Blacksburg, Virginia – The massive public protests that have raged across Iran since the death of 22-year-old Masa Amini in moral police custody in September have arrived at the World Cup.
Before losing 6-2 to England last month, the Iranian team refused to sing the Islamic Republic’s national anthem, prompting several activists to wave protest signs and show solidarity to hundreds of people at the tournament. booed the team for not completely stopping the Number of young Iranians murdered in the last 10 weeks.
Football is the most popular sport in Iran. So the Iranians’ opposition to the national team, especially the one that qualified for the Asian qualifiers, speaks to the deep wounds the protests have left in the country’s psyche. Protesters have broadened their demands. Their calls for an end to harassment by the moral police soon coalesced into chants of “death to the dictator”, referring to 83-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
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