On Monday, his household mentioned that the Spanish man who was touring from Madrid to Doha for the 2022 World Cup has not been heard from because the day after he crossed the border into Iran three weeks in the past, elevating fears about his destiny in a rustic in nice turmoil.
The late skilled, former paratrooper and avid soccer fan, 41-year-old Santiago Sanchez, was final seen in Iraq after touring 15 international locations and sharing his journey extensively on the favored Instagram account over the previous 9 months.
Sanchez’s household final heard about him on October 2, the day after he crossed the Iraq-Iran border.
“We’re so nervous, we will not cease crying, my husband and I,” his mom, Celia Cogedor, advised The Related Press.
Santiago, the daddy of Cujedor and Sánchez, sat by the hearth within the household’s house in a small village in central Spain. Apparently exhausted, the couple shared with journalists the final cherished audio message that their son despatched them that morning, allegedly from Iranian territory, detailing his future plans.
“I am with a buddy who got here to select me up. I’ll Bandar Abbas, 1,700 kilometers (1,056 miles) south of Iran, close to the island of Hormuz,” mentioned Sanchez’s calm voice.
The Spanish adventurer defined how he deliberate to go to the Iranian capital, Tehran, the following day, the place a tv station needed to interview him. His subsequent step was Bandar Abbas, a port in southern Iran the place he would soar on a ship to Qatar. However all his traces evaporated even earlier than he reached Tehran, his mother and father consider.
Sanchez had already warned his household earlier than crossing into Iran that communication wouldn’t be as straightforward because it had been in earlier months.
“After a couple of days we did not fear about him not posting, it matched what he mentioned. However after eight or 9 days, my daughter and his shut buddies…we actually began pondering we must always report him lacking,” his mom mentioned.
His mother and father reported him lacking on October 17, and mentioned Spanish police and diplomats had been serving to the household.
The Spanish International Ministry mentioned it had no info on Sanchez’s whereabouts, including that the Spanish ambassador in Tehran was in command of the matter. Calls to the Iranian International Ministry looking for remark weren’t instantly answered.
Sanchez’s reported disappearance in Iran comes as protesters throughout the Islamic Republic are mounting the most important anti-government motion in additional than a decade. The demonstrations had been triggered on September 16 by the dying of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old girl who was detained by Iran’s morality police for allegedly not adhering to the nation’s strict Islamic gown code.
Tehran has violently cracked down on protesters and blamed international enemies and Kurdish teams in Iraq for fomenting unrest, with out offering proof. Iran’s Intelligence Ministry mentioned authorities had arrested 9 foreigners, largely Europeans, over their alleged hyperlinks to protests final month.
Sanchez arrived in Iraqi Kurdistan in late September, having traveled 1000’s of kilometers carrying a small suitcase in a wheeled cart, filled with little greater than a tent, water purification tablets and a gasoline range for 11 months on the street. He mentioned he needed to understand how others lived earlier than arriving in Qatar, the primary nation to host the World Cup within the Arab world, in time for Spain’s first match on November 23.
The day earlier than his disappearance, Sanchez had breakfast with a information in Sulaymaniyah, a Kurdish metropolis in northeastern Iraq. The information, who spoke on situation of anonymity for worry of reprisals, mentioned he had tried to warn Sanchez in regards to the harmful political scenario in Iran.
However the information mentioned Sanchez was not deterred and assured.
“He did not appear nervous in any respect. I’ve sorted every part out, don’t be concerned,” he advised me.
The information added that Sanchez had deliberate to satisfy an Iranian household within the Kurdish city of Marivan, which has witnessed anti-government protests just lately. The household, delighted with Sanchez’s Instagram posts, have provided to host him.
The information mentioned that after Sanchez crossed the border on October 1, his messages turned few and obscure. Sanchez advised him that issues are “very totally different” in Iran than in Sulaymaniyah, an Iraqi metropolis stuffed with parks and cafes.
I learn his final message: “It was an extended story.”
In his newest Instagram replace, the evening earlier than he crossed the Iranian border, he posted footage of his emotional farewell to Iraq and advised of the generosity of a Kurdish household. He was planning to camp on a mountain, however the proprietor of a close-by farm greeted him, giving him a mattress, a bathe, and a hearty dinner.
Footage on Instagram present him consuming bread and rooster soup, smiling and posing with village boys and consuming tea over an open fireplace.
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