Iranians may never forget the eighth day of the month of Azar of the year 1376 (November 1997). The day that our national team stopped the strong Australian team in Melbourne and made their way to the World Cup in France. Suddenly millions of viewers, who sitting in front of the TV witnessed the glorifying victory of the Iranian National team, poured into the streets and celebrated this victory with a glorious celebration.
In recent years, Soccer has become an excuse for performing wide-scale social protests in Iran that have caused the ever-increasing worries of the regimes statesmen. The presence of millions of people in far reaching areas of the country is beyond a normal expression of feelings; and, by pondering on these types of movements, it can be understood that the presence of the people after a soccer match is nothing other than a clever social upheaval for expressing the disenchantments of the masses, which cannot be given a name more fitting than the Soccer [Football] Movement.
Nowadays, despite the strongest security precautions for preventing national uprisings, the Soccer Movement in Iran has developed a diverse nature, has gone beyond the borders of joyousness and support for the national team, and has transformed into an all-inclusive contention. The young generation takes advantage of any opportunity to display its anger and hatred towards the ruling government; and, with their presence in the city squares, they challenge the government’s power to a confrontation. Dancing and celebrating in Iran is not considered to be a means just for rejoicing, rather, it has turned into a powerful tool for the struggle that is considered an aspect of the contention with the government of the clerics; since, the backward clerics consider any kind of happiness vulgar and contrary to religious dignity.
Football celebrations in Iran have a distinct difference from those of other countries. In Iran, Football is an opportunity for national unification and solidarity for expressing political contention and, most importantly, it is training for a public and widespread uprising, which cannot be considered anything other than a social disobedience.
The power display of the young generation following a football game is truly an applaudable scene. The young generation, hand in hand singing the banned National anthem (O Iran! Oh Land of Jewels!), with cries of joy and jubilation, and by raising the tri-color flags of Iran, display their resolve and determination for combating oppression and tyranny.
In Iran everyone knows what a commotion exists in the streets after a Soccer game. The high-spirited sounds of mirth, the unwavering honks of the automobile horns, the loud sound of music, and dancing all send the message of the young generation’s boldness against the mechanism of suppression. The smiles and the sparkle in the glances are telling of this truth that the presence of the people will put an end to the dictatorship and oppression! Yes, victory is in solidarity!
[Among] this dancing and merrymaking are the hidden roots of secularism. It terrifies the forces of oppression and forces them to line up against the young generation. These reactions go so far that prior to football matches all of the Armed Forces and Security Forces are placed on high alert and the streets are turned into battlegrounds for confrontations!
Anyhow, that which is important is the determination of the Young Iranians for an untiring battle with oppression. This grass-roots struggle, which has become revealed in the "Third Force", gains wider and more robust dimensions daily.
And, in response to those who deny the existence of this formidable force, they can only be told to look out their windows one day so they can see its widespread wave in the Soccer Movement.
The Third Force will surpass the dams and obstacles and will take control of Iran’s future. The Third Force puts milestones behind; and, these days, any opportunity can turn into an occasion for the presence and power of this genuine and national force.
October 11, 2001 (19th Mehr 1380)
The "Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran" (SMCCDI)