Iran threatened to arrest and torture family members if players did not sing anthem at World Cup: broadcaster

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard threatened to arrest and torture family members of the country’s national team players if they did not “behave” during the World Cup in Qatar.

A source involved in World Cup security revealed to CNN that the athletes were summoned to a meeting with members of the Guard (considered a terrorist organization by the United States) after they refused to sing the national anthem of the country in their debut in the tournament, against England, last Monday (21).

Threats would have been made at that meeting – reprisals against the families would happen if the players if they refused to sing the anthem in the following matches or if they made any political act against the Iranian government.

The refusal to sing the anthem before the confrontation with the British was understood as a support for the wave demonstrations that have taken place in Iran since the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22 year old girl from the Kurdish city of Saqez who died in 16 September in Tehran after being arrested and beaten by police for “inappropriate use” of the hijab, the Islamic veil.

Before the second match of the Iranian national team in the Qatar World Cup, against Wales, last Friday (25), the athletes sang the national anthem.

The source heard by CNN added that dozens of Revolutionary Guards officers are in Qatar monitoring Iranian players, who cannot socialize with athletes from other national teams or with other foreigners.

The national team coach Iranian player, Portuguese Carlos Queiroz, would have met separately with Guard officials after the threats to the players, but the source was unable to inform the content of the conversation.

“In the last game, against In Wales, the regime sent hundreds of actors posing as supporters to create a false sense of support. For the next game, against the United States , the regime plans to increase the number of these actors to thousands,” said the source.

Last week, the United Nations Human Rights Council decided to create a mission to investigate the government’s repression from Iran to the protests that started two months ago.

According to the NGO Iran Human Rights, based in Norway, more than 400 people have already been killed by the Iranian security forces in these demonstrations. The regime has also opened proceedings against demonstrators, and at least six have already been sentenced to death.

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