Saeid Ezatolah, Iran’s midfielder, said his heart was “on fire” after learning a friend died in the country’s streets after the Iran match.
In a post on Instagram Wednesday, he wrote ‘I wish we could always remain that age, without concern, without hate, without jealousy, without fighting to destroy each other.’ He posted a photograph of him and his buddy as children wearing football jerseys to express this sentiment.
An Iranian identified as Mehran Samak was said to have been killed by security forces in Anzali after honking his car horn to celebrate USA’s victory over Iran. He did not name his friend.
Iran has been rocked by months of protests, the biggest challenge to Tehran since the Islamic Revolution. In the Kurdish west, where dissent has been ruthlessly suppressed, residents celebrated the USA victory on Tuesday night with fireworks.
In addition to drawing the ire of authorities by refusing to sing the national anthem before games, Iran’s national team has come under fire for initially refusing to sing the national anthem before games. According to CNN, the players’ families were threatened with torture if the players behaved poorly in Doha if they backtracked on the move.
In spite of being gunned down in their hundreds, mostly young Iranians have continued to protest against Tehran. Some were shot dead for honking car horns at security forces, while others were killed while watching demonstrations from the rooftops of their homes.
Trials that have already resulted in death sentences for several of the defendants on charges of ‘corrupting Earth’ have been largely denounced as sham proceedings.