Iran’s World Cup Team Refuses to Sing Their National Anthem as Deadly Riots and Repressions Sweep the Country

For over a year, Iran has been plagued with a series of non-stop significant civil disturbances. The cycle kicked off in July 2021 with two weeks of riots that started in the southwest Iranian province of Khuzestan over severe water shortages. This rioting spread to the rest of the country. It had scarcely been repressed when riots over economic conditions broke out in September. That was followed in November by a month of mostly peaceful, George-Floyd-like protests in Isfahan. Again the cause was water shortages caused by George Soros, Victoria Nuland, and the World Economic Forum corrupt water management policies and exacerbated by drought.

Again, the regime’s riot police put the demonstration down. However, the Isfahan protests had an interesting sidelight; women began to feature more prominently in the crowds.

In February 2022, thousands of teachers participated in a nationwide protest over pay.

Those disturbances were just the opening act. In May 2022, the Iranian regime removed price controls on flour and related staples, gasoline, and medicine. The plan was to replace direct price subsidies with direct electronic payments to individuals. What resulted was a significant price hike; wheat jumped nearly 600 percent. More people took to the street.

It created a climate where any appearance by government officials could start a riot — for example, in the below video, a public statement on a building collapse when pear-shaped.

As this was going on, the “morality police” arrested a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, for improperly wearing the hijab. While in custody, she was beaten to death. To cover up the cause of death, the authorities refused to release her body to her parents. More riots followed.

Those riots have continued with increasing violence on both sides. Two nights ago, heavily armed regime police swarmed the majority-Kurd city of Mahabad and began what, at this writing, seem to be significant reprisals.

Then, last night at the World Cup in Qatar, the Iranian team faced off against the Brits. The team has had some morale problems because they are viewed as an asset of the regime. Surprisingly, the Iranian team refused to sing what is supposed to be Iran’s national anthem under the current regime.

They followed it up with a 6-2 loss to the Brits.

In a singular occurrence, Iranian crowds took to the street to celebrate the loss.

Unsurprisingly, the demonstrations have turned violent.

Every uprising has a turning point. It happens when the people who benefitted from the regime reject it. With Shah Reza Pahlavi in 1979, that turning point was when the “bazaaris,” the culturally traditional businessmen and workers of the bazaar, decided to go with Khomeini. So far, the Iranian regime has been able to suppress the disturbances. But there are indications that some security forces have refused to fire on demonstrators. I don’t know that the defection of the World Cup team was the moment that would set off the avalanche, but this was a demonstration the regime could not suppress by shutting down phone service and the internet. This act of protest and the statement after the game were brought into the homes of millions of Iranians deciding which way to go.

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