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Iran diverts a plane to prevent the family of soccer star Ali Daei from leaving the country


The flight to Dubai in which the woman and the daughter of the former national coach were traveling was forced to land on an Iranian island. The athlete has supported the protests

The soccer star and former Iranian national coach Ali Daei has denounced that the regime of his country diverted this Monday the plane bound for Dubai in which his wife and daughter were traveling from Tehran to prevent them from leaving the country, according to official media reports of the country.

After taking off from the Iranian capital, the Mahan Air company flight was forced to land on the Iranian island of Kish, in the Persian Gulf, and Daei's family was forced to get off the plane.

The 53-year-old athlete, whom many Iranians consider a national hero, has shown in recent weeks on his social media his support for the anti-regime protests sparked by the death in police custody, on September 16, of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

In a text published in them in September, Daei urged the government to "solve the problems of the Iranian people instead of using repression, violence and arrests", while, in a tweet on November 14, the former striker announced that he had turned down an invitation from FIFA and the Qatar Football Federation to attend the World Cup.

Daei alluded again in that tweet to the protests and the victims of the repression by assuring that "in those days, the majority of Iranians did not feel well."

The former Iranian coach later stated that he preferred to stay in the country with his compatriots and expressed "his condolences to all the families who have lost loved ones."

The athlete concluded his message by formulating his hope for "bright days for Iran and the Iranians."

Shortly after disseminating this message, the Iranian authorities closed a jewelry store and a restaurant owned by him.

در روزهایی حال دل اکثر ما خوب نیست به رسمی فیفاو فدراسیون فوتبال برای حضور در جام جهانی به همسر و دخترانم جواب منفی دادم ، که کنار شما در میهنم میهنم باشم و همدردی خودرا باتمام خانواده که عزیزان خودرا ازدست داده داده اند

به امید روزهای روشن برای ایران و ایرانی

— Ali Daei (@Aliidaeii) November 14, 2022

“I really don't know the reason for this [the flight diversion].

Did they want to stop a terrorist, ”Daei told the semi-official ISNA news agency Monday night, confirming that his family had been forced to leave the plane on the Iranian island of Kish.

According to Daei's account, his wife and their daughter were on their way to Dubai to meet him and enjoy a vacation "a few days round trip."

This morning they began the return to Tehran without having received any explanation of the reasons why they were prevented from leaving the country.

The Iranian judiciary has limited itself to pointing out, reports the Reuters agency, that the wife of the former striker was prohibited from leaving Iran.

The footballer has replied that "if they had been prohibited from leaving, the police passport system should have indicated it."

"Nobody has given me an answer about it," criticized the athlete.

Daei's public denunciation of the diversion of the flight carrying his wife and daughter could present a much greater challenge to the Iranian regime than the arrests or threats against much less popular athletes that have been reported so far.

The former national team coach (2008-2009) and former Bayern Munich player was the all-time top scorer for a national team in the world, with 109 goals.

That record remained untouched until 2021, when he was supplanted by Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, 15 years after the Iranian forward's retirement from professional soccer in 2007. For the many Iranians who love soccer, Daei is a national hero.

The ex-soccer player has also maintained an important international projection and, also outside his country, he is still considered a myth.

This athlete was one of the eight footballers defined by the sports media as "FIFA legends" who participated in the World Cup team draw on April 1.

According to international sports media, Daei had already been sanctioned before the protests with a ban on working as a coach for three years for his criticism of the president of an Iranian soccer team.

loudspeaker of the protests

Since the beginning of the demonstrations, the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran have tried to prevent artists and athletes from becoming loudspeakers for the protesters.

Some hitherto little-known athletes have been detained or threatened for participating in or supporting the protests.

One of the cases that had the most repercussion was that of the climber Elnaz Rekabi, who competed without a veil in Seoul (South Korea) on October 16.

After returning to Iran, Rekabi attributed her gesture to a mistake, amid complaints from human rights groups that the athlete's family had suffered threats.

Another case that has had international repercussions has been that of the hitherto almost unknown 26-year-old footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani, who faces a possible sentence to death by hanging after being convicted of the crime of "enmity with God", which entails in many cases capital punishment.

After the International Federation of Professional Soccer Associations released a statement about his case on December 13, the Iranian authorities were quick to deny that this athlete had already been sentenced to death, as had been reported, although the charges of those who have been found guilty continue to make it very likely that he will receive a death sentence.

Nasr-Azadani is one of 39 people facing imminent execution in Iran, according to the exile human rights organization Iran Human Rights.

Two other men sentenced to the gallows, Mohsen Shekari and Majid Reza Rahnavard, both 23, were hanged, the second in a public execution, in early December.

According to HRANA, the press agency of the NGO Activists for Human Rights in Iran, as of this Sunday, 507 protesters had died, including 69 minors, due to the repression of the protests.

This organization estimates that more than 18,500 protesters have been detained.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2022-12-27

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