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Iran Regime’s Soccer Team Lost, Iranians Won

Millions of Iranians watched the soccer match between Iran and the United States in World Cup. Considered a major soccer-enthusiastic nation, Iranians closely followed the spectacle, but this time hoping the so-called “Team Melli,” the mullahs’ team de facto, would lose.
After more than 100 exhilarating minutes, the regime’s team lost, and Iranian cities burst into scenes of joy and jubilation for a population that has been zealously defying anything that represents the ruling theocracy for the past three months. In their opinion, the Iranian people won, and the regime and its soccer team lost.

These celebrations are unique in Iran’s contemporary history because Iran’s dictators have politically misused the sport throughout the years in a bid to fortify their grip on power and misguide public opinion. Only a few days before flying to Qatar, players of the “Team Melli” had met with the regime’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, infamous for his role in the 1988 massacre as well as the decades-long record in a judiciary that has ordered thousands of amputations and executions.

Though, exploiting the national hype for political purposes has not been unprecedented in the country. The previous monarchial dictatorship also used the so-called national symbols to rally support and deceive people. Yet, this pales to what the clerical regime has done. Since taking power in 1979, the clerical regime has been cloaking its ominous projects in religious and national causes.

This includes prolonging the anti-patriotic Iran-Iraq War while calling it “the sacred defense” to control Iran’s restive and vibrant society by sending youth to war fronts as canon fodders and squandering billions of dollars on the nuclear weapons program, calling it “national technology.”

The former helped religious fascism to brand dissidents as enemies of Islam and the country, both the acronyms of the clerical regimes. Stressing to drag out the war after all Iraqi forces left Iranian soil in 1982, Iran’s ruling theocracy also fails to explain that if the Iran-Iraq War was a “sacred defense,” why was its main slogan “conquering Jerusalem through Karbala?”

Iran’s regime continued the Iran-Iraq War at the cost of Iranians, resulting in over one million deaths and injuries on the Iranian side. The country’s infrastructure was seriously damaged, and authorities later acknowledged they had at least one billion dollars’ worth of damage.

Tehran also wasted national wealth in advancing its nuclear program. Due to its vast natural resources, such as fossil fuels, Iran doesn’t need a nuclear program. During Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s era as the regime’s president, the clerical regime earned $800 billion in oil revenues. What happened to this windfall of cash? It was squandered on developing the nuclear program and funding Tehran’s terrorist proxy groups, forcing Iranian children to search for food in the garbage.

Feeling desperate vis-à-vis what many consider Iran’s democratic revolution, the clerical regime once again opted to divert people’s attention and stimulate “national emotions” by using the soccer team and the World Cup 2022. Yet, it has failed miserably.

Nearly three months of incessant protests have indeed increased public awareness. Besides, the animosity between people and the regime has reached an irreversible point, and people reject anything and anyone symbolizing the clerical regime.

But the role of the Iranian Resistance in debunking all the regime’s religious and nationalist claims is very notable. The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) was the only progressive Muslim democratic opposition that rejected the referendum on the regime’s constitution and has advocated for the regime’s downfall while insisting on the fact that Iran’s ruling theocracy is indeed the main enemy of Islam. The MEK condemned mandatory veiling and the regime’s discrimination towards religious and ethnic minorities.

This happened while the Iranian regime continued its killing spree, targeting women and religious minorities, or instigating sectarian wars in Syria and Iraq, under the pretext of protecting Islam. Decades-long of exposing the regime’s propaganda campaigns and the exploitation of Iranians’ strong drive for nationalism has contributed to widespread awakening. In their protests, people chanted slogans such as “They [the regime] uses Islam, making people’s lives miserable” and “No Gaza, nor Lebanon, my life for Iran.”

In 1988, the Iranian Resistance forced the regime’s then-supreme leader, Ruhollah Khomeini, to accept the cease-fire with Iraq and end the war he had vowed to “continue until the last brick in Tehran. “He later described accepting the cease-fire as “drinking a chalice of poison.”

The Iranian Resistance is proud to expose the regime’s anti-patriotic nuclear weapons program, and it remains committed to the historic task of preventing an aggressive, virulently sectarian, and repression theocracy from developing weapons of mass destruction.

The current deep national understanding, which didn’t happen overnight, indicates a revolution in the making in Iran. Iranians have identified their enemy, the ruling theocracy, and do not want to reform this brutal regime.

Now the world powers should hear and embrace the Iranian people’s will to regime change and have a democratic country. They should cut all ties with Tehran and recognize the Iranian people’s right to self-determination and self-defense.