Iran’s last training session before their debut World Cup match England is on Al Rayhaan Sports Club, a stadium where you can see the Mall of Qatar, a huge shopping center. Amini’s death on September 16 at a police station in Tehran, after being accused of improperly wearing the Islamic veil, triggered a popular uprising against Iran’s security forces and the government. Since then, thousands of citizens have taken to the streets every day in a protest challenging the regime’s repressive machinery, both on public roads or subway stations, as well as in sports venues, university centers, and city squares. Some of the members of the Iranian team have spoken publicly against the repression but since they are in Qatar, actions like not singing the anthem, not celebrating goals are more expected. This is what the most active Iranian activists are asking: “Don’t sing the song, silence is a protest, don’t celebrate the goals, let them know you don’t agree, let them know you are with the people,” they asked.
Ehsan Hajsafi playing his third World Cup. He is well known by his club Aek of Athens. “First of all, I want to convey my condolences to all the people in Iran who are suffering. We have trained well, we are ready, but the conditions in our country are not the best: we are here but it does not mean that we do not respect those in Iran. We must give our best and by the result they will be proud of us”.
Carlos Queiroz As soon as they handed him the microphone in the press room, he spoke about “a privilege to be part of this wonderful football family, to play with the best in the world. This is my third World Cup after 2014 and 2018. We have created a mature team, we want to move to the next stage”. The coach had no further reference to the controversy with an English journalist who asked him a few days ago about the lack of women’s rights in Iran. “Ask your boss how much he pays me to answer, what if he asks about immigrants from England?”
Rejection of the headscarf required by Iranian law has become a symbol of civil resistance. They denounced that the authorities paid up to 5,000 euros to actors in the country to publicly show their support for the team as a way of ‘normalizing’ the situation. That is why they hope that the footballers, with their actions, with their silence, will be on the side of the suffering.
Source: La Verdad