Iran threatens the families of the national football team with "violence and torture"

Iran threatens the families of the national football team with "violence and torture."

A new report says that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has threatened the families of Iran's national soccer players with imprisonment and torture if they do not "act" ahead of their match against the United States on Tuesday.

A source told CNN that the players were called to meet members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards after the team failed to sing the country's national anthem during their opening match against England last week. The IRGC reportedly warned that players who did not sing the national anthem or participate in any political protest against the Iranian government would leave their families vulnerable to "violence and torture" as punishment.

Before their match against Wales, the team sang the nation's anthem on Friday.

"There are a large number of Iranian security officers in Qatar collecting information and monitoring the players," the source told CNN, adding that the players are not allowed to meet foreigners during the World Cup.

Carlos Queiroz, the Portuguese coach of the Iranian team, who met separately with IRGC officers, said players could protest at the World Cup within the framework of FIFA regulations.

Large-scale protests in Iran began on September 17 at the funeral of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by Iran's "morality police" in Tehran for allegedly wearing a headscarf too loosely on September 13. She died three days later.

While Iranian officials say Amini died of a heart attack, her family says she was "severely beaten" while in detention. The family's lawyer said that "respected doctors" believe she was beaten in custody. Her killing sparked weeks of protests across Iran, with some women burning their headscarves and publicly cutting their hair.

An Iranian general admitted for the first time Monday that more than 300 people have been killed in the protests.

The captain of Iran's national soccer team spoke out in support of the anti-government protests last week.

"I would like to express my condolences to all the bereaved families in Iran," Ehsan Hajafi said at a press conference. They should know we are with them. And we support them. We sympathize with them regarding the circumstances."

"We have to accept that the conditions in our country are not right, and our people are not happy," he added. "We are here, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be their voice or we shouldn't respect them."

Meanwhile, Iranian state media called for the United States to be kicked out of the World Cup after the U.S. Soccer Federation supported anti-government protesters by posting a redacted version of the Iranian flag on its social media platforms. For 24 hours, the federation unfurled the Iranian flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic to show "support for women in Iran who are fighting for basic human rights."

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