February 19, 2019
The commander of the Basiji Athletes Organization, General Davoud Azarnoush, says he hopes Israel will be wiped out before the next summer Olympic games in Tokyo.
Admiring an Iranian athlete who deliberately lost a match last week to refrain from facing an Israeli athlete the outspoken General reiterated, “I hope Israel will be wiped out and annihilated before the next Olympic games, and all of us will breathe a sigh of relief.”
Next summer Olympics games are set to be held in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.
Azarnoush was referring to the Iranian current Judo world champion, Saeid Mollaei, who deliberately gave up his chance to win a Gold medal last week at the Grand Slam tournament in Paris rather than facing his next opponent, Sagi Muki of Israel.
Mollaei, with a sullen look, easily threw his fight against a Kazakh opponent in only twenty seconds by feigning an injury. Had he won, he would have had to face Israel’s Sagi Muki in the semi-final round.
However, the 81-kg Iranian judoka amazingly managed to “recover” from the injury to fight for the bronze medal and winning it.
Nonetheless, Mollaei’s tribulation was not over since he was once again forced to feign injury in order not to stand with the eventual silver medalist Israel’s Muki, on the podium. A video of his last bout, shows him suddenly collapsing towards the end of the match, clasping his right knee.
Mollaei was absent at the medals ceremony since he was allegedly at a hospital treating the injured knee.
“We are going to analyze this case very seriously, because it is not easy to explain how the athlete lost the match, from a methodological point of view,” the president of the International Federation of judo, Marius Vizer, twitted.
This was not the first time Mollaei feigned an injury at a competition when an Israeli was involved. At the October Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, he quit his quarterfinal match in the middle, clutching his ankle in supposed pain. Then, too, his next opponent would have been Sagi Muki, World Israel News (WIN) reported on February 12.
Israel’s premier judoka won gold at that event, and the Jewish state’s national anthem was played for the first time ever in the United Arab Emirates.
Other Iranian athletes have also pulled out of events recently in order to comply with the Islamic Republic’s “unwritten law”, banning them to compete against their Israeli counterparts.
Responding to a question about the possibility of another bout between Mollaei and Israel’s Muki in the next Olympics, Tokyo 2020, Gen. Azarnoush, asserted, “The Zionist (Israeli) regime is the Islamic Republic’s redline, and, during past four decades, our athletes have always firmly stood for the establishment’s ideals, by refraining from competing with them (Israelis).”
Contrary to Azarnoush’s comment, the redline banning Iranian athletes from competing against Israelis was actually established in 1983, when the FILA World Wrestling Championships were held in Kiev (then part of the USSR). The 74-kg Iranian Greco-Roman wrestler, Bijan Seifkhani, faced Robinson Konashvili of Israel at the event and easily won 7-4.
However, after the news of Seifkhani’s victory, the then-Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati ordered the national team to return to Iran immediately. Back in Iran, all members of the national side, athletes, as well as their coaches and technical assistants, and Seifzadeh in particular, were harshly rebuked.
“Our athletes avoid matches against the Zionist regime’s representatives to show their support for the oppressed people of Palestine and Imam’s (the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini) ideals,” Azarnoush has maintained in his interview with the state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA).
Nonetheless, many Iranian athletes, including Olympic gold medalist, Rasoul Khadem, have repeatedly noted that the people of Palestine are not aware of the “sacrifice” Iranian athletes make in their name.
“If we must continue with the policy of no-competition against the Zionist regime’s athletes,” the former head of Iran’s Wrestling Federation, Rasoul Khadem said, “the responsibility cannot fall on the shoulders of the coach and the athlete. Forcing an athlete to accept defeat or run around all night looking for a doctor’s note is not right.”
The comments were dismissed and deplored by Azarnoush and his boss, ultra-conservative hardliner Brigadier General Gholam-Hossein Gheibparvar as “testing waters” for establishing a relationship with Israel.
“The legs of those who walk in that direction will be broken,” Gheibparvar cautioned. Khadem was later forced to resign.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, admired an Iranian wrestler, Alireza Karimi Machiani, for feigning injury to avoid facing an Israeli counterpart in the quarterfinal of the U-23 World Championship, in the 86-kilogram category, in November 2017.
Karimi Machiani’s decision to avoid facing Uri Kalashnikov of Israel, according to Khamenei was “a valuable praiseworthy act”.
Later, Khamenei received Karimi Machiani and presented him with one of his own onyx rings.
He later twitted in broken English that Israel “will not see next 25 years; God willing, there will be nothing as Zionist regime by the next 25 years. Secondly, until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists.”
Two years after the comments, Khamenei’s close allies unveiled a digital countdown chronometer in Tehran, showing 8,411 days to what they said would be the “destruction of Israel”, as part of Quds Day, an annual assembly in support of the Palestinian Territories.
The countdown still continues in Tehran’s Palestine square.