Iran’s national sitting volleyball team has become the latest group of Iranian athletes that has declined to sing the national anthem before or after a match, in a show of defiance against a clerical regime that has been facing nationwide protests for weeks.
Iran's men's sitting volleyball team won the world championship for the eighth time on November 11 after defeating Bosnia-Herzegovina, the host of this year's competition, in three consecutive sets.
The winners remained silent when the national anthem was played during the medal ceremony in Sarajevo.
Social media footage also showed Iran's national basketball team refraining from singing the national anthem during a match with China in Tehran on November 11. Earlier this week, the national water polo team also failed to sing the anthem at a competition in Thailand.
Last week, players of the national beach football team players refused to sing the anthem at the beginning of a match against the United Arab Emirates in Dubai. And on November 6, the players did not celebrate after winning the championship.
The Iranian national anthem glorifies the Islamic Republic and its founders. Many Iranians regard "Ey Iran," a song that glorifies Iranian soil and its history, as the real national anthem. The song's history goes back to the 1941 Anglo-Soviet invasion of the country.
The wave of protests that has convulsed Iran since the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police has caused one of the boldest challenges to the country's clerical rulers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
During the demonstrations, women were seen waving and burning headscarves, which are mandatory under Iran's conservative dress codes.
Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi caused controversy last month after she appeared at an international competition in South Korea without a headscarf. She later said the move was "unintentional."
Security services have unleashed a fierce crackdown on the mainly peaceful protests in which at least 300 people have been killed, including 40 children, according to one human rights organization. Thousands of people have been arrested or detained.