Iranians cry after footballers ‘forced’ to sing national anthem
Iran’s footballers bowed to pressure from Tehran as they sang their national anthem before the game against Wales on Friday after refusing to do so in their World Cup opener against England earlier this week. The country is currently in a state of political turmoil following the death of Mahsa Amini, who was killed in suspicious circumstances after being arrested for violating the Islamic dress code in September.
Amini’s death has sparked nationwide protests in Iran and her footballers spoke out ahead of their match against England by refusing to sing her anthem, which was loudly booed and whistled by her own supporters in the stands. However, they appeared to back down ahead of their crucial Group B meeting with Wales on Friday, opting to mutter along with the words as some Iran fans wept inside the stadium.
It has been suggested that Iran’s decision to avoid having its silence repeated during the anthem may have been influenced by the threat of punishment by the country’s regime upon its eventual return, with political dissent considered a crime punishable by the death penalty. . Iranian authorities had already been discussing cracking down on any disrespect to their national anthem ahead of the World Cup, which could have forced their footballers to sing ahead of the game against Wales after choosing not to before their opening defeat. against England.
Some Iran fans in Qatar have already made their feelings clear by showing their support for the protesters in their home country, with several flags in the stands bearing the words: “Women, Life, Freedom.” A handful of fans were seen crying during the pre-match anthems ahead of Friday’s match against Wales, with emotions clearly running high among those in attendance at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium.
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There were also protests in the arena before the start of the match, with loud booing and whistling as the Iranian anthem was played, while Qatari security officials ordered some fans to remove the banners. Iran’s regime has taken a brutal stance against protesters and dissidents in the country in the months since Amini’s death, with more than 400 people reportedly killed in the uprising so far.
Several Iran supporters who attended matches in Qatar have already expressed their belief that the national team should not play while civilians are being killed at home, with 24-year-old fan Elmira saying Sun: “I have mixed feelings. I love football, but with all these children, women and men killed in Iran, I think the national team should not play. It is not the Iran team, it is the Islamic Republic team” .
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“They could refuse to participate in the World Cup or even refuse to play if they were forced to go, to show that they are part of the nation, to show solidarity with the mothers in Iran whose sons were killed by the regime.”
Meanwhile, Iran supporter Setareh added: “I know it’s their job to play football, but with all those children being killed in Iran, they should have stood in solidarity with the people. Especially when the England team will take a knee. How can the national team not show solidarity?”
In Iran, angry protesters have burned some national team banners in Tehran as the movement against their government’s response to Amini’s death continues to gather momentum. Images of the children killed in the protests have also been shared on social media in recent days along with the caption: “They also loved football, but they were killed by the Islamic Republic.”
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