Iranian soccer player Voria Ghafouri arrested amid World Cup scrutiny


A prominent Iranian soccer player was arrested Thursday on charges that include defaming the national team, which is competing in the World Cup, state-affiliated media in Iran reported Thursday.

The actor, Voria Ghafouri, was a member of Iran’s national team and is often critical of the government. His arrest comes at a time when Iranian soccer players are under scrutiny for their statements about Iran’s months-long nationwide uprising.

Iran’s World Cup squad has quietly nodded to protests at home

Iran’s national team, in a match against England on Monday, refused to sing during the national anthem, in what was widely seen as a silent protest. Iran’s state broadcaster showed selected images of spectators cheering for Iran during the match but not the political signs carried by others.

Protests in Iran began in September after a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, died in police custody. Protests against Iran’s clerical leadership have spread across the country and sparked violent and deadly violence, including in Kurdish areas, where human rights groups say dozens of people have been killed in recent days.

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United Nations Human Rights Council on a vote On Thursday he launched an investigation into human rights violations in Iran’s response to the protest movement. “Today’s session leaves no doubt that the membership of the HRC understands the gravity of the situation in Iran, and that the mission to find the truth launched today will help ensure that those involved in the ongoing oppression of the Iranian people are identified and their actions documented,” US. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Rights groups say Iran is increasingly fragmented in Kurdish areas

Ghafouri, who is Kurdish, has criticized government officials on social media in the past, and recently posted messages on Twitter condemning the killing of Kurds. Iranian media reports did not give reasons for his arrest but said the charges included “spreading propaganda against” the Islamic republic.

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He has been called up several times in the past decade for the national team, and played for several Iranian club teams including Foolad Khuzestan, his current team. ISNA, the semiofficial news agency, reported on Thursday that Hamidreza Garshasbi, the group’s CEO, had resigned, and said the reason for his resignation had not yet been disclosed.

Even before the start of the World Cup, some Iranians had asked FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, to ban the national team, known as Team Melli, as a sign of support for the protests. Some argue that Iran going to the World Cup was a benefit to the revolution: a high-profile event that gave players and spectators the opportunity to express opposition, and to watch the international media.

Iran are set to play Wales on Friday.

World Cup in Qatar

Current update: The final eight teams to make their debut in Qatar take the field on Thursday in Group G and Group H matches. Follow the latest news, updates and comments.

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SMNT: In their return to the World Cup, the young Americans settled for a 1-1 draw against Wales in their Group B opener. The US men’s national team will face a tall task on Friday against Group B favorite England, which demolished Iran, 6-2. , early Monday.

The Qatar conflict: Soccer fans wearing black, a symbol of LGBTQ inclusion, say they have been denied entry to World Cup stadiums and are confronting members of the public to remove the sign.

Group guide: The US men’s national soccer team, led by Coach Gregg Berhalter and leading striker Christian Pulisic, has won the 2022 World Cup, an improvement from its dismal and unsuccessful 2018 campaign. Here’s a closer look at how each team’s teams stack up.


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