Reports emerged yesterday that the Iran football team were being threatened by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, who have travelled to Qatar from Iran.
The Mirror's Colin Millar wrote that, "Iran’s footballers were summoned to a meeting with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) after Eng game and informed their families would face “violence and torture” if they did not sing the national anthem or if they joined any political protest."
The Iranian anthem has been under scrutiny throughout the tournament, with the team refusing to sing it in their first game against England, and although it was sung against Wales and tonight against the USA, it was done so very half-heartedly and with a forced look.
Iran Anthem vs USA
— IRNA News Agency (@IrnaEnglish) November 29, 2022
The original report of the Iranian Guards in Qatar came from a CNN source, who also spoke about paid actors sent to the World Cup in order to stir up a false sense of Iranian pride.
"There are a large number of Iranian security officers in Qatar collecting information and monitoring the players," the source said.
“In the last game against Wales, the regime sent over hundreds of these actor supporters in order to create a false sense of support and favor amongst the fans. For the next game against the U.S, the regime is planning to significantly increase the number of actors into the thousands."
With the ongoing violence and unrest in Iran, these stories of threats towards players who speak out or protest will only continue.
At the time of writing they are 1-0 down to the USA, and heading out of the World Cup if the result remains the same.