dubai – A prominent Iranian former soccer player who has expressed support for anti-government protests said his wife and daughter were prevented from leaving the country on Monday after a sudden stopover en route to Dubai.
Ali Daei, whose passport was briefly confiscated after returning to the country earlier this year, said his wife and daughter left the capital Tehran legally before the plane made an abrupt stop on the Persian Gulf island of Kish, where they were questioned by authorities.
He said his daughter had been released but the doors of the plane were closed. He said his family planned to travel to Dubai and return next week.
Flight tracking website Flightradar24 showed Mahan Air flight W563 was diverted to Kish Island before continuing on to Dubai a few hours later.
There was no comment from the airline or Iranian authorities.
big love is one of them several iranian celebrities Protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September. The Kurdish woman died after being arrested by Iran’s morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code.
Protests spread quickly Across the country, it has escalated into calls to overthrow the theocracy established after the 1979 revolution, making it one of the biggest challenges to clerical rule in more than four decades.
At least 507 protesters have been killed and more than 18,500 arrested, according to Iranian human rights activists who have been closely monitoring the unrest. Iranian authorities have not yet released the number of those killed or arrested.
Before his passport was confiscated, Dey, the international top scorer and former Iran captain, took to social media to urge the government to “solve the problems of the Iranian people instead of using repression, violence and arrests”. He later said it was returned to him.
Leaderless protesters rallied under the slogan “Women, Life, Freedom”, saying they had had enough after decades of social and political repression by what they saw as a corrupt and out-of-touch clergy . Iranian authorities have blamed foreign adversaries such as the United States and Israel for the unrest.
Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard Corps said in a statement on Sunday that it had arrested seven people involved in the protests in the southeastern city of Kerman who had “direct ties” to Britain. It said some members of the network had dual citizenship, without elaborating.
Iran has arrested multiple Iranians with dual citizenship in recent years and convicted them of national security offenses in closed trials. Human rights groups say such detainees are denied due process and accuse Iran of using them as bargaining chips with the West, which Iranian officials deny.
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