Iran’s World Cup winger says focus is on playing, not political issues

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Iran’s football World Cup winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh said on Thursday that the focus of the team will be on the competition, not political issues related to the country’s nationwide protests.

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Asked whether the players would chant Iran’s national anthem during the world’s biggest football event, Jahanbakhsh said “celebration and chanting the anthem is a personal decision and we are trying not to make a big deal out of it.”

Several Iranian athletes have expressed support for anti-government demonstrations triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody in September.

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