An the day Iran played the United States in Qatar, I was so scared. I was overwhelmed by the prospect of going to a football stadium. I almost couldn’t walk because I felt something bad was going to happen to the fans. I finally arrived at the stadium. And I was so angry. Everywhere I went I saw people from the regime. They stood there and filmed the people going into the stadium. They also played extremely loud music. There is actually a lot of mourning in our culture, especially for young people. It was a provocation. Just tremendously painful.
Finally, two good friends took me, neither of them are Iranian. That made it easier for me to get through the evening. We sit on our seats and finally the Americans scored their goal. That relaxed me a bit. I wouldn’t have gotten along with a jubilant regime that evening. But the Iranians lost 1-0 and I walked towards the exit relatively calmly. Then I got a message on my cell phone.
“Qatar Police Arrest Iranians”
A friend asked if I was okay. I wrote back: Yes. He replied: Qatari police are arresting Iranians, quite brutally…
At the same time, I was already seeing videos from Iran – people were on the streets and cheering about the defeat. Later, the next day, we learned that Mehsan Siamak was shot in Bandar-e Anzali because he honked in the car.
I showed the videos from Iran to some foreign fans. They looked at it, wondered about the joy of defeat and said: a strange people. But for me that’s normal. That’s normal when you live under a dictatorship for forty years.
I wish FIFA cared more about our security. At matches in Tehran there is always someone trying to protect you from brute force. In Doha we were alone, completely defenseless. I had some chocolate in my purse that I wanted to give to people who had a sign that they supported the revolution. It has become such a thing in Iran in recent months that people give each other chocolate to support each other. but what should I say? I was too scared, I didn’t do it in Qatar. That has never happened to me in Iran.
Recorded by Christoph Becker