A senior Israeli military intelligence official said on Monday that Iran could launch an attack on the World Cup but could be hesitant due to uncertainty about how the host Qataris would react.
Major General Aharon Haliva, head of intelligence for the Israel Defense Forces, attended an Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv on Monday and spoke about the protests sweeping the country and how they could affect the World Cup, the world’s biggest tournament. on football. .
“Iran is considering disrupting the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” Khaliva said. “However, the only thing stopping them is what will Qatar’s reaction be?”
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Protests in Iran have been ongoing since a woman named Mahsa Amini died in Tehran in September while in the custody of the vice police, seen as the biggest challenge for Iran’s spiritual leaders since the 1979 revolution.
Amini’s death not only sparked outrage in Tehran, but protests spread throughout the country.
The country’s leadership sent troops to the Kurdish city to regain control over the city, which was captured by the protesters.
Video on social media showed that the streets of Mahabad were filled with military vehicles, and in one case, Iranian forces opened fire on a crowd that had gathered for what was to be the governor’s speech.
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Haliva said the current protests are unusual due to their length and intensity, adding that the demonstrations are changing the lines of civil unrest.
According to the general, this worries the Iranian regime, especially because of the growing and existing international pressure and the difficult economic situation.
“As the pressure on Iran increases, Iran’s response to various events becomes more aggressive,” he said. “We should expect more aggressive actions from Iran in the region and the world.”
As Iran determines its next move, Haliva has been adamant that the World Cup is in jeopardy.
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“I’m telling you that the Iranians are now also considering hosting the World Cup in Qatar,” he said. “They fear the reaction of the Qataris. This trend will continue. Iran is under pressure, and this results in aggressive actions.”
Yonat Freeling of Fox News contributed to this report.