LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– For the last two months, Iranians have protested the government following the death of a 22-year-old woman.
Against the backdrop of the protests was Tuesday’s World Cup game between Iran and the United States.
The U.S. won that game, advancing to the next round. It was broadcast in many establishments in Las Vegas, including on the façade of Resorts World.
Iranians 8 News Now spoke with said they were conflicted about the match. While they’d like to support Iran, they don’t want to support an Iranian regime that has brutally cracked down on protesters.
“I mean they’re killing kids. They’re killing little boys, little girls. I mean they’re killing teenagers,” said Samira Knight, ESQ. She’s the founder and director of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas.
Knight’s parents moved to Las Vegas as kids to escape persecution from the Iranian regime.
Her father Siamek Knight is Jewish and can’t return to the country due to his religious faith.
“This is bad, and people in Iran, they’re hostages basically,” Siamak Knight said.
Samira Knight said watching the recent unrest makes her upset.
She and other members of the chamber have organized vigils in Las Vegas and met with Congresswoman Susie Lee (D), to discuss the situation.
Knight said she’d like to see more involvement from the U.S.
“These people, they have nothing else to live for but freedom,” said Samira Knight. “It’s not like Ukraine or Russia who are fighting each other in a war. These are people with no guns, who have nothing. Who have rocks and sticks.”
Siavash Akrami immigrated to the United States in 2008 to study at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He graduated with a degree in computer science.
Akrami has followed the protests closely.
“There is a great unity among the people. Previously, it was only the big cities. Now, it’s in every little town. You see protests, you see the videos coming out,” said Akrami.
Iran’s Islamic regime suppressed protesters in 2009. The recent protests began in September after a woman who was arrested for not wearing a headscarf died in police custody.
Akrami said these protests may be hard to end.
“With the number of people who have died recently, I don’t see this being suppressed easily anymore,” said Akrami.
An Iranian general recently said that 300 people may have been killed in the unrest. The group Human Rights Activists puts the death toll much higher. They estimate that at least 451 protesters have been killed.