Top Iran footballer arrested at club for ‘spreading propaganda against the state’

Detention of Voria Ghafouri, who is not part of World Cup squad, seen as warning to players in Qatar

Iranian security forces on Thursday arrested one of the country’s most famous footballers, accusing him of spreading propaganda against the Islamic republic and seeking to undermine the national World Cup team.

Voria Ghafouri, a former member of the national football team and once a captain of the Tehran club Esteghlal, has been outspoken in his defence of Iranian Kurds, telling the government on social media to stop killing Kurdish people. He has previously been detained for criticising the former Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif.

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