Iran players posing for a photo ahead of Wales match© AFP
Iran’s team sang their national anthem before Friday’s World Cup match against Wales, having opted not to do so in their tournament opener against England. The Iranian players had stood impassively during their anthem before their 6-2 defeat to the Three Lions on Monday in an apparent gesture of solidarity with anti-government protesters in the Islamic republic. The gesture from Iran created plenty of buzz on social media and their forward Mehdi Taremi confirmed on Thursday that his team had not come “under pressure” from their government over the on-field act. However, on Friday, the team decided against continuing what they did against England a few days ago.
The Iranians had stood impassively during their anthem before their 6-2 defeat to England on Monday in an apparent gesture of solidarity with anti-government protesters in the Islamic republic.
An AFP photographer at the stadium on Friday witnessed security staff confiscating a flag from a fan with the protest slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom”. Some Iranian fans were in tears during the singing of the anthem.
Iran forward Mehdi Taremi denied on Thursday that his team had come “under pressure” from their government to sing the anthem at the World Cup.
“I don’t like to talk about political issues but we are not under any pressure,” Taremi said at a press conference ahead of Iran’s second Group B match against Wales on Friday.
“I knew that this sort of question was going to be asked but whatever I say, it won’t matter because some people will write whatever they want to write,” he added.
“So I prefer to only talk about political issues in private or on my own social media.”
Taremi, who scored both of Iran’s goals in the heavy defeat to England, said: “We came to play football, not just us but all of the players here in Qatar. Myself and thousands of people like me have the power to change things.”
After the game against Wales, one of the Iran players is expected to shed light on the matter.
With AFP inputs
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