Ukraine calls for Iran to be cast out of World Cup in Qatar for supporting Russia

The Iranian national football team. Credit: PA

Ukraine has called for Iran to be excluded from the World Cup in Qatar after the country was accused of selling drones and other military equipment to Russia.

The Ukrainian Association of Football has called for Iran to be excluded from the World Cup in Qatar.

The Ukrainian Association of Football’s (UAF) executive committee says it has made a request to global governing body FIFA to kick Iran out of the tournament over what it describes as the country’s "systematic human rights violations" and "the possible involvement of Iran in the military aggression of Russia against Ukraine".

Iran is due to kick off its World Cup campaign against England on November 21.

A Ukrainian photo of what Kyiv has described as an destroyed Iranian drone. Credit: AP

Anti-government protests have engulfed Iran since the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, on 16 September.

She had been arrested for allegedly violating Iran’s rules requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab, or headscarf.

A group of Iranian sports personalities had already called on FIFA to ban the country from the tournament on the basis that the failure to allow women to attend matches in Iran constituted a breach of FIFA’s own articles.

Now Ukraine has added further political pressure, citing the Iranian government’s treatment of its own people, and its belief that the regime in Tehran is supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Western and Ukrainian intelligence has claimed Iran is supplying the 'kamikaze' dones Russia is using in civilian areas.

Iran has denied selling arms to Russia.

The tournament, due to kick off on November 20, has already attracted controversy due to questions over Qatar's human rights record.

Qatar has been criticised for its hardline anti-LBGTQ+ laws, and has faced accusations of migrant labour exploitation as it build its World Cup infrastructure.

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