Iranian international footballer Voria Ghafouri has been arrested over accusations he ‘spread propaganda’ against the Islamic republic.
The right-back was arrested by Iranian security forces after a training session with his club today.
He was arrested on charges of having ‘tarnished the reputation of the national team and spread propaganda against the state,’ an agency said.
Ghafouri, 35, who plays for Foolad Khuzestan in Iran, has been a vocal critic of the regime and its violent crackdown on protests.
He was listed as a member of Iran’s 2018 World Cup squad but was not named in the final lineup playing at this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
Originally from the Kurdish-populated city of Sanandaj in western Iran, Ghafouri had posted a photo of himself on Instagram dressed in traditional Kurdish dress.
It comes after thousands of people protested after 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini died three days after collapsing in police custody.
Iran has arrested several footballing figures for voicing criticism since the protests began, including Parviz Boroumand, Hossein Mahini, Hamidreza Aliasgari, and Yahya Golmohammadi.
Prominent former Iranian footballers Ali Karimi and Ali Daei have also come under fire from authorities for expressing support for protesters.
Many Iranians have turned against their national football team amid the ongoing unrest in the country.
They see the team as representing the regime rather than the people of Iran.