Top US Jewish Group Urges Olympics Ban for Iran Over Execution of Champion Wrestler
A top American Jewish group is spearheading a petition urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Iran from the upcoming 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo due to its recent execution of a national wrestling champion.
Navid Afkari was executed on September 12 for the alleged killing of a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps — which is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States — during an anti-regime protest in 2018.
He was also charged with various other offenses, most of them political in nature, including “insulting” Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Afkari said he had been forced to confess under torture, and his case caused an international uproar, with condemnations from around the world, including from the IOC itself.
The petition written by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), which is available to sign online, states that Iran ought to be banned from the Olympics “due to its repeated and ongoing violations of the Olympic Charter, of the Olympic ethos, and of basic human rights.”
It said that “Afkari’s execution has shed light on Iran’s ongoing and wide-ranging abuses against its own people, including its athletes. Those abuses must not go unanswered. All people of conscience must take a stand and we call on the IOC to take the lead.”
“Barring Iran would send a powerful message: that athletes are to be protected, that sport is to be practiced freely, and that discrimination and abuse by any country that is part of the Olympic family will not be tolerated,” the petition declares. “Only thus will the Olympic spirit, a spirit of peace, freedom, and coexistence, truly be upheld.”