceful protests. The UN reported that about 300 people, including 40 children, died.
Iranian women have also cut their hair and removed their hijabs during protests, both in person and online.