Only a month ago (March 15) we ran a piece about sports discrimination in Iran, due to the expelling of the teen siblings from chess tournaments. Here we stand only a month later, with two more incidents of sports gender discrimination related to Iran.
As reported in the washingtonpost, a Dutchman by the name of Sebatiaan Strraten organized a first international marathon run in Tehran, under “I run Iran”. He went ahead with the event despite the fact that the Iranian authorities issued orders requiring female runners to complete their course apart from men and off the streets. According to Straten, he had “worked hard” in advance to get the agreement of the authorities to allow male and female entrants to run together, and from his point of view, having them run separately “was not going to happen”. Well, it did happen. The authorities did not allow equality. The few brave women, who ran with the men, still risk further sanctions against them. It will not be the first time that the authorities bide time and then arrest women who dared to transgress their illegal gender discrimination. Whether Straten was deceived by the authorities (as he claims) or not, he holds responsibility. Why is it that people like Straten serve the interests of Iran, by bestowing legitimacy and bringing international tournaments to Iran under false claims, and then express surprise when Iran violates and deceives, is it pure stupidity?
In addition, in this event, Iran discriminated against potential competitors also on the basis of nationality. The washingtonpost picked up on the fact that many runners who wished to participate in the marathon were denied visas. AP clarifies that the denials were on a national basis, as 28 Americans were denied access. Did Straten not notice this? Who will cover the losses of those who bought tickets and incurred costs, and then were denied entry? Mr. Straton?
The second sport discrimination was in the field of billiards. As reported in mohabatnews five female billiard players were banned from competing in domestic and international competitions for a full year, for allegedly violating the Islamic dress code during a tournament in China. The Italian equalityitalia notes this incident and prudently assumes that the women participants in international events sometimes seek a freedom that they cannot have at home.
They probably assume that they are defended by the international organizers of such events. But they are mistaken. International sport organizations and organizers of such events do not reveal the same courage that these brave women reveal. They betray their trust. They serve Iran’s interest, and when they are deceived time and time by Iran then they respond with same surprise and dismay. It is time to hold such organizers responsible. If they organize an international sports event in Iran, then they must also carry the responsibility if the event will violate international accords and sport norms. If Iran is invited to such an event, then Iran must respect the sport code and allow freedom from harassment to all Iranian participants. If that is not provided, then Iran should be banned from international sport events, with solutions found for the individuals.