England players urged to celebrate with ‘scissor-cutting’ gesture if they score today
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England players are being urged to perform a scissor-cutting gesture during their World Cup match with Iran.
The two teams go head to head in their first game of the controversial tournament today (21 November).
The long-awaited match will be the first time the two sides have ever played against each other.
But it is even more significant due to the political climate and human rights violations that have been reported on in Iran.
Earlier this year, thousands of women took to the streets to protest the death of Mahsa Amini, cutting off their hair in defiance of the country's strict laws.
The 22-year-old was arrested after she was allegedly found to have violated the country's strictly enforced dress code.
It has been compulsory for women in Iran to cover their heads since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
And according to morality police, Mahsa was found wearing her headscarf – or hijab – too loosely.
Three days after her arrest, she collapsed and spent three days in a coma after being detained by police in Tehran.
At least 326 people were killed and 15,000 arrested during the protests.
The scissor-cutting gesture would demonstrate solidarity with the protests in Iran.
Speaking to The Mirror, actor and comedian Omid Djalili said he hoped England players would use their platform to highlight the human rights abuses in Iran and show solidarity with the protesters.
“Every Iranian I know is saying ‘I hope England beat them, smash them. I hope England put seven past them’," said Djalili.
“I hope the England players will make some kind of reference, they might give a symbol like the Iranian beach soccer player did.”
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Elika Ashoori, whose father was imprisoned in Iran, said she hoped that the players took the opportunity.
She said: "Because football is such a big sport in Iran, and these players are role models to very young children, people idolise these footballers - when we were kids, we would idolise British footballers as well.
"Seeing solidarity from a team that they do idolise means a lot, and it highlights the problems that they can't voice out of the country.
"So I think having that platform and not using it is such a shame."
England v Iran is on BBC from 12pm today.