Protests in Iran become the center of attention at the World Cup


Hannah Shiflett, Reporter

The World Cup has been at the center of mind across the United States and the world. Right now, 32 teams representing countries are competing against each other for the title of the best Football team in the world – at least for four years.

As fans rally in support of their country or one of their choosing, controversies have already begun to surround the World Cup. However, the number one issue that has come to the attention of U.S. and Iranian fans is the protests in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini.

On Sept. 16, an Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini was pronounced dead following her arrest for not wearing a hijab in accordance with Iranian law. Her death triggered a massive protest in Iran that is still ongoing.

As of November 29, more than 300 people have been killed as confirmed by the Iranian government. The Iranian government has also announced that they will be charging 1,000 people from Tehran for their involvement in the protests.

As the world has now looked to the World Cup, it has become increasingly politicalized as fans show support for women’s rights in Iran. At the England vs Iran game, Iranian fans held signs with the colors of the Iranian flag with the words, “Freedom For Iran,” among other signs used. During the same game, a whole crowd of fans waved a large flag with the colors and the words, “Woman. Lief. Freedom.” Each of the fans would ultimately be escorted out of the game.

The demonstration didn’t stop at just England vs Iran game. A protester on Nov. 28 ran out onto the field in a game between Portugal and Uruguay. The protestor carried a rainbow Pride Flag and wore a Superman T-shirt that said on the front, “Save Ukraine” and “Respect for Iranian Woman.”

The issues have so far been at the center of attention for a football fan protesting against Qatar, Russia and Iran for the violation of human rights.

Leading up to the game between Iran and the United States, Iran called for the U.S. Men’s National Team to be banned from the World Cup. This came after a post showed the Iranian flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic. The post had since been deleted, but it remained up for 24 hours. U.S. Soccer stated they wanted to show “support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights” according to CNN. This has led to Iran calling for the team to be kicked out of the tournament and have a suspension of 10 games. However, there has so far been no action against the team.

The tensions between Iran and the U.S. have been high. The game on Nov. 29 proved to be the game everyone was watching. With much at stake for the World Cup, the symbol of the game became one of oppression vs human rights. As the whole world watched to see the game, team U.S.A came out victorious – beating Iran and kicking them out of the game, while also symbolically proving that there must be human rights.

While Iran may no longer be playing in the World Cup, the protests in the country still continue and remain at the center of attention for millions across the globe.