Iranian authorities have detained at least 10 male teenagers for “expressing joy” in response to a recent loss from the national soccer team, a Norway-based human rights organization said on Monday.

The Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, which focuses on rights issues in the Kurdistan region, said it identified at least three of the minors by name.

Hengaw said the latest incident that it knew of involved a 17-year-old named Diako Behroojeh, who was “arrested by Iranian security forces” on Wednesday.

The arrests were connected to Iran’s 3-2 defeat to Qatar in the Asian Football Confederation’s Asian Cup, in a pivotal match that would have put the winner through to this year’s finals. Qatar is hosting the tournament.

Hengaw said those under 18 who were arrested and accused of celebrating the outcome of the match were transferred to the Kermanshah Correction and Development Center,

Iranian security forces have been cracking down on displays of dissent since the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini sparked nationwide protests against the strictly conservative Islamic government ruling the country.

During the 2022 FIFA World Cup, local human rights groups said a 27-year-old Iranian man was shot dead by security forces for celebrating Iran’s loss to the US, which resulted in its exit from the tournament.

Iranians tired of their government’s hardline rule sometimes celebrate the Iranian soccer team’s losses as a defeat for their country’s current national identity.

Some national team members have previously expressed support for the anti-government protests, though not overtly.

In January 2023, national soccer player Amir Nasr-Azadani was sentenced to 16 years in prison for “partaking in enmity against God,” which is widely interpreted as being accused of taking part in the protests.

Source » businessinsider