The Iranians plan to boycott their team’s World Cup matches, including Monday’s game against England, as part of ongoing protests against the country’s regime.
Carlos Queiroz’s team traveled to Qatar amid the largest protest demonstration to hit Iran in years.
The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody in mid-September sparked outrage. Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman, was allegedly arrested by the vice squad for not wearing her hijab properly.
The Iranian government cracked down on the protests that followed. More than 300 people were killed and 15,000 arrested in the riot, according to the Norway-based Iranian human rights NGO.
Queiroz earlier this week insisted his players could protest in Qatar. However, many Iranians see the team as supporters of the Islamic Republic regime and the World Cup as a tool to divert attention from the protests.
“Many Iranians love football,” says a spokesman for Britain’s Iranian Community Network (ICN). the athlete. “They always want to see the game.
“Some in our discussion defended it (the World Cup) and said football was separate from politics. But they (players) can’t turn their backs when something like this happens.
“Football goes its own way and says everything is fine. They say “football is separate”. No, it is not separate from people’s lives.
“I could see that people were looking forward to the World Cup. But the Iranians here and elsewhere see it as the last straw. They want to take a stand.”
Around 200,000 Iranians are believed to live in the UK. Several gatherings to watch Monday’s opening group game against Gareth Southgate’s England side have been planned by Iranian community groups across the country.
However, many of these have now been canceled amid a global boycott that has spread across social media.
the athlete also reported last month that two of Iran’s Group B opponents at the World Cup – England and Wales – have no plans to publicly show their solidarity with the widespread human rights protests in the country.
“The reason (for the boycott) is 43 years of oppression of the Iranian people,” added the spokesman for ICN.
“Mahsa Amini is one of thousands upon thousands. We want Iranian voices to be heard. Be effective and set an example. A boycott will do that.”
Iran meets Wales and the United States of America in the other group games.
“Why should Iranian men be allowed to play at the World Cup if women are not counted?”
(Photo: Getty Images)