Iranian Media Says Pressure of Protests Led to World Cup Loss
Iran lost its opening game in the World Cup in Qatar due to pressure from the ongoing anti-government protests in the Islamic Republic, as well as due to intense pressure from “media affiliated with the Zionist regime and Saudi Arabia,” conservative Iranian news outlets reported on Tuesday.
Iran lost to England’s national team 6-2 in Group B on Monday. Prior to the match, Iran’s team refused to sing its own national anthem in what is seen as a show of support for protesters back home; during the playing of the anthem team members stood with their arms around each other’s shoulders instead of placing their right hands on their hearts as some in the stands booed. During the match, fans in the stadium held up protest signs and chanted against the regime. Some women wearing traditional hijab and chadors cheered for the Iranian national team.
Iran is scheduled to play Wales in Group B on Friday, and will face off against the United States on November 29.