Israeli judoka Sagi Muki celebrates with his gold medal after winning the under-81kg event at the European Judo Championships in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Iran will compete with athletes from all countries, including Israel, Iran's National Olympic Committee (NOC) stated on Saturday in a letter to the International Judo Federation (IJF).
In the letter, published on the IJF website, the Iranians confirmed that they would "fully respect the Olympic Charter and its non-discrimination principle." They also mentioned that they were negotiating with the Parliament to "identify the proper legal resolutions."
The letter was signed by Syed Reza Salehi Amiri, President of the Iran NOC, and Arash Miresmaeli, President of the Iranian Judo Federation.
Miresmaeli has a history with the issue of Iranian athletes refusing to compete with Israeli athletes.
For example, the BBC reported that in the 2004 Athens Olympics, Miresmaeli – a competing Judoka at the time – weighed in four pounds over the weight limit for his class, disqualifying him from competing against Israeli Udi Wax. Miresmaeli was paid $125,000 afterwards by the Iranian National Olympic Committee, the amount paid to athletes who won gold medals.
Miresmaeli said at the time that he refused to face Wax "in sympathy with the oppressed Palestinian people," according to the BBC. A spokesman for the Iran NOC said that it was a "general policy" to refrain from competing with Israeli athletes and that Mirasmaeli had simply observed the protocol. The IJF reported that this had been denied by Iran Judo Federation officials.
Iran has avoided competing with Israeli athletes in other Judo competitions, including an incident in February at the Paris Grand Slam when an Iranian judoka lost purposely to avoid competing with Israeli judoka Sagi Muki, according to Ynet.
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