Home World Norway, Iranian weightlifting champion seeks political asylum: “I will not wear Soleimani’s shirt”

Norway, Iranian weightlifting champion seeks political asylum: “I will not wear Soleimani’s shirt”

by admin

Clamorous flight for political reasons of one of the greatest stars of Iranian sport, made known precisely on the second anniversary of the killing of the commander-in-chief of the Pasdaran special forces, Qassem Soleimani, by American special forces.

In November, as it became known only last night from Cnn, the weightlifting champion of the national team of the Islamic Republic, Amir Assadollahzadeh, who was in Norway for an international tour, approached the kingdom’s authorities and asked to be accepted as a political refugee and not to be forced to return to homeland where in his opinion it risks the worst. In substance, Assadollahzadeh’s request has already been accepted for political reasons.

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As a reason for his decision, the sportsman alleged threatening political pressures which he was subjected to by the managers of the Iranian sports team, while he was with the team in Norway. He was asked to wear a T-shirt with the image of General Qassem Solemaini in his public performances. The latter, a national hero for the authorities of the Islamic Republic and former leader of international terrorism and anti-Israeli guerrilia on the northern border, was killed just two years ago by US special forces in an attack prepared with the utmost precision.

“I refuse to wear Soleimani’s shirt”

“I refuse to wear it, sport and politics must be distinct,” Amir Assodollahzadeh replied to his bosses. Which always replied according to his testimony, given to Cnn, in the harshest and most threatening way: “Remember that you have part of the family in Iran, and you live in Iran yourself. If you refuse to wear that shirt, expect the worst for you and them.” And again: “If you do not wear the shirt with the face of our hero, you will be classified and treated as an opponent of the regime, and your life and that of your family will be in danger”.

Faced with the dramatic choice, the sportsman decided to take a risk and remain in the free world, and taking advantage of a moment when he was not accompanied by his supervisors (presumably people close to the Pasdaran and Vevak, the secret police), he made contact in ran with the Norwegian authorities, who, according to everything indicates, immediately took him under their protection.

The escape to Oslo thanks to a Norwegian taxi driver

The drama dates back to last November, when the world weightlifting championships were held in Norway (in Stavanger, about 360 kilometers from the capital Oslo). Assadollahzadeh narrates to the Cnn: “I moved away from the building that housed us, hiding from everyone that I was trembling at the very thought of the torture. I had planned the escape to Oslo by bus or train, but unfortunately I reached the stop and the station too late. I owe a lot to an unknown taxi driver found by the operator of a gas station. The taxi driver listened to my story and agreed to take me to a railway station from which I reached the capital by night train. I ran away in the night: I was afraid that my persecutors were also looking for me there “.

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Assadollahzadeh is a very serious loss for Iranian sport: he had been active for 11 years, with 18 years of competitions behind him, and therefore a symbol also for the nation but also for the regime. “I couldn’t think about it, I now live in terror for my family, but I know that if I had gone out on the field refusing to wear that shirt on my return I would have been arrested, tortured, what is worse they probably would have also sentenced me to death and executed “. He had won a medal in 2021 while also taking care of assisting athletes suffering from covid, but the regime had begun to criticize him because he had not dedicated his victory to the memory of Soleimani.

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