Middle East

People in Iran want football team to lose, says activist



An Iranian activist says the people of Iran want their team to lose the World Cup as anti-government protests continue in the country.

The Iranian squad, also known as Team Melli, has been criticised by activist Masih Alinejad who says it “doesn’t represent the people but the regime”.

Iran has seen two months of anti-government protests ever since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini under the custody of the morality police on September 16.

The aftermath with the crackdown following Amini’s death has led to around 400 more deaths, according to the group Iran Human Rights.

Just yesterday, a prominent actor was arrested after she took off her headscarf while in public. It was reportedly an act of defiance.

Writing on Twitter, Alinejad said: “Iran is the only country in the World Cup that its people want their national football team to lose since the team doesn’t represent the people but the regime.

“We want our people to win in the streets where protesters are getting killed for demanding freedom & dignity.”

She has become the symbol and voice of Iranian women being beaten, jailed and even killed for acts such as showing their hair.

Her tweet came hours after Iran played England in the World Cup at the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar, a match which they lost 6-2.

The world watched as the Iranian football team and fans in the stadium refused to sing the national anthem as an act of solidarity with anti-government protesters.

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