Iranian judo team suspended for refusal to compete against Israelis

International Judo Federation rules that Iran can’t compete after pressuring its top athlete to throw a match.

By Joseph Wolkin, World Israel News

Iran’s law of stopping its athletes from battling against Israeli ones has backfired against the regime. On September 18, the International Judo Federation suspended Iran from competition.

The IJF Disciplinary Commission said in a statement, “[There is a] strong reason to believe that the Iran Judo Federation will continue or repeatedly engage in misconduct or commit any other offence against the legitimate interests, principles or objectives of the IJF.”

The Iran Judo Federation can appeal the ban, but they only have three weeks to do so.

Saeid Mollaei, Iran’s top judo contender, said he couldn’t square off against Israel’s Sagi Muki during the world championship in Japan last month.

Muki won the gold medal in the half-middleweight category.

Mollaei was told by Iranian officials to throw the match against Belgian Matthias Casse . A win would have put him face-to-face with Muki, something Iran wanted to avoid.

Following the tournament, Mollaei picked up his bags and went into hiding in Germany. He is now in the midst of the asylum process, fearing the regime threatens his safety and his family.

In the early months of the year, Iran’s National Olympic Committee claimed it would follow the the rules of the Olympic charter, as well as the IJF, by allowing Iranian athletes to battle their Israeli counterparts.