In today's Roma Fan Club Spotlight, we speak to Hafez Moslemi, president of Roma Club Iran, about supporting the club since childhood, football passion in Tehran, and his favorite Roma moments...
What can you tell the readers about yourself and your role with Roma Club Iran?
Hafez Moslemi: "Hello to all the passionate Roma fans all over the world. My name is Hafez Moslemi, I'm 28 years old, and I live in the city of Sari, in the north of Iran. I've been following Roma since I was seven. Roma is a second family to me. To me, Roma is not just a football club, they're sacred."
When was Roma Club Iran formed and what was the idea behind setting up the club?
Moslemi: "Roma have a huge fanbase in Iran, and we have worked tirelessly build that community. In 2011, we contacted Core De Roma in Italy and launched our website, IranianCorederoma.ir. What began as a newsfeed has evolved into a vibrant community where we connect Iranian Roma fans, and organise events all around the country."
What does a normal Roma matchday look like for members of Roma Club Iran?
Moslemi: "On match-day, fans gather together in a cafe in Tehran, called 'Ons Cafe', to watch Roma games. We have a large, dedicated group that comes to every match, and we also welcome new fans each week!"
Have any members of Roma Club Iran been over to Rome for a match this season?
Moslemi: "One of our members, a passionate Giallorossi fan, is actually studying at Sapienza University, so he is able to go to matches. Personally, I cannot wait to get to Rome myself to watch a match in person at Stadio Olimpico."
Why should someone join Roma Club Iran?
Moslemi: "Roma Club Iran provides opportunities for Iranian Roma fans to make great memories, connect with other fans, and become part of a dedicated, passionate community."
Can you describe what the football culture looks like in Iran, and how that has impacted the Fan Club?
Moslemi: "Iranians are incredibly passionate about football. Football cutlure in Iran is similar to many European countries, including Italy. Some fans in in our club do not even follow our domestic teams, and dedicate their whole passion to Roma."
What is your favorite Roma moment since Roma Club Iran was formed?
Moslemi: "It is difficult to pick one favourite moment, however, our first watch party sticks out. I was only 15-years-old for the first Roma event in Tehran. It was truly unforgettable. Another memorable event was when we welcomed Iranian international, and former Serie A player, Rahman Rezaie, to one of our parties!
"The most emotional memory took place on May 28th, 2017 - Francesco Totti's emotional farewell. There were over 70 fan club members in attendance as we celebrated our beloved captain."
If you could meet anyone connected to Roma - past or present - who would it be and why?
Moslemi: "Francesco Totti. He has taught everyone in Roma Club Iran about love and loyalty. He's been an influential figure for me in the world of football and beyond.
"Also, Daniele DeRossi. His passion for Roma is unique and strong. It's always a pleasure to think of him as a leader."
In April, 2018, Roma launched an official Persian-language Twitter account. How important was that to Roma Club Iran?
Moslemi: "I remember the day when Roma decided to launch their official Persian Twitter account. That was a wonderful moment for all the Iranian fans, and further established our connection to the club."