Iranian football coach Ali Karimi launched a blistering attack on the IRGC officer and conspiracy theorist Hassan Abbasi on Wednesday, demanding: “At least we’ve made the hearts of a few people happy. What have you done, you bozo?”
The tirade, posted on the outspoken ex-player’s Instagram account, came after Abbasi spoke in mocking terms about the contribution of footballers to society.
In a recent speech Abbasi had called players “worthless people” with no understanding of politics, society, religion or what he called “moral and Islamic principles”.
#حسن_عباسی امروز آغاز راهی است که ٢ دهه قبل به قتلهای محفلی کرمان و سعید حنایی ختم شد. اظهارات «تکفیری» او مصداق روشن تشویش اذهان عمومی، توهین و افترا ست. #دادستان و نهادهای امنیتی کجا هستند؟اگر کسی به صنف دیگری چون مداحان گفته بودبالای چشمتان ابروست، شاهد همین بیتفاوتی بودیم؟ pic.twitter.com/78SWtIa0z9— ali mojtahedzadeh (@alimojtahedzad3) July 5, 2022
He also claimed that no football player in Iran’s history could be said to have been “martyred”, and "A person whose wife wears a chador, a religious person, would never follow football.”
Karimi is a former player with Persepolis FC, Bayern Munich and the national team. He has a long history of taking a stand on socio-political issues in his home country, including corruption in the Iranian Football Federation.
In his response to Abbasi, he also suggested the latter “learn the names of a few economists... No need for you to comment on football.”
Hassan Abbasi is an officer in the Revolutionary Guards and head of the IRGC’s think-tank, the Center for Borderless Security Doctrinal Analysis.
Known for his extreme views, he is a self-described conspiracy theorist and has a particularly antisemitic bent. In 2004 he was described as a “theoretician” in the office of the Supreme Leader.
On Tuesday, in response to his “martyrs” comment, detractors published a list of the football players killed in the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq. An earlier effort in 2014 had counted 2,200 of them at a minimum.