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Iran stresses separation of sports from politics

China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-13 09:32
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Samin Shemshaki competes in a qualifier for the Olympics held by Iran's national skiing team at the Darbandsar Ski Resort in Tehran, Jan 9, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

TEHERAN-The president of Iran's National Olympic Committee (NOC) on Tuesday said that by taking part in the upcoming Beijing Olympic Winter Games, the Iranian team seeks to send out the message that the field of sports is separate from politics.

Reza Salehi Amiri made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua and other media after a meeting in Teheran with Chang Hua, China's Ambassador to Iran.

Salehi Amiri said sports should be reserved for the expansion of relations between nations, noting that Iran's participation at Beijing 2022 conveys to other countries' officials the message that any attempt to politicize sports has no impact on the will of the Iranian nation and sports community.

He praised the Chinese government and people for staging major international sports events, such as Beijing 2022 and the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, saying that both are important events on the calendar of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The NOC president also expressed his sincere gratitude to the Chinese ambassador to Teheran for playing such an important role in facilitating the expansion of relations between the two countries.

"We have already confirmed three athletes' places and have requested the IOC to allow us to add a sportswoman to our delegation. In addition, Iranian Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Hamid Sajjadi and I also plan to attend the event in Beijing," Salehi Amiri said.

Commending China's hosting of sports events, Salehi Amiri said order, discipline and effective management have always been distinctive characteristics of sports events held in China.

"For the same reason, my colleagues at the NOC have no concerns over the Iranian teams' presence in Beijing and Hangzhou," he added.

Salehi Amiri said Iran expects that the Chinese Olympic Committee and Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOG) will give all skiers-regardless of their level-a warm welcome in Beijing.

For Hangzhou's Asian Games, Iran is willing to perform extensive cultural activities in addition to sporting ones, Salehi Amiri said.

"Sport is an area for the promotion of cultural and soft diplomacy and places an emphasis on the improvement of relations among the nations," he said.

On the strict COVID-19 measures adopted by China for holding the two events, Salehi Amiri said the NOC is in constant contact with the organizing committees in Beijing and Hangzhou and is continuously updated on the latest guidelines and instructions.

He stressed that the measures are for the protection of athletes' health and will be observed by teams from all participating countries, including Iran.

"We have experience of managing our sports teams under COVID-19 pandemic circumstances during the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which can be of assistance to us in Beijing and Hangzhou," he added.


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