October 17, 2021

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s war on athletes shows no signs of running out of steam. Just two months after the execution of #NavidAfkari, the Islamic Republic judiciary has gone after a para powerlifter, Reza Tabrizi, in the city of Mashhad.

Tabrizi’s crime? He had criticized the double standards which had led to the closure of gyms due to coronavirus. In a post on Instagram, Tabrizi asked: Why are gyms closed during COVID-19 pandemic but religious shrines to remain open. After all, does the virus discriminate based on the location?

Little did he know that even such an innocent question would draw the ire of fanatic clerics. So much so that his workplace in Mashhad was raided and he was swiftly arrested. Today, it was announced that he might face execution.

Iranian authorities shocked the world after recently executing a champion athlete, Navid Afkari, for simply partaking in protests in 2018. Tabrizi’s arrest once again lays bare the abysmal treatment reserved for athletes in Iran.

Ever since the revolution in 1979 and the establishment of an Islamic Republic, many Iranians including athletes, many different branches of sports, have faced the death penalty, for protesting or having views that differed from those of the ruling elites.

Even para bodybuilders are not immune from political Islam.

By: Vahid Yucesoy