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Iran Asks FIFA to Ban Israel Over War in Gaza

FILE - The logo of FIFA is seen in front of its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, Sept. 26, 2017.
FILE - The logo of FIFA is seen in front of its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, Sept. 26, 2017.

Iran's football federation said Saturday it has asked world football's governing body, FIFA, to suspend Israel's football federation over the country's war in Gaza.

In an announcement posted on the Iranian football federation's website, Iran asked FIFA to "completely suspend" the Israeli federation "from all activities related to football."

The request also asks for "immediate and serious measures" by FIFA and its member associations "to prevent the continuation" of the Israeli "crimes and provide food, drinking water, medicinal and medical supplies to innocent people and civilians."

The war in Gaza began on October 7 with an unprecedented terror attack by Hamas militants against Israel. It resulted in the deaths of about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

In response, Israel vowed to eradicate Hamas. It launched airstrikes and a ground offensive that have killed at least 27,947 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas health ministry in the Gaza Strip.

Iran has hailed Hamas's October 7 attack as a "success" but has denied any direct involvement.

The Islamic republic does not recognize Israel, its sworn enemy, and prohibits all contact between Iranian and Israeli athletes.

The Iranian authorities last August issued a lifetime ban to Mostafa Rajaei, a weightlifter, after he shook hands with an Israeli competitor at an event in Poland, state media reported at the time.

The Iranian weightlifting federation also dismissed the head of the delegation for the competition, Hamid Salehinia.

In 2021, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged athletes "not to shake hands with a representative of the [Israeli] criminal regime to obtain a medal."

A group of Middle Eastern football associations, including Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, have also "asked world football chiefs to ban Israel over the war on Hamas in Gaza," Sky News reported Thursday.