Before playing England on Monday in the World Cup opener in Qatar, Iran’s footballers refuses to sing their national anthem. Before the game, team captain Alireza Jahanbakhsh declared that the players ‘collectively’ determine whether or not to refrain from singing the national anthem in support of Iranian anti-government demonstrators. As their national anthem played across the Khalifa International Stadium, the eleven Iranian players remained still and grim-faced.
Since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the morality police on September 16, Iran has experienced two months of widespread protests.
Three days after her detention in Tehran for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s dress code for women, which includes wearing the hijab headscarf as a requirement, Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman of Kurdish descent, was killed.
In sympathy of the demonstrators, several Iranian athletes have opted not to perform the national anthem or revel in their triumphs.