Tehran says its athletes will compete with Israelis at the Olympic Games.
A glimmer of hope for sportsmanship as an official from the Iranian Olympic Committee says the Iranians will compete against Israeli athletes at the upcoming Olympic Games. “We will be truthful to sport,” Bahram Afsharzadeh, secretary general of the Iranian Olympic Committee, told the Associated Press. “We just follow the sportsmanship and play every country.” At the 2004 Athens Games and again at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Tehran withdrew its athletes from events against Israelis. “In sport and in Olympics, all the countries must [be] together with the teams in friendship,” Afsharzadeh was quoted as saying. “Solidarity for all the countries is very important.” Despite these positive statements, recent history shows that nothing is for certain. At the Beijing Games, similar statements were made yet moments before an Iranian swimmer was supposed to compete against an Israeli, the former dropped out allegedly due to illness. The Iranian team comprises 54 athletes.