Posted in: 11/24/2022 – 17:52Last updated: 11/24/2022 – 17:50
Doha (AFP) – Iranian national team striker Mahdi Tarmi confirmed Thursday that the “Team Melli” players were not subjected to “any pressure” after they refused to perform the national anthem before their opening match in the 2022 Qatar World Cup against England, in support of the protests in the Islamic Republic.
“I don’t like talking about politics, but we don’t feel any pressure,” said the Porto player, in response to a question about whether he and his teammates had been subjected to any pressure from the authorities.
He added in a press conference on the eve of his country’s match with Wales in the second round of Group B competitions, “I knew that similar questions would be asked, but whatever I say, there will be no effect because some will write what they want to write. Therefore, I prefer not to talk about this type of political issue.” Except in private or through my accounts on social networking sites.
Before facing England at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Monday, the Iranians refrained from performing the national anthem, in a move that came after discussions and a “collective” decision, as previously indicated by its player, Ali Reza Jahanbakhsh.
Iran has been witnessing protests for nearly two months, following the death of the young woman, Mahsa Amini (22 years), three days after she was arrested by the morality police for not adhering to the strict rules of dress in the Islamic Republic.
“We came to play football, not only us, but all the players in Qatar. I and thousands of people like me do not have the ability to change things,” added Taremi, scorer of Iran’s two goals in the loss to the “Three Lions” (6-2).
On the other hand, the coach of the Iranian national team, Portuguese Carlos Queiroz, indicated that sport should not be “mixed” with politics.
He added in the same press conference that “the press has the right to ask questions that it thinks are fair and we have the right to answer them however we want. But what I find strange, as a humble citizen of the world, is not asking these kinds of questions to other coaches of problematic countries. Not It is fair that Iranians are the only ones receiving human rights questions.”
© 2022 AFP