Iranian football legend, Ali Daei, confirmed that the Iranian authorities suddenly stopped a plane that his family was traveling on during a flight from Tehran to Dubai, on Kish Island.
Daei, whose passport was briefly confiscated earlier this year over his support for popular protests in Iran, said his wife and daughter legally left the capital, Tehran, before the trip came to an abrupt halt on Kish Island, where they were questioned by Iranian authorities, according to the Associated Press.
Daei added that his family planned to travel to Dubai and return to Iran next week.
Flight Radar 24, which specializes in tracking flights, showed that Mahan Iran W563 flight was diverted to Kish Island, before continuing to Dubai two hours later.
There was no immediate comment from the airline or Iranian authorities.
On the other hand, Iranian state media reported that the authorities diverted a flight heading to Dubai, on Monday, to prevent the wife and daughter of the former captain of the Iranian national football team, Ali Daei, who supported the protests, from leaving the country, according to Reuters.
This month, authorities closed Daei’s jewelry store and restaurant after he supported the protests on social media, according to Reuters.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency reported that Daei’s wife was imposed a travel ban earlier this month over her support for the protests.
She said she tried to bypass the ban illegally without going into any details and that her final destination was the United States.
Ali Daei is considered the most prominent soccer player in Iran, and he is the historical scorer for his country’s national team, and he has previously played foreign professionalism in Germany and a number of Arab Gulf countries.
Iran has been shaken by popular protests since mid-September after the death of a young woman of Kurdish origin, Mahsa Amini, 22, after 3 days of her detention by the morality police.
A number of celebrities and stars of cinema, sports and music supported this protest movement, including Ali Daei. The protest movement calls for the overthrow of the country’s Islamic regime, which came after the 1979 revolution.
Iran accuses Western countries, Israel and Saudi Arabia of fomenting unrest during the protests, which drew people from all walks of life and posed the strongest challenge to the clerics.
In addition to the arrests, the authorities imposed travel bans on dozens of artists, lawyers, journalists and celebrities because of their support for the protests.
The Human Rights Activists News Agency (Hrana) said that as of December 25, 507 protesters had been killed in the unrest, including 69.
It added that 66 members of the security forces were also killed. The authorities are believed to have arrested as many as 18,516 protesters.