Prominent Iranian athletes and human rights activists called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in a second official letter to immediately address violations of the Olympic Charter by the Iran Olympic Committee.
The United For Navid campaign provided the International Olympic Committee with another list of documented cases of athlete abuse and further breaches of the Olympic Charter by the Islamic Republic. The recent document provides clear evidence that the Iran National Olympic Committee and Iranian Sport continue to refuse their athletes the right to compete against Israeli athletes and continue to threaten those who come forward.
Iranian Olympic athletes are forced to withdraw from events or lose matches to avoid facing Israeli competitors. Iran has the most number of athletes who have fled to country to compete under another nation’s flag, said Sardar Pashaei, coordinator of United For Navid campaign, which calls for suspension of Islamic Republic from international sports.
“By opening an investigation on athlete abuse in Iran, the IOC will send a strong message that they are first and foremost an athlete-centered organization,” Pashaei said. “The Games cannot go on if athlete rights are not upheld.”
Navid Afkari, was an Iranian Greco-Roman wrestler who was executed on Sept. 12, 2020 for the crime of protesting against the Islamic Republic. The United for Navid campaign seeks to highlight the politicized nature of sports in the country and calls for suspension of the country until reforms are implemented.
United for Navid initially sent a letter on March 5, to IOC president Thomas Bach and the IOC executive board, outlining athlete abuse in Iran. The campaign has yet to hear from the IOC/
“The fact that Iranian athletes are being forced to throw matches to avoid competing against Israeli athletes is a clear breach of the Olympic Charter and Olympic values,” Pashaei said. “There is a grave fear of retribution for those that come forward, a very real fear not just for individual safety but for the safety of their families. The IOC must protect these athletes and the IOC needs to act.”