Daei held the record for most international goals in history with 109 for several years before Cristiano Ronaldo surpassed it in 2021. He cited the protests in his country as the reason to give the upcoming Qatar showpiece a miss.
The 53-year-old wrote on Instagram:
"Hello to my dear and honorable compatriots. In these days when most of us are not feeling well, I answered no to the official invitation of FIFA and Qatar Football Federation to attend the World Cup with my wife and daughters, to be with you in my homeland and express my sympathy to all the families who lost their loved ones."
"They have lost these days, I declare. Hoping for bright days for Iran and Iranians. Ali Daei."
Seedorf, a rival during his playing days and now a friend, has come in support of his decision, calling him a leader for the Iranian people.
The Dutchman wrote in the comments:
"You are a real spiritual leader for your people my friend. I admire you courage, kindness and leadership. Peace is what I wish can be reached asap. Much love you and family and all the brothers and Sisters in Iran."
Daei earned 149 caps with Iran in 13 years with the side, scoring 109 goals. He played at two FIFA World Cups in 1994 and 2006, although he failed to find the net in both.
Iran set for a challenging FIFA World Cup
Iran were handed a tough draw against England, Wales and the United States in Group B and their chances of progression to the knockouts seem difficult.
Team Melli have never made it beyond the first round of the FIFA World Cup and that streak could well continue in Qatar.
England are the favorites to win the group despite their disappointing results lately, while the United States and Wales have a talented bunch of players.
Carlos Queiroz's side, however, are no slouch and gave European powerhouses like Spain and Portugal a tough run for their money in the last edition.
It will be interesting to see if Iran can break the group stage hoodoo this time around.