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Iranian Players Banned

Four Iranian national team players have essentially been banned for life for wearing green wrist bands during a World Cup qualifier in protest of the national election results. The group includes veteran stars Ali Karimi and Mehdi Mahdavikia. Read the Guardian's account.


By Steve Goff  |  June 23, 2009; 12:53 PM ET
Categories:  World  
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Comments

Ask me now why the flag and the anthem are important to me.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 23, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

That is a travesty. I'd blame the "president" of Iran, but I have recently learned that he's not the real power behind the throne. And we thought Dick Cheney was bad.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 23, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

i wondered what was going to happen to them... i wonder if they are going to have to play an un-friendly against the basiji? maybe they will just end up like neda agha-soltan? most sad/funny part of the guardian's article: "In 2006 Iran was banned from international competition by the world governing body Fifa after claims of improper interference by his government. The ban was later lifted."

@I-270Exit1: i hear on the importance of the flag and anthem. i am not-at-all jingoistic, but i do love this country deeply. i suppose it is not a coincidence that you are located on democracy blvd. :)

Posted by: dfunkt | June 23, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if the Iranian government will allow Mehdi Mahdavikia and Vahid Hashemian to return to Germany for the start of the season.

(Iranian gov't. has not returned any of the players' passports.)

Posted by: addick | June 23, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

With you, I-270.

UnitedDemon: you just figured out how Iran really works? Sheesh...

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 23, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if FIFA will again ban Iran from international football for improper government interference. I would personally want to see such a ban.


and joedoc1, be nice. Not everyone is so worldly. I for one think France is on its way to becoming a communist state because thats what Sean Hannity told me last night.
(okay, sorry I do not want to start a political debate.)

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 23, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Call me crazy I-270, but isn't this the exact reason why it shouldn't be a big deal that the anthem isn't sung religiously? I understand the love you (and I as well) have towards this country, but it's disgusting that this is the reaction to a mere act of defiance.

Posted by: psps23 | June 23, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

The last time this many people gathered in the streets of Teheran (1979) it was to demand the ouster of a Western puppet, and the return of Khomeini from exile. The treatment of the people in the streets now has precedent in their treatment then by SAVAK. Google SAVAK and CIA for some history.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 23, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm not elevating the symbols to idolatry, I'm talking about what they stand for. In truth, I oppose attempts to ban flag burning because the 1st amendment is more important than the symbols.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 23, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Not a surprise at all, unfortunately.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 23, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Fair enough, I-270, we see eye to eye.

Posted by: psps23 | June 23, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Here's hoping Iran is banned by FIFA. That's just a crap ruling from a crap "government".
I hope they all make it out of that country alive.

Posted by: hacksaw | June 23, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Disgraceful. The really alarming part is that their passports were not given back.

My first thought is exactly what grubbsbl started off with. This is clear government interference (with the players being forcibly retired, Daei's firing, and Farahani's arrest). FIFA has been pretty quick to react in these situations with teams from all over. Peru was banned last year for a month, and I don't recall FIFA needing much time to decide on that one.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 23, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Let's applaud those players who stood up for what they believe in, knowing the consequences.

Ali Karimi
Mehdi Mahdavikia
Hosein Ka'abi
Vahid Hashemian


Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 23, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

FIFA needs to respond immediately to this. If Iran had qualified for South Africa, snatching away their bid would of served them right. As it is, banning them from the next Asian Cup and preventing their club teams from participating in the ACL will do for starters.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | June 23, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Who would have expected anything else from that circus of human rights violators. Iran-the 19th century lives here. Ban them!

Posted by: blackandred777 | June 23, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

So it's agreed, FIFA needs to institute an immediate shunning of Iran.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 23, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

@I-270Exit1: there were actually 6 players who wore the green symbols during the match. the fates of the other 2 are currently unknown.

@OWNTF: unfortunately, the number of protesters has shrunk by about 99.9% due to the very real threat of death for attending a rally. too bad iran doesn't have an nra (we don't need them here, they can have ours!), or at least millions of aluminum baseball bats.

Posted by: dfunkt | June 23, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I will shun them immediately, even while remaining indifferent to anthemic enthusiasm, or lack thereof.

Posted by: JkR- | June 23, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

wierd that this happened, because I just saw "not without my daughter" on sunday.

Posted by: Norteno4life | June 23, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

"ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz."

- White House spokesman Robert Gibbs

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 23, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

@Posted by: joedoc1 | June 23, 2009 2:56 PM

Let's not go there. try www.bigpolitcs.com


:)

Posted by: JkR- | June 23, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

FIFA won't stand for government interference!

Posted by: Reignking | June 23, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

@grubbsbl -- very cogent comment.

FIFA needs to stand up and denounce this kind of political interference in sport. We all applauded the statement the players were making, because we understood the risks it entails -- we knew what consequences they were likely to face. Knowing that the Iranian gov't would respond this way does not mean it can be dismissed or ignored.

The action pales in comparison to the lethal suppression of dissent being practiced in Iran, but it is also deplorable. It is incumbent on FIFA to make clear it will not be tolerated. The outside world cannot end the oppression within Iran, but we can support the right of athletes to make their own views known.

Also -- I'm assuming the comment about that mendacious moron, Sean Hannity, is snark -- and I fully endorse your satire.

Posted by: fischy | June 23, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

other news today re soccer in an oppressive regime (Myanmar)

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124570662948438629.html

Posted by: OWNTF | June 23, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

As I recall, there was a US/Iran friendly in the works.

That should end now. We should show our solidarity with these players by refusing to play Iran's team.

Posted by: seahawkdad | June 23, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: seahawkdad | June 23, 2009 3:25 PM

===========================

+1

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 23, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

If you really want to show solidarity, play them, and show up in green jerseys.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 23, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

If you really want to show solidarity, play them, and show up in green jerseys.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 23, 2009 3:46 PM |


And stage an "Escape to Victory" pitch invasion to help those who want to expatriate.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | June 23, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

We should wear green armbands at the Confederations Cup matches.

Any friendly between Iran and the US or any other democratic country will be spun into propaganda by Ahmadinajad.

Agree with JkR- Shun them.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 23, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

@OWNTF: ooohhh!!!...that's a great idea! XD

Posted by: dfunkt | June 23, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Our interstate man is probably right here.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 23, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

"The outside world cannot end the oppression within Iran, but we can support the right of athletes to make their own views known."

Support them from the comfort of our safe living rooms?

I think it's wrong to encourage Iranian athletes to oppose their government, in the full knowledge that when those athletes are taken prisoner, we'll do nothing to help them.

Face it -- they're on their own, by our design. It was our approach in Beijing, and it's our approach now.

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 23, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

@Joedoc, you think the Iranian athletes acted because of encouragement on Soccer blogs? And soccer bloggers therefore share in the responsibility for their safety?

I figured the Insider had quite a reach these days, but whoa...

Posted by: JkR- | June 23, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

No.

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 23, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

The Iranian government has also banned Mexico, Bolivia, Ireland, Glasgow Celtic, Norwich City, Santos Laguna, Michigan State, the Seattle Sounders, Macabbi Haifa, Wes Greening, Robert Green and Greenock Morton from ever playing in Iran.

Well, a few of those are not a big surprise.

Posted by: IamAM | June 23, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

While we're sneering at Iran's repression of these four courageous athletes by comparison to how the United States supports free speech, let's just remember how American athletes (and the Australian silver medalist who supported them) were treated after these three sprinters made a similar gesture at the 1968 Olympics ......

Posted by: fentysupporter | June 23, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

The Iranian government has also banned Mexico, Bolivia, Ireland, Glasgow Celtic, Norwich City, Santos Laguna, Michigan State, the Seattle Sounders, Macabbi Haifa, Wes Greening, Robert Green and Greenock Morton from ever playing in Iran.

Well, a few of those are not a big surprise.

Posted by: IamAM | June 23, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Kermit the Frog too...to bad because he could get up for headers

Posted by: LAfanofSI | June 23, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

too bad
jeez, long day at work

Posted by: LAfanofSI | June 23, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

While we're sneering at Iran's repression of these four courageous athletes by comparison to how the United States supports free speech, let's just remember how American athletes (and the Australian silver medalist who supported them) were treated after these three sprinters made a similar gesture at the 1968 Olympics ......

Posted by: fentysupporter | June 23, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh give me a break. You can go back to any point in someones history and find similar situations for any issue. It doesn't mean that their descendants who are criticizing similar current issues should be lumped back in with those people.

It's like saying that Americans shouldn't comment on the quality of tea because once they threw a bunch of it into a harbor.

Posted by: dpowellutkedu | June 23, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Those boys need to get down to the UNHCR office in Jo'burg pronto, register to get themselves a laissez passer (like a passport for people who can't get passports), and hightail it Germany. Unless they already arrived in Iran, in which case the donkey ride through the Kurdish areas to Turkey awaits...

Posted by: troy6 | June 24, 2009 3:55 AM | Report abuse

oh, and props to all of you for not making jokes about being "shunned" since in this case it ain't a joke.

Posted by: troy6 | June 24, 2009 3:56 AM | Report abuse

hey, ya think these guys could come to USL and play alongside the Cubans?

Posted by: troy6 | June 24, 2009 3:57 AM | Report abuse

Those players should be given US nationality immediately and inserted in to our roster. Iran should be banned from WC play until they torch ali in public

Posted by: g3impreza | June 24, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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