The World Jewish Congress has called for Iran to be barred from taking part in the Olympics and other international sporting events until its athletes stop boycotting their Israeli counterparts.
Ronald Lauder, the head of the WJC, called the Iranian behavior "unsportsmanlike and
smacks of anti-Semitism."
Iran’s repeated attempts to politicize sporting events is “disgraceful,” Lauder said in a statment Wednesday, adding that the regime’s demand for Iranian athletes to avoid competing against sportsmen from Israel is “a clear breach of the spirit and the letter of the statutes of international sporting bodies.”
“It is high time that a strong signal is sent to Iran that unless this long-standing boycott is lifted, Iranian athletes will not be allowed to enter major international events such as next year’s Olympic Games in London," Lauder said. "This kind of bigotry can and must be overcome, and Tehran must give clear undertakings that Iranian athletes do not shun their Israeli counterparts at sporting events.”
Iranian athletes have long pulled out of international events when faced with an Israeli opponent, citing illness or inability to compete.
Most recently, an Iranian swimmer pulled out of a race that included Israeli Gal Nevo at the world swimming championships in Shanghai this week, claiming he was "tired and drowsy."
The same swimmer pulled out of a race against an Israeli at the 2008 Olympics, claiming he was ill.
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