27-year-old Iranian shot dead for celebrating World Cup squad exit | Iran

An Iranian man was shot dead by security forces after the Iranian national team lost to the United States and exited the World Cup, as anti-government protests unfolded inside and outside the country. stadium in Qatar and throughout Iran.

Mehran Samak, 27, was shot dead after honking his car horn in Bandar Anzali, a town on the Caspian Sea coast northwest of Tehran, according to human rights activists.

Samak “was directly targeted and shot in the head by security forces… after the national team lost to America,” the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) said.

The struggle between the two countries which severed diplomatic relations more than 40 years ago has unfolded against the backdrop of violent repression in Iran after protests sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurd, in september.

Iranian security forces have killed at least 448 people in the crackdown on protests, including 60 children under the age of 18 and 29 women, according to IHR.

In an extraordinary twist, Iran international midfielder Saeid Ezatolahi, who played in the USA match and hails from Bandar Anzali, revealed he knows Samak and posted a picture of them together in a football team of youth.

“After last night’s bitter loss, the news of your passing set my heart on fire,” Ezatolahi posted on Instagram, describing Samak as a “boyhood teammate.”

A screenshot of Saeid Ezatolahi’s Instagram post. Photography: Instagram

He did not comment on the circumstances of his friend’s death but said: “One day the masks will fall, the truth will be laid bare.”

He added: “This is not what our young people deserve. This is not what our country deserves. »

Ezatolahi, upset by the result, had been seen after the final whistle comforted by both his teammates and the American players.

Many Iranians had refused to support the national team, and after Tuesday night’s game, images on social media showed crowds cheering and setting off fireworks.

The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) also reported that Samak was killed by security forces while celebrating. CHRI released a video of Samak’s funeral in Tehran on Wednesday in which mourners could be heard shouting “death to the dictator”. The chant, aimed at Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is one of the protests’ main slogans.

Late Tuesday, exiled Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad posted videos of the celebrations on Twitter, writing: “Iran is a country where people are very passionate about football. Now they are on the streets of the city of Sanandaj celebrating their football team’s loss to the United States. She also posted a video of fireworks being shot in Saqqez, Mahsa Amini’s hometown.

Iran is a country where people are very passionate about football. Now they are out in the streets in the city of Sanandaj & celebrate the loss of their football team against US.
They don’t want the government use sport to normalize its murderous regime.pic.twitter.com/EMh8mREsQn pic.twitter.com/MqpxQZqT20

— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) November 29, 2022

\n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/AlinejadMasih/status/1597733531379470336?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1597733531379470336%7Ctwgr%5E0d4b347ff7348f062e3baeb85c91293cffcf6235%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Ffootball%2F2022%2Fnov%2F30%2Ffootage-shows-group-of-iranian-fans-celebrating-world-cup-exit”,”id”:”1597733531379470336″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”1885ffe3-7bfb-4d25-aacb-35af79d6f720″}}”>

Iran is a country where people are very passionate about football. Now they are on the streets of the city of Sanandaj celebrating the loss of their football team to the United States.
They don’t want the government to use sport to normalize its murderous regime.pic.twitter.com/EMh8mREsQn pic.twitter.com/MqpxQZqT20

— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) November 29, 2022

Iranians also celebrated in Marivan, which was among the towns in Kurdish-populated areas of western Iran where on November 21 security forces stepped up a crackdown that killed a dozen people in 24 hours. , shooting directly at protesters and using heavy weapons, rights groups said. .

The Iranian people are out in the streets in Marivan celebrating the Islamic Republic’s loss to Team USA and chanting for freedom. So humiliating for #Iran’s regime.#MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/sbxatIArFY

— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) November 29, 2022

\n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/JasonMBrodsky/status/1597721443726680065?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1597721443726680065%7Ctwgr%5E0d4b347ff7348f062e3baeb85c91293cffcf6235%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Ffootball%2F2022%2Fnov%2F30%2Ffootage-shows-group-of-iranian-fans-celebrating-world-cup-exit”,”id”:”1597721443726680065″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”181d60e4-4dda-436b-a745-cdec5afa6504″}}”/>

Celebrations also took place in Tehran and Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan.

The celebrations came after fans outside the Doha stadium sought to highlight the protests and Iranian government crackdown. “Everyone should know about this. We have no voice in Iran,” an Iranian man living in the United States, who gave his name only as Sam, told Reuters.

Speaking by phone from Tehran shortly before kick-off, Elham, 21, said she wanted the United States to win because victory for the national team, known as Team Melli, would be a gift for the Iranian authorities. “It’s not my national team. It’s not the melli team, it’s the mullahs’ team,” she said.

Iranians celebrate the loss of the Islamic Republic’s national team against the US.

A pinnacle in the history of Iran:

A country where soccer is revered and the national team was worshipped – people are celebrating being booted out of the World Cup. https://t.co/yOrBvieOQE

— Nahayat Tizhoosh (@NahayatT) November 29, 2022

\n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/NahayatT/status/1597708952887734273?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1597708952887734273%7Ctwgr%5E0d4b347ff7348f062e3baeb85c91293cffcf6235%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Ffootball%2F2022%2Fnov%2F30%2Ffootage-shows-group-of-iranian-fans-celebrating-world-cup-exit”,”id”:”1597708952887734273″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”e8cb03d5-7bb0-4f50-9776-b62827f78f0e”}}”>

Iranians celebrate the loss of the Islamic Republic national team to the United States.

A peak in the history of Iran:

A country where football is revered and the national team revered – people celebrate their exclusion from the World Cup. https://t.co/yOrBvieOQE

— Nahayat Tizhoosh (@NahayatT) November 29, 2022

Additional security guards, some mounted on horseback, patrolled outside Al Thumama Stadium ahead of the match, while perimeter guards forced the Iranians to unfurl their flags before entering. Police officers were posted throughout the stadium alongside regular security guards. Some carried truncheons.

At the start of the second half, a group of supporters briefly waved letters spelling out Mahsa Amini’s name to cheers from the Iranian fans surrounding them. Security personnel took their signs but allowed them to remain in their seats.

Under pressure to publicly support protesters at home, the Iranian team refused to sing the national anthem in their opener against England, which they lost 6-2. But they sang it ahead of Game 2, a 2-0 win over Wales, and again on Tuesday. When Iran lost to England, there were also celebrations in Tehran.

Outside the stadium after the game, Reuters reporters saw security chase two people in a series of scuffles around the perimeter of the pitch. Three guards pinned down a man who was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “woman, life, freedom”, the central slogan of the Iranian protest movement.

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