Iranian-Americans protest against Iran at Iowa wrestling world cup

A group of Iranian Americans chanted "down with the dictator" and wore shirts calling for a regime change in Iran.

 Iranian protesters, November 19, 2020 (photo credit: 1500tasvir)
Iranian protesters, November 19, 2020
(photo credit: 1500tasvir)

Iranian-Americans protested on the weekend against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s wrestling team at the World Cup in Coralville, Iowa.

The demonstration hit the Iranian regime’s team amid the theocratic state’s public hanging via a crane of the 23-year-old Iranian wrestler Majidreza Rahnavard.

The clerical regime announced on Monday that Rahnavard was executed in the city of Mashhad for allegedly killing two members of the Basij volunteer force and wounding four others. 

The Basij force is controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps - a US-designated terrorist organization - that has violently repressed the recent waves of protests against the regime, which have taken place over the last three months.

Death penalty cases in Iran, according to human rights groups, are star chamber proceedings that do not meet any semblance of fair judicial trials.

 Iranian protester Majidreza Rahnavard (credit: 1500tasvir) Iranian protester Majidreza Rahnavard (credit: 1500tasvir)

According to reports and video footage received by The Jerusalem Post, a sizeable group of Iranian-Americans chanted "Down with the dictator" in reference to the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and sported shirts calling for Iran regime change now. The US wrestling squad beat the Iranian team 6-4 to win the world cup.

Lawdan Bazargan, an Iranian-American human rights activist, told the Post that “while the Nazi ideology or South Africa's Apartheid ideas has been discredited, why is the brutal Gender-Apartheid allowed to participate in international games such as the Wrestling world championship?

“In 2020, Navid Afkari, a beloved champion wrestler, was hanged, and right now, several athletes are in danger of execution,” she warned. “Boycott the Islamic regime of Iran’s teams and show the Iranian people that you are standing behind them, not their oppressors.”

Who was Navid Afkari?

The Post has reported extensively on the Islamic Republic’s execution of Navid Afkari in 2020 for his role in a 2018 protest against the regime and worsening economic conditions in the Islamic Republic. 

Bazargan, who was imprisoned in Tehran in the 1980s for her political dissent, said that "it is frustrating that despite the far-right, xenophobic, racist, and sexist nature of the Islamic regime of Iran, the liberal progressive left in the West, especially in the United States, has welcomed them in the media, in the academia, in the sports arenas, and even as advisors in the White House.”

“In Iran, women can't wear what they want, divorce their husbands, receive their children's custody, leave the country without their husband's permission, mingle with the opposite sex, play certain sports, study certain subjects, or get appointed or elected in key positions such as the presidency.“

Lawdan Bazargan

She added that “in Iran, women can't wear what they want, divorce their husbands, receive their children's custody, leave the country without their husband's permission, mingle with the opposite sex, play certain sports, study certain subjects, or get appointed or elected to key positions such as the presidency.“

One video from the stadium in Iowa showed a girl who entered with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s flag, triggering chants from the protestors “Not our flag.’ 

Protestors wore shirts of Navid Afkari and the murdered 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini. 

The torture of Amini in the custody of the Iranian regime’s notorious morality police in September, which allegedly led to her death, sparked a nationwide movement against the regime.

The Iranian regime’s state-controlled news outlet Press TV denied the regime murdered Amini, lashing out at the protestors in Iowa as “anti-Iran mercenaries” who “hassle Iranian wrestlers.” During the 2009 Green movement demonstrations against the fraudulent presidential election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Press TV participated in the torture of former Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari in the Evin prison in Tehran.

The EU and US have both sanctioned Tehran’s English-language network Press TV.

Sam Rajabi, an Iranian-American who was on Iran’s Judo team, confronted officials from the Islamic Republic’s wrestling team in Iowa. He also wore a t-shirt stating that “Dabir supports dictator.”

Alireza Dabir, who heads the Islamic Republic of Iran Wrestling Federation, has called for “Death to America” and advocated violence. The US denied him a visa earlier this year to enter the country for a dual meeting competition in Texas.