Top Iran Football Coach Among 8 Summoned For Protest Comment


The coach of one of Iran’s best-known football teams is among eight celebrities and politicians interrogated for their comments about protests which have shaken the country, the judiciary says. Yahya Golmohammadi, coach of Persepolis FC, was questioned along with two former reformist members of parliament, Mahmoud Sadeghi and Parvaneh Salahshouri, about “the publication of non-documented or offensive content,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online website said late Saturday.

Golmohammadi has strongly criticised players of Iran’s national team for not “bringing the voice of oppressed people to the ears of the authorities.”

The comment came after Iran’s national team last week met President Ebrahim Raisi ahead of their appearance in the World Cup which begins Sunday in Qatar.

The Islamic republic has been rocked by protests since the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin, after her arrest for an alleged breach of Iran’s dress rules for women.

Thousands of people have been arrested after what officials call “riots” which they allege have been fomented by foreign enemies.

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The two ex-MPs have used Twitter to support the protests and have denounced authorities’ use of force against demonstrators.

According to Mizan, five actresses including Mitra Hajjar and Baran Kosari were also summoned, for publication of “provocative content.”

“Following comments written without proof on the recent events, as well as the publication of provocative material in support of these riots by political personalities and celebrities,” the eight individuals were called in on Saturday by Tehran’s public prosecutor, Mizan Online said.

On Sunday the Instagram accounts of Golmohammadi and Kosari were no longer available online.

Prominent Iranian ex-footballers have voiced support for the protesters, and national team players have faced calls from activists to use the World Cup to show solidarity with demonstrators who have been killed.

In a friendly against Nicaragua earlier this month, just two players sang the national anthem. The rest stood in silence.

Figures from Iran’s film industry have also spoken out for the protesters.

Late Saturday Iranian director Emad Aleebrahim Dehkordi won the Etoile d’Or top award at the Marrakech International Film Festival for his debut feature “A Tale of Shemroon”.

He dedicated his prize to “all the women of Iran”.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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