Iran threatened families of World Cup soccer team, according to security source



CNN

The families of Iran’s World Cup soccer team have been threatened with imprisonment and torture if the players do not “behave” ahead of Tuesday’s match against the USA, a source involved in Games security said.

After Iranian players refused to sing the nation’s national anthem in their opening match against England on November 21, the source said the players were called to a meeting with members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The source said they were told their families would face “violence and torture” if they did not sing the national anthem or join any political protests against the Tehran regime.

The players sang the anthem before their second game against Wales last Friday, which saw Iran win 2-0.

The source, who is closely monitoring Iran’s security agencies operating in Qatar during the World Cup period, said dozens of officers from the IRGC had been called in to monitor Iranian players who are not allowed to mingle outside the squad or meet foreigners. .

“There are a large number of Iranian security officers in Qatar gathering information and monitoring the players,” the source said.

Carlos Queiroz, the Portuguese coach of Iran’s national team, met separately with IRGC officers following their threats to Iranian players and their families, the source said.

The source did not say what the content of that alleged conversation was. Queiroz has said that Iranian players can protest at the World Cup, but only within FIFA regulations.

The players, the source said, had been promised “gifts and cars” before the England game, but the regime, the source said, had moved to threatening the players and their families after the humiliation of the team’s refusal to sing their national anthem.

“In the last game against Wales, the regime sent over hundreds of supporters of these actors to create a false sense of support and favor among the fans. “For the next match against the USA, the regime is planning to significantly increase the number of actors to thousands,” the source said.

Iran and the USA play each other on Tuesday in a crucial Group B match.

Iran is appearing in this World Cup under the shadow of internal turmoil. The head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, has said the country is in a “full-blown human rights crisis” as authorities crack down on dissidents against the regime.

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The protests, described by experts as the most significant since clerical rule was imposed after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, have rocked Iran in recent months and threatened the country’s regime, which has been in power for more than 40 years.

The movement was prompted by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died after being detained by Iran’s morality police, allegedly for disobeying the country’s conservative dress code. Iranian security forces have unleashed a violent response.

On Sunday, Iranian state media called for the US to be kicked out of the 2022 World Cup after the United States Soccer Federation changed Iran’s flag on its social media platforms to show support for protesters in Iran.

The federation had temporarily displayed Iran’s national flag on its official Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts without the emblem of the Islamic Republic. A now-deleted Group B standings graphic posted on Saturday featured the Iranian flag in just its green, white and red colours.

US Soccer told CNN on Sunday that it wanted to change the official flag for 24 hours to show “support for women in Iran fighting for basic human rights,” but always planned to return to the original flag.

The change “was a one-time schedule,” US Soccer told CNN. “We have the main banner on our website and in other places.” The crest is currently turned into a banner on US Soccer’s social media channels.

A State Department spokesman told CNN it had not coordinated with US Soccer on the sports body’s decision to change the Iranian flag on its social media accounts to show support for protesters in Iran.

Source

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