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Iran Suspended From International Judo Over Israel Boycott Policy


Mohammad Mohammadi Barimanlou of Iran celebrates his win over Kim Chol Gwang of North Korea in a bout in Jakarta last month.

Iran has been suspended from international judo competitions because of its it boycott of Israeli athletes.

The International Judo Federation (IJF) said on September 18 that Iran was suspended ahead of a full hearing. Its judo federation is accused of discriminating against Israeli athletes and breaking rules over manipulating competition results.

The federation said it had "a strong reason to believe that the Iran Judo Federation will continue or repeatedly engage in misconduct or commit any other offense against the legitimate interests, principles, or objectives of the IJF."

The suspension comes after world champion Saeid Mollaei last month walked off the Iranian team in protest at the boycott policy.

Mollaei has said he was repeatedly ordered by Iranian sports officials to throw matches or withdraw from tournaments, including last month's world championships, so as not to face Israeli competitors.

Mollaei is currently in hiding in Germany.

Iran does not recognize Israel, and Iranian sports teams have employed a policy of not competing against Israelis for the past several decades.

The IJF said that the Iran Judo Federation may appeal its decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within 21 days.

With reporting by AP