Iran has arrested a former national football team member and accused him of criticizing the government and undermining the national World Cup team, according to a report in The protector. Voria Ghafouri was “propaganda against the government,” the paper said, citing Iran’s Fars and Tasnim news agencies. Ghafouri was once the captain of a football club in Tehran called Esteghlal and addressed the government on social media to stop killing Kurdish people.
He was previously detained for criticizing Iran’s former foreign minister, Javad Sharif. The protector said in his report.
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Ghafouri’s arrest is meant as a warning to the team, which is already embroiled in controversy after failing to sing the national anthem before the game against England.
Iranian ministers have accused Ghafouri of being a Kurdish separatist. “Some people, who benefit from the peace and security of the country, enjoy their jobs and their favorite sport, bite the hand that feeds them,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had said earlier this year. reference to Ghafouri. However, the footballer has denied all allegations.
Ghafouri was included in Iran’s 2018 World Cup squad, but was not named in this year’s Qatar World Cup squad.
Iran has been rocked by demonstrations over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was arrested in September for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress rules for women based on Islamic Sharia law.
UN rights chief Volker Turk said on Thursday that about 14,000 people, including children, had been arrested over the protests and denounced the fact that at least six protesters had been sentenced to death.
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