FIFA World Cup: Iranian protesters celebrate defeat against US

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The Iran football team’s defeat to the US in the FIFA World Cup on Wednesday triggered unusual celebrations in their home country, sharply contrasting with the reaction expected after any national football team’s loss, reported NDTV.

Scenes of jubilation on the streets of Iran have been widely shared on social media as the country, engulfed in protests, continues to disown the football team that they deem as a part of the oppressive regime.

Videos shared on Twitter show Iranians dancing on the streets in a rare display of joy after the videos of burning tires and protesting crowds that have emerged from the country in recent months. But the dancing and celebratory honking was also a show of protest as they denounced the football team’s participation in the World Cup at such a tumultuous time, reads the report.

Protests against the death of Mahsa Amini have rocked the nation with over 300 people, including children, killed since September. Mahsa Amini was killed in police custody by Iran’s notorious morality police for the “crime” of not wearing her hijab in a proper manner on 16 September.

In Mahsa Amini’s hometown of Saqez, as well as several other cities across Iran, citizens celebrated using fireworks. “Saqez citizens have started to celebrate and use fireworks after America’s first goal against Iran’s football team,” said the London-based Iran Wire website on Twitter.

“Who would’ve ever thought I’d jump three meters and celebrate America’s goal!” tweeted Iranian game journalist Saeed Zafarany after the loss. Podcaster Elahe Khosravi also tweeted: “This is what playing in the middle gets you. They lost to the people, the opponent, and even” the government.

Protests have since raged through the nation, challenging the authority of the government, as per the report by NDTV.

The Iranian football team, in their own version of a protest, declined to sing the national anthem before their opening match against England on 22 November. While the rebellion was accepted as courageous by some, many Iranians still say the football team doesn’t represent the people of Iran, but the government.

(With inputs from AFP)

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