Two Iranian football stars have announced they would not attend the upcoming World Cup in Qatar as their country continues to face nationwide unrest.
Also on November 15, a former goalkeeper of Tehran’s Esteghlal football team, Parwiz Broumand, was arrested in the capital for allegedly " damaging public properties and leading riots," according to the state news agency Borna.
Iran has been swept by anti-government protests since a 22-year-old woman died in the custody of morality police two months ago.
More than 340 people have been killed, including 43 children, in a brutal crackdown by security forces, according to one human rights organization. Thousands of others have been arrested.
Ali Daei, an ex-captain of Iran’s national team, said that he will not travel to the Persian Gulf nation at a time when Iran was "grief-stricken."
"I want to be with my compatriots and express sympathy with all those who have lost their loved ones," the former center-forward said.
Another former national team member, Javad Nekounam, said he had declined to go to Qatar, Iran's semiofficial ISNA news agency reported.