I was beaten unconscious by Iranian government henchmen for listening to music – Fifa must kick my country out of the World Cup

WHEN I was younger I loved my life in Iran playing with my friends and going to school.

I thought the life we ​​had here was the same as for every other young girl in the world – but now I know different.

Two weeks ago, I was walking home from school with two friends.

We were gossiping about things at school and listening to music, just like teenage girls everywhere.

But what happened next doesn’t happen in most other places.

Three men in Basij uniforms stopped us and started asking us questions about the music and what we had in our bags.

They pushed us and were very aggressive so I asked: “Who are you?”

The answer came instantly – a fist to my eye.

I fell to the ground in agony and then everything went black.

The next thing I knew was when I was back at home. When I woke up I couldn’t see very well and the light sent strokes of pain through my eyes into my head.

My family was afraid to call a doctor so we contacted a nurse who lives in our block.

It might sound crazy but my family was terrified that being hit by the Basij would be considered a sign of guilt.

Ever since it happened I jump up in horror when someone rings our doorbell, terrified it’s the Basij again.

I am convinced that every siren I hear on the streets is meant for me or my family.

I don’t know what I have done wrong, so I don’t know what they will punish me for.

It wasn’t as if we weren’t wearing the hijab correctly, like some of the brave women in the recent protests.

We were just walking home from school listening to music.

I never thought this could happen here. My three brothers have a good business, my father is a well-respected war veteran and my mother educated many children as a school teacher.

We are a good family and have never done anything wrong.

But since the protests in Tehran everything changed and the Basij now roam the streets looking for people to challenge to enforce their rules – even teenage girls.

This is normal life in Iran now, but I don’t think the rest of the world realizes how bad it has become.

Hopefully the attention of the World Cup will change that.

People love football here and have a huge pride in the national team.

We all celebrated when the team qualified for Qatar and we were really hoping they would do well – we even thought they might beat England!

But the protests have changed everything. People now feel the team represents not the nation of Iran, but the regime and all of its aggression against its own people.

How can we support the national team when the Basij are attacking people like me on the street for no reason?

And how can Fifa allow a country that acts like Iran to compete in the World Cup?

Russia was banned for invading Ukraine but our government is now helping Russia fight in Ukraine.

How can Fifa support that – and how can the rest of the world let it happen?

Fifa must take a stand and ban Iran from the World Cup.

But however bad it feels for us at the moment, there is still hope.

As the regime tries to force the population to live in a certain way, the weakest link naturally suffers the most.

In Iran, the regime considers that women are the weakest link – but they are wrong.

In an Iranian household, the mother calls the shots.

It is from our mothers that we get our strength and determination – and our hope that one day change will happen in Iran.

We have no idea when that change will come – but it will happen eventually, of that we are certain.

And when it does girls will be able to listen to music on their way home from school once more – and we will all support our team at the World Cup again.