Top Iran soccer players detained by police

On Saturday, Iranian authorities briefly detained several top-tier soccer players in Iran after a raid on a New Year’s Eve party where women were present and alcohol was served in violation of the country’s strict religious rules, state media reported on Sunday.

Damavand, a city near Tehran, was where several current and former Iranian soccer players of one of the city’s most prominent soccer clubs were arrested at a mixed party, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

“Some of these players were in an abnormal state due to alcohol consumption” according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency said.

Only non-Muslims are permitted to consume alcohol in Iran for religious purposes. Dancing with the opposite gender is forbidden.

A birthday party, according to the YJC news agency, was what the gathering was. All those detained were released, except for one person, who was not a soccer player.

The prosecutor was quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency as saying a complaint had been filed against the detainees and more information would be released later.

Iran’s football federation did not immediately comment on the situation.

According to hardline clerical rulers, social restrictions are among the driving issues behind months of protests in Iran against them since the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian Kurdish woman who was arrested in Tehran for allegedly violating the country’s strict clothing policy for women.

Human rights groups say that more than 500 protestors have been killed as part of the government’s crackdown on the demonstrations. Authorities have also arrested prominent individuals who voiced support for the protests, including several current and former soccer players as well as other athletes in Iran.

Last month, Iran executed two men, both 23, who had been convicted of attacks against security forces in connection with the protests.
The judiciary has said nine others have been sentenced to death. Campaigners said last week that dozens of protesters also face charges that carry a potential death sentence.