Iran allegedly threatened World Cup players’ families ahead of US match

By Ryan Glasspiegel | THE NEW YORK POST

The Iranian government has reportedly threatened its national soccer team and the players’ families.

The United States plays Iran on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. ET on Fox in a must-win game for the Americans to advance. Iran would move on to the knockout stage with a win or a tie.

Iran has been facing persistent domestic protests for over two months, since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini (also known as Jina Amini) reportedly died in police custody after being arrested for improperly wearing her hijab.

The Iranian soccer team has supported the protesters. Before the game against England, the soccer team stood silently for their home country’s national anthem, declining to sing along.

“Conditions in our country are not right, and our people are not happy,” Iranian team captain Ehsan Hajsafi told reporters after the game. Hajsafi further said that the victims’ families “should know that we are with them, we support them and we sympathize with them.”

CNN reported Monday that families of the Iranian team have “been threatened with imprisonment and torture if the players fail to “behave” in the lead-up to Tuesday’s game against the United States.

The report added that the Iranian players had to meet with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps after their demonstration before the game against England.

Earlier Monday, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter and team captain Tyler Adams were grilled by Iranian journalists in a surreal press conference.

Questioned about domestic immigration policy and a U.S. Navy ship in the Persian Gulf, Berhalter answered, “I don’t know enough about politics, I’m a soccer coach.”

The players of Iran line up for the national anthem prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The players of Iranian national team line up for the national anthem prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Getty Images The players of Iran line up for the national anthem prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Tuesday’s match against the United States is a must win for both teams. Getty Images

Berhalter also addressed the social media controversy that erupted over the weekend, when U.S. Soccer posted a version of the Iranian flag in which the Islamic Republic emblem was scrubbed. The coach said he, his staff and his players “had no idea about what U.S. Soccer put out.” The posts were later deleted.

“All we can do on our behalf is apologize on behalf of the players and the staff, but it’s not something that we are part of,” Berhalter said.

An Iranian reporter told Adams he mispronounced “Iran” and questioned the captain about “representing a country that has so much discrimination against black people.”

“My apologies on the mispronunciation of your country,” Adams said. “That being said, there’s discrimination everywhere you go. One thing that I’ve learned, especially from living abroad in the past years and having to fit in in different cultures and kind of assimilating to different cultures, is that in the U.S. we’re continuing to make progress every single day.”

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