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Iran asks FIFA to ban Israeli soccer

Tehran also demands FIFA take "immediate and serious measures" to prevent Israeli "crimes" in Gaza.

A UEFA Euro 2024 group I qualifying round soccer match between Israel and Andorra at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, June 19, 2023. Photo by Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90.
A UEFA Euro 2024 group I qualifying round soccer match between Israel and Andorra at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, June 19, 2023. Photo by Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90.

Iran’s football federation has asked the sport’s global governing body, FIFA, to suspend the Jewish state over the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

In an announcement, the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran asked FIFA to “completely suspend” the Israel Football Association “from all activities related to football,” Agence France-Presse reported on Saturday.

The request also demands FIFA take “immediate and serious measures” to prevent Israeli “crimes” and to “provide food, drinking water, medicinal and medical supplies to innocent people and civilians.”

In August, Iranian authorities issued a lifetime ban to Mostafa Rajaei, a weightlifter, after he shook hands with an Israeli competitor at an event in Poland.

Rajaei shook hands with Israeli weightlifter Maksim Svirsky as they stood at the medal podium at a World Masters championship.

The Iranian Weightlifting Federation also dismissed the head of the delegation for the competition, Hamid Salehinia.

In 2021, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged athletes “not to shake hands with a representative of the criminal regime [Israel] to obtain a medal.”

A group of Middle Eastern soccer associations, including those of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the Palestinian Authority, have also “asked world football chiefs to ban Israel over the war on Hamas in Gaza,” Sky News reported.

Iran has officially hailed Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre as a “success,” while the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said the mass murder was a response to the 2020 killing of Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani by the United States.

As many as 500 men affiliated with the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations based in Gaza trained in Iran leading up to the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari has accused Tehran of assisting Hamas by supplying it with intelligence and boosting anti-Israel incitement worldwide.

Iran also helped Hamas with training, weapons, funding and technological knowledge, said Hagari.

Iran’s online disinformation activities and cyberattacks on Israel have risen dramatically since Oct. 7, according to a Microsoft report released last week.

Senior Hamas operatives have publicly thanked Iran for its help. “Hezbollah and Iran supported us with weapons, expertise and technology,” Khaled Mashaal, a leading Hamas official, told Al Arabiya television.

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