Iranian soccer player Voria Ghafouri arrested amid World Cup scrutiny


A prominent Iranian soccer player was arrested on Thursday on charges of defaming the country’s national team, which is competing in the World Cup, Iranian media reported. the state on Thursday.

The player, Voria Ghafouri, is a former member of Iran’s national team and a frequent critic of the government. His arrest comes at a time when Iranian football players are under scrutiny for their statements about Iran’s nationwide uprising that has been ongoing for months.

Iran’s World Cup team is keeping quiet in the face of protests at home

Iran’s national team, during Monday’s match against England, refused to sing during the playing of the country’s national anthem, widely seen as a tacit endorsement of the protests. Iran’s national broadcaster showed footage of fans cheering for Iran during the match, instead of the political signs carried by some.

Protests in Iran began in September after the death of a Kurdish girl, Mahsa Amini, at the hands of the police. The uprising against Iran’s clerical leadership has spread across the country and sparked a violent and deadly crackdown, including in the ethnic Kurdish region, where rights groups say dozens have been killed in recent days. the next few days.

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The United Nations Human Rights Council in a election on Thursday it launched an investigation into alleged violations of Iran’s response to the protests. “Today’s meeting leaves no doubt that the membership of the HRC recognizes the seriousness of the situation in Iran, and the fact-finding mission launched today will help ensure that those involved in the violent crackdown by the Iranians, their actions are known and documented,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Human rights groups say Iran is increasing repression in the Kurdish region

Ghafouri, who is Kurdish, has criticized the authorities on social media in the past, and recently posted a message on Twitter condemning the killing of Kurds. Iranian news reports did not say why he was arrested but said the charges included “spreading propaganda against” the Islamic republic.

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He has been called up several times over the past decade for the national team, and has played for several Iranian club teams including his current club, Foolad Khuzestan. ISNA, the unofficial news agency, reported on Thursday that Hamidreza Garshasbi, the team’s general manager, had resigned, saying that the reason for his departure had not yet been disclosed.

Even before the start of the World Cup, some Iranians called on FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, to ban the national team, known as Team Melli, for a sign of support for the protest. Others argued that attending the World Cup was a boon for the rebellion: a high-profile event that gave players and spectators a chance to express dissent, with international media- national.

Iran take on Wales on Friday.

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World Cup in Qatar

Live Latest News: The last eight teams to make their debut in Qatar will face off on Thursday in Group G and H. Stay tuned for the latest news, updates and highlights.

USMNT: In their return to the World Cup, the U.S. boys tied 1-1 with Wales in their Group B opener. The U.S. men’s national team face an even bigger task on Friday against Group B favorites England, who beat Iran 6-2 on Monday.

Qatar dispute: Soccer fans wearing the rainbow, a symbol of LGBTQ inclusion, said they were denied entry to World Cup stadiums and fought with the crowd to remove the symbol.

Group instructions: Coach Gregg Berhalter and star player Christian Pulisic have qualified for the 2022 World Cup, improving on a hit-and-miss 2018 campaign. Here’s a closer look at how all the teams stack up in each group.


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