Iranian footballer Voria Ghafouri was arrested on Thursday for his criticism of Iran’s ayatollahs and mullahs.
Ghafouri was arrested for ‘insulting the national soccer team and propaganda against the government’.
The footballer, 35, was a member of Iran’s 2018 World Cup squad, but was not named in the team for World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
Ghafouri had earlier objected to a longstanding ban on women spectators at men’s soccer matches as well as Iran’s confrontational foreign policy.
He grieved for the family of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini whose death in September in the custody of Iran’s morality police ignited the worst protests seen after the mullahs came to power in Tehran in February 1979.
Iran’s players refused to sing the national anthem ahead of their opening match, a 6-2 loss to England, on Monday, November 21.
Ghafouri’s arrest is likely to be seen as a warning to the players not to repeat the gesture when they face Wales on Friday.
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