Iran Team Faces Political Storm Over Amini Protest

Iran’s World Cup campaign kicks off on Monday with a political focus. While England’s players will be concentrating entirely on performance, Iran’s players will be thinking about much more. 

Their involvement comes at a time when Iran is in turmoil, with widespread protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody in September greeted by a brutal response from the governing government. 

Amini died after being imprisoned by the regime’s so-called morality police for allegedly violating their Islamic dress code.

Her predicament escalated long-standing emotions of rage and hatred toward the country’s violation of women’s rights.

According to human rights monitoring groups, at least 348 demonstrators have been murdered, with another 15,900 imprisoned.

Earlier this week, a court in Tehran, Iran’s capital, sentenced the first individual to death for taking part. 

Given the background, many people find Iran’s participation in the World Cup strange. There have even been demands to ban them from the competition.

However, attention is now turning to how their players would behave in Qatar amid predicted off-field protests. 

Earlier this month, players from Esteghlal, one of Iran’s greatest teams, refused to celebrate after winning the country’s Super Cup, instead staying defiant with their arms folded.