Iranian footballer Furiya Ghafouri arrested amid scrutiny of the World Cup

Suspension

On Thursday, state-linked Iranian media reported that a prominent Iranian soccer player was arrested on Thursday, on charges including harming the reputation of the country’s national team, which is competing in the World Cup.

The player, Fawria Ghafouri, is a former member of the Iranian national team and a frequent critic of the government. His arrest came at a time when Iranian soccer players are under scrutiny over their statements about a nationwide uprising in Iran that has been going on for months.

Iran’s World Cup team nodded silently to the protests at home

Iran’s national team refused, during a match against England on Monday, to sing during the playing of the country’s national anthem, in what was widely seen as a silent acknowledgment of the protests. Iran’s national radio showed selected images of spectators cheering for Iran during the match, but not the political references that some carry.

Protests began in Iran in September after the death of a young Kurdish woman, Mohsa Amini, in police custody. The uprising against Iran’s clerical leadership has spread across the country and sparked a fierce and deadly crackdown, including in ethnically Kurdish regions, where human rights groups say scores of people have been killed in recent days.

The Human Rights Council of the United Nations in a vote On Thursday, he launched an investigation into alleged rights abuses in Iran’s response to the protest movement. “Today’s hearing leaves no doubt that members of the Human Rights Council understand the seriousness of the situation in Iran, and that the fact-finding mission established today will help ensure that those engaged in the ongoing violent oppression of the Iranian people are identified and their actions documented,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. in a statement.

Rights groups say Iran is stepping up its crackdown in the Kurdish regions

Al-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 news reports did not specify the reasons for his arrest but said the charges included “spreading propaganda against” the Islamic Republic.

He has been called up to play several times over the past decade with the national team, and has played for several Iranian teams including Foolad Khuzestan, his current team. On Thursday, the semi-official Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) reported that Hamid Reza Qoreshabi, the team’s CEO, had resigned, and said that the reason for his resignation had not yet been announced.

Even before the World Cup kicked off, some Iranians called on FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, to ban the national team, known as Team Melle, as a sign of support for the protests. Others have argued that Iran’s attendance at the World Cup was a boon for the uprising: a high-profile event that provided players and spectators an opportunity to voice their dissent, with international media watching.

Iran are preparing to face Wales on Friday.

World Cup in Qatar

Live updates: The last eight teams making their debuts will play in Qatar on Thursday in Group G and Group H matches. Follow us to get the latest news, updates and highlights.

USMNT: In their return to the World Cup, the young Americans settled for a 1-1 draw with Wales in the opening match of Group B. The US men’s national team will face a longer task on Friday against Group B favorites England, who defeated Iran 6-2 earlier on Monday.

Qatari controversy: Football fans wearing rainbows, a symbol of LGBT inclusivity, said they were banned from World Cup stadiums and confronted by members of the public to remove the logo.

Groups directory: The men’s national soccer team, led by coach Greg Berhalter and star striker Christian Pulisic, qualified for the 2022 World Cup, an improvement from their disastrous and failed 2018 campaign. Here’s a closer look at how all the teams stack up in each group.

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