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Iran leader reasserts ban on sports with Israel

A handout picture provided by the office of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows him during a meeting in the Iranian capital Tehran. (AFP file photo)
A handout picture provided by the office of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows him during a meeting in the Iranian capital Tehran. (AFP file photo)
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19 Sep 2021 12:09:13 GMT9
19 Sep 2021 12:09:13 GMT9
  • Khamenei instructed “the sports and foreign ministries, as well as the judiciary, to deploy their legal resources to support athletes from this and other Muslim countries, like the Algerian who was recently disciplined”

TEHRAN: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday reasserted the Islamic republic’s longstanding ban on competitive sport with Israelis, and promised support for athletes disciplined by international bodies for respecting it.

Iran does not recognize Israel and its athletes usually refrain from facing Israeli opponents, whether by forfeiting the match or by simply not participating.

“Any Iranian athlete worthy of the name cannot shake hands with a representative of the criminal regime in order to win a medal,” Khamenei told a reception for Iran’s medallists from the Tokyo 2020 Games.

“The illegitimate, bloodthirsty … Zionist regime tries to win legitimacy by taking part in international sporting events attended by the world arrogance (Washington and the West), and our athletes cannot just stand idly by,” he added, in comments posted on his official website.

Khamenei instructed “the sports and foreign ministries, as well as the judiciary, to deploy their legal resources to support athletes from this and other Muslim countries, like the Algerian who was recently disciplined.”

He was referring to Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine, who withdrew from the Tokyo Games after the draw set him on course for a possible matchup against an Israeli opponent, prompting his suspension from international competition.

AFP
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