Shocking! Iran bans weightlifter for life over handshake with Israeli
The Islamic Republic of Iran has banned an Iranian weightlifter because he shook hands with an Israeli competitor at an event in Poland, according to a report.
Mostafa Rajaei, a famous Iranian weightlifter, aged in his 40s, shook hands with Maksim Svirsky, an Israeli weightlifter, on Saturday during a World Masters championship in Wieliczka, a town near Krakow, in southern Poland. The move angered the Iranian authorities.
According to the IRNA report, Iran Weightlifting Federation, the governing body for weightlifting in Iran, announced in a statement, “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.”
The Islamic Republic of Iran and Israel are enemies. There is no direct contact between Iranian and Israeli athletes. Iran does not recognise Israel. The latest move further deteriorated the situation.
According to the IRNA report, Mostafa Rajaei “crossed the red lines of the Islamic republic” on the podium at a World Masters championship in Wieliczka, where he was “sent with the support of the federation.”
Mostafa Rajaei represented the Islamic Republic of Iran at the Asian Weightlifting Championships in 2015 in Thailand. He was also a member of the Iranian national team.
In 2021, Ali Hosseini Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, urged Iranian athletes not to shake hands with Israeli athletes. He reportedly told Iranian athletes “do not shake hands with a representative of the Israeli criminal regime to obtain a medal.”
In 2019, Alireza Firouzja, the youngest player to have surpassed a FIDE rating of 2800, left the Islamic Republic of Iran after the country’s Weightlifting Federation banned him from playing in the 2019 world championship because an Israeli player was also participating at the competition.
Iranian athletes have been avoiding Israeli athletes for years, by providing medical certificates testifying that they were not fit to play.
Recently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Iran was behind attacks on a car on Route 60 near the city of Hebron in the southern West Bank that killed an Israeli woman. The Israeli Prime Minister also claimed that several recent attacks committed against Israelis were funded and encouraged by Iran. He said, “This terror attack is encouraged, guided, funded by Iran and its satellite states.”