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A famous soccer player was arrested Thursday in Iran, according to the Washington Post.
The Post reports that local media outlets said charges against Voria Ghafouri included “destroying the reputation of the country’s national team.”
Ghafouri is a former national team player and frequently speaks out against the Iranian government. The government is even more authoritarian than usual given months of uprisings across the country.
Iran’s national team in particular has been under intense scrutiny, with each gesture or comment examined by the government.
The national team refused to sing during the national anthem, which was interpreted as silent support for the protests.
The Post also reported that the broadcast network showing the game in the country didn’t display any political signs from the crowd.
Iran Players Showing Bravery
Far from the pointless virtue signaling of teams like England, the Iranian team displayed real bravery.
Many fans did as well, showing their displeasure with the current government.
As evidenced by Ghafouri’s arrest, Iran doesn’t take kindly to even the slightest criticism. Refusing to sing the national anthem could put the players in real jeopardy when returning home.
Meanwhile European players are more than happy to engage in protests with no fear of retribution.
The Post said that ”Iranian news reports did not specify the reasons for his arrest but said the charges included ‘spreading propaganda against’ the Islamic republic.”
Iran defeated Wales 2-0 Friday morning, and plays the United States on Tuesday. They’ll need just a draw to advance out of the group stage, after a surprising run.
It’s even more impressive considering the distractions they’re dealing with back home.