An Iranian Man Celebrating His Country's Loss To The US In The World Cup Was Killed By Security Forces, Human Rights Groups Say

Human rights groups say at least 448 people, including 60 children, have been killed by security forces since protests broke out over Mahsa Amini's death.

A human rights organization said Iranian security forces shot and killed a man who was celebrating Iran's loss to the US in the World Cup on Tuesday.

Mehran Samak, 27, was shot in the head for honking his car horn to celebrate the national team's loss and subsequent elimination from the World Cup, according to Iran Human Rights, a Norway-based organization.

The group also shared a video of protesters gathering outside the regime's forensic medical building demanding that authorities return Samak's body to his family.

Footage posted by the Center for Human Rights in Iran purportedly shows people chanting "death to the dictator" at Samak's funeral in Tehran.

His name was #MehranSamak. He was shot in the head by state forces when he went out to celebrate the Islamic Republic’s loss at #FIFAWorldCup2022 in Bandar Anzali last night like many across the country. He was just 27 years old. #مهسا_امینی

Twitter: @IHRights

Samak was a childhood friend of Iranian soccer midfielder Saeed Ezatolahi, who plays on the national team. On Instagram, Ezatolahi on Wednesday posted a tribute to his friend mourning his death and hinting at the tumult in Iran.

"Definitely after another bitter night last night and with the news of your death, my heart is even more on fire," Ezatolahi wrote alongside a photo of him, Samak, and their youth soccer team.

"This is not what our youth deserve. This is not what my Iran deserves," he went on. "Be sure that some day when the masks fall and the truth appears, they'll pay for your family's mournful hearts and your mother's grief."

At least 448 people, including 60 children, have been killed by security forces, Iran Human Rights said.

The Islamist regime has waged a brutal, unrelenting crackdown since protests began in September over Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini's death while in the custody of the morality police. The protests have since morphed into an expression of widespread anger against the regime.

On Tuesday night, many Iranians celebrated the country's exit from the World Cup, viewing the team as a representation of the regime on the international stage.

Videos posted by 1500tasvir, an account sharing protests in the country where the media and the internet are heavily censored, show people cheering on the street and drivers in cars honking after Iran's defeat.

سنندج شادی مردم پس از باخت تیم فوتبال جمهوری‌اسلامی. #مهسا_امینی

Twitter: @1500tasvir

اردبیل پس از باخت تیم جمهوری‌اسلامی. #مهسا_امینی

Twitter: @1500tasvir

All over Iran, Iranians widely celebrated the loss of the Islamic Republic’s soccer team to USA’s team in #FIFAWorldCup Mashhad, Khorasan. #MahsaAmini

Twitter: @1500tasvir_en

The Iranian national team has toed a fine line between expressing support for protesters back home and risking serious repercussions from the regime for doing so. They have been criticized for not being more vocal about the regime's violent suppression of dissent on the world stage, the Associated Press reported. Some also called out Ezatolahi for failing to mention that Samak was killed by security forces.

The team also faced criticism early on for meeting with and bowing to President Ebrahim Raisi before they traveled to Qatar for the World Cup. During the competition, however, the players appeared to cautiously express solidarity with protesters back home.

Ahead of its first match, team captain Ehsan Hajsafi acknowledged the oppression of Iranians back home, saying the "conditions in our country are not right."

"We are here, but it does not mean that we should not be their voice or we must not respect them," he said.

The teammates also stayed silent as the Iranian national anthem played at their first match against England, in what many interpreted as a show of support to protesters.

They were later threatened by the members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and told their families would face "violence and torture" if they participated in any political protest against the government, CNN reported, citing an anonymous source.

The team joined in singing the national anthem in their other two games, against Wales and then the US.

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