(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Officials in Tehran said that an earlier statement by Secretary-General of the Iranian Olympic Committee and Chef de Mission Bahram Afsharzadeh claiming Iranian athletes will compete against Israelis at the London Olympics was taken out of context, according to Iran’s Fars news agency.
Fars reported that “Remarks by the secretary-general of our Olympic Committee were taken out of context. What Afsharzadeh said was that Iranian athletes will compete against other athletes, but he did not mention Israel at all. The reports yesterday were Zionist lies and distortions.”
Afsharzadeh was previously quoted as saying “We will be truthful to sport. We just follow the sportsmanship and play every country.” Afsharzadeh spoke in the athletes’ village after signing the “truce wall,” a UN-backed initiative calling on warring parties around the world to end hostilities during the period of the games. “In sport and in Olympics, all the countries must [be] together with the teams in friendship,” he said. “Solidarity for all the countries is very important.”
Tehran has been criticized in the past because some of its athletes withdrew from events against Israelis at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Games.