Journalism in the service of society

Ali Daei: Iran govt reroutes flight, orders record scorer’s family off

IRANIAN football legend Ali Daei has revealed that a plane was rerouted by the government and his family ordered off.

The former striker has apparently angered the ruling Iranian regime by backing protests following Mahsa Amini’s death.

He said the plane took off from Tehran and was headed to Dubai.

Protests have spread all over Iran since the September 16 death of 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish Amini after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the country’s strict Islamic dress code for women, with the government terming the protests “riots”.

The 53-year-old Daei held the world record for international goals with 109 until recently when Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo overtook him.

He is Iran’s most famous footballer and played club football in Germany, featuring for Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich as well as Hertha Berlin and Arminia Bielefeld.

Daei said his wife and daughter had flown on a Mahan Air flight, taking off from the capital Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport, headed to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, ISNA news agency reported.

But the plane was rerouted and made to land on Iran’s Kish island in the Gulf, where his family was removed, the state news agency IRNA said.

Quoting the judiciary, IRNA said that “Daei’s wife had pledged to inform the relevant institutions of her decision before leaving the country”, following their “association with the groups against the Islamic revolution and rioters and calling for strikes”.

The IRNA report added that “the flight landed at Kish airport and Ali Daei’s wife and daughter got off the plane”.

Daei, who played in Iran’s historic 2-1 World Cup victory against the United States in 1998 and has held coaching roles at various clubs in his home country, has said he has been targetted by threats after openly backing the protests triggered by the death of Amini.

“My daughter and wife were taken off the flight, but they were not arrested,” Daei said, according to ISNA.

“Had they been banned (from leaving), the passport police system should have shown it: no one has given me an answer about this. I really don’t know what is the reason for these things.”

Daei said he was trying to arrange his family’s return to Tehran.

Daei on September 27 used social media to call on the government to “solve the problems of the Iranian people rather than using repression, violence and arrests”.

He said he had not gone to the World Cup in Qatar due to the Iranian authorities’ crackdown on the protests, according to AFP, who reported that earlier in December his jewellery shop and restaurant in Tehran were sealed.

The shops had been ordered shut for “cooperation with anti-revolutionary groups in cyberspace to disrupt peace and business of the market”, government officials told local media outlets.

Comments are closed.

Naija Times