A happy goodbye?

The history of the formation of the Islamic Republic of Iran can be accessed here (https://anchor.fm/toknightshow/episodes/Protests-in-Iran-e1rfr4d)


Ricardo Mazalan (AP)

The U.S. Mens National Team embraces each other following their victory against Iran.

The referee blows the whistle. Playing stops. Eleven players on the field celebrate while another collapse to the ground in defeat.

On Tuesday Nov. 30, Iran’s professional men’s soccer team was eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The United States beat Iran 1-0 thanks to Christian Pulisic’s goal in the 37th minute.

This game is beyond soccer. Tensions between the U.S. and Iran were present long before players entered the pitch. In mid-September, hundreds of thousands of Iranians banded together in various cities to protest the death of Mahsa Amini. They believed Amini was wrongfully murdered by the Morality Police for incorrectly wearing her headscarf.  As time went on, the cause for protesting grew to the overarching theme that there is severe gender inequality and overbearing sanctions on women in Iran. These protests gained much global attention, as large media organizations began to cover the protests daily. Millions around the world became informed of the murders, rape, and torture of Iranian civilians.

Taking a stance against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the US Soccer Federation(USSF) posted an Iranian flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic on their social media. This flag did not bear the emblem of the Islamic Republic. To anti-riot Iranians, this was a sign that the United States did not accept the theocratic form of government. The anti-rioters, leading the Islamic Republic, demanded that the United States men’s national team be expelled from the tournament. By Sunday Nov. 27, the USSF removed the emblem-less flag.

Iranian National Team stays silent during the playing of their national anthem on Nov. 21. (Fadel Senna (AFP))

This was not the only political tension created prior to kickoff. On Nov. 21 while the Islamic Republic’s national anthem played before Iran’s first match in the World Cup, Iranian team players remained silent, refusing to sing. This was a sign of showing solidarity with the protesters back home. Outraged, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps(IRGC) met with the players following the game. According to a source involved with the security of the games, the IRGC threatened them saying their families would face violence and torture if they continued protesting. In the following games, Iranian players sang the national anthem as if they always had. In return, Iranians back home were discontent. They no longer supported their team, believing the Iranian National Team was no longer on their side.

US player comforts an Iranian player after the World Cup game on Nov. 30. (Christian Charisius (AP))

“I have mixed emotions and feelings,” an Iranian fan told CNN. “I’m a passionate supporter of Iran but today unfortunately I can’t be supporter of the national team because of the current situation going on and the government trying to hijack the game and sport and using it as a platform to buy credibility and to show that everything is normal (with) what’s going on in Iran.”

At the conclusion of the US vs. Iran game, Iranians took the streets. For once in a matter of months, they celebrated. They celebrated their own country’s loss. According to CNN, Iranians took the streets this time to chant, whistle, and honk their car horns.

“I am happy, this is the government losing to the people,” said a witness of the celebrations to CNN.

Mehran Samak was hanged by Iranian authorities for celebrating the National Team loss on Nov. 30. ((ISNA))

These celebrations did not go unnoticed by the Islamic Republic. On Nov. 30, 27-year-old Mehran Samak was reported to have been shot by regime soldiers. Samak honked his car in accordance with celebrating the team’s loss. Samak’s death commenced even more anger and rage within the Iranian protestors. According to BBC, at Samak’s funeral, mourners were heard reciting “You are the filth, you are the immoral, I am a free woman.” This phrase, commonly recited by protestors, demonstrates the persistence Iranians have towards obtaining more rights and freedoms for women.

The Iranian government continues to execute protestors. On Dec. 8, Iran hanged Mohsen Shekari. This was the first known execution because of the protests. According to Iran Human Rights director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, Shekari was not provided a lawyer or due process.

The reasoning behind Shekari’s conviction according to Revolutionary Court was for “waging a war against God.”

The number of deceased Iranians due to the riots is unclear; however, at least 458 protestors have been documented as murdered since mid-September. The protests in Iran persist daily, as do the number of arrests and executions. Time will tell what exactly these protests will bring. Undoubtedly, the World Cup brought much attention to both the Iranian National Team and the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is unclear how the Islamic Republic treated the National Team players upon returning home. Communicating with Iran’s inhabitants has been difficult due to the Islamic Republic purposefully shutting down internet access. Still, photos and videos of the protests leak to the press day-by-day.

“Women, Life, Freedom” rings throughout the Islamic Republic as women, men, and children take the streets to fight the Iranian Government.