Iran’s Alireza Jahanbakhsh said the team’s focus at the World Cup in Qatar will be on the competition, not on political issues related to the protests taking place in his country.
Asked at a press conference on Thursday if players would sing Iran’s national anthem during the world’s biggest football event, Jahanbakhsh said “celebrating and singing the anthem is a personal decision and we are trying not to make too much of To this”.
Several Iranian athletes recently refrained from singing the national anthem to express support for anti-government demonstrations sparked by the death of young Mahsa Amini in the custody of the so-called moral police in September.
Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand also avoided questions about the movements that have been dominating Iran for two months. “We are trying to bring happiness to the Iranian people,” he said.
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