Iran players fall silent during national anthem after months of anti-regime protests back home

21 November 2022, 15:04 | Updated: 21 November 2022, 15:30

After England finished singing God Save the King at the Khalifa International Stadium, the Iranian side remained conspicuously silent as the anthem of the Islamic Republic rang out.
After England finished singing God Save the King at the Khalifa International Stadium, the Iranian side remained conspicuously silent as the anthem of the Islamic Republic rang out. Picture: Getty

By Chris Samuel

The Iran national team refused to sing the country's national anthem before their opening game against England, in what has been seen as a show of solidarity with anti-regime protestors back home.

Last week, Alireza Jahanbakhsh a winger for the national team wouldn't confirm whether or not the team would sing the anthem prior to their opening Group B fixture against England.

Mr Jahanbakhsh said: “You’re asking about national anthem – that’s something that also has to be decided about in the team, which we already talked about and obviously everybody’s talking about.”

“But we never made a big deal about it, to be honest, because everyone is only talking and thinking about football.”

But after England finished singing God Save the King at the Khalifa International Stadium, the Iranian ride remained conspicuously silent as the anthem of the Islamic Republic rang out.

Read more:England 5-1 Iran: Three Lions run riot in Doha… but Iran manage to claw one back in second half

Read more: Fans pack pubs and millions watch from home and even call in sick as England take lead against Iran

The move appears to a message of support for protesters across Iran, where there is growing unrest and hatred towards the regime following the death of a young woman at the hands of the country's morality police in September.

Last week, Iran captain Ehsan Hajsafi expressed his squad’s “support” for those who died in protests against the regime.

“We have to accept that the conditions in our country are not right and our people are not happy,” he told journalists.

According to Iran Human Rights, at least 378 people have been killed by security forces in the protests, which are ongoing and nationwide and in the last week alone over 40 are alleged to have been killed by state security forces.

Speaking before the England match in Qatar, Hajsafi said: “Before anything else, I would like to express my condolences to all of the bereaved families in Iran.

“They should know that we are with them, we support them and we sympathise with them.”

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