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Iranian Police Detain Top Footballers at New Year’s Eve Party

There was no information on how many players were detained

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IRAN: Iranian police reportedly momentarily detained many top-tier football players. As per the sources, at a New Year’s Eve party, men and women allegedly mixed, and alcohol was provided in violation of an Islamic ban.

The announcement of the release of Iranian dissident writer Keyvan Samimi, who was imprisoned in December 2020 for “plotting against national security,” coincided with news of the brief detention of the players, who were not identified.

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“Several current and former players of one of Tehran’s prominent football clubs were arrested last night at a mixed party in the city of Damavand,” according to the Tasnim news agency.

There was no information on how many players were detained.

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Iran’s Islamic laws forbid both drinking alcohol and mixing the sexes outside of marriage. Alcohol consumption by non-Muslims in Iran is solely permitted for religious purposes.

One of the things that led to widespread dissatisfaction in recent months was social constraints. 

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Iran has been rocked by weeks of demonstrations that have spread throughout the nation. The demonstrations took place following the death in detention of Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old Kurdish woman was detained by the morality police for allegedly inappropriately wearing her hijab. 

Mahsa Amini was a morality police target. Her family claims she was beaten, but the Iranian authorities claim their investigation indicated she died naturally as a result of a pre-existing ailment.

The anti-clerical protests have expanded into a large-scale movement to oppose the theocracy that has controlled Iran since 1979. 

According to Iranian officials, thousands of people have been detained and hundreds have died during the turmoil, including members of the security forces.

Iran killed two 23-year-old men last month who had been found guilty of assaults on security personnel related to the protests. 

Numerous football players, both present and retired, as well as other athletes and well-known people, have been held or questioned by the police after they expressed support for the protests.

The 73-year-old journalist Samimi, who had been imprisoned in Semnan, around 200 kilometres (125 miles) east of Tehran, since December 2020 after being sentenced to three years in prison, was released on Sunday, according to the reformist weekly Shargh. The day of Shargh’s release was not stated.

In February 2022, Samimi received authorization to leave prison for medical reasons.

However, the Mehr news agency said that he was sent back to prison in May after being suspected of engaging in activities that endangered national security.

In support of the protest movement following the passing of Amini, he sent a telegram from prison in December. Both before and after the Islamic revolution in 1979, Samimi had served prison sentences.

Also Read: Iranian Supreme Court Approves Appeal from Protester against Death Penalty

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