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IOC urged to ban Iran for discriminating against women in sport

A group including former Franco-Iranian boxing world champion Mahyar Monshipour and Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi has asked the International Olympic Committee to ban Iran from the Paris Olympics.

The letter, sent to the IOC at the end of July, said that Iran violates the principle of non-discrimination in sport by failing to comply with the Olympic Charter, which states that “the practice of sport is a human right”, lawyer Frederic Thiriez told a press conference. 

Thiriez said the charter also specifies that there must be “no discrimination of any kind, in particular on the grounds of race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

Thiriez said he was “working on a referral to the Court of Arbitration for Sport” and a petition. 

The letter  draws a parallel with the exclusion of South Africa in 1970. 

Thiriez said that the IOC had replied “rest assured, we are closely monitoring the situation in Iran”. 

The group would, at the very least, like Iranian athletes banned from next year’s Olympics in disciplines that are forbidden to women: wrestling, boxing, swimming, sailing, and so on.

“We dream of practicing our sport normally”, former wrestler Shirin Shirzad, a refugee in the Netherlands, said by videoconference. 

In Iran, women practise “in flats or basements”, said Monshipour. 

Last  month, two associations lodged a complaint in Paris against Ghafoor Kargari, the Iranian president of the 2024 National Paralympic Committee, who was visiting France at the time, accusing him of torture and crimes against humanity. 

The death, in September 2022, of the young Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested by the morality police for failing to comply with strict Islamic dress regulations, sparked months of demonstrations, which were put down in bloodshed and arrests. 

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