Iran threatened families of World Cup team after failing to sing anthem: CNN

  • The Iranian World Cup team did not sing their country’s anthem out of obvious solidarity with the demonstrators.
  • They were then told their families would face “violence and torture” if they didn’t sing, a source told CNN.
  • Protests have erupted across Iran in recent months, with the government pushing back hard.

Iran threatened the families of its World Cup soccer squad after the players refused to sing the country’s national anthem at their opening game in an apparent act of solidarity with protesters at home, a source told CNN.

The source involved in security for the World Cup and overseeing how Iranian security agencies operate during the games in Qatar, told CNN that the players were taken to a meeting with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps after the first game.

They were told their families would face “violence and torture” if they did not sing the national anthem or protest at all, the source said.

The team then sang the anthem during preparation for their second game on November 25.

The source told CNN that the team at the Qatar tournament was monitored by dozens of members of the Revolutionary Guard and they were not allowed to meet with players from other teams or people who were not part of their squad.

“There are a large number of Iranian security officials in Qatar collecting information and monitoring the players,” the source told CNN.

The source also said that Iran sent “hundreds” of support actors to the team’s first game “to create a false sense of support and favor among the fans.”

Iran is scheduled to play the US on Monday night and the source said Iran is planning to send more actors, the number “in the thousands”.

Protests have erupted across Iran in recent months following the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, who was in police custody in September. Amini was accused of improperly wearing a hijab, as dictated by the Iranian government’s strict interpretation of Islamic law.

The UN says thousands of people have been arrested for peacefully protesting. The UN said around 300 people, including 40 children, had died.

Iranian women have also been involved in the protests, both online and in physical protests, who removed their hijab and cut their hair.

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