Iran chief Queiroz calls for Southgate to be asked about Afghanistan

Iran manager Carlos Queiroz has questioned why Gareth Southgate is not being questioned by the media about England’s invasion of Afghanistan. His comments come after his frustrations boiled over after questions about Iran’s policy, which he has tried to steer clear of since the start of the World Cup.

Tensions are rising in Iran, with massive anti-government protests in recent months aggressively suppressed. Human rights activists have said that more than 400 people have been killed in the protests, with more than 15,000 people arrested. The players have also been involved in the protests, refusing to sing their national anthem against England in their opening World Cup match earlier this week.

Although Iran’s team members, including staff, have been reluctant to speak too openly about what is happening on their home soil, preferring to stick to football and focus on getting a result against Wales.

However, that hasn’t stopped the media from seeking answers from coach Queiroz. Iran’s manager confronted a BBC journalist on Thursday after feeling he and his striker Mehdi Taremi were unfairly questioned during their news conference, he said: “Why don’t you ask Southgate these kinds of questions?

“I’m talking to you. I ask for the pleasure of talking to you. I’m asking you one thing now that the press conference is over. Do you think it’s fair to also ask other coaches other questions?

“That is the only question I ask. Why don’t you ask the other trainers? Why don’t you ask Southgate: ‘what do you think of England, America and Afghanistan?’

Journalist Shaimaa Khalil angered Queiroz when she asked the Porto Taremi striker if he had a message for the protesters on the streets of Iran. Those demonstrations have intensified since September following the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman who died in custody, with suggestions that she was the victim of police brutality, though Iranian authorities denied those claims.

She was arrested by police in Tehran for not adhering to Iran’s dress code for women and for wearing hijab. Many have protested that, including Voria Ghafouri, who was arrested on Thursday for “tarnishing the reputation of the national team and spreading anti-state propaganda.” The 35-year-old was not selected to represent Iran in Qatar, but he has 28 international appearances to his name. Ghafouri posted an image of himself on Instagram in traditional Kurdish dress.

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