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Europeans mock Ukraine’s appeal to FIFA to exclude Iran from World Cup over drone claim

Visitors take photos with a FIFA World Cup sign in Doha on October 30, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup football tournament. (Photo by AFP)

Many European internet users have derided an appeal by Ukraine to the world football governing body FIFA to get Iran thrown out of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar over allegations that Tehran has supplied Russia with weapons to be used in the war in Ukraine.

In a statement on Monday, Ukrainian football officials announced that they would formally petition FIFA to consider expelling Iran from the upcoming World Cup in Qatar, accusing Tehran of “systemic human rights abuses” and aiding “Russian military aggression against Ukraine.”

Haroon Morta, an internet user, believes that if Iran is to be banned from the global sports event hosted by Qatar, the United States and Britain should also be expelled for their roles in many illegal wars.

“Ban USA & UK too! How many illegal wars have they funded and how much blood is on their hands? #Iran #WorldCup #Qatar,” he tweeted.

Another user, David, criticized bringing politics into football and emphasized that Iran should play in the World Cup even in case of the parties’ supplement of weapons.

“Is Ukraine the only country on earth and why bring politics in football some of us we are soccer of fans and we want to watch Iran playing world cup even if they supply each other with weapon its their business,” he tweeted.

Mike Hunt mocked the idea and said, “If Iran get banned the world cup becomes an absolute joke.”

Jack Duffy tweeted that “football should be about football not the politics of the world.”

“If it was then there would be countries far worse than Iran that shouldn’t be playing either,” he said on his Twitter account.

Internet user AJC expressed his sadness over “what’s going on in Ukraine in these last 10 months” but said it does not “mean they have the automatic right to participate in the World Cup.”

“Ban Iran from the World Cup if that’s the case but Ukraine had an equal chance to qualify and they failed to,” he tweeted.

Iran will be among the 32 nations to compete at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which runs from November 20 to December 18.

The Iranian team has been drawn into Group B of the tournament, alongside England, Wales and the USA. They begin their campaign against England on November 21.

Iran has repeatedly rejected Western countries’ allegations of sending drones to Russia for use against Ukraine, saying it opposes the war in Ukraine as much as it opposes wars elsewhere.

In a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said, “We have good relations with Russia and have had defense cooperation in the past, but our policy toward the war in Ukraine is to respect the territorial integrity of [both] countries, not to send weapons to the warring parties, and [calling for] an end to the war and displacement of people.”

The anti-Iran claims first emerged in July, with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan alleging that Washington had received “information” indicating that the Islamic Republic was preparing to provide Russia with “up to several hundred drones, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline” for use in the war.

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