(December 25, 2019 / JNS) Alireza Firouzja, Iran’s top-ranked chess player, has decided to change his nationality in order to get around Tehran’s ban on competing against Israelis, according to Iranian media reports quoted by Reuters on Tuesday.
Firouzja is the world’s second-highest rated junior player.
In November, Germany granted refugee status to Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei, who was seeking asylum in the country after claiming Iranian officials earlier this year pressured him to withdraw from a competition in order to avoid fighting an Israeli opponent.
As a result, Iran was banned from participating in international judo events by the sport’s world body until it allowed its athletes to face Israelis.
“Firouzja has made his decision and has told us that he wants to change his nationality,” the president of Iran’s Chess Federation, Mehrdad Pahlavanzadeh, told the semi-official news agency Tasnim, according to the report.
“Firouzja is currently living in France … and may want to play under the French or U.S. flag,” Pahlavanzadeh told the news agency ISNA.
Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision
JNS is more than just another news website and syndication service. It is an organization devoted to nonstop reporting, and telling the truth about Israel and Jewish issues unburdened by the biases and institutional blinders that distort so much of what we read, hear and see about these topics elsewhere in the secular and even Jewish press.
At JNS, you get the facts about Israel and Jewish issues without the bias that so often tilts the argument against the Jewish state. JNS articles and columns are republished every week by digital outlets and print newspapers across the globe. But in the age of round-the-clock news coverage, advertising and syndication revenues are not enough to support our continued growth. We need your financial help to keep JNS on target as we continue our fair and accurate reporting.
Please help us take JNS to the next level with a tax-deductible sponsorship, either on a recurring monthly basis. Jewish News Syndicate is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.