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Anti-Iran mercenaries hassle Iranian wrestlers at US World Cup

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows Kamran Ghasempour, the Iranian wrestler at the 92-kilogram weight class, in wrestling competitions in Belgrade, Serbia.

Having failed to dishearten Iran’s national football team at the Qatar World Cup, anti-Iran elements have now sneaked into the Wrestling World Cup 2022 hosted by the United States, casting slurs and hurling insults at Iran’s national wrestling team members as part of a pre-planned attempt to take the wind out of their sails.

The Iranian men’s freestyle wrestlers witnessed on Saturday a highly-provocative ambiance in the venue of the wrestling tournament in the midwestern US state of Iowa as rioters-turned-fans kept yelling a slew of obscenities and profanities to demoralize them.

The unethical measure was not just confined to the competition period but to the post-competition interviews, during one of which Kamran Ghasempour, the Iranian wrestler at the 92-kilogram weight class, was grilled by counter-revolution foreign-sponsored media outlets while the World Wrestling Federation had already banned fielding political queries in press conferences.

“Such issues arise in every country and a number of issues have arisen in my country as well,” Ghasempour told one of the reporters, referring to recent Western-backed riots in Iran following the death of a young woman days after she collapsed at a police station in the capital, Tehran.

“The duty of we athletes is to do sports; we are here to represent the people of Iran, and for this, we have come here to make people happy for a while” he added. “Hopefully, these issues will soon be resolved and our beloved people and Iranian society will reconcile.”

Rahman Amouzad Khalili, another Iranian freestyle wrestler competing in the 65-kilogram weight category, said, “My greatest pleasure is to make the hearts of the people of my country happy. We came here to be the best…We are all soldiers of our country and sacrifice our lives.”

In yet another unsportsmanlike conduct, Iranian wrestling coach Pejman Dorostkar was cross-questioned and hassled by an anti-Iran element at the hotel, where the national team was staying.

It is worth noting that the United States had denied seven Iranian free-style wrestlers visas to take part in the World Cup in Iowa.

The same anti-Iran propaganda and mudslinging also crept into media events ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

British media outlets grilled several members of the Iranian national football team about the recent nationwide riots in Iran, in an act the players described as a “mental game” aimed at disheartening the team.

The Iranian national team, also known as Team Melli, was under a huge media pressure campaign, especially from London-based Persian outlets, including the Saudi-funded Iran International and Manoto, with the former being recently designated by Iran as a “terrorist organization” over its role in instigating the violent riots in the country.

Foreign-backed riots have hit various Iranian provinces since 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini died at the hospital on September 16, three days after she collapsed at a police station. An investigation attributed Amini’s death to her underlying medical condition, rather than alleged beatings by the police.

The violent riots over the past few months have claimed the lives of dozens of people and security forces, while terrorist attacks across the country.

Despite Iranian officials’ clarification on the circumstances surrounding Amini’s death, violent street protests have led to attacks on security officers and acts of vandalism against public property and sanctities.

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