From Melli’s team to Molla’s team, Iran is accused of not supporting the rebellion

From our Special Envoy in Doha,

Carlos Queiroz did not expect to have an easy life in Qatar after taking over as head of Iran’s election in early September. You’d have to be crazy to be overconfident by starting the 2022 World Cup mission two months before the deadline. To top off the misery for the Portuguese, the arrest of its signing Mahsa Ami by the morality police a week before his death for “wearing inappropriate clothes” would be the starting point for Iran’s revolt against the regime. .

At least 378 people have been killed in the crackdown of the two-month-long protests, according to the latest report by the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights NGO (IHR) on Saturday. The arrested demonstrators were also sentenced to death. Therefore, Team Melli is a late nation that is going to be represented in Qatar. A few days before the game against England, striker Mehdi Taremi said: “I want to express my condolences to my people. Iran is going through difficult times and I want to express my condolences to those who lost their loved ones. »

Sardar Azmun was alone in the battle

Messages of support from Iranian internationals are worth having. Detractors of the regime, a little less. Only Bayer Leverkusen star Sardar Azmoun dared to challenge the power in the nets shortly after the death of Mahsa Ami. “It cannot be erased from our consciousness. Shame on you. They left a pain in the nation’s heart that history will never forget,” he wrote. The bold stance earned him a temporary suspension of his Instagram account as a warning. Azmoun continues to support the undaunted Iranian people. Reza Mohaddes, journalist of Iran International, laments, “This is the only one.”

It is not easy to express one’s political views in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Mohaddes knows something about this: a team of FIFA-accredited journalists, of which he is a member, noticed that Qatari visas were revoked a week before the start of the 2022 World Cup. “Avoid possible problems” during the tournament, laments the press.

“There is censorship in Iran,” Mohaddes continues. It is very difficult to be a journalist there, to express one’s feelings and opinions. As we speak, several journalists are in prison for telling the truth. As for the athletes, there is reason to say that the government is putting pressure on the Iranian national team and threatening to remove the players from the 25-man roster for the World Cup. »

The Iranian federation put pressure on Queiroz

Sardar Azmoun will be on the trip, but the Iranian federation is rumored to have forced Carlos Queiroz to forgo calling up the Leverkusen player. The Portuguese rejected the press conference announcing his list for CDM 2022 and packed Azmu in his bags. But the climate around the coach is definitely tense and the pressure is not easy to manage.

If the former Real Madrid coach did not hesitate to defend his men’s freedom of expression during the Iran-England D-5 press conference (“football, everyone has the right to express as long as you respect the principles and values”), he blew a hose a few minutes later. An extra drop of water? A question from an English colleague about his “role as a coach of a country that does not respect women’s rights”. “How much are you paying me for this question?” Don’t make me say what I didn’t say. Think for yourself what is happening with immigration in your country. »

The arrival of the “mullah gang”.

The answer comes in addition to an unflattering lineup of shots for Team Melli. He continues to earn the respect of his people, who nicknamed him “Team Mullah” after a meeting with President Ibrahim Raisi before leaving for Qatar. In response, Persepolis head coach Yahya Golmohammadi (subsequently summoned by the Iranian justice system) criticized the national team players for “not bringing the voice of the oppressed people to the ears of the authorities”. The over-the-top official photo shoot that went on in Qatar didn’t really help the team’s image.

“Many were disappointed when they saw people laughing while they were dying,” the journalist said. Although people are disappointed with the Iranian national team, they are still hoping for action from them on Monday to prove that they are with the people. »

Before their friendly match against Senegal on September 27, the Iranians wore black parkas to hide their jerseys during the anthems. Before the game against Nicaragua on October 10, only Vahid Amiri and Mehdi Torabi sang the national anthem. In a locker room rife with political differences, the issue of celebrating arms and playing the national anthem has not yet been resolved.

On Wednesday, Captain Alireza Jahanbakhsh assured that there are “discussions” going on in the country and the decision whether to sing or not will be made “collectively”. At the beginning of their debut against the British, Melli’s team is faced with a dilemma: whether to wisely content themselves with their position as a propaganda tool or to support a popular uprising.

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