Iran's players refused to sing their national anthem as boos rung out from fans in the stands ahead of their first game of the Qatar World Cup against England today.
The Iranian national squad stood stony-faced as the anthem played at the Khalifa International Stadium on Monday, in an apparent sign of solidarity with protests currently engulfing the country back home.
Meanwhile audible jeers and boos were heard by supporters in the crowd, who were also seen waving banners supporting the demonstrators.
Catherine Perez-Shakdam, a specialist in Iran at the Henry Jackson Society, told MailOnline that the team and fans will likely be 'punished severely' for such an open display of defiance against the regime.
'The refusal by Iran's football team not to sing the Islamic Republic's national anthem will be a decision the players will pay for dearly.
'Similarly, any Iranian fan identified by the regime for booing the anthem will also face being severely punished. This is the brutal reality of modern-day Iran.
'Iran's players may have forfeited more than just their freedom today; and their lives may not be the only ones on the line.
'Indeed, the regime has demonstrated a particular propensity to target dissidents' family members and in doing so deter others from voicing their opinions.
'Given Iran's horrendous track record, it stands to note that the players and fans who today shunned the regime, knew full well about risks they faced.