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Iran arrests footballer Ghafouri after he backed protests – DW – 11/24/2022

Iranian police arrested former international footballer Voria Ghafouri, who supported the ongoing protests against the Iranian regime, state media reported Thursday.

A player of Kurdish descent, Ghafouri is one of Iran’s most prominent footballers. However, he was not chosen to go to the World Cup in Qatar this year.

His arrest comes amid investigations into the behavior of the Iranian national team in Qatar, where they refused to sing the national anthem in solidarity with anti-government protests.

The government has begun a violent crackdown on the demonstrations that have rocked Iran over the past two months.

The UN condemns the harsh response to the protests in Iran

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Why was Voria Ghafouri arrested?

According to Iranian state news agencies, Ghafouri was detained on charges of “tarnishing the national team’s reputation and spreading propaganda against the state”.

He was arrested after training with his club Foolad Khuzestan.

Ghafouri has been an outspoken critic of the Iranian authorities throughout his career.

In particular, the athlete has long objected to a ban on female spectators at men’s football matches, alongside criticism of Tehran’s foreign policy.

He recently called for an end to the crackdown on demonstrations in Iran’s Western Kurdistan region.

Ghafouri also expressed his condolences to the family of Jina Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old woman whose death in the custody of Iran’s notorious moral police sparked the latest wave of protests.

Protests in Iran: did they have an impact?

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fb/dj (AFP, AP)

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