Iranian football great Ali Daei has seen his family targeted for their vocal support of protesters.
According to The New York Times, Daei has been “voicing” their demands for months and “telling the Iranian government to respond.”
Sure enough, the Iranian government closed multiple businesses Daei owned and began punishing Daei for speaking out.
But that pales in comparison to what they’ve done recently.
The Times reported that the government forced the airline to land mid-flight.
Daae’s daughter was questioned and released, but was not allowed to re-board the plane.
This is the latest escalation in the government crackdown on protesters. Iran’s football team also faced threats for making silent protests against the national anthem during the World Cup.
READ: Iran’s World Cup team remains silent while protesters support national anthem at home
Iran government continues to punish dissent
The Iranian government clearly understands the power of celebrities, and influential figures speak out.
As such, they specifically target them and their families to ensure silence.
Fox News quoted Middle East experts as explaining how they handle these situations.
“The administration is fixated on celebrities and their families,” Middle East expert and Foreign Desk editor-in-chief Lisa Duftali told Fox News Digital. “They are targeting them in the harshest way to set an example for them.”
Protecting their interests is clearly more important than worrying about losing public support for pursuing a popular figure.
No one knows how hopelessly the Iranian government will move forward as the protests continue.