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Iran: Weightlifter Mostafa Rajaei banned for life by country’s weightlifting organisation for shaking hands with Israeli competitor

Israeli weightlifter Maksim Svirsky and Mostafa Rajaei shook hands when they were on the podium at the World Masters championship in Wieliczka on August 26.

A lifetime ban has been imposed on an Iranian weightlifter by the country’s weightlifting organisation for speaking and shaking hands with an Israeli competitor at an event in Poland. The body declared, “The weightlifting federation bans athlete Mostafa Rajaei for life from entering all sports facilities in the country and dismisses the head of the delegation for the competition, Hamid Salehinia.”

Israeli weightlifter Maksim Svirsky and Mostafa Rajaei shook hands when they were on the podium at the World Masters championship in Wieliczka on August 26.

The two were participating in a weightlifting competition for “legends” in Wieliczka. The Iranian was photographed next to the Israeli competitor who took home the bronze medal while Rajaei won silver in the competition.

Iran forbids all interactions between Iranian and Israeli athletes because it does not recognise Israel, which is considered a sworn enemy by the Islamist government in Iran. The weightlifter reportedly “crossed the red lines of the Islamic Republic” at the event where the Iranian delegation had been “sent with the support of the federation.”

Mostafa Rajaei formerly competed for Iran’s national team, and in 2015, he represented Iran in Thailand at the Asian Weightlifting Championships.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, advised athletes in 2021 “not to shake hands with a representative of the (Israeli) criminal regime to obtain a medal.” Iranian athletes have avoided competing against Israeli competitors for years, frequently by being disqualified or presenting documents attesting to their illness.

Alireza Firouzja, a young chess prodigy, departed Iran because the nation’s chess federation forbade him from competing in the 2019 world championship for fear of playing an Israeli opponent. He has now acquired French citizenship.

Saeid Mollaei, an Iranian judoka, left his country in 2019 after refusing to abstain from an event against Sagi Muki of Israel. He then acquired Mongolian citizenship, befriended him and even travelled to Israel in 2021. Iran’s participation in international judo tournaments was prohibited for four years due to the policy. The restriction is scheduled to end on 17 September.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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