Since mid-September, protests against Iran’s authoritarian rule have spread across the country. Among the protesters is an Iranian athlete who poses a particular threat to the current administration in two ways. They inspire young Iranians by supporting protests despite the serious dangers, and their influence extends beyond Iran’s borders to the rest of the world, amplifying the voices of protesters.
Most Iranian protesters are between the ages of 15 and 21. Most people value their sports heroes. Then many Iranian athletes support the protesters.
The regime recognizes this symbiotic threat, but has been unable to quell it. One feeble tactic was to shut down the internet in hopes that the absence of social media would weaken the influence of athletes. it’s not. Even when the government forced teams to play in empty stadiums and arenas, the bonds between players and fans could not be severed, with protesters publicly honoring the players and calling for a better future for Iran. He supported the athletes who demanded
Nevertheless, the government has not bent so far. One tactic is to use government agencies that oversee sports in Iran to take tough measures against female athletes. Regardless of the sport, a female athlete is required to cover her hair with a scarf (hijab) as a symbol of religious devotion, whether it is volleyball or running her track. This restriction applies domestically and internationally.
In October 2022, rock climber Ernaz Rekavi publicly defied the regime when he competed in South Korea without wearing a hijab. When she returned to her home, she was greeted at the airport by thousands of rebellious supporters. Additionally, millions of social media posts have praised her bravery.Unfortunately, she is now reportedly under her house arrest.
Another restriction prohibits married female athletes from leaving Iran without their husband’s permission. In September 2021, her Iranian women’s soccer team captain Niloufar Ardalan’s husband banned her from traveling to Malaysia for competition. Similarly, in February 2022, Iranian women’s skiing her team’s coach Samira and her Zargali husband prevented her from participating in a competition to be held in Italy. Dozens of female athletes have had to endure this restriction.According to Shagayeg Vapiri, an Iranian handball player who defected to Spain in 2021, “If the situation does not change, there is no future for female handball players.” there is no.
Female sports fans are also affected by discriminatory laws in the Islamic Republic. For example, women have been banned from participating in men-only matches for the past 43 years. One of his fans, her Sahar Khodayari, was so into his soccer team that he disguised himself as a boy and watched the game in person. In 2019, she was arrested and imprisoned for violating this ban. She died after setting herself on fire, a tragedy caused by the government’s repressive policies.
Kodayari didn’t get the international attention she deserved at the time, but her story is well-known today. march under, hoping to repeal the misogyny laws that led to her death.
Iranian male athletes express solidarity with Iranian women. With millions of followers on his social media accounts, his one post from a high-profile athlete could drive thousands of protesters to the streets.
One such post comes from prominent footballer Ali Karimi, who has over 13 million followers on Instagram. When Masa her Amini died after being arrested by the Morality Police for not wearing a hijab, Karimi blamed the questionable circumstances of her death, saying, “Not even holy water could wash away this disgrace.” I wrote. Shortly after his post, the government retaliated by seizing his home and all of his Iranian property. continued to resist. He continues to encourage protesters and his name frequently appears in slogans.
Other male athletes have also voiced their support. When soccer icon Sardar Azmon, who played for Bayern Munich, scored the equalizing goal for the Iranian national team in the run-up to the World Cup, he refused to celebrate. It was his way of honoring. His post on his Instagram account, which has more than 5 million followers, said that if he were removed from the national team for protesting, it would be “a small price to pay for even one hair of an Iranian woman.” Administration security forces removed his post for fear of reaction.
Prominent Iranian wrestlers have also supported the protests, with former head coach Rasul Kadem, freestyle champion Ali Gudarji, former head freestyle coach Mohammad Taray and Olympic champion Amirhossein Zaare resigning from their deputy positions. Including Hamid Surian, a prominent Greco-Roman wrestler. President of the Iranian Wrestling Federation in protest. Khadem’s passport was confiscated for posts defending protesters.
Those brave Iranian wrestlers Alireza Davil President of the Iranian Wrestling Federation, a hardliner who supports the Iranian government.
At best, sport provides a universal language, creates an international community, and erases the boundaries of regional, religious, social and political differences. In this regard, the International Olympic Committee and other international sports organizations must ensure that the Islamic Republic does not welcome competition in international sports as long as it imposes severe restrictions on its citizens. seems willing to make that sacrifice. Otherwise, their athletic achievements would pale under the glare of oppression.