Supporters of theocracy in Qatar harassed fans who support protests across Iran ahead of the match against Wales
An Iranian fan is photographed inside the stadium before the match with an inscription critical of the Tehran regime on her face (Reuters)
AL RAYYAN, Qatar – Iranian political turmoil also cast a shadow over Iran's second match at the World Cup on Friday, with pro-government fans harassing anti-government supporters outside the stadium in < b>Qatar.
Unlike in their first match against England, the Iranian players sang their national anthem before the match against Wales as some fans in the stadium wept.
Some Iranian fans confiscated pre-revolutionary Persian flags from supporters entering the Ahmad Bin Ali stadium and shouted insults at those wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan of the country's protest movement, “Woman, Life, Freedom”.
Small mobs of men angrily chanted “The Islamic Republic of Iran” against women giving interviews about protests to foreign media outside the stadium.
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Shouting clashes broke out outside the security checkpoint between fans chanting “Woman, Life, Freedom” and others responding with “The Islamic Republic”.
After deciding not to sing the Iranian anthem in the first game of the Qatar 2022 World Cup in solidarity with the victims of the Tehran regime, the Iranian soccer team decided to sing the national song in its match with Wales (Reuters)
Many female fans were visibly shocked as supporters of the Iranian government surrounded them with national flags and filmed them with their phones.
A 35-year-old woman named Maryam, who like other Iranian fans refused to give her last name for fear of government reprisals, began to cry when men shouting and honking their horns surrounded her and filmed her face up close. She had the words “Woman Life Freedom” painted on her face.
Another woman named Vanya, 21, who lives in Qatar, said he was terrified of going back to Iran after what he experienced outside the stadium on Friday. “I really fear for my safety here,” he said.
A group of fans wearing caps bearing the name of former Iranian footballer Voria Ghafori , arrested Thursday in IranThey said their caps were stolen by government supporters.
“Clearly the party has become very politicized this week. You can see people from the same country hating each other,” said Mustafa, a 40-year-old Iranian fan. “I think that the three arrests of Voria have also affected Iranian society a lot.”
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Some fans claimed that stadium security removed items with messages supporting the protest movement.
Ayeh Shams, from United States, who attended the match with his brother, said that the security guards confiscated his flag because it had the word “women” on it.
The player and defender of the team referred to the protests his country is going through
“We are first generation Americans. Our parents were born in Iran. We are just here to enjoy the matches and give a platform to the Iranian people who are fighting against the Islamic regime,” Shams said.
Some anti-government fans waved banners in support of the protest movement in the first game of Iran against England earlier this week. Before that match, Iran's players stood in silence as their national anthem played. On Friday, they sang it.
Unrest in Iran was spurred by the death, on September 16, of Mahsa Amini, 22, in the custody of the country's morality police. At first it focused on the hijab, or headscarf, mandatory for women, but has since become one of the most serious threats to the Islamic Republic since the chaotic years after its founding.
(C) The Associated Press.-