Iran fans with pre-revolution flag denied entry into World Cup match against England

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Iranian fans carrying the pre-1979 revolution flag of Iran were denied entry into the venue of their country’s first World Cup game against England in Qatar on Monday, the New York Times reported.

Fans wearing shirts with the flag or anti-regime messaging were also not allowed entry into the stadium, according to the NYT report.

The flag, known as the lion and sun flag, was the official flag of Iran until the 1979 revolution which led to the establishment of the Islamic Republic.

Iranian players chose not to sing their country’s national anthem ahead of their opening Word Cup match against England on Monday, in an apparent show of support for protesters back home.

The players were silent as the anthem was played at the Khalifa International Stadium, where Iranian fans gathered in the stands shouted as the music was played. Some were seen making thumbs-down gestures.

Iranian state television, during its live broadcast, censored the footage of the players lining up before the match as the anthem was played.

More than two months of protests in Iran, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini in the custody of the morality police have turned into one of the boldest challenges to Iran's clerical leaders since the 1979 revolution.

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