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Video: Iran World Cup team refuses to sing nat’l anthem in apparent protest of regime

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Meng Tao/Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS)
November 21, 2022

The Iranian national soccer team refrained from singing their own national anthem during a World Cup match on Monday. The Iranian team remained silent for the anthem in what may be a show of support for protests back home over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died after being arrested by Iran’s religious morality police.

During the broadcast for Iran’s match against England, the Iranian team stood in silence during the playing of each team’s national anthem. The game against England is Iran’s first match since the World Cup began in the middle eastern country of Qatar on Sunday.

KANN news reporter Amichai Stein tweeted, “#BREAKING: Iran national team players choose not to sing national anthem at World Cup match; some of the Iranian crowed booing their own national anthem.”

NBC reported Iran’s team has sung the anthem in previous competitions, including the World Cup in 2018 and the Asian Cup in 2020. The team’s decision not to sing during Monday’s came was not shown on television broadcasts in Iran.

Iran has seen widespread protests for the past two months after Amini died in Iranian morality police custody on Sept. 16. Amini was arrested on Sept. 13 for refusing to wear a hijab in accordance with Iranian law. While in police custody, she suffered brain damage and ended up in a coma before she died.

Protests have continued in Iran for weeks and Iranian authorities have begun to respond to protesters with deadly force.

Following Amini’s death, Iranian soccer coach and former player Ali Karimi voiced his support for the protests. Iran’s morality police, pro-government media and politicians have blamed Karimi for inspiring “riots” and “sedition.”

Several other Iranian athletes have carried out there own acts of protest against the Iranian government. Iranian sport climber Elnaz Rekabi competed in an October climbing competition in South Korea without her mandatory hijab. A source told BBC that Rekabi was placed under house arrest and forced to apologize after she returned to Iran, while Iranian authorities claim she is simply staying home because she needs to rest after her competition.