Iran are out of the 2014 World Cup after a 3-1 defeat to Bosnia that left fans stunned and disappointed. While football-themed festivities flood the streets in Rio and around the world, some media outlets have taken an interest in how the championship is being celebrated in the streets of Tehran.
The findings, unsurprisingly, are grim. According to AFP’s Arthur MacMillan, Iranian police would rather “spoil the party” than allow the sexes to mix freely in the streets – even to celebrate their own team qualifying.
While bars and restaurants all over the world try to draw patrons to their establishments to watch the games on giant screens, their walls festooned with team flags, the cafes and restaurants of Tehran have been ordered not to screen the matches – including those played by Iran’s own team. Outside, no flags hang in support of Team Melli.
In this bleak atmosphere, the Iranian authorities hope the public will stick to watching the games in private (following President Hassan Rouhani’s pyjama-clad example, of course). But if they don’t take their “vulgar” football fervor indoors, the authorities have a solution: arrest, on the heels of the “Happy” incident. Fortunately, this has not escaped the notice of the media.
And what of the fans who made it to Brazil? According to Al-Arabiya, they were all forced to sign documents guaranteeing they wouldn’t engage in behavior that was “incompatible” with the Islamic Republic’s values. Still, photos of hijab-less female fans managed to go viral on social media, drawing surprise from journalists. Surely Iran’s political elite will have the last word on this as well.