Iranian fans clash with protesters ahead of WC game against Wales

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Iranian fans clash with protesters ahead of WC game against Wales
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Political unrest in Iran appeared to overshadow the national team’s second match at the World Cup, as pro-government supporters harassed anti-government supporters outside the stadium in Qatar ahead of their clash with Wales on Friday .

Some Iranian supporters confiscated Persian pre-revolutionary Iranian flags from supporters entering the stadium and shouted insults at those wearing shirts with the slogan of the country’s protest movement: “Woman, Life, Freedom”.

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Iran’s players sang during the playing of their national anthem, although they did not sing in their opening match earlier this week in an apparent show of support for protesters at home.

Loud boos were heard from Iranian fans as the anthem played, with the team singing softly as they played.

Iranian authorities have responded with lethal force to quell protests that erupted after Mahsa Amini died in September following her arrest for improperly wearing a headscarf.

Small groups of men angrily chanted “Islamic Republic of Iran” to women who were giving interviews about the protests to foreign media.

Many female fans were visibly shaken when supporters of the Iranian government surrounded them with national flags and filmed them on their phones.

Shouting matches erupted outside the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium security checkpoint in Al Rayyan between fans shouting “Women, life, freedom” and others shouting “The Islamic Republic”.

Some anti-government supporters held signs in support of the protest movement during Iran’s first game against England earlier this week, which they lost 6-2.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.

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