According to an article published in the Russian media titled “Visa With a Trick,” the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is banning Russians from partaking in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris unless they are ideologically opposed to the war in Ukraine, compete under a neutral flag and have nothing to do with Russian security agencies. The reason is Russia’s crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
Zavur Uguez, Zaurbek Sidakov and Abdulrashid Sadulaev—all members of the Russian military—will be permitted to partake in the wrestling competition under a neutral flag.
One wonders whether these individuals adhered to the guidelines published by the IOC or whether the committee is merely turning a blind eye. The question must be asked: Does the West practice other double standards in regard to the Paris-hosted Games?
A case in point: According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, “Iranian badminton referees Hermin Armin Mehr, Reza Roshan Omid and Mohammad Reza Kabiri have been invited to officiate at the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Tehran’s mullahs are war criminals just as much as Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yet the world permits Iranians to officiate at the Olympics regardless of their political positions, even as it bans Russians.
In fact, the case can be made that the mullahs are much worse than Putin. They routinely chant “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.” They have a clock in the center of Tehran that counts down to the destruction of Israel, a member of the United Nations. Yet Iranians can partake in the Olympic Games with impunity.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is an atrocity and a crime, but Russia does not have a clock counting down to the hoped-for annihilation of a U.N. member state. Russians may view the United States as an adversary, but they don’t chant “Death to America”—or “Death to Israel”—at political rallies, even if they are staunch Putin supporters.
Certainly, Russia’s partial occupation of Ukraine is reprehensible. Russia also illegally invaded 20% of Georgia in 2008. U.S. President Joe Biden is right to pursue legal action against Russia’s leaders at The Hague.
Yet Iran is currently colonizing not two but four countries: Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
The war crimes Iran has committed in these countries are just as horrific as what Putin has done in Ukraine. Should not a country that is illegally occupying four countries get the same treatment as a country that is occupying only two countries?
Apparently, the West is not prepared to treat the mullahs as they treat Putin. This is a travesty of justice.
The West is even prepared to let the mullahs participate in the Olympic Games as Iran’s misogynist “morality police” continues to crack down on women who refuse to don a proper hijab head covering.
As Amnesty International reported, “The Iranian authorities are doubling down their oppressive methods of policing and punishing women and girls to quell widespread defiance of degrading and discriminatory compulsory veiling laws.”
Cafes that serve unveiled women are being shut down. The mullahs are threatening to seize cars that belong to unveiled women. Many women have been arrested.
It should also be noted that the Iranian regime hangs gays from cranes for the crime of being gay, stones women to death for adultery and rapes women on death row because they believe non-virgins are barred access to paradise.
Nonetheless, Iran is welcomed and even allowed to play a prominent role in the Olympics as if none of this ever happened.
In an ideal world, sports would be apolitical. Every country would compete and learn to respect each other’s talents, even if some countries are less free than others.
But if politics are going to be brought into sports by placing such heavy restrictions on Russian athletes, then the world should be consistent. The same must be done to Iranian athletes at a time when the Islamic regime’s nuclear program remains the gravest threat to world peace in our time.