Sports

Iran Threatened Its World Cup Team With Imprisonment And Torture, According To CNN Source

(Photo by FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Gretchen Clayson Contributor
Font Size:

Iran’s soccer team has been threatened with the torture and the imprisonment of their families if they misbehave before the match against the U.S., a security source for the World Cup stated Tuesday.

In what appeared to be solidarity with protesters in Iran, the Iranian soccer team refused to sing their national anthem ahead of their match with England. That act of apparent defiance prompted a meeting with members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), where players were told their families would face “violence and and torture” if they again refused to sing the national anthem or joined any political protest against the Tehran regime, a source told CNN.

Before the team traveled to Qatar, images of them bowing to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in the midst of the protests sparked an outcry on social media, according to Reuters. “It is not Iran’s team, it is the Islamic Republic’s team,” a 24-year old Iranian student in Tehran told the outlet.

The players had been promised “presents and cars” prior to the game with England but after the “humiliation of the team’s refusal to sing their national anthem” gifts were exchanged with threats, according to the CNN source.

The source also claimed that “dozens” of IRGC officers are monitoring the Iranian players and that the players are prohibited from mingling with foreigners while in Qatar. “There are a large number of Iranian security officers in Qatar collecting information and monitoring the players,” the source said, according to CNN. (RELATED: USMNT Captain Tyler Adams Gives Perfect Response To Inflammatory, Anti-USA Question From Iranian Reporter)

Previously, Carlos Queiroz, the Portuguese coach of Iran’s national team, announced that the Iranian players were “free to protest as they would if they were from any other country as long as it conforms with the World Cup regulations and is in the spirit of the game,” as reported by Reuters.

After Iran’s soccer team refused to sing the anthem, Queiroz allegedly met separately with IRGC officers after threats had been made to the Iranian players and their families, the source stated, according to CNN.

The source also claimed that Tehran sent over “hundreds” of actors to create a “false sense of support and favor amongst the fans” and are planning to “significantly increase the number” ahead of the match with the United States.