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Ex-US intelligence head urges Olympics to ban Iran for murder of wrestler

The former US acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban the Islamic Republic of Iran from sports competitions after the regime murdered the reportedly innocent champion wrestler Navid Afkari.“For engagement to work, there also needs to be moments where you say, ‘This has crossed the line so much that you don’t get to participate in the international community,’” Grenell told Outsports media outlet on Monday. “So I would like to see, because of the systemic human rights abuses by the Iranian regime, I would like to see the Olympics say, ‘You are no longer welcome in international competition.’”Prior to the Iranian regime’s execution of Afkari on September 12,Grenell told The Jerusalem Postin early September that the IOC should probe the then-planned execution of Afkari.The IOCtoldthe Postfollowing Grenell’s demand, and a series of reports inthe Post, that “The IOC is aware of the case of Navid Afkari and has, like United World Wrestling, taken steps to follow up on the matter.”The head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, along with Nenad Lalovic, the president of United World Wrestling, have faced intense criticism for failing to take forceful action against the clerical regime in Tehran prior to the execution of Afkari.Writing on the website of the LGBT website Outsports, Cyd Zeigler noted that “So far the IOC’s response has been insultingly tepid.” He added that “the International Olympic Committee has a history of banning countries from competing at the Olympic Games.”From 1964 to 1988, South Africa was banned from competing due to its racist apartheid policies. In 2000, Afghanistan was banned for its treatment of women. Various countries were banned in the first half of the 20th Century for their involvement in the two World Wars.”cnxps.cmd.push(function () { cnxps({ playerId: ’36af7c51-0caf-4741-9824-2c941fc6c17b’ }).render(‘4c4d856e0e6f4e3d808bbc1715e132f6’); });Zeigler said  that “It’s time to add Iran to that list.Truth is, it’s been time for a while.”The IOC and UWW have resisted sanctioning Iran’s regime, including for an alleged violation of the IOC Charter for refusing to compete against Israeli athlete in the field of Judo.Iran’s regime executed Afkari for allegedly killing an Iranian regime security guard during protests against the regime’s economic and political corruption in 2018. Yet there is a widespread consensus among human rights organizations and many Western governments that Afkari was framed and brutally tortured into a crime he did not commit.Grenell told Zeigler that “the punishment [for being gay] in Iran many times is being thrown off a building, or barbaric ways in which you kill someone by hanging them or shooting them. It’s really systemic human-rights violations.”Grenell was the first out gay cabinet member in the history of a presidential cabinetAccording to a 2008 British WikiLeaks cable examined bythe Post,Iran’s regime executed between 4,000 and 6,000 since the country’s 1979 Islamic revolution.After Afkari’s execution, the IOC wrote “The execution of wrestler Navid Afkari in Iran is very sad news,” and “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Navid.” Zeigler said that” That cannot stand as the IOC’s final response. It should ban Iran from the Olympic Games next summer.”

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