Thousands have called on FIFA to boot Iran out of the World Cup after it admitted supplying Russia with 'kamikaze drones' to blitz Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin's invading army has deployed Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones as its 'secret weapons' to pulverise power and water pumping stations.
Iran had repeatedly denied Ukraine's claims that it supplied the devices which have crippled infrastructure resulting in mass power cuts and a water shortage.
READ MORE: Ukraine appeal for Iran to be banned from World Cup – and it would block England opener
But Iran's foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (corr) told the nation's official news agency: "We supplied Russia with a limited number of drones months before the war in Ukraine."
The revelation yesterday sparked calls for Iran to be kicked out of the World Cup. Its national team is due to be England's opening opponent on November 21. But more than have 26,000 signed a petition demanding organiser FIFA bans Iran.
Set up by a group calling itself 'Iranian Protesters', it slams the nation's 'aggression' against its 'own people' and 'violation' of human rights.
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It states: "Since early September the Russian army has been using Iranian-made kamikaze drones not so much to cause damage to the Ukrainian military as to undermine civilian morale.
"Indeed the Islamic Republic has named these drones Shahed-136 (Martyrs), a term so ideologically loaded that Russia has renamed them Geranium-2.
"These drones are Vladimir Putin's secret weapons. Iranian drones have become a significant part of Russia's campaign of terror in Ukrainian territory.
"Therefore we respectfully request that FIFA convene an emergency meeting to consider suspending the Islamic Republic national team from the 2022 World Cup."
Among the signatories from around the world one wrote: "In a situation where women are banned from entering the stadium and slaughtered in the streets of Iran this team should not have a place in the World Cup."
Another said: "I am living in Iran and I don't want a terrorist regime to be my representative in World Cup."
Others claimed, 'Iranian people want their national football team to be expelled' and their participation in the tournament would give the country's regime 'more reason to continue their brutal practices'.
Ukraine's government responded to Iran's drone admission by warning the 'consequences of complicity' in Putin's 'crimes' will be 'much greater than the benefit of Russia's support'.
Some western leaders have called the drone attacks war crimes because under the Geneva Conventions – which define the rules of war – civilian infrastructure cannot be deliberately targeted.
Russia was banned from all international football competitions 'until further notice' shortly after Putin launched his invasion in February.
FIFA did not respond to a request for comment.
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