Iranian security forces arrest top footballer accused of ‘spreading propaganda’

Iranian security forces arrest top footballer accused of ‘spreading propaganda’

Image of Iranian footballer Voria Ghafouri. Credit: Instagram/voriaghafuri_official

Voria Ghafouri, one of Iran’s top footballers was arrested by Iranian security forces, accused of ‘spreading propaganda’.

Iranian security forces today, Thursday, November 24, arrested Voria Ghafouri, one of the country’s top footballers. He was allegedly detained over claims of ‘spreading propaganda’.

Citing an unnamed source, state media news outlet IRNA said that Ghafouri was charged with having “tarnished the reputation of the national team and spread propaganda against the state”. The 35-year-old was arrested after finishing a training session with his current club Foolad Khuzestan, in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, according to

The right-back was detained for ‘insulting’ the Iranian national football team and “propagandizing against the regime”, according to the Tasnim news agency.

Ghafouri previously played for and captained, Esteghlal, but his contract was suddenly terminated. Many have suggested that his support of protestors in the country led to his contract being ripped up.

The player was born in the mainly Kurdish-populated city of Sanandaj and recently posted an image on social media showing him dressed in traditional Kurdish dress.

Unrest and violent protests have been ongoing since September after 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini died three days after being taken into police custody. Several high-profile football stars have been detained in Iran in the last few months. 

It remains to be seen if there are any repurcussions against the Iranian team that is currently participating in the World Cup in Qatar. As they lined up for the national anthem before the England match, in what was a brave action, none of the players sang along. It will undoubtedly be seen as a sign of disrespect by the Iranian regime.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at