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Voria Ghafouri: Iranian footballer summoned by authorities after slamming foreign minister

Karimi Ghafouri Zarif

independent - ‘Mr Zarif, you who say that you are proud you are under pressure because of Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria, know that it’s not you who is under pressure,’ footballer wrote on Instagram

A popular Iranian footballer has been summoned by authorities after criticism of the country’s regional policies prompted a rebuke by the country’s supreme leader.

Voria Ghafouri, 31, a right back for Tehran football team Esteghlal, appeared to criticise Iran’s hardline foreign policy in an Instagram post and interview last week.

Addressing foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, he said the country’s policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria were hurting ordinary Iranians.

“Mr Zarif, you who say that you are proud you are under pressure because of Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria, know that it’s not you who is under pressure,” he said in an Instagram post to his 730,000 followers that has since been removed. “In reality it’s ordinary people that are under pressure.”

Karimi Zarif

“It’s as if they they’re throwing salt on the people’s pain and wounds,” he said in an interview after being asked to explain his comments. “All people are under pressure, and they [the leadership] say things that make things worse.”

“Some people who take advantage of the country’s security to work and play sport should know that this is how security is ensured,” he was quoted as saying.

Hours later the Ministry of Sport and Youth summoned Ghafouri for questioning. The minister of sports, Bijan Zolfagharnasb, publicly asked athletes to stop commenting on political affairs.

The clash between the ayatollah and the star footballer underscores looming tensions between the Iranian authorities and a restless population unnerved by the country’s economic troubles and growing geopolitical isolation. Polls show that while many Iranians blame the US for Iran’s economic troubles, more blame the country’s own corruption and incompetence.

An ethnic Kurd who is a native of the city of Sanandaj, near the Iraqi border, Ghafouri is signed to one of the football-mad country’s top teams and has also played for the national team in international competitions.

Vouria Ghafouri

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Authorities must play a delicate balancing act. Putting too much pressure on him could backfire. Fans have already rallied around Ghafouri on social media, launching hashtags in his support on Twitter and Instagram.

But allowing Ghafouri to walk away unscathed by the controversy also carries risks, by opening a floodgate of domestic criticism at a time when the nation is already under threat by reinvigorated US sanctions.

“Why should I be afraid?” Ghafouri said at the interview when asked by a journalist whether he feared retribution for his criticism. “Did I say anything bad that should make me afraid?”

Comments (11)

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[quote=Anonymous]Haha u r alien from whats happening in the region. Its u and him who doesnt make sense. All u c is football and ur even prepared to sell ur mother for football.          FOREMOST, YOUR ENGLISH SUCKS!!! YOU SOUND LIKE A FOREIGN...

[quote=Anonymous]Haha u r alien from whats happening in the region. Its u and him who doesnt make sense. All u c is football and ur even prepared to sell ur mother for football.          FOREMOST, YOUR ENGLISH SUCKS!!! YOU SOUND LIKE A FOREIGN ALIEN WITH LIMITED ENGLISH KNOWLEDGE. YOU DRIFT FROM THE MAIN POINT TO ATTACK SOMEONES' MOTHER. IT SHOWS YOU ARE AN IDIOT, TALK LIKE A GROWN UP, IMBECILE SCUM. I DON'T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT SOCCER OR FOOTBALL. HOW OLD R U FOURTEEN?  CRUDDY PIECE OF SHIT!!!![/quote]

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Anonymous
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[quote=Anonymous]آقای آقای غفوری به عنوان یک فوتبالیست و شهروند نظرش را اعلام کرده که مردم در فشار هستن... و همانطور هم که خودشان گفته اند حرف بدی نزده و خود دولت هم اعلام کرده که فشارهای اقتصادی و سیاسی متوجه مردم است و حتی در باره سو مدیریت هم...

[quote=Anonymous]آقای آقای غفوری به عنوان یک فوتبالیست و شهروند نظرش را اعلام کرده که مردم در فشار هستن... و همانطور هم که خودشان گفته اند حرف بدی نزده و خود دولت هم اعلام کرده که فشارهای اقتصادی و سیاسی متوجه مردم است و حتی در باره سو مدیریت هم کمانی وجود از جانب دولت وجود ندارد. حالا یک عده خاین که از گفتههچهر فردی برای سودجویی استفاده می کنند قصد این دارند که گویی آقای غفوری ضد حکومت است. در این شرایط که عده ای با کسب حمایت‌های مالی و تبلیغاتی سعی بر ایجاد شکاف در جامعه می کنند که مزد خیانت از خارجی دریافت کنند باید بدانند که راه به جایی ندارند و اینان به کرات در گذشته هم بارها به این اعمال دست زده اند بدون هیچ نتیجه ای غیراز نمایان کردن سرسپردگی به خارجی. هر بار که چنین وقایعی جامعه را به زیر فشار گذاشته موافق و مخالف مسلمان و غیر مسلمان همه اتحاد کرده با تجاوز دراویخته اند. باور ندارید از اقلیاتهای ادیان دیگر سوال کنید که چگونه داوطلبانه در جنگ با عراق شرکت کردند.ارتش ایران حامی ملت است و ملت در تلاش ارتش سهیم و شریک بوده و هست[/quote]
Mr. anonymous stop the bullshit & brainwashing people with your nonsense rhetoric. It sounds that you support this mullah regime. They have high jacked the Iranian revolution & turned it into a NAZI regime. In 40 years this Islamic Mullah regime brought nothing but destruction, poverty, killing and misery to Iran. There is no freedom of any kind. Iran has no friends at all in the world except for Iraqi, houthi Yemeni, Hezbollah and Assad in Syria. Down with the regime & burn in HELL the criminals that are torturing the true Iranians!!!!

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Anonymous
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

FOREMOST, YOUR ENGLISH SUCKS!!! YOU SOUND LIKE A FOREIGN ALIEN WITH LIMITED ENGLISH KNOWLEDGE. YOU DRIFT FROM THE MAIN POINT TO ATTACK SOMEONES' MOTHER. IT SHOWS YOU ARE AN IDIOT, TALK LIKE A GROWN UP, IMBECILE SCUM. I DON'T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT...

FOREMOST, YOUR ENGLISH SUCKS!!! YOU SOUND LIKE A FOREIGN ALIEN WITH LIMITED ENGLISH KNOWLEDGE. YOU DRIFT FROM THE MAIN POINT TO ATTACK SOMEONES' MOTHER. IT SHOWS YOU ARE AN IDIOT, TALK LIKE A GROWN UP, IMBECILE SCUM. I DON'T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT SOCCER OR FOOTBALL. HOW OLD R U FOURTEEN?  CRUDDY PIECE OF SHIT!!!!

Read More
Anonymous
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Mr. anonymous stop the bullshit & brainwashing people with your nonsense rhetoric. It sounds that you support this mullah regime. They have high jacked the Iranian revolution & turned it into a NAZI regime. In 40 years this Islamic Mullah regime...

Mr. anonymous stop the bullshit & brainwashing people with your nonsense rhetoric. It sounds that you support this mullah regime. They have high jacked the Iranian revolution & turned it into a NAZI regime. In 40 years this Islamic Mullah regime brought nothing but destruction, poverty, killing and misery to Iran. There is no freedom of any kind. Iran has no friends at all in the world except for Iraqi, houthi Yemeni, Hezbollah and Assad in Syria. Down with the regime & burn in HELL the criminals that are torturing the true Iranians!!!!

Read More
Anonymous
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Long live Freedom

Anonymous
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Well said.

Anonymous
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Haha u r alien from whats happening in the region. Its u and him who doesnt make sense. All u c is football and ur even prepared to sell ur mother for football. 

Anonymous
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

آقای آقای غفوری به عنوان یک فوتبالیست و شهروند نظرش را اعلام کرده که مردم در فشار هستن... و همانطور هم که خودشان گفته اند حرف بدی نزده و خود دولت هم اعلام کرده که فشارهای اقتصادی و سیاسی متوجه مردم است و حتی در باره سو مدیریت هم کمانی وجود از...

آقای آقای غفوری به عنوان یک فوتبالیست و شهروند نظرش را اعلام کرده که مردم در فشار هستن... و همانطور هم که خودشان گفته اند حرف بدی نزده و خود دولت هم اعلام کرده که فشارهای اقتصادی و سیاسی متوجه مردم است و حتی در باره سو مدیریت هم کمانی وجود از جانب دولت وجود ندارد. حالا یک عده خاین که از گفتههچهر فردی برای سودجویی استفاده می کنند قصد این دارند که گویی آقای غفوری ضد حکومت است. در این شرایط که عده ای با کسب حمایت‌های مالی و تبلیغاتی سعی بر ایجاد شکاف در جامعه می کنند که مزد خیانت از خارجی دریافت کنند باید بدانند که راه به جایی ندارند و اینان به کرات در گذشته هم بارها به این اعمال دست زده اند بدون هیچ نتیجه ای غیراز نمایان کردن سرسپردگی به خارجی. هر بار که چنین وقایعی جامعه را به زیر فشار گذاشته موافق و مخالف مسلمان و غیر مسلمان همه اتحاد کرده با تجاوز دراویخته اند. باور ندارید از اقلیاتهای ادیان دیگر سوال کنید که چگونه داوطلبانه در جنگ با عراق شرکت کردند.ارتش ایران حامی ملت است و ملت در تلاش ارتش سهیم و شریک بوده و هست.

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Anonymous
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You don't make any sense at all !!!!!!

Anonymous
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Mr vooria have u been living on Mars? Or is it u whos been told to say this under pressure???

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