Amir Nasr-Azadani is an Iranian professional footballer. At 24 years old, the gallows awaits him. After a trial without guarantees, the Islamic dictatorship decided to sentence him to death and his execution will be public for greater ridicule. What crime did he commit? One called ‘moharebeh’ which means “hatred against God”. But all Amir did was join the protests for Iranian women’s rights and basic freedoms. Some protests that ignited last September when Mahsa Amini (22) died after being arrested by the now dissolved ‘Moral Police’ for not properly wearing her veil covering her head and chest.
The repression in Iran has taken its tollSince then, more than 400 deaths at the hands of the relentless security forces. Before the game with England, Iran’s players refused to sing the national anthem in protest against the violence. Shortly after, from their country, they received a disturbing warning: If they “didn’t behave”, their relatives would be tortured and imprisoned by the ruthless regime.
The passion overwhelmed by the final between Argentina and France to be played today in Qatar, should not ignore or bury Amir’s drama. Deprived of his freedom, he feels the time of his earthly existence running out. If FIFA does not do so, the World Cup finalists led by their stars Messi and Mbappé, -before the ball starts rolling-, should assume a gesture of solidarity with him and a protest that could even change their lucky. I hope so. The impact, on a global scale, will be unique.