Record-breaking Iranian footballer has criticized the government’s crackdown on protesters against the regime. He claimed that his family was prevented from leaving Iran.
Ali Daei, the Iranian international goal scorer with 109 goals, is now officially questioned by officials following a diverted flight.
The former footballer claimed that they left Tehran, Iran, legally before making an unscheduled stop at Kish Island in Persian Gulf.
Daei (53 years old) said that his daughter had been released, but the plane doors had already shut by that time. He said that his family was planning to travel to Dubai next week and then return.
He publicly supported antigovernment protests, which erupted following the death of a female officer in custody.
After returning home earlier in the year, his passport was briefly confiscated.
The former captain of the team had called for the government to solve the problems of the Iranian people, rather than resorting to violence, repression and arrests.
Flightradar24 lists Mahan Air Flight W563 as having been diverted to Kish Island, before it flew to Dubai just a few hours later.
Both the Iranian authorities and the airline declined to comment.
According to semiofficial Tasnim news agency which is believed to be close with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s, Daei’s wife received a travel ban because she supported the protests.
It said that his wife attempted to illegally circumvent the ban without giving further details, and added that her final destination was the US.
Before he quit playing soccer and began managing his country, Daei scored more international goals that anyone else.
Ronaldo broke Daei’s record last year, and is still the world-leader in Portugal’s international goals with 118.
Daei is still in second place, with 109 points, followed by Argentina’s Lionel Messi (98).
He is just one of many Iranian public figures who supported recent protests against the Islamic theocracy.
National protests broke out over Mahsa Amini’s September death. She was 22 years old and had been taken into custody for wearing inappropriate attire under Iran’s Islamic dress code.
Amir Nasr Al-Azadani (26), a footballer, is facing the death penalty because he participated in nationwide protests.
Authorities blame foreign enemies like Israel and the US for the unrest that has been occurring recently.
Paramilitary Revolutionary Guard claimed on Sunday that it had detained seven protesters involved in demonstrations with a “direct connection” to Britain.