Iran’s security agencies have ordered the officials of Persepolis football club in Tehran to remove Karim Bagheri, the team’s assistant coach, for his support of protests.

At the beginning of the protests after the killing of Mahsa Amini in police custody, Karim Bagheri wrote on his Instagram page: “In these difficult days, I and my colleagues have a duty to stand with the people because we belong to them.”

He also threw his weight behind his peer Ali Karimi, who is now one of the prominent opposition leaders, saying “Ali Karimi is neither a traitor nor a defector, but an honorable patriot… What have you done for these people except talking nonsense and insulting their heroes?”

It was in February that the judiciary blocked the bank account of Bagheri after he urged Iranians to make donations to the victims of the Khoy earthquake in Iran.

Mizan, the news agency of the judiciary, said the account was blocked because he had not requested a permit. The judiciary claimed celebrities’ charity drives in the past had “resulted in crimes such as fraud”.

He is the latest sporting star to be given biting punishments for supporting the wave of protests across the country which began in September.

Persepolis FC midfielder Milad Sarlak has been given a 20-per cent salary cut and a travel ban while this month, the security institutions forbid footballer Javad Nekounam from becoming the head coach of Esteghlal football club. The IRGC-affiliated Fars news agency claimed the former captain of the national team was “pardoned by the Supreme Leader” after expressing remorse over “past mistakes”.

Source » rferl