Arabic media outlets claimed that Iranian authorities arrested Reza Parastesh, also known as Iranian Messi doppelgänger, for “taking sexual advantage of Iranian women.”
“Reza Parastesh, an Iranian young man, used his likeness to Messi to take sexual advantage of dozens of women, after he had convinced them that he is Messi himself,” Sky News Arabia reported stating undefined media reports.
“Twenty-three victims have filed a lawsuit against the impostor after exposing him, “ Sky News Arabia reported quoting Enstoli TV channel.
Verify-Sy fact-checked the news through Persian-language media outlets; it turned out that a rumor that had been spreading on social media in Iran, before it has spread on Arabic media outlets.
Parastesh posted a video on his Instagram account denying the rumors, announcing that he will file a lawsuit. “I would like to clarify that the news that has spread on social media that I had raped 23 Iranian women is just a lie,” “Please don’t distort people’s reputation or honor, never judge someone based on rumors. All of us know that if someone has committed rape, which was reported, even once, to the police, he will be arrested, so can you imagine 23 sexual assaults?! It is a disaster,“ he said.
“If that news was true, I will not be taking a video of myself at my home; I would have been behind bars. I will for sure file a lawsuit as soon as possible. I ask the police to determine who the source of this rumor is, and then tell the public about it. Please share this video. Thanks to all of you.” He added.
Swarmed by people wanting to take photos with him, Iranian authorities detained Parastesh due to a traffic jam caused by the crowd; he was later released, BBC Persian reported in 2017.
Parastesh is a master’s student at the Faculty of Urban Planning Engineering; he was born in the city of Hamedan in 1992. He has grabbed the attention of international media as Lionel Messi look-alike and has become famous.