A 27-year-old Iranian man was reportedly killed by security forces in northern Iran as he honked his car horn to celebrate the country’s exit from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after a 1-0 loss to the United States.
According to The Guardian, Mehran Samak was in Bandar Anzali, northwest of Iran’s capital Tehran, where human rights activists say he was shot in the head by security forces. This happened at a time when many Iranians are protesting against the Iranian government. Sumak was one of many across the country who took to the streets to celebrate the loss.
The death of Mehsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, has sparked protests across the country. She was arrested by the moral police in Iran for violating the country’s conservative dress code because she did not wear a hijab. Amini died in custody.
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“Freedom for women’s lives” has now become a rallying cry, and protests in Iran have spread to Qatar, where tensions between activists and supporters of the current government have been publicly seen.
Activists saw the loss to the US as a blow to the government.
USA advances to knockout stage with victory over Iran.
The Guardian reported that Samak is also a friend of Iranian midfielder Saeed Izzat Elahi.
Aizaz Elhi went viral after the final match. Pictures show Josh Sargent and DeAndre Yedlin of the United States comforting him on the field. Timothy Weah also caught up with him after the victory to share a few words.
The next day, Izzat Elahi shared an Instagram story of a childhood photo with Samak, writing in Arabic, “After last night’s bitter loss, the news of your passing sets my heart on fire.”
“One day the veil will come off, the truth will be revealed,” he added.
Iranian players did not have a happy time in Qatar. He was reportedly the target of threats against his family after remaining conspicuously silent during the team’s national anthem in their first match against England, which they lost 6–2.
World Cup 2022: Iranians cheer for USA in their country amid ongoing protests
After threats from the government, they sang the anthem but with a strong expression. They beat Wales 2-0 in their second match on Black Friday.
Extra security was required outside the stadium ahead of the match against the US, and The Guardian added that guards would force Iranians to wave their flags before entering. Some flags had the emblem of the Islamic Republic in the middle, some did not.
The U.S. team posted social media graphics without the symbol, saying it was “in support of women fighting for basic human rights in Iran,” but later backtracked due to backlash from supporters of the current regime.
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The U.S. advances to the Round of 16, where it faces the Netherlands on Saturday, while the Iranian team returns home where tensions between workers and the government remain.