Iran's players did not sing the anthem in the match against England in support of anti-regime protests

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The starting team remained silent in support of the protests rocking their country. The captain had anticipated that it would be a collective decision

The players of Iran did not sing the anthem in the match against England in support of the protests against the regime

The starting team was silent during the anthem (Reuters)

The eleven players of Iran's starting team that will face England this Monday in a Group B match of the World Cup in Qatar, abstained from singing the national anthem of a country that has been experiencing a wave of protests against the strict Iranian regime.

During the week, the team captain, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, had announced that the dressing room would decide “collectively” whether or not to sing the anthem as < b>a sign of support for the victims of the proteststriggered by the death on September 16 of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman detained for violating the strict dress code that requires women to wear the headscarf in public.

The players have faced calls from activists to use the World Cup to show solidarity with those killed during the protests, paying attention to the performance of national anthems and celebrations.

The players of Iran did not sing the anthem in the match against England in support of the protests against the regime

(AFP)

On Thursday, the captain said the players were focused on the “most important games of our lives”, not the politics of the protests. “What I'm trying to say is that we're here to play football and that's the main thing that everyone is focused on while we're here,” said the Feyenoord winger.

But, finally, the collective decision was not to sing the anthem. They kept their gestures serious and silent, while the lyrics were heard in the stands and even an assistant coach murmured the verses.

Since the beginning of the revolt, provoked by the death in September of the young Mahsa Amini, the refusal to sing the anthem of the Islamic Republic has become one of the symbols used by Iranian athletes to show their support for the movement.

Iranian players did not sing the anthem in the match against England in support of anti-regime protests

Weeks ago, the Iranian water polo team fell silent at a tournament in Thailand (Reuters)

The crackdown since Amini's death has left nearly 400 dead, according to Iran-based human rights group in Oslo.

The state's response has led to questions about whether the team represents Iran or the regime that has ruled with an iron fist since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

< h2 class="header">What the lyrics of the hymn say

Over the horizon the Sun rises, love of the East,

the light in the eyes of those who believe in God, Truth and Justice

Bahman is the halo of glory of our faith.

Your message, O Imam, of independence and freedom shapes our lives.

Oh Martyrs! Your cry echoes in the ears of time:

Enduring, continuous, eternal: Islamic Republic of Iran!