(PresidentialHill.com)- A former CIA officer suggested that Iran’s soccer team could face retribution from Tehran for getting eliminated from the World Cup after losing to the United States on Tuesday.
Former covert intelligence officer Mike Baker told the New York Post that given Tehran’s history of exacting revenge, the players were in a no-win situation in the Qatar World Cup.
But it isn’t just Tuesday’s loss that puts the team at risk. During their opener against England, the players also took part in a silent protest against the regime by refusing to sing the country’s national anthem.
After that show of solidarity with the ongoing protests back home, the Iranian players were forced to meet with members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
On Monday, CNN reported that the families of the players had been threatened with torture and imprisonment if the team took part in any further acts of disobedience before the game against the United States.
Mike Baker told the New York Post that had the Iranians won their game against the US, it may have eased any possible retribution over the national anthem protest.
Given Iran’s animus toward the United States, a win on Tuesday would have allowed Tehran to exploit the team for its own purposes, Baker explained. The regime would have played up the defeat of the so-called “Great Satan.”
But with Iran’s team being defeated by the “Great Satan,” Baker believes the players may face a worst-case scenario.”
Now the Iranian team could likely face fines or even arrest in the wake of Tuesday’s defeat as retaliation for their supposed “disloyalty” in letting the enemy win.
Iran has been embroiled in anti-government protests since the in-custody death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was allegedly beaten by police in September for refusing to wear a hijab.
By Monday, 451 protesters, including 64 children, have been killed during clashes with police.
While Baker concedes that the Iranian players could defect to other nations, he told the Post that this was unlikely since the relatives they leave behind would pay the price for the defections.