Sept. 3, 2019
- For years, Iranian athletes have been prohibited from competing in any sport against Israel. From questionable injuries, to throwing matches, Iranian athletes across all sports have been ordered to crush their own dreams.
- On May 9, 2019, the International Judo Federation received on official letter from the National Olympic Committee of Iran stating:”We would like to confirm that the I.R. Iran NOC shall fully respect the Olympic Charter and its non-discrimination principle.”
- On August 28 at the Judo World Championships in Tokyo, the Iranian coach received a call from Iran’s first deputy minister of sport, Davar Zani, ordering him to withdraw Iran’s world champion, Saeid Mollaei, from the competition to avoid a potential contest between Iran and Israel. The demand was accompanied by threats against Mollaei and his family.
- Mollaei continued to compete, reaching the semi-finals. Then a delegation from the Iranian Embassy arrived at the venue, and one delegate trespassed into the athlete warm up area to approach Mollaei with messages of intimidation.
- Just prior to the semi-final, Mollaei’s coach received another phone call, this time from Iranian Olympic Committee President Reza Salehi Amiri, who explained that Iranian national security officials were at his parents’ house. Mollaei’s friends from Iran also texted him that people came to his house and asked his father to tell his son to follow the law or he would have problems.
- Mollaei explained: “Today, the National Olympic Committee of Iran and the Sport Minister told me to not compete, that I had to comply with the law. I am a fighter. I want to compete wherever I can. I live in a country whose law does not permit me to….I need help. Even if the authorities of my country told me that I can go back without any problems, I am afraid. I am afraid of what might happen to my family and to myself.”