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MP Calls on UN to Protect Iranian Football Players in Saudi Arabia

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TEHRAN, April 12 (ICANA) – Member of the Iranian parliament's Sports Fraction Alireza Dehqan voiced deep concern about the security of Iranian football players in future matches in Saudi Arabia, and asked the United Nations to take responsibility for the security of the Iranian players.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 10:09:07 PM
MP Calls on UN to Protect Iranian Football Players in Saudi Arabia

"The United Nations and the international community are responsible for the security of the Iranian footballers in Saudi Arabia," Dehqan said, adding that Tehran does not trust Saudi Arabia with the security of its athletes.

He called on the Saudi officials to avoid politicizing international sports events, particularly the Asian Clubs matches, warning that the move would certainly harm the interests of Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian lawmaker rejected the claims raised by a number of Saudi officials that Iran is not a safe place to host the Asian Championship matches.

"We attach no value to these allegations since Saudi rulers are not in a position to raise such claims," Dehqan stressed.

Saudi Arabia has recently started politicizing sports ties with Iran, after Tehran cautioned Riyadh to stop military intervention in Bahrain's domestic affairs.

In a political move last month, Saudi Arabia embarked on fingerprinting and iris scanning Tehran's popular soccer team Persepolis FC - widely viewed as Asia's most popular club - when they arrived at the Jeddah International Airport for an Asian championship match against Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad.

The Persepolis were held at the Jeddah airport for eight hours after they protested against the fingerprinting and iris scanning.

Iran has lodged a complaint with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) against the Saudi state-meddling with football.

FIFA bans state-interference in football affairs and has already suspended membership and activity license of several countries' football federations for the same reason.

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