As Barack Obama spoke out more harshly against the Iranian government today, officials in Iran booted two British diplomats for what was reported on state TV as “unconventional behavior.”
A spokesperson for British PM Gordon Brown indicated the diplomats had been told to GTFO for “activities incompatible with their diplomatic status.” Not to be outdone, Britain immediately announced that it would be expelling two Iranian diplomats in retaliation.
The banninations didn’t stop there, however, with state-controlled newspapers reporting that four players (Ali Karimi, 31, Mehdi Mahdavikia, 32, Hosein Ka’abi, 24 and Vahid Hashemian, 32) have been “retired” from the sport after wearing green wristbands during a match in Seoul, South Korea, as a show of solidarity for fellow citizens in the post-election turmoil. (Iran drew 1-1 in the match.)
Six players in total sported the defiant wristbands and the professional fate of the other two remained unclear. Upon returning to Tehran, no players were able to retrieve their passports from officials and the wristbands are said to have greatly embarrassed Iranian authorities. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is known to be a fervent footie fan, and in 2006, Iran was banned by FIFA from international competition after being accused of governmental interference in the sport. The ban was later rescinded.