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Iran Sports Minister Joins ‘Antisemitic’ Attack against Israeli Athletes

Seyed Hamid Sajjadi Hazaveh, the newly appointed Iranian minister of sports, joined members of the Islamic Republic’s parliament in August in urging Iranian athletes from competing against their Israeli counterparts.

Hamid Sajjadi termed Israel a “child-killing and occupying regime,” sparking criticism from a highly decorated Iranian Greco-Roman wrestler.

The former head of Iran’s Greco-Roman wrestling team, Sardar Pashaei, who is now an American citizen, said that “It is deeply sad for me and many other Iranian athletes such racist remarks by the Iranian authorities. Just a few days ago, members of the Iranian parliament called on the minister of sports to ban Iranian athletes from competing with Israeli athletes, and unfortunately, we now see that the minister of sports of the new Iranian government has the same message: a message of enmity and hatred.”

Pashaei, who helps run the United for Navid campaign in remembrance of the murdered Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari, added that “Enmity with Israel and Western values has been the fundamental policy of the regime from day one, they are alien to any peace, friendship, and humanity, and they only want to spread evil, enmity, and hatred. And sadly, they have carried out this message in the field of sports, which is supposed to be away from politics. “

Iran’s clerical regime executed Afkari in September 2020 for his participation in a demonstration against worsening economic conditions in the Islamic Republic.

Pashaei noted that “We, the Iranian athletes, have been victims of the policy of hatred and enmity of the Iranian officials for a long time, we have been losing the opportunities of our lives for many years because of that, we complained to the International Olympic Committee about this. But nothing has been done yet by international sports officials and the International Olympic Committee to end this misguided policy, and athletes continue to fall victim.”

The sports outlet Inside the Games reported in May that audio obtained by the London-based Iran International news organization apparently shows Iran Judo Federation President Arash Miresmaeili urging the coach of Saeid Mollaei to notify the judoka to take a defeat in order to not compete against an Israeli judoka.

“The position of the regime, myself, the minister, all of us, is that he is not allowed to compete [against the Israeli rival],” Miresmaeili reportedly said. “Make him understand that he is not allowed under any circumstances. He will be held responsible for whatever decision he makes.”

In April, the International Judo Federation imposed a four-year ban on Iran’s regime for its discriminatory conduct toward Israel. (JPost / VFI News)

“But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled.” - 1 Peter 3:14