Iran manager confronts BBC reporter in Qatar
Iran head coach Carlos Queiroz has asked why England counterpart Gareth Southgate is not quizzed on topics such as Afghanistan, as the manager addressed a BBC journalist at the World Cup in Qatar.
Iran are playing their second Group B match against Wales on Friday, but members of the team have spent time at media conferences fielding questions about the protests back in their homeland following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody in September.
The Iranian team remained silent for the national anthem prior to their opening defeat against England on Monday – which was taken by many to be a show of support for the protests.
Questions on the topic continued as Queiroz faced the media on Thursday alongside striker Mehdi Taremi, who scored twice in the 6-2 loss against England.
Queiroz, who is Portuguese, initially defended journalists’ right to ask a range of questions, saying: “They have the right, the press have the right to make the questions that they understand are the right questions.”
“It is important that if we answer whatever we want, you also need to respect that. We don’t want to mix those kind of issues in the moment that you’re playing football,” added the 69-year-old.
But after the event, Queiroz spoke directly to BBC Persia reporter Shaimaa Khalil, demanding to know why the likes of England manager Southgate has not been probed on topics such as Afghanistan during his press engagements.
“I’m asking you one thing now: Why don’t you ask questions to other coaches? That’s only fair,” Queiroz was heard saying amid a throng of reporters.
“Why don’t you ask Southgate: ‘What do you think about England and the United States that left Afghanistan and all the women alone?’”
Khalil insisted that she had asked Iranian striker Taremi about the protests because “this is an Iranian player” and the issue is “about his country.”
Queiroz made similar criticism of members of the Western media earlier during the tournament in Qatar.
After one press conference, he was heard telling a British Sky News journalist to “think about what happened in your country with immigration” after a politically charged question.
Iran continue their World Cup campaign against Wales at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan on Friday, before taking on the USA in Al Thumama on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Islamic nation has faced protests within the country since the death of Amini in September, after she was detained for allegedly breaking morality rules by not wearing a hijab correctly.
An autopsy later determined that Amini did not die due to physical violence, but from cerebral hypoxia, or lack of oxygen to the brain, according to a coroner’s report.
Amini’s death was caused by a pre-existing condition, the document said, specifying that Amini had underlying conditions stemming from surgery on a benign brain tumor she had undergone when she was eight.