Iran’s protest-supporting Ali Daei to miss FIFA’s The Best awards due to travel ban

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Iranian football legend Ali Daei, who has been an outspoken supporter of the protests following the death of Mahsa Amini, will not be able to attend FIFA’s upcoming The Best awards ceremony in Paris due to a travel ban imposed by Iran’s authorities, a semi-official news agency reported on Thursday.

Daei, who was invited by FIFA to attend the ceremony, is not allowed to travel outside of Iran, according to a report by ISNA. The agency said that their follow-up on this matter confirmed that Daei is banned from leaving the country, and unless the situation changes, he will miss the ceremony scheduled for February 27 in Paris.

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The 53-year-old former German Bundesliga striker, who scored a record-breaking 109 goals at the international level before being surpassed by Cristiano Ronaldo, is one of Iran’s most famous footballers.

He has said that he has been targeted by threats after publicly supporting the protests triggered by the death of Amini, a young Iranian Kurdish woman who died in police custody in Iran last September.

Daei used social media in September to call on the authorities to address the problems of the Iranian people rather than using repression and violence to quell protests.

In October, he told AFP that his passport was confiscated by police upon his return from abroad, before being returned to him a few days later.

Daei has also said that he did not attend the World Cup in Qatar due to the regime’s crackdown on the protests

In December, a jewelry shop and a restaurant in Tehran owned by Daei were sealed after he backed calls for strikes in support of the protests.

Later the same month, Daei’s family was ordered off an airplane from Tehran to Dubai after the plane was rerouted and made to land on Iran’s Kish island in the Gulf.

Amini’s death on September 16 sparked months of protests that quickly escalated into calls for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.

The protests were met with a violent crackdown from authorities, who viewed the demonstrations as “riots” backed by foreign powers, namely the US and Israel.

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