Iran’s national football team will face England in the opening World Cup match later. However, protests continue in cities all over the country about Mahsa Amini’s death.
Unrest following the death in custody of Iran’s Morality Police of a 22-year-old girl has become one of the most difficult challenges for the ruling clerics in decades.
According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency, at least 362 people were killed in the crackdown on protests, including 56 children.
Iranian sports stars and celebrities have supported the protests since Miss Amini’s passing.
A group of former and current Iranian athletes demanded that Iran be removed from the World Cup earlier this month.
Ehsan Hajsafi, defender of Iran’s national football team, was the first to speak out at the World Cup in Doha in support of home-based anti-government protests.
“They should know we are there for them. We support them. We sympathize with them regarding their conditions,” the AEK player said at a news conference.
“We must accept that the country is not perfect and that our people are unhappy. While we are here, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be their voice or respect them.
Sardar Pashaei, a former wrestling world junior champion and coach for the national team, said that he had contacted FIFA and they said enough was enough.
“We believe Iran is killing protesters.
“They should be prohibited until we have a democracy like any other country around the world.”
Mahdi Jafargholizadeh a former karate champion, claimed he was tortured in 2004 by the state authorities before escaping to Germany while he was still in Germany. This is why he thinks there has been less international attention on Iran.
He said, “Football the best way to share your voices.”
“There is no internet connection between Iran and the outside, so how can people hear us?”
After Mahsa Amini’s death, the UK has sanctioned Iran’s morality police
First public criticism of hijab crackdown by senior Iran official
Sardar Azmoun is a star forward for Iran’s national football team. He was also among the players named in the Qatar squad.
He posted the following on Instagram: “At worst, I’ll get dismissed from the national team.”
“No problem. “No problem. I would give that to have one hair on the heads Iranian women’s heads. This story will not disappear. They are free to do what they like. Shame on them for being so easy to kill; long live Iranian women!”
Ali Daei, a legendary Iranian football player, has been vocal in his support of the protests.
Former player and manager wrote on Instagram: “My homeland Iran”: My family, my mother and father, my daughters, and my fellow countrymen are my sisters and brothers, and I will always be with them.
“Rather than repression, violence, and arresting the Iranian population, solve their problems.”
Ali Karimi, a former Iranian team captain, has been reaching out to his 14,000,000 Instagram followers.
He wrote on the platform, “Hoping for the Rebirth of Our Homeland Iran.”