Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a meeting with a group of Iranian athletes, sports personalities, and medal winners who participated in the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
“If I am going to offer you a breakdown on the recent developments, it goes as, the Zionist regime was knocked out in Al-Aqsa Storm,” the Leader said on Wednesday.
“[The Palestinian resistance movement] Hamas, not as a government and country with ample facilities, but as a combatant group, managed to deal a knockout blow to the usurping Zionists with all those facilities.”
Ayatollah Khamenei hailed those athletes who expressed their support for Palestine and the Palestinian cause, and withdrew from competing with the occupying regime’s representatives in international tournaments, saying the veracity of their act is now manifested more than ever before in the wake of Israel’s genocide in Gaza.
“Today, the whole world has realized why the Iranian athlete will not agree to face the Zionist side on the field,” the Leader added.
“Because [the athlete] is a criminal and he is doing sports and going to the field for a criminal state; [therefore] helping him is helping a terrorist and criminal regime.”
Stressing that the Israeli regime is still reeling from the burden and disgrace of a heavy defeat after Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, the Leader said, “Yes, they are flexing muscles; but where? This show of power has no value when it comes to the hospitals for patients in Gaza, to the schools in Gaza, on the heads of the homeless people of Gaza.”
Ayatollah Khamenei added, “It’s as if an athlete loses on the field, and then in revenge for that loss, he attacks the fans of the opposing team, insults them and beats them up.”
Pointing to Israel’s incessant shelling of Gaza over the past 47 days, the Leader said, “There is nothing more ignominious than what the Zionist regime has perpetrated. The Zionist regime’s heavy defeat will not be compensated by these bombings; such bombardment campaigns will only shorten the life of the occupying regime; [and] this tyranny and cruelty will not go unanswered.”
Elsewhere in his address, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution censured the politicization of sports and the double-standard approach by certain international organizations.
“They say sports is not political, but when they need to politicize sports, they politicize it in the worst way. At the slightest excuse, a country is banned from participating in all international sports events. Why? [Because] You fought somewhere; but they, themselves, ignore the 5,000 martyred children in Gaza,” Ayatollah Khamenei added.
The Leader stressed that they ban a country on the pretext of war while ignoring another country’s war, war crimes, and even genocide.