Iran has threatened the families of the World Cup soccer team, according to a security source



CNN

The families of Iran’s World Cup soccer team have been threatened with prison and torture if the players do not “behave” ahead of Tuesday’s game against the United States, a source involved in Games security said.

After Iranian players refused to sing the nation’s national anthem in their opening game against England on November 21, the source said the players were called to a meeting with members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The source said they were told their families would face “violence and torture” if they did not sing the national anthem or if they joined any political protest against the Tehran regime.

The players sang the anthem before their second game against Wales last Friday, which saw Iran win 2-0.

The source, who closely monitors Iran’s security agencies operating in Qatar during the World Cup period, said dozens of IRGC officers have been brought in to monitor Iran’s players, who are not allowed to mingle outside the team or meet with foreigners.

“There are a large number of Iranian security officials in Qatar gathering information and monitoring the players,” the source said.

Carlos Queiroz, the Portuguese coach of Iran’s national team, met separately with IRGC officers following their threats to Iranian players and their families, the source said.

The source did not say what the content of that alleged conversation was. Queiroz said Iranian players could protest at the World Cup, but only within FIFA rules.

The players, according to the source, were promised “gifts and cars” before the England game, but the regime, according to the source, switched to threats against the players and their families after the humiliation of the team’s refusal to sing their national anthem.

“In the last game against Wales, the regime sent hundreds of these actor supporters to create a false sense of support and favor among the fans. For the next match against the US, the regime plans to significantly increase the number of participants to thousands,” the source said.

Iran and the USA play each other on Tuesday in a crucial Group B match.

Iran enters this World Cup under the shadow of internal turmoil. The head of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, said the country was in a “full-blown human rights crisis” as authorities cracked down on dissidents against the regime.

It’s the third month of protests in Iran as the regime steps up a deadly crackdown

The protests, described by experts as the most significant since the establishment of clerical rule since Iran’s 1979 revolution, have rocked Iran in recent months and threatened the country’s regime, which has been in power for more than 40 years.

The movement was sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died after being detained by Iran’s morality police, who allegedly broke the country’s conservative dress code. Iranian security forces unleashed a violent response.

On Sunday, Iran’s state media called for the United States to be kicked out of the 2022 World Cup after the United States Soccer Federation changed Iran’s flag on its social media platforms to show support for protesters in Iran.

The federation temporarily displayed the national flag of Iran on its official Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts without the emblem of the Islamic Republic. The now-deleted Group B standings graphic published on Saturday showed the Iranian flag in only green, white and red.

US Soccer told CNN on Sunday that it wants to change the official flag for 24 hours to show “support for women in Iran fighting for basic human rights,” but always plans to return to the original flag.

The change “is a one-time schedule,” US Soccer told CNN. “We have the main flag on our website and elsewhere.” The emblem is currently back on the flag on US Soccer’s social media channels.

A State Department spokesman told CNN that he disagreed with US Soccer over the sports organization’s decision to change the Iranian flag on its social media accounts to show support for protesters in Iran.

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