In a bold move, Iran’s football federation has formally petitioned FIFA, the global governing body for football, urging the suspension of the Israeli football federation amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

In an official statement , the Iranian football federation called for a “complete suspension” of the Israeli federation from all football-related activities. The request, submitted to FIFA, underscores Iran’s grave concerns regarding the situation in Gaza and its desire for immediate action to address what it perceives as Israeli “crimes.”

Furthermore, Iran’s plea to FIFA and its member associations includes a call for urgent humanitarian aid to be provided to innocent civilians affected by the conflict, encompassing essential necessities such as food, water, and medical supplies.

The conflict in Gaza erupted on October 7, marked by an unprecedented attack launched by Hamas militants against Israel. Tragically, the conflict has resulted in significant loss of life, with an estimated 1,160 fatalities, primarily civilians, according to figures compiled by AFP from official Israeli sources.

In response to the Hamas attack, Israel declared its intent to dismantle the militant group, initiating a series of airstrikes and ground offensives. The toll of the conflict continues to rise, with at least 27,947 individuals, predominantly women and children, reported as casualties by the health ministry in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Despite Iran’s vocal support for Hamas’s actions on October 7, the country denies direct involvement in the conflict. Iran’s longstanding refusal to recognize Israel, viewing it as a sworn enemy, extends to its policy of no contact between Iranian and Israeli athletes.

This stance was exemplified in August of the previous year when Iranian weightlifter Mostafa Rajaei received a lifetime ban for shaking hands with an Israeli competitor at a competition in Poland. Additionally, the Iranian weightlifting federation took disciplinary action against Hamid Salehinia, removing him from his position as head of the delegation for the same event.

In a statement issued in 2021, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei publicly urged athletes to refrain from engaging with representatives of the Israeli government in order to receive medals.

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