Iranians celebrate World Cup defeat: A bankruptcy makes the streets cheer

Status: 22.11.2022 09:09 a.m

The silence at the anthem is followed by noise: In Iran, the World Cup defeat of the national team caused great jubilation. However, the selection did not win the sympathy of the demonstrators – many Iranians are angry with the team.

By Karin Senz, ARD Studio Istanbul

A man sits on the back of a motorcycle with the British flag tied around his shoulders – not in England but somewhere in Iran. It’s one of the flags that people usually burn at pro-regime demonstrations, which they angrily trample on. The man risks a lot – probably his life these days.

In the evening there is a party atmosphere on the streets, as if the team had won. But a Tehran resident said: “When Iran conceded the first goals, I heard horns and horns all over our neighborhood and it continued after the game.” Videos on the web prove it.

The players of the national team are silent during the national anthem, and some also wear black ribbons on their wrists, probably out of mourning for the victims of the protests at home – they do not win the sympathy of the demonstrators at home. They dance in the streets and celebrate the whopping defeat against England.

The Iran national football team stands shoulder to shoulder during the national anthem and does not sing.

Image: EPA

Anger at photos with Iran’s President Raisi

A photo online shows a huge World Cup poster hanging over a large street in Tehran. Someone lit it. The flames are slowly eating their way through the image of Iranian players. Another poster put up by protesters shows a soccer ball dripping with blood.

The coach of the popular Tehran football club Persepolis, Jahja Golmohammadi, writes about the Iranian national team online: “We all want them to concede ten goals.” Many Iranians are particularly angry about photos that show the team carefree with ultra-conservative President Ebrahim Raisi before leaving for Qatar.

Players could face criminal penalties

It is unclear how the leadership in Tehran will react to the silence during the national anthem. A week ago, an Iranian news site quoted a cleric demanding that all players who do not sing along should be kicked out of the team. Some only expect consequences when they come back to Iran. What could they look like? Observers think many things are possible, from pressure on them and their families, a career end to criminal consequences.

The media close to the regime analyze the game against England in their World Cup reports, but do not respond to the silent protests of the players.

More calls for protest

The Persepolis trainer and users on the web also call for people to take to the streets in Javanroud and other cities in the Kurdish regions of north-west Iran. There are increasing reports from there that security forces are brutally cracking down on protests.

Human rights organizations write of numerous deaths within a few days. Iranian media reports that residents of a part of Tehran where things have remained quiet until now are also following the call. It is very close to Revolutionary Guard barracks.

Silence at the anthem – reactions after Iran’s first World Cup game

Karin Senz, ARD Istanbul, 22.11.2022 7:30 a.m

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