It is no secret that the final leg of the Group Stage for the USMNT in this World Cup has added layers to the game. Facing Iran has multiple facets, many off the pitch, due to a harrowing history between the two countries. There are heightened emotions and focus on this match, especially for the Iranians, who have shown bravery in standing up against the theocratical, authoritarian regime currently controlling the country. Due to this outspoken nature, the Iran national team has had to face threats upon their families for being outspoken, highlighting yet another angle to today’s battle between the US Men’s National Team and Iran.
Yahoo News reported the news of the threats on Monday ahead of USMNT match
Yahoo News reported the news of the threats on Monday, November 28th, stating that The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps threatened the families of players on Iran’s World Cup soccer team with imprisonment and torture if the players did not ‘behave’ before their match against the United States on Tuesday…”. This comes after widespread protests have gripped the country of Iran, bringing into question the rule of the Islamic autocracy that has governed the Middle Eastern country since the social revolution of the 1970s.
The protests came about due to an incident involving Iranian citizen Mahsa Amini, who died under custody from Iran’s “morality police” after Amini was arrested for wearing her hijab too loosely. From the Yahoo News report, “While Iranian officials have said that Amini died of a heart attack, her family says she was ‘severely beaten’ while in custody. A lawyer for the family said ‘respectable doctors’ believe she was beaten while in custody. Her death has sparked weeks of protests across Iran, where some women have burned their hijabs and publicly chopped off their hair.”. Iranian national team captain Ehsan Hajsafi spoke about the incident and the protests during a news conference.
“I would like to express my condolences to all bereaved families in Iran,” Ehsan Hajsafi said at a news conference. “They should know that we are with them. And we support them. And we sympathize with them regarding the conditions.”
“We have to accept the conditions in our country are not right and our people are not happy,” he added. “We are here but it does not mean we should not be their voice or we should not respect them.”
Due to these comments and performative support from the national team’s players, the threats mentioned above have been put on the players’ families. The horrible details of the threats were detailed further in the report, “A source told CNN that players were called to a meeting with members of the IRGC after the team failed to sing the country’s national anthem during their opening match against England last week. The IRGC reportedly warned afterward that players who did not sing the national anthem or participated in any political protest against the Iranian government would leave their families subject to “violence and torture” as retribution.”. This follows severe monitoring that has taken place to keep track of the national team players from the Iranian state, taken so far that players cannot even meet with any internationals in Qatar.
Iran calls for USMNT to be kicked out of the 2022 World Cup
Threats against their players are severe, but Iran has also used rhetoric against the USMNT. State media from Iran have called for the United States to be kicked out of the 2022 World Cup due to perceived sleights. USMNT captain Tyler Adams was grilled for mispronouncing Iran from a state reporter while being exceptionally unprofessionally probed for alleged flaws in Adams supporting a country that didn’t support him.
Adams dealt with the presser in a classy fashion, considering the circumstances, but this rhetoric and tension will only grow as we get closer to match time. We at DSN hope for the best for the USMNT to win and advance and for peace and progress for Iran, along with their national team players showing the bravery to speak out in support of their fellow countrymen.