FIFA World Cup 2022: Iran Players Stand With Women Protestors
The FIFA World Cup in Qatar started with a controversy. As Iran players remained silent instead of singing their national anthem to support women protestors.
Before the team’s inaugural World Cup game against England, the players gathered together – in silence — while the national song of Iran played inside the Khalifa Stadium.
While some stared blankly up into the skies, some looked down at the ground. One word of “Sorude Melliye Jomhuriye Eslamiye Iran” was not spoken by any of them.
The entire team’s silence during that moment served as the most movingly eloquent declaration of their support for the demonstrations against the oppressive regime being organized by women back home.
Many Iranian supporters also chose not to sing the national anthem. Some people booed, while others booed those who booed, reflecting the rift in the country.
Others raised signs with the inscriptions “Freedom for Iran,” “Freedom for women,” “Women. Life. Freedom” and “It’s not Iran’s national team, it’s the Islamic Republic’s squad” in the colors of the Iranian flag.
Such was the atmosphere that, according to reports, Iranian national television interrupted the live broadcast and only resumed it for England’s “God Save The Queen.”
In fact, the main story surrounding the Iranian team even before the World Cup began centered on whether the players would protest.
This question would undoubtedly be asked of every Iranian player or coach who appeared for a media interview.
Carlos Quieroz, the head coach, said he was okay with players holding a protest. Ehsan Hajsafi, a lawyer, also expressed condolences for individuals who had passed away during the demonstrations, which intensified after Mahsa Amini, 22, who had been detained on suspicion of “breaching the clothing code” for women, died while in detention on September 13.
The news that Iran’s police had detained two well-known actors who had shown support for the protest movement and taken off their headscarves in public added to the rage that they felt on Monday morning.