England should use goal celebrations to help bring down Iran’s tyrannical regime, says Brit-Iranian star Omid Djalili.
The Three Lions kick off their World Cup campaign against Iran at 1pm on Monday. And he is urging that England players mark every score with a hair cutting gesture.
Hair cutting has become a symbol of solidarity in protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
She was arrested by for allegedly flouting the Islamic Republic’s dress rules, and died while in custody.
Protests have spread across the country, with at least 326 killed and 15,000 arrested.
Omid said Iran should have been banned from the World Cup not just for Mahsa’s death and the outrages which followed, but also for supplying arms to Russia.
He added: “Every Iranian I know is saying ‘I hope England beat them, smash them. I hope England put seven past them’.
The Hollywood actor went on: “I hope the England players will make some kind of reference, they might give a symbol like the Iranian beach soccer player did.”
Beach footballer Saeed Piramoun made headlines with the scissor-like gesture above his head with his fingers to celebrate a goal a fortnight ago. Omid wants the Three Lions to do the same, adding: “It would be so powerful if England thrashed Iran and then England players made a gesture for the women of Iran. That would be the end of the regime I think, because it would be seen around the world.
“If the Iranian players did it they would face very severe punishment when they go back, but if England players do it it will be huge.”
Omid said women were still banned from going to the stadium to watch football in Iran.
“This week protests over the death of Mahsa escalated into wider violent disorder against the regime as people marked the anniversary of ‘Bloody November’ in 2019, when government forces killed as many as 1,500.”
Omid fears the 15,000 arrested so far could face the death sentence. He said: “What I’m asking England players, Welsh players, USA players, is pretty huge.
“If for one second you could do that one symbol, pretend to have a ponytail and snip it off. The global impact you will not believe.
“You may say ‘it’s just a football match’. But when the regime sees that. That player will save thousands of lives.”
He does not blame Iran’s footballers for taking part, adding “No-one blames the players. I feel for them. They have threats to their families, so they have to be careful.”