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The Iranian regime got very angry with the footballers who didn’t sing the anthem

In Iran, many members of the regime that governs the country have criticized and threatened the players of the men’s national soccer team, who did not sing the national anthem in protest before the match they lost against England at the World Cup in Qatar. The players of the national team refused to sing the anthem in solidarity with the demonstrations that have been going on in Iran since mid-September, after the death in a detention center of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested because she wore the Islamic veil correctly. Furthermore, while the anthem was playing, some Iranian fans shouted from the stands to protest against the regime.

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In recent months of protests, the national football team has attracted criticism both from demonstrators, who accuse the players of not having supported them explicitly enough, and from the regime, for some of the signs of solidarity with the protests that the national team has in any case implemented .

After the 6-2 defeat against England, protesters in Tehran and other Iranian cities cheered on England.

After the players refused to sing the anthem, various members of the regime harshly criticized the national team in Iranian newspapers: Mehdi Chamran, the president of the city council of the capital Tehran (who has wider power than an Italian city council) , said that “we will not allow anyone to insult our anthem and our flag”. Another conservative politician has proposed replacing national team players with young religious and loyal to the regime who are ready to sing the anthem.

The Conservative Journal Kayhanconsidered one of the closest to the regime’s leadership, the day after the defeat published this headline: «Iran 2 – England, Israel, Saudis and traitors 6», implying that the defeat must be attributed to the historical enemies of the Iranian regime, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and unspecified “traitors”.

They are Kayhan an article was also published accusing the West of carrying out “unprecedented and ruthless psychological warfare against the team.” The thesis of Kayhan is that the national team players would have been influenced by Western media and social networks, to the point of deciding not to sing the anthem.

During these months of protests in Iran there have been various controversies involving the national football team, which has sometimes behaved ambiguous. In late September, a couple of weeks after the protests began, players wore black jackets to cover the colors of the Iranian kit in a friendly match against Senegal during the national anthem.

But just before leaving for the World Cup, the national team players agreed to meet Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian president. Some players were photographed bowing to Raisi out of respect, which angered many protesters.

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