Iran fans boo national anthem before England World Cup game as players refuse to sing

0

Iran’s players refused to sing their national anthem as boos rung out from fans in the stands ahead of their first game of the Qatar World Cup against England today. 

The Iranian national squad stood stony-faced as the anthem played at the Khalifa International Stadium on Monday, in an apparent sign of solidarity with protests currently engulfing the country back home.

Meanwhile audible jeers and boos were heard by supporters in the crowd, who were also seen waving banners supporting the demonstrators. 

Catherine Perez-Shakdam, a specialist in Iran at the Henry Jackson Society, told MailOnline that the team and fans will likely be ‘punished severely’ for such an open display of defiance against the regime. 

Iran’s players refused to sing the national anthem as they lined up before their first game of the Qatar World Cup against England today

Player stood stony-faced as the anthem played, while boos and jeers could be heard from the crowd behind them at the Khalifa International Stadium

Player stood stony-faced as the anthem played, while boos and jeers could be heard from the crowd behind them at the Khalifa International Stadium

Iran's national team has signalled support for demonstrations taking place back home ahead of today's game, but made a bold statement by refusing to sing the anthem before the match

Iran’s national team has signalled support for demonstrations taking place back home ahead of today’s game, but made a bold statement by refusing to sing the anthem before the match

Supporters sitting in the stands also stayed largely silent during the anthem, while boos and jeers also rang out in defiance of the regime

Supporters sitting in the stands also stayed largely silent during the anthem, while boos and jeers also rang out in defiance of the regime

‘The refusal by Iran’s football team not to sing the Islamic Republic’s national anthem will be a decision the players will pay for dearly. 

‘Similarly, any Iranian fan identified by the regime for booing the anthem will also face being severely punished. This is the brutal reality of modern-day Iran. 

‘Iran’s players may have forfeited more than just their freedom today; and their lives may not be the only ones on the line. 

‘Indeed, the regime has demonstrated a particular propensity to target dissidents’ family members and in doing so deter others from voicing their opinions.

‘Given Iran’s horrendous track record, it stands to note that the players and fans who today shunned the regime, knew full well about risks they faced. 

‘Such courage and dignity in the face of absolutism most certainly deserves our full recognition.’

Iran has been wracked by more than two months of anti-regime demonstrations sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody after she was arrested for failing to wear a compulsory hijab.  

Since then, near-daily marches have taken place calling for an end to the country’s strict interpretation of Islamic laws and the overthrow of the mullah’s regime.

News out of the country is limited amid widespread internet outages, but it is thought hundreds – if not thousands – of demonstrators have been killed by security forces in an increasingly violent crackdown.

Iran’s national team have signalled support for the protesters in recent weeks, with captain Ehsan Hajsafi declaring ‘our people are not happy’ at a pre-match press conference.

Striker Sardar Azmoun also refused to celebrate an equalizer against Senegal in a pre-tournament friendly, and multiple players have also changed their profile pictures to a black space as a sign of solidarity.

In an effort to restrict large gatherings, Iran has closed all soccer matches to the public since the protests erupted. 

The reason for authorities’ fear became apparent as fans filtered into the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Monday. 

Many Iran fans wore T-shirts or waving signs printed with the mantra of the uprising – ‘Woman, Life, Freedom.’ 

.

.

Women attending the Iran vs England match in Qatar hold signs supporting protesters who are opposing the country’s theocratic rulers

Protesters supporting the Iranian nation team wave banners in support of demonstrations that have been taking place in Iran for the last two months

Protesters supporting the Iranian nation team wave banners in support of demonstrations that have been taking place in Iran for the last two months

Demonstrators in the crowd to watch Iran play England wave protest signs during the World Cup game taking place in Qatar

Demonstrators in the crowd to watch Iran play England wave protest signs during the World Cup game taking place in Qatar

Others wore T-shirts bearing the names of female protesters killed by Iranian security forces in recent weeks.

The World Cup in Qatar, just a short flight across the Persian Gulf from Iran, has emerged as a rallying point for Iranian political mobilization. 

Protesters have even called on FIFA, soccer’s governing body, to prohibit Iran from competing in the tournament over restrictions on women in soccer stadiums and the government’s crackdown. 

The question of whether to root for the national team has divided Iranians as the team becomes entangled in the country’s combustible politics. 

Many now view support for the Iranian team as a betrayal of the young women and men who have risked their lives in the streets.

‘The protest movement has overshadowed the football,’ said Kamran, a linguistics professor who lives in the verdant northern province of Mazandaran. ‘I want Iran to lose these three games.’

Anusha, a 17-year-old whose Tehran high school has been rocked by protests, said the past few weeks of unrest had changed everything for her.

‘A few months ago I would have said of course I want Iran to win against England and America,’ she said. ‘Now, it’s strange. I really don’t care.’

Others insist the national team, which includes players who have spoken out on social media in solidarity with the protests, is representative of the country’s people and not its ruling Shiite clerics.

Iranian protesters marching and chanting slogans in Piranshahr, in western Iran, during a funeral procession for a 16-year-old demonstrator killed the night before

Iranian protesters marching and chanting slogans in Piranshahr, in western Iran, during a funeral procession for a 16-year-old demonstrator killed the night before

Iran has been gripped by near-daily demonstrations against the ruling mullahs sparked by the death of a young woman in police custody after being arrested for failing to wear a headscarf

Iran has been gripped by near-daily demonstrations against the ruling mullahs sparked by the death of a young woman in police custody after being arrested for failing to wear a headscarf

The team’s star forward, Sardar Azmoun, has been vocal about the protests online. Two former soccer stars have even been arrested for backing the movement.

‘At the end of the day, I want the players to achieve their dreams,’ said Mariam. ‘It’s not their fault our society is so polarized.’

The Iranian government, for its part, has tried to encourage citizens to support their team against Iran’s traditional enemies. Iran plays the United States on Nov. 29 – a contentious showdown that last occurred at the 1998 World Cup in France.

Observers note that the players are likely facing government pressure not to side with the protests. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has urged his government to prepare for potential problems. 

Iran International, the Saudi-financed Farsi news channel that heavily covers the Iranian opposition, reported that Qatari authorities barred its reporters from attending the World Cup under Iranian pressure.

Already, Iranian athletes have drawn enormous scrutiny. When Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi competed in South Korea without wearing her country’s mandatory headscarf, she became a lighting rod of the protest movement.

‘We’re waiting for them to show us they’re supporting the people in Iran,’ Azi, a 30-year-old Iranian fan living in Ottawa, Canada, said of the national team. ‘Some kind of sign, by any way they can.’

FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS

 

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Pedfire is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment