Iran to face Western geopolitical rivals in World Cup as backlash mounts over its protest crackdown
A portrait of Iranian opposition politician Mir Hossein Mousavi during a portrait session on the eve of the anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran on 17 July.
The International Olympic Committee has voted in favour of the inclusion of Iran into the 2022 Olympic Games.
The decision was condemned by the International Olympic Committee.
Iran is set to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2020.
A video by pro-government youth activists has shown them burning a picture of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the leader of the Green movement who has emerged as the most prominent anti-government protester.
Iranian activists call on the public to come out onto the streets to defend the country against “foreign aggression” and “Western imperialism”.
“Facing the Iranian nation’s challenges, the West and the regional countries are not likely to give up on their plans, and they are trying to create the conditions for the continuation of the conflict in the region,” the National Council of Resistance of Iran said in its latest weekly report.
“Iran’s national flag has been raised, and the people are rejecting the imposition of the US, the EU, and Israel on their country.”
The statement also condemned attacks from “foreign enemies”, “economic attacks”, and “US, EU and Zionist conspiracies”.
The report accused the US and EU “to use a proxy war to impose pressure on Iran, and support extremist groups”, adding that Washington was “not ready” for a peaceful negotiation with Tehran, while EU countries such as London were “siding with the US in the war theatre”.
While some of Iran’s top officials have publicly praised the protests as “the great popular and peaceful revolution”, they are also increasingly worried about potential destabilisation of the country.
“A violent counter-revolution is on its way to put the Islamic Republic under a military dictatorship, and its long-term goal is to completely destroy our country,” Ayatollah Khamenei said last month, adding that “the majority of the Iranian people” were with the protesters.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has told the BBC that the government had “every reason to