Iranian lawmakers removed a motion banning Iranian athletes from competing with Israeli athletes from a list of anti-Israel measures presented by the Iranian parliament last week, according to Radio Farda.
The measures, presented in a bill featuring 14 articles, passed with 43 votes in favor and no votes against, according to the Iranian IRNA news agency. MPs chanted "down with Israel" after the bill was approved, according to the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar news.
The motion concerning sports was removed after the Islamic Republic Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs urged members of the commission to drop the motion, according to Radio Farda.
In May 2019, Iran's National Olympic Committee (NOC) told the International Judo Federation (IJF) that it would allow Iranians to compete with athletes from all countries, including Israel. Iran was later suspended from competing in any future judo competitions after Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei was instructed by the Iranian authorities and the Iran Judo Federation to avoid competing against Israeli judoka Sagi Muki.
The ban on Iranian judokas will only be lifted if Iran and Israel hold a friendly match.
The draft of the bill approved by lawmakers last week made it formally illegal for Iranians to hold any competitions or sports competitions, whether official or preparatory, with Israelis. Iranian sports federations will be obliged to impose any penalties that may be imposed on Iranian athletes due to this law.
MP Qassem Mirzaeiniko blasted the planned motion to ban athletes from competing with Israelis, saying "Probably, they are after closing down Iran's sports," according to Radio Farda.
Deputy Head of the Islamic Republic's official news agency's (IRNA) for Sports Affairs Pedram Alavandi, tweeted that the planned motion would "pave the way for the suspension of all Iranian sports and a ban from the Tokyo Olympics."
Ebrahim Azizi, a conservative MP, suggested that there was nothing wrong with suspending Iranian sports, as "religious principles" have precedence over "sports issues" in Iran.
The anti-Israel bill passed further stages of the legislative process in Iran over the weekend and a number of ministries have now been tasked with implementing the measures detailed in the bill.
The use of Israeli symbols, contact between Iranians and Israelis, travel to and from Israel and trade between the two nations and companies affiliated with the State of Israel is banned under the bill.
The bill emphasized that the "historical and integrated land of Palestine belongs to the original Palestinian peoples, including Muslims, Christians and Jews," adding that the Iranian government is obliged to treat Jerusalem as the "permanent capital of Palestine."
Within six months of the adoption of the law, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must make arrangements for the establishment of a "consulate or virtual embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Capital of Jerusalem in Palestine."
On Saturday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted, "The Zionist regime has proven it doesn’t abide by any treaty & doesn't understand any language but the language of force. Israel has proven it only knows force. It cannot be spoken to except with the Palestinian nation's language of power & the Islamic nation’s global power."
Alon Einhorn contributed to this report.