Hours before the close of the Iranian national football team's training camp in Austria, and the return of the players to their clubs, the footballer Sardar Azmoun apologized to his teammates in an Instagram message for publishing an Instagram post in support of the protesters in Iran.
Azmoun said he was not pressured to publish this post nor to delete his comments. His claim comes when, on the same night, Azmoun claimed in his Instagram post that Iran’s national footballers are not allowed to comment on the murder of Mahsa Amini and the nationwide protests that have swept across the country since her death.
The player added that there was no division on the Iranian team, saying: "I have to apologize to the players of the national team, because my hasty action caused my dear friends to be annoyed, and some players of the national team were insulted by users, which is not fair in any way. The mistake was mine."
If Sardar Azmoun's claim is true, it suggests that past national players Alireza Jahabankhash, Ehsan Hajsafi, Mehdi Taremi and Karim Ansarifard, were not willing to join the protesters and to condemn the oppression of the Iranian people.