Iran National Football Players Refuse to Sing National Anthem in Stunning Rebuke of Clerical Regime

The Iranian football team did not sing the national anthem ahead of their first World Cup match, in a stunning rebuke for the regime that brutally suppressed the anti-hijab protests. Many Iranian sports personalities had stood with the protesters but Monday's action by the national football team is the strongest anti-government stance form the sporting community yet.

Hundreds of protesters have been killed in the country-wide protests ever since a 21-year-old woman was killed at the hands of the Iranian moral police for not wearing the head covering properly.

The Iranian players who met England in their first World Cup draw remained silent as the national anthem was played at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

The spate of protests witnessed across Iranian cities, university campuses and schools, is the severest challenge yet for the clerical regime. The protesters have remained steadfast even as te IRGC counter measures resulted in the death of hundreds of them.

Twitter was flooded with comments that also pointed out that Iranians at the stadium booed even as their national anthem was played ahead of the start of the game.

A high watermark of the protests was last week when the protesters burned down the ancestral home of the Islamic Republic's founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Protests broke out in Iran after Mahsa Amini died in police custody on September 13. Thousands of protesters have since been arrested, tortured or killed. The victims include women, children, students and journalists.