Iranian Man Killed After Celebrating Football Team's Loss At World Cup
Credit: Twitter
December 1, 2022

Celebrating your country's loss at the World Cup can get you killed in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Source: The Guardian

An Iranian man was shot dead by security forces after Iran’s national team lost to the US and exited the World Cup, as anti-government demonstrations took place inside and outside the stadium in Qatar and across Iran.

Mehran Samak, 27, was shot dead after honking his car horn in Bandar Anzali, a city on the Caspian Sea coast, north-west of Tehran, according to human rights activists.

Samak “was targeted directly and shot in the head by security forces … following the defeat of the national team against America”, said the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR).

And why were so many Iranians celebrating after Iran's loss to the United States and elimination from the World Cup? (via BBC)

Many Iranians refused to support their football team in Qatar, seeing it as a representation of the Islamic Republic.

State-affiliated media blamed hostile forces both inside and outside Iran for putting unfair pressure on the players following their 1-0 loss to the USA in the final group game.

The players did not sing the national anthem before their first game, a 6-2 defeat by England, in an apparent expression of solidarity with the protesters.

But they did sing at the Wales game, which they won 2-0, and at the politically-charged showdown against the USA.

One of Iran's players knew him, playing on the same team as youths.

In an extraordinary twist, Iranian international midfielder Saeid Ezatolahi, who played in the US match and is from Bandar Anzali, revealed that he knew Samak and posted a picture of them together in a youth football team.

“After last night’s bitter loss, the news of your passing set fire to my heart,” said Ezatolahi on Instagram, describing Samak as a “childhood teammate”.

Childhood friends.

And the expression of why losing was so important to many Iranians.

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