Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Iran denounces ‘politicization of sport’ by US and UK

Iran has denounced US-led efforts to boycott the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, expressing solidarity with China that is targeted by the American smear campaign. The UK, Canada and Australia have become the latest nations to announce a diplomatic boycott of the event.

“Whether it’s ‘diplomatic boycott’ of #Beijing22, or depriving Iranian teams from accessing financial resources, everyone should denounce politicization of sport,” Spokesman of Iranian Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh wrote in a post on his Twitter account on Thursday.

He added, “Looking forward to participation in the event, we express solidarity with China that is targeted by smear campaign.”

The diplomat’s expression of support for the major international sport event came days after China reacted strongly to reports that US President Joe Biden is contemplating “a diplomatic boycott” of the event, describing the scheme as “a naked political provocation.”

“The Winter Olympics is not a stage for political show and political manipulation,” China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily news briefing on Monday.

He said a diplomatic boycott would be “a serious stain on the spirit of the Olympic Charter” as well as “a naked political provocation, and a serious offense to the 1.4 billion Chinese people.”

After the formal announcement of the US boycott by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki later on Monday, the spokesperson threatened on Tuesday to take “resolute countermeasures” against the move and warned about its “grave consequences.”

“Out of ideological bias and based on lies and rumors, the US is trying to disrupt the Beijing Winter Olympics. This will only expose its sinister intention and further erode its moral authority and credibility,” Zhao emphasized.

In announcing Washington’s decision, Psaki stated the Biden administration would not contribute to the “fanfare” of the Olympics.

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