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Voria Ghafouri, a former member of the national team, has been outspoken in his defence of Iranian Kurds, telling the government on social media to stop killing Kurdish people. He has previously been detained for criticising the former Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif.

The players and their head coach Carlos Queiroz, the former Manchester United assistant, have refused to speak about the political crisis in the country. Queiroz even took exception to a question by a BBC journalist, confronting her following a press conference. 

Having had most of the briefing taken up by questions about home affairs rather than football, Queiroz was filmed approaching the BBC’s Shaimaa Khalil. He pleaded with her: “Why do you ask us these kind of questions?. I have the right to talk with you. 

“The press conference is finished, is it not fair to ask these questions to the other coaches? Why don’t you ask Mr Southgate about England and United States when they left Afghanistan?”