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Family of Football Legend Ali Daei Stopped from Leaving Iran for Supporting Protests

An international flight was made to land on an Iranian island in the Gulf and his wife and daughter were removed.

Iranian football legend Ali Daei says an international flight has been rerouted to prevent his wife and daughter from leaving the country.

The 53-year-old, who has voiced support for anti-government protests, said his family had tried to fly from Tehran to Dubai to join him on holiday on Monday.

But the flight was made to land on an Iranian island in the Gulf and they were removed.

No reason was given and the pair are returning to Tehran, Ali Daei added.

The latest protests were triggered by the death in custody of Iranian-Kurd Mahsa Amini, 22, in September. She had been held for allegedly wearing her headscarf improperly.

More than 500 protesters, including 69 children, have been killed, while thousands of others have been arrested, human rights activists say. Dozens of Iranian security personnel are also reported to have been killed.

Iran’s state-run news agency Irna said Mr Daei’s wife, Mona Farrokhazari, had pledged to inform officials before leaving the country, following the couple’s “association with the groups against the Islamic revolution”.

Irna said their flight had landed at Kish Island and “Ali Daei’s wife and daughter got off the plane”.

Mr Daei said the pair “were going to Dubai for a few days trip and back”, adding: “Had they been banned (from leaving), the passport police system should have shown it. No-one has given me an answer about this.”

In a social-media post in September, he urged the government to “solve the problems of the Iranian people rather than using repression, violence and arrests”.

Earlier in December his jewellery shop and restaurant in Tehran was shut down by the judiciary.

In addition to arrests, Iranian authorities have banned several celebrities, artists and prominent figures from leaving the country following their support for the mass protests.

Ali Daei, 53, is one of Iran’s most famous sports figures. A former captain of the national football team, he has scored 109 goals at an international level in the 1990s and early 2000s.