FIFPRO ‘shocked and sickened’ as Iran player ‘faces execution’ after campaigning for women’s rights

News Desk
Iran fans protest

FIFPRO says it is “shocked and sickened” at reports that footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani is facing execution in Iran and has called for the punishment to be revoked.

There have been widespread anti-government protests in Iran sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in custody in September having been detained for allegedly failing to follow the country’s Islamic dress code.

A message posted by the official Twitter account of players’ union FIFPRO on Monday said: “FIFPRO is shocked and sickened by reports that professional footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani faces execution in Iran after campaigning for women’s rights and basic freedom in his country.

“We stand in solidarity with Amir and call for the immediate removal of his punishment.”

At the World Cup in Qatar, the Iran team stood silent when the national anthem was played prior to the 6-2 defeat to England on November 21, something that was interpreted as a show of support for the anti-government protests in their country.

In late November, the Iranian Football Federation complained to FIFA about the United States removing the Islamic Republic symbol from the Iran flag in some social media posts.

Ahead of their nations’ Group B meeting at the World Cup, the US infuriated their opponents by posting altered images of Iran’s flag.

Iran’s Tasnim News Agency said at the time that its country’s football federation would be filing a complaint to FIFA’s ethics committee and outlined theoretical sanctions.

Quoted by Tasnim, legal adviser Safia Allah Faghanpour said: “Respecting a nation’s flag is an accepted international practice that all other nations must emulate.

“The action conducted in relation to the Iranian flag is unethical and against international law.”

The Islamic Republic News Agency called the United States’ social media posts “a hostile and provocative move”.

On the alteration of the flag, a United States Soccer Federation told The Athletic: “Clearly the decision we made was to show support for the women in Iran. That stands.

“This is our decision, not anyone else’s or pressure from anyone else.”

Iran Human Rights reported in late November that at least 416 people have been killed by security forces in the ongoing nationwide protests, with Iran international Voria Ghafouri among the 15,000-plus arrested.

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