Iranian ex-national player Ghafouri in prison for criticism – politics

According to a report by the pro-government news agency Tasnim, the 35-year-old defender has been accused of propaganda against the Iranian political system and of insulting the national team. No further details about the arrest were given. The Football Association of Iran has not yet commented on the report.

The Iranian Kurd Ghafouri has been one of the critics of the Islamic system in Iran for years, in particular related to discrimination against women in the country. He was sacked by his club Esteghlal Tehran last year for his public political statements, despite being immensely popular with the fans. He then moved to the southern Iranian club Foolad Khuzestan.

Ghafouri was also not called up for the national team because of his political views, although he is still one of the best full-backs in the country. During the recent protests, Ghafouri clearly supported the demonstrators and repeatedly condemned the brutal actions of the police and security forces.

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