© Reuters. Soccer Soccer – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – Group B – Wales v Iran – Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar – November 25, 2022 Iran gamers line up throughout the nationwide anthem earlier than the match REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli
AL RAYYAN, Qatar (Reuters) -Iran’s nationwide soccer group sang throughout the taking part in of their nationwide anthem at their second World Cup match in opposition to Wales on Friday having kept away from doing so of their opening sport earlier this week in obvious assist of protesters again house.
Loud jeers have been heard from Iranian supporters because the anthem performed, with the group singing quietly because it performed.
Iranian authorities have responded with lethal power to suppress protests which have marked one of many boldest challenges to its clerical rulers for the reason that 1979 Islamic revolution.
Contained in the stadium forward of the match, plenty of supporters had proven assist for the protests.
A lady with darkish crimson tears painted from her eyes held aloft a soccer jersey with “Mahsa Amini – 22” printed on the again – a reference to the 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish lady whose demise whereas within the custody of morality police two months in the past ignited the nationwide protests, a Reuters photograph confirmed.
A person standing subsequent to her held a shirt printed with the phrases “WOMEN, LIFE, FREEDOM”, one of many most important chants of the protests.
Forward of the World Cup, protesters had taken coronary heart from obvious reveals of assist from plenty of Iran’s nationwide groups which kept away from singing the nationwide anthem, such because the basketball group.
Group Melli, because the soccer group is thought, have historically been an enormous supply of nationwide pleasure in Iran, however they’ve discovered themselves caught up in politics within the World Cup run-up, with anticipation over whether or not they would use soccer’s showpiece occasion as a platform to get behind the protesters.
Requested on Thursday concerning the unrest at house Iran nationwide group striker Mehdi Taremi stated they have been in Qatar to play soccer. “We’re not beneath stress,” he added after gamers refused to sing the nationwide anthem of their first match on the World Cup in opposition to England.
Earlier than travelling to Doha, the group met with hardline Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Photographs of the gamers with Raisi, considered one of them bowing in entrance of him, went viral and prompted an outcry on social media.