Iranian Fan Wearing Pro-Protest Shirt Attacked in Qatar, Video Shows

Social media footage shows an Iranian fan in a pro-protest shirt being attacked by another Iran fan at the soccer World Cup in Qatar on Monday, on the eve of a politically charged match with the U.S.

Videos show World Cup Security staff trying to separate the two men having the altercation, one draped in an Iran flag and another wearing a black T-shirt saying "Women, Life, Freedom" in the Iranian colors of green, white and red.

The T-shirt is a nod to the protest movement that spread across Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, in police custody in September.

There were other clashes amongst Iranian fans before and after the team lost 1-0 to the U.S. at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha, causing Iran to crash out of the World Cup. Attacking midfielder Christian Pulisic scored the game's only goal in the 38th minute.

There are also reports that two London-based Iranians who supported the protests were repeatedly harassed before the match. One of them, who only gave her first name, Maryam, out of fear of reprisals, was slapped in the face by a man following her. Security guards broke up the altercation, but did not detain the man, the news agency reported.

It was also reported that U.S.-based Iranians carrying pictures of young women killed in Iran's protests felt deeply uneasy at the stadium where Iran played the U.S. on Tuesday.

"I feel like I am surrounded by IRGC agents," Mehrdad, who also only gave his first name, said, referencing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a powerful division of Iran's armed forces. "Everybody's watching you."

Despite the intervention from some security in response to the violence, there was no apparent widespread move to stop the clashes, The Guardian reported.

Newsweek has contacted the Qatar World Cup as well as the Qatari Interior Ministry for comment.

The ongoing protests in Iran started on September 16, when Amini died in suspicious circumstances three days after her arrest for allegedly breaching the country's dress code for women. Although police claimed she died of a heart attack, alleged eyewitnesses claim Amini had been severely beaten by the authorities.

Iran has deployed state security forces to suppress the protests, leading to violent clashes spreading across the country. Authorities claim more than 300 people have died in the protests, but experts and rights groups believe that the real number is higher.

In their opening World Cup game against England on November 21, the Iranian team refused to sing the country's national anthem, in a protest against the regime of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran Football Fans Qatar
Iran fans are pictured prior to the FIFA World Cup Group B match between Iran and U.S. at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 29, 2022. Social media footage shows an Iranian fan in a pro-protest shirt being attacked by another Iran fan in Qatar on Monday. Getty