October 17, 2021

The United For Navid campaign calls on the International Judo Federation to permanently ban the Iranian Judo Federation, for yet another breach of the charter of International Olympic Committee by introducing political appointees in its leadership ranks.

Arash Miresmaili, the head of Iran’s Judo Federation

Arash Miresmaili, the head of Iran’s Judo Federation has appointed the controversial Hojjatoleslam Hassan Kordmihan, as the Federation’s Cultural Vice President. This is a deliberate snub to the IJF and the International Olympic Committee which suspended Iran in 2019 for forcing its athletes to boycott matches against Israeli players.

Kordmihan, is regarded by many as the mastermind behind the 2016 storming of Saudi Embassy in Tehran during which the protesters ransacked the Saudi mission, caused massive damage and removed vital documents.

Hassan Kordmihan

The attack on the Saudi embassy created a diplomatic crisis, as Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran and canceled the Hajj that year. Many Arab countries recalled their ambassadors from Tehran. The Security Council also condemned the move.

Kordmihan was arrested and secretly tried in a special clergy court, though it is unclear if he faced any punishments. Kordmihan has also been linked with shadowy security forces used

In October 2019, the International Judo Federation suspended the Islamic Republic for ordering Saeid Mollaei to deliberately lose so as not to face an Israeli athlete. Mollaei said he was ordered to throw his semi-final rather than risk facing an Israeli in the final. He said he has been ordered to withdraw from the competition at an even earlier stage to avoid suspicion that the bout had been thrown for competitive reasons.

The appointment of Kordmihan, with his political, security and military background, is contrary to the Olympic spirit and charter. His appointment is a show of defiance by the Iranian Judo Federation against the International Judo Federation’s rulings.

We call on the International Judo Federation to permanently suspend the Iranian Judo Federation until it complies with the IJF statues and bylaws.