The Iranian government has threatened families of its World Cup team with imprisonment and torture if the players fail to "behave" before Tuesday's soccer match against the United States, CNN reported.
Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) called players to a meeting after team members refused to sing the nation's national anthem before the Nov. 21 opening match against England, CNN reported.
The players were told their families would face "violence and torture" if they did not sing the national anthem or if they joined any political protests against the Tehran regime, a source told CNN.
Iranian players sang the anthem before their second match, a 2-0 victory against Wales on Friday.
The CNN source told the media outlet that dozens of IRGC officers were present in Qatar to monitor the Iranian players, who are prevented from interacting with foreigners and people outside of the team.
"There are a large number of Iranian security officers in Qatar collecting information and monitoring the players," the source said.
Iran's coach Carlos Queiroz, who is Portuguese, met with IRGC officers after their threats to players and their families, said the CNN source, who did not elaborate on what the coach and officers discussed.
Queiroz has said Iranian players can protest within FIFA regulations at the World Cup.
Iranian players were promised "presents and cars" before they played against England, but Tehran switched to sending threats after seeing players refuse to sing their national anthem, CNN reported.
"In the last game against Wales, the regime sent over hundreds of these actor supporters in order to create a false sense of support and favor amongst the fans. For the next game against the U.S, the regime is planning to significantly increase the number of actors into the thousands," a source told CNN.
The United Nations Human Rights Council last week condemned Iran's repression of peaceful demonstrators following the death of Mahsa Amini, and voted to create a high-level investigation into the deadly crackdown.
Demonstrations were sparked by the death in custody of 22-year-old Amini after she was arrested for an alleged breach of the country's strict dress rules for women based on Islamic sharia law.
State-linked media in Iran reported last week that Voria Ghafouri, a former member of the country's national soccer team, was arrested for criticizing the government.
AFP and The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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