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Iranian Footballer Faces Execution for Supporting Women's Rights: Report

Iranian footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani has been arrested for committing 'moharabeh,' that is, waging war against God.

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Amir Nasr-Azadani, a 26-year-old Iranian professional footballer, is facing execution after campaigning for women's rights, according to various reports. The player has been arrested for committing ‘moharabeh,’ the Persian term roughly translating to ‘waging war against God.

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Who is Amir Nasr-Azadani?

Nasr-Azadani is a professional footballer hailing from Isfahan, a city in central Iran. Playing as a defender, he started his professional career at Sepahan, before switching allegiance to Rah Ahan back in 2015.

After a year, Nasr-Azadani moved to Tractor where he spent a couple of seasons before sustaining an injury. Following his recovery, the player has represented Gol-e Reyhan, Sepahan Novin and Iranjavan FC.

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What Are the Allegations Against Amir Nasr-Azadani?

The allegations against the footballer are two-fold.

  • Firstly, Nasr-Azadani has been actively campaigning for women's rights and freedom amid the ongoing turbulence in Iran.

  • Iran has been facing countrywide protests since the death of Mahsa Amini – a 22-year-old who was detained by the police for allegedly not adhering to the rules regarding wearing a hijab.

  • During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2022, the Iranian national team players also protested against the regime by not singing the national anthem.

  • Reports in Iranwire, however, suggest that the regime has arrested Nasr-Azadani for the alleged murder of Colonel Esmaeil Cheraghi, and two members of Iran’s voluntary paramilitary service, known as Basij.

  • The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have detained three individuals from Isfahan for the murder of Colonel Cheraghi, and footballer Nasr-Azadani is reported to be among the trio.

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How Has the International Football Fraternity Reacted?

The news of a professional footballer facing execution has left the international football community stunned. FIFPRO, the global representative body for footballers, issued a statement where they said there are ‘shocked and sickened; by the developments.

“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,” FIFPRO’s statement read.

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Have the Iranian footballers reacted?

Barring the international community, Iran’s football fraternity has also voiced its support for Nasr-Azadani. Mehdi Mahdavikia, a former Iran national team player with over 100 appearances, claimed that he saw the 26-year-old during the youth team’s camp in Germany and expressed his concern over any possible trial.

Ali Karimi, Masoud Shojaei, Mohammed Reza Akhbari and Siamak Nemati are among the other prominent Iranian footballers who have requested suspension of the execution charges.

The current national team players, however, are yet to explicitly speak out on the incident. Goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand did upload an Instagram status where he opposed all executions, but his account has since been removed from the platform.

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Topics:  Iran Protests   What We Know 

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