The 1974 Asian Games in Tehran: Israel’s final countdown

Or Hareuveny, Yehuda U. Blanga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As a close ally of Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, Israel participated in the September 1974 Asian Games–the ‘Asian Olympics’–that were held in Tehran. Among the 18 sports in which athletes competed, football attracted the most attention, especially after Iran’s historic victory over Israel in the AFC Asian Cup in 1968. As both countries reached the final of the Games’ football tournament, the match came to be seen by Iranians as nothing short of war. Standing in stark contradiction to the close and multifaceted relations between Jerusalem and the monarchical regime, this public attitude was lost on Israeli decisionmakers in what foreshadowed the failure to anticipate the Islamic revolution and the attendant collapse of Iranian-Israeli relations five years later.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-556
Number of pages28
JournalIsrael Affairs
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Asian Games
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Muhammad Reza Pahlavi
  • football


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