Iranian fans savour victory but wrangle over protests

AL RAYYAN, Qatar, Nov 25 (Reuters) – Iran’s national football team chanted during their national anthem at their second World Cup match in Wales on Friday after refusing to do so in their opening game. earlier this week to support the protesters. go back home.

Iranian fans were in a frenzy as the anthem was played, as the team chanted softly before going on to win 2-0, prompting wild celebrations outside the stadium. where the supporters of the government tried to expel the chants of its opponents after the match.

Before the game, several players said security had prevented them or their friends from carrying signs of support for the protesters inside the stadium. One said he was arrested. Another said security forces made her take off a T-shirt proclaiming “women, life, freedom” – the slogan of the protest.

At the stadium, a woman wearing a soccer jersey with “Mahsa Amini – 22” printed on the back and red tears swimming under her eyes – remembers the woman who died in her hands The police instigated the protest more than two months ago.

Iranian authorities have responded with lethal force to quell protests calling for the fall of the Islamic Republic, one of the most serious challenges to Iran’s clerical leadership since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

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After the match, the excited Iranians danced and shouted as they flowed onto the ground.

A few wore T-shirts commemorating Amini, who was arrested for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code, or held banners proclaiming “women, life, freedom”.

Musicians wave Iranian flags and the government tries to drown them out with their own music.

One of them went down in front of a group of women dressed in PEOPLE’S LIFE WATER in their clothes and started shouting at them. He wore a shirt printed with pictures of Iranian President Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Qassem Soleimani, a powerful Iranian general who was killed by a US missile in 2020.

The win has set up a tough game against the United States on Tuesday.

Iran’s Prime Minister Ebrahim Raisi, part of a hard-line establishment that has condemned the protests as riots instigated by Iran’s enemies, praised the group for “bringing victory to our people”.

In contrast on Monday, when Iran’s state television cut off broadcasts during the anthem, Iran’s state media said the players sang the anthem on Friday, and showed footage of supporters government and the stadium.

State TV showed people celebrating in the streets of several cities across Iran.

Ahead of the World Cup, protesters have been heartened by the apparent support from many members of the Iranian national team who refused to play the national anthem.

On Monday, before their opening match in England, the players had fallen silent and remained silent as the national anthem was played.

Iran fans are excited as the match draws to a close, cheering around the stadium as their players come out of the tunnel for warm-ups, making noises like star player Sardar Azmoun, who expressed support for the protest movement. in the starting lineup.

The Melli team, as the football team is known, used to be a source of pride for the Iranian nation, but they have entered politics at the World Cup, hoping to see if they can use the show. football show. platform to get behind the protesters.

‘THE BEST TIME OF MY LIFE’

Before the game, a man wearing a T-shirt proclaiming “women, life, freedom” was ushered into the arena by security officials, a Reuters witness said.

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Reuters could not immediately confirm why the man was wearing blue with three security guards following him.

A spokesman for the organizing committee referred Reuters and FIFA to Qatar’s list of banned substances, but did not specify what was banned.

Those laws prohibit content that contains “political, offensive or discriminatory messages.”

The stadium’s media liaison for world governing body FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while the stadium’s media manager was unaware of the incident but would respond later.

Payam Saljoughian, 36, a lawyer in the United States, said security forces made her and her father take off their “Women, Life, Freedom” shirts but did not tell her two brothers and her mother to take off theirs. “It was the best time of my life – despite everything,” he told Reuters.

Iranian-American fan Shayan Khosravani, 30, told Reuters he was arrested by stadium security 10 minutes before kick-off.

He said he was arrested after he was told to keep the protestors’ materials, which he did. But he was wearing a “Free Iran” shirt.

Other reports by Dubai News; Written by Tom Perry; Editing by Toby Chopra, Gareth Jones, William Maclean

Our principles: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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