- Iran World Cup captain Ehsan Hajsafi said media conditions in Iran were “not okay” and he hoped they would change.
- Hajsafi is the first player from the Iranian national team to speak on the subject at the World Cup in Doha.
- Comedian Omid Djalili posted a video ahead of the England-Iran game urging payers to show their support for Iranian women.
Ahead of Iran’s first game at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, captain Ehsan Hajsafi addressed the ongoing in an apparent show of support for the anti-government movement.
Protests erupted in September, when she was 22 and have continued over the past two months as women call for a radical change in the country’s theocratic regime.
Hundreds of protesters were reportedly killed and thousands arrested as police tried to quell the riot.
At a press conference on Sunday evening, Hajsafi described the situation in Iran as “not okay”.
“We have to accept that the conditions in our country are not right and our people are not happy,” he said.
“We’re here, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be their voice or we can’t respect them.”
Hajsafi is the first player from the Iranian national team to speak on the subject at the World Cup in Doha.
Other members of the team have so far avoided discussing politics in public.
“Everything we have is from them. We have to fight,” said the defender.
“We need to perform and score some goals to present a result to the brave people of Iran. I hope that conditions will change in terms of people’s expectations.”
Omid Djalili calls on England to show solidarity with Iran
On Sunday, Omid Djalili, a British comedian of Iranian heritage, shared a video urging the England team to show solidarity with Iranian women by doing it
“My message to the England players now is that you have a huge opportunity to make a massive global impact with a very, very small gesture
“Players from England, Wales and the USA, when they score a goal, if you just make that one simple statement of ‘snip your hair’, that sends a big message to the women and girls of Iran.”
“Do the sign and save a life.”
Djalili said he believes Iran should not have participated in the World Cup.
“Iran is a terrorist state…women are not allowed to go to soccer games…(Iran) should have been kicked out of the World Cup,” he said.
“They are breaking every FIFA statute against anti-discrimination.”