Iran’s players did not sing their national anthem before their first game of the World Cup against England on Monday, in unmistakable support for anti-government protesters in their land. Ahead of the game in Qatar, captain Alireza Jahanbakhsh said the team would decide together whether or not to deny singing the anthem in a show of solidarity for demonstrations that have swayed the authority in Iran.
The Iranian players stood impassively and grim-faced as their anthem rang out around the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.
Iran has been shaken by two months of nationwide protests since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in morality police custody on September 16. Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin, died three days after her arrest in Tehran over an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s dress code for women, which includes the mandatory hijab headscarf.
Some Iranian athletes have picked not to sing the national anthem or celebrate their triumphs in support of the protesters. Jahanbakhsh, who used to play for the English club Brighton, was angered last week by a question from a British reporter about the anthem issue.
“Every single player has a different celebration and you ask about the national anthem and that’s something that also has to be decided in the team, which we already talked about,” he said.
An Argentinian TV reporter, who reached Qatar to cover the FIFA World Cup, had a horrendous incident right at the start as she was robbed on the first day of the tournament. While the incident was understandably severe, the woman was left stunned when she reported the robbery to the cops.
Though the cops offered her full support, suggesting the robber would be tracked down in little to no time by the use of high-security cameras that are deployed in the country, it was when they asked her suggestion for punishment that she was left dumbstruck.
The woman, by the name of Dominique Metzger, was doing a live show when the robbery happened. As per the claims, several items from her handbag were stolen. The footage of the live coverage also went viral on social media