The captain of Iran who challenged the regime for its repression and violation of women’s rights

Posted 2022/11/22 40 0

DOHA.- Nothing better than the window of a soccer world cup to expose the atrocities of the regime. Before debut, Ehsan Hajsaficaptain of the selected Iran, sent a message of solidarity towards his country, which has been submerged for months in street protests in defense of women’s rights and against the incessant repression of the ayatollahs. Social demands have multiplied since the government of Ebrahim Raisi hardened the “morality police” responsible for making women respect the strict dress code of the Islamic Republic, especially the use of the veil in public.

“The conditions in our country are not adequate. Our people are not happy. People have to know that we are with them and that we support them. We are in solidarity, ”said Hajsafi, at the press conference prior to today’s defeat with England, 6 to 2. he heard it on his right Carlos Queiroz, the Portuguese who coaches the Iranian national team. The room that FIFA had set up was filled for a few seconds with strict silence. There was no cross-examination, although the criticism was subtle and direct.

It was not necessary for Hajsafi to refer by his own name to Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old girl who died on September 16 in a Tehran police station after being accused of not wearing the Islamic headscarf properly. Her death was the trigger for fury and protests, which are now aggravated by the delicate economic situation, aggravated by the sanctions applied by the United States for its nuclear program.

The challenge of the soccer team was not left alone in the harsh message of its captain. The starting 11 players did not sing the national anthem before the start of the match against England in a sign of support for the wave of protests unleashed by the death of Amini. Another gesture of rejection of the regime.

Amini, who has also become a symbol of mobilizations outside of Iran, died on September 16.
Amini, who has also become a symbol of mobilizations outside of Iran, died on September 16.Getty Ima

Mahsa Amini was detained in front of a metro station after agents of that force considered that her head was not well covered with her hijab. They accused her of breaking the law that requires women to cover their hair with a headscarf and their arms and legs with loose clothing. the young later died in Kasra hospital, in downtown Tehran, after spending three days in a coma.

Hajsafi is 32 years old and is a history of the Iranian national team. He participated in the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, and plays as a defender for AEK, Athens. In the national team he accumulates 128 games played, including today, with England. From the stands, the Iranian fans who were in Doha also expressed their discomfort with banners and calls for “freedom”.

Iranian fans hold banners in favor of women's rights ahead of the match against England at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Iranian fans hold banners in favor of women’s rights ahead of the match against England at the Khalifa International Stadium.Clive Brunskill – Getty Images Europe

It’s not often that Iran’s regime retaliates against athletes who question its actions abroad.

Before Ehsan Hajsafi, another referent of the Iranian establishment, had referred to the protests that are tensing the situation in his country. He was Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who warned that in the debut they would not sing the anthem in defiance of the regime. And finally it happened like this: the 11 players fell silent before the presentation against England.

The Iranian team had already refused to sing the anthem during the run-up to a preparation friendly in Austria, against Senegal (1-1), on September 27. Dressed in a black jacket that hid the national emblem, the players remained silent and most of them followed the ritual with their heads bowed.

Several athletes from other disciplines also chose not to sing the anthem, not celebrate victories or wear a black armband during sporting events. On November 6, during an international beach soccer tournament in Dubai, one of the most prestigious in the discipline, the Iranian team also made a similar gesture, forcing state television to cut off the live broadcast, according to news agencies. international News.

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