Iran players halt their World Cup protest amid concerns of reprisals.

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By Creative Media News

After receiving severe criticism from government officials for failing to sing their national anthem before their game against England, Iran’s football players sang their national hymn half-heartedly before their match against Wales.

The players had collectively resolved to sing the national anthem with their lips scarcely moving, but the uncomfortable performance contrasted with the vigor with which the Welsh players sang their national anthem.

Iran players halt their world cup protest amid concerns of reprisals.
Iran players halt their world cup protest amid concerns of reprisals.

During the national anthem, TV cameras cut to Iranians in the crowd who are crying and even sobbing. As well as some Welsh fans, several Iranian fans wearing Iranian colors but not carrying the flag of the Islamic Republic jeered the national anthem.

Some Iranians wearing a flag with the words ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ – a slogan of the protests that began following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police detention in September – was confronted by security personnel in the stadium.

Some supporters wore t-shirts bearing Amini’s name on the back.

Fifa prohibits products containing “political, insulting, or racist statements,” according to a representative for the organising supreme committee.

Iran players
Iran players halt their world cup protest amid concerns of reprisals.

The Iranian squad has been subjected to intense, contradictory criticism, with conservative Iranian leaders warning that the players may suffer penalties upon their return home if they do not sing the national anthem. However, proponents of the protests have sought more unambiguous support from the players.

The club’s Portuguese manager, Carlos Queiroz, urged Iranian supporters to stay away if they were unwilling to support the squad inside the stadium. At a press conference, Queiroz stated of his players, “I think you will agree that it is unfair to imply that they are solely responsible for all the human problems in the world.

The Iranian fans booed Queiroz and striker Mehdi Taremi, who stated in a press conference that the team had lost to England for non-football reasons and now wanted to focus solely on football.

Thursday marked the arrest of former Iranian team captain Varia Ghafouri, who was accused of disparaging and slandering the Iranian national team as well as spreading propaganda against the Iranian regime.

Ghafouri, a Kurd and member of the Khuzestan steel club, has been an ardent supporter of the protests and defender of Iranian Kurds, urging the government via social media to stop killing Kurdish people.

In Iran, thousands gathered at Friday prayers to protest the regime, particularly in Zahedan, where pro-government troops massacred dozens of protestors in September. Over 18,000 individuals, including 555 students, have been arrested in several places.

The Iranian administration has stated that it will disregard a motion launched by Germany and Iceland to establish an independent investigation into the condition of human rights in Iran. The probe will be conducted by the UN without Iran’s participation.

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