Loud jeers were heard from Iranian supporters as the anthem played, with the team singing quietly as it played. Iranian authorities have responded with deadly force to suppress protests that have marked one of the boldest challenges to its clerical rulers since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
اکثر بازیکنان سرود جمهوری اسلامی را خواندند. #مهسا_امینی https://t.co/tvKJVL4beL
— Sepehr Atefi (@sepehra) 1669370673000
Iran, which qualified for the last two World Cups, haven’t ever advanced to the knockout round.
Iran’s trip to Qatar has been clouded by unrest at home. The nation has been rocked by protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while being held by morality police for allegedly violating the country’s compulsory dress code for women.
The moment Iran fans booed during their national anthem in protest to the government https://t.co/NAJ7KcuRPX
— Kaboob (@KabobFn) 1669370343000
Activists called for Iran to be expelled from the World Cup before the tournament started.
Fans accused the squad of siding with a state crackdown on the unrest in Iran during which activists say more than 400 people have been killed, but in their opening match against England on Monday, the Iranian players did not sing the country’s national anthem and went on to lose the match 2-6.
Iran on Thursday arrested a former international football player of Kurdish origin who has strongly supported the protests that have rocked the country since September, news agencies said.
Voria Ghafouri, an outspoken figure who appeared 28 times for Iran up until 2019, was arrested after a club training session over accusations that he spread “propaganda” against the Islamic republic, the Fars news agency reported.
Ghafouri is one of the most prominent figures arrested in a wide-scale crackdown on protests, amid intense scrutiny on the conduct of the national team at the World Cup in Qatar.
Ghafouri, 35, was listed as a member of Iran’s 2018 World Cup squad but was not named in the final lineup playing at this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
(With inputs from Agencies)