Iran’s suspension from international judo events for refusing to let its athletes fight Israeli opponents was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) on Monday, March 1. In 2019, the Islamic Republic imposed a ban on their athletes which barred them from facing Israelis in competition. In retaliation, the International Judo Federation suspended Iran from competing in judo tournaments.
The ban came into the limelight after Iran’s top athlete and former world champion Saeid Mollaei left the team stating that was ordered to lose matches and withdraw from competitions to avoid facing Israelis. In order to punish Tehran for such a severe move, the International Judo Federation banned the country’s participation in events.
However, the CAS dismissed the ban stating that IJF’s had “overstepped its authority”. The case was sent back to an IJF (International Judi Federation) disciplinary panel for review. Regardless, the court acknowledged that the Iranian judo federation had “committed severe violations of the IJF rules” on discrimination and should be punished, though within the world governing body’s rules.
Iran and Israel have been at loggerheads since the Islamic revolution in 1979 and the threat of full-scale violent conflict is persistence. On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran for the recent blast that rocked an Israeli cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman. Netanyahu, while talking to state broadcaster Kan, said that he believes Iran was behind the attack without offering any evidence to back his claim as he called the Islamic Republic Israel's ''greatest enemy''. Iran, however, has dismissed the allegation levelled by the Israeli Prime Minister, saying ''the Zionist regime of Israel is the source of all insecurities and instabilities''.
The incident highlights the security challenges in the Gulf of Oman and the Middle-East in its entirety. Similar attacks rocked several oil tankers in 2019, which the United States government had then blamed on Iran. The US had accused Iran of using limpet mines to attack ships in the Gulf of Oman, which sees billions of dollars worth of oil pass through each year. Iran had dismissed the allegations back then.
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