The families of Iran’s World Cup players could face “violence and torture” if the team doesn’t “behave,” the Islamic regime is warning players after they refused last week to sing the country’s national anthem.
That message came from members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, who met with the team before its Friday win against Wales, CNN reported. The Iranian officers are in Qatar to track the actions of players, who are forbidden from meeting with foreigners.
“There are a large number of Iranian security officers in Qatar collecting information and monitoring the players,” a source familiar with the matter told CNN.
The regime’s threat comes after the Iran World Cup team refused to sing the country’s anthem ahead of its Nov. 21 match against England. The apparent protest was likely a sign of solidarity with the mass protests across Iran following the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s morality police.
The State Department on Monday expressed support for the players, saying the regime should heed the “athletes’ calls for change.” Iranian state television cut away from coverage of the Nov. 21 game during the anthem protest. Back home, the regime is using internet blackouts to thwart protesters in the country’s Kurdish-populated areas.