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Iranian Cyclists In Hot Water Over Victory Champagne In China

The hard-line Rajanews website has posted photos of Iranian cyclists popping champagne corks and spraying champagne at the crowd after winning a competition in China and accused riders of "irrational and anti-Islamic" behavior.

Rajanews says none of the officials from the Iranian Cycling Federation has been able to explain satisfactorily the cyclists' actions.

"Only after many complaints were all of the members of the cycling team summoned [to the disciplinary committee] so that [officials] could use it as an excuse and escape from answering to public opinion," the website says.

Rajanews suggests that there should be tougher action against what we'll call the "cycling cru." If officials decide not to deal more harshly with them, it warns, then "the death of moral and religious principles in the country's sports should be declared."

The head of the federation, Ali Zangi, was quoted as saying in an earlier report that two members of the cycling team had been summoned over their "unprofessional" conduct.

He said all Iranian athletes and sportsmen are required to respect Islamic principles, while adding that "unfortunately" that wasn't the case in China. He said the Cycling Federation will investigate the issue.

Rajanews claims it tried to contact Zangi to ask what kind of action would be taken against the cyclists but that Zangi did not answer his cell phone.

Alcohol is banned in Iran, but different of types of alcoholic drinks and also homemade wine and vodka are available on the black market.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.


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