The Iranian government has threatened families of its World Cup team with imprisonment and torture if the players fail to “behave” before Tuesday’s soccer match against the United States, CNN reported.
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Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) called players to a meeting after team members refused to sing the nation’s national anthem before the Nov. 21 opening match against England, CNN reported.
The players were told their families would face “violence and torture” if they did not sing the national anthem or if they joined any political protests against the Tehran regime, a source told CNN.
Iranian players sang the anthem before their second match, a 2-0 victory against Wales on Friday.
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The CNN source told the media outlet that dozens of IRGC officers were present in Qatar to monitor the Iranian players, who are prevented from interacting with foreigners and people outside of the team.
“There are a large number of Iranian security officers in Qatar collecting information and monitoring the players,” the source said.
Iran’s coach Carlos Queiroz, who is Portuguese, met with IRGC officers after their threats to players and their families, said the CNN source, who did not elaborate on what the coach and officers discussed.
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Queiroz has said Iranian players can protest within FIFA regulations at the World Cup. Continue reading at Newsmax.