England and Wales have been urged to use goal celebrations to help bring down the current Iranian regime, amid ongoing protests over women's rights that have so far gripped the Islamic Republic.
Gareth Southgate's side kick off their World Cup campaign against Iran on Monday, and it remains to be seen whether there will be any reference to the ongoing protests against the Iranian government, which have been steadily growing over the last few weeks.
At least 326 people have been killed and 15,000 more arrested across Iran since the demonstrations, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, started. Amini was arrested for allegedly flouting the country's dress rules and later died in custody.
Hair cutting has become a symbol of solidarity with the protest movement against the Iranian regime, with beach footballer Saeed Piramoun making headlines around the world after making a scissor-like gesture above his head with this fingers to celebrate a goal.
British-Iranian comedian Omid Djalili has urged England to do the same thing, adding that he hopes the Three Lions secure a convincing win over a side that many disenfranchised Iranians feel doesn't represent them.
He told the Mirror : “Every Iranian I know is saying ‘I hope England beat them, smash them. I hope England put seven past them’.
"I hope the England players will make some kind of reference, they might give a symbol like the Iranian beach soccer player did.
“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.”
“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 thousands of protesters arrested so far could face the death sentence, and hopes Wales and the United States also show similar solidarity.
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.”
However, despite hoping for Iran's World Cup to end in disaster, Djalili insist 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.”
There has been constant speculation over whether the Iranian players themselves sympathise with the protest movement back home, with star player Alireza Jahanbakhsh insists the players are free to make up their own minds on whether they want to show solidarity, amid questions over whether the squad will sing the national anthem against the English on Monday.
"We are here to play football and that's the main thing everybody is focused on," he said.
"Celebrations are something very personal. Every single player has a different celebration.
"And you ask about our national anthem, that's something also that's decided in the team which we already talked about.
"Everybody has already talked about. We will never make a big deal out of it to be honest because everyone is only thinking and talking about football to be honest."