Iran government supporters confront protesters at World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil
A supporter of the Iranian government waves a copy of a picture of Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei at a protest in Brasilia, Brazil, against the presence of Israel, Wednesday, June 3, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Rubens West/Pool
At the last minute a young Iranian man called to the press pool. He had a message for his country’s leaders: he was protesting against the World Cup and Israel.
A protester shouts slogans against the Brazil World Cup soccer tournament and the presence of Israel, June 3, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Paulo Whitaker
“Iran is not a nation,” he said. “We are not a nation. Our government is not the people’s government. It is the supreme leader who is the people’s government.”
Then the man turned and walked away.
What did he mean by this? A little later, he was confronted by a protester who called to him.
“Why are you doing this?” the man asked. “Our government is good government. Our government, our president, our prime minister, we all love our people, and we do love our people, and this is a shame for our government.”
The man shook his head. He looked at his friends for confirmation.
“This is a shame,” he said. “This is a disgrace. This is our shame.”
The young man never looked back at the protesters again. But after a few moments, the camera cut over to a man who tried to explain.
The young man did not answer. The man’s fellow protesters looked at one another. One of them said, “He is right. We are not a nation. Our government isn’t the people’s government.”
Then the camera returned to the young man in the photo. He did not run, he did not walk, he just sat in his seat and stared at the camera.
The video spread across Facebook and the nation. On the evening news, Iran