Iran may launch an attack on the World Cup but may hesitate due to uncertainty over how hosts Qatar will react, Israel’s top military intelligence official said on Monday.
Israel Defense Forces intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Haleva attended an Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv on Monday and spoke about the protests taking over the country and how they could affect soccer’s biggest international tournament. .
“Iran is considering disrupting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar,” Haliwa said. “However, the only thing holding them back – what will be Qatar’s reaction?”
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Protests have continued in Iran since the death of a woman named Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Tehran’s morality police in September, seen as the biggest challenge to Iran’s clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution.
Amini’s death not only sparked outrage in Tehran, but protests spread across the country.
The country’s leaders deployed troops to a Kurdish town to regain control of the town, which was seized by protesters.
Social media videos showed the streets of Mahabad lined with military vehicles, and in one incident, Iranian forces opened fire on a crowd gathered for a speech by the governor.
Iranian regime targets Kurdish city and spreads protests
Haliwa said the current protests are unusual in their duration and intensity, and how the demonstrations are changing the lines of civil disobedience.
It’s troubling for Iran’s regime, especially given the growing and ongoing international pressure and tough economic situation, the general said.
“As the pressure on Iran increases, Iran’s response to various incidents becomes more aggressive,” he said. “We should expect more aggressive actions from Iran in the region and the world.”
As Iran decides its next move, Haliwa is adamant the World Cup is under threat.
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“I tell you the Iranians are now considering attacking the World Cup in Qatar,” he said. “They fear the reaction of Qataris. This trend will continue. Iran will be pressured and this will translate into aggressive actions.”
Fox News’ Yonat Friling contributed to this report.