Iranian players sang their national anthem prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, unlike ahead of their previous match
The Iranianfootball team did sing their national anthem before their match on Friday against Wales, despite taking a stand and choosing not earlier this week.
The squad made international headlines when they remained tightlipped before playing England on Monday, in an apparent gesture of support for the protesters pushing back against the government of the Islamic Republic.
The brave act was highly commended, although – as demonstrators in Iran have been heavily punished – there were fears for the team’s safety afterwards.
Even so, when the players sang during their next match, the stadium cameras caught the distress of the Iranian fans, many of whom were in tears or who booed the players.
Some in the stands had flags protesting Amini’s death, including the now-famous slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom”, and were confronted by the World Cup staff.
The Associated Press reported fury outside the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium too, with men supposedly chanting “The Islamic Republic of Iran” at women giving media interviews about the protests.
Elsewhere, there were allegedly “shouting matches” between those supporting “Woman, Life, Freedom” and those loyal to the government.
Another female fan also held a shirt above her held with “Mahsa Amini” before she allegedly had it confiscated by security.
A female Iran fan holding the a shirt for Mahsa Amini who was killed by police brutality
One fan told AP: “It’s obvious that the match had become very politicised this week. you can see people from the same country who hate each other.”
It came after a BBC correspondent, Shaimaa Khalil, clashed with the Iranian team’s coach Carlos Queiroz, when she tried to ask a football player if he’d like to pass a message back to the protesters at home.
And why I didn’t ask “other coaches” similar questions… “ why didn’t you ask Southgate” about US , UK pull out of Afghanistan. Mr #Queiroz said. I tried to make the point I asked an Iranian player a question about his own country. As you can see below. I was stopped. pic.twitter.com/PmxIsCklOe
— shaimaa khalil BBC (@Shaimaakhalil) November 24, 2022
Explaining the encounter on Twitter, Khalil said that during the Iranian team pressure, she asked player Mehdi Taremi what his message was to the protesters back home at a press conference – he refused to answer.
Khalil explained: “At [the] end, the team’s manager Carlos Queiroz confronted me asking if it was fair to put a political question to the Iranian player.”
In the clip, Queiroz said: “I have asked for the pleasure to talk to you.”
“The press conference is finished now,” he continued. “Do you think it is okay to ask other questions to the other coaches? That’s not a question I like.”
Khalil replied: “Absolutely, but I’m asking an Iranian player about his own country.”
The manager hit back: “To the other cultures, who you don’t ask Southgate about, what do you think about England, the US, that left Afghanistan.”
“This is an Iranian player,” she added, but Queiroz’s entourage had already started to leave the room.
One person turned around and said to Khalil, “respect, respect, respect”, while leaving behind the football manager.
The Iranian government has not publicly discussed the team’s refusal to sing the anthem.
However, Mehdi Chamran, chair of Tehran city council, said on Tuesday: “We will never allow anyone to insult our anthem and flag.”