Iranian football stars’ families threatened with torture if they refuse to sing national anthem against US: report

The team of Iran standing on the pitch waiting for the national anthem prior to the the World Cup group B soccer match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium, in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

The Iranian national football team and their families have allegedly been threatened with imprisonment and torture by Iranian authorities if they repeat their refusal to sing the national anthem ahead of Tuesday’s FIFA World Cup showdown against the United States.

An anonymous source told CNN that all 26 players in the Iranian squad had been summoned to meet with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG) after the starting XI embarrassed the nation’s elites by refusing to sing the national anthem against England on Nov. 21 to show solidarity with anti-government protesters focusing particularly on women’s rights.

“There are a large number of Iranian security officers in Qatar collecting information and monitoring the players,” the source told the U.S. news outlet.

Players were reportedly informed that their families would be subjected to “violence and torture” if they used their moment on the world stage to cast further indignity of the Tehran establishment.

Anonymous sources have often been used by the U.S. security state and other state actors in the past to push forward misleading stories or outright propaganda. For example, an “unnamed” U.S. official told the Associated Press this month that Russian had hit Poland with a missile, killing two, despite Ukraine being fingered as firing the missile the next day As of yet, there is no corroborating evidence for the threat facing Iranian footballers’ families beside the one unnamed official speaking to CNN.

The source also claimed that the Iranian Islamic regime is expected to import thousands of fake fans to the Al Thumama stadium in Qatar ahead of Tuesday’s crunch clash with the Americans.

“In the last game against Wales, the regime sent over hundreds of these actor supporters in order to create a false sense of support and favor amongst the fans,” the source told CNN. “For the next game against the U.S., the regime is planning to significantly increase the number of actors into the thousands.”

Iran has been attempted to suppress civil unrest in the country that erupted following the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16, who had been detained by morality police for wearing attire deemed inappropriate under Iran’s Islamic dress code.

The Reuters news agency reported on Monday that 450 protesters had been killed in the protests as of Nov. 26, including 63 minors. A further 60 members of the security forces had been killed, and 18,173 protesters have been detained.

The United Nations has recently launched an investigation into the Tehran regime’s response to the mass protests, expressing concerns of a wholly “disproportionate” use of force by authorities in an attempt to restore order.

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