Hamid Estili (L) with Mahmoud Khazein in a party on April 8, 2022.

Hamid Estili (L) with Mahmoud Khazein in a party on April 8, 2022

Iran Football Manager To Visit Canada Seen With Man Wanted By FBI


The Iranian national soccer team’s manager, who is going to Canada for a controversial friendly next month, recently attended a party with a man wanted by the FBI for attempted kidnapping.

Photos of the party show Hamid Estili beside Mahmoud Khazein, who is sought by the FBI in relation to a plot to kidnap international targets, including three people in Canada, CBC News reported on Saturday.

The event was a birthday party in Tehran on April 8, almost a year since a warrant had been out for the arrest of the alleged Iranian intelligence informant.

According to the FBI list, Khazein is facing criminal charges in the United States, including conspiracy to kidnap; conspiracy to violate the international emergency economic powers act; conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud; and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

One of the alleged targets of the kidnapping plot was journalist and rights activist Masih Alinejad, who told CBC News that the FBI is now looking into a possible connection between Estili and Khazein.

"I want the Canadian police to consider that as well … Sports federations are being controlled by members of the Revolutionary Guards. Would you allow anyone associated with the kidnappers to come to Canada to enjoy freedom?” she said.

Iran's soccer team, known by its nickname Team Melli, is headed to Vancouver for an exhibition game on June 5 despite objections by those who lost loved ones in Iran’s downing of Flight PS752 in 2020.

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