Iranian man shot dead by security forces while celebrating World Cup loss: Report

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A man in northern Iran was shot dead by security forces while celebrating the Iranian national football team’s defeat against the US in the World Cup, a rights group said Wednesday.

Mehran Samak, 27, was killed after being shot in the head by security forces while at a gathering celebrating Iran’s loss and subsequent elimination from the World Cup in the city of Bandar Anzali, the Oslo-based rights group Iran Human Rights (IHR) said.

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An Iranian judiciary official on Thursday confirmed Samak’s death, saying he died after being shot by birdshot following the US-Iran match.

“As soon as this suspicious incident happened, a court case was filed to deal with the issue and the prosecutor of Bandar Anzali is handling the case,” the semi-official ISNA news agency quoted the official as saying.

The US beat Iran 1-0 on Tuesday, progressing to the knockout stage at the expense of Iran who were eliminated from the competition.

Iranians took to the streets in several cities early Wednesday to celebrate the Iranian team’s defeat, videos circulating on social media showed.

Many Iranians have turned against their national football team amid ongoing protests in the country. They see the team as representing the regime rather than the people of Iran.

Some in Iran had also celebrated Iran’s 6-2 defeat in its opening World Cup match against England, posts on social media showed.

Protests have swept across Iran since September 16 when 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini died three days after collapsing in police custody.

Demonstrators have been calling for regime change in the protests which have become one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since its establishment in 1979.

At least 448 people, including 60 children and 29 women, have been killed by security forces in the protests, according to IHR.

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