A Korean veteran shooter told reporters this week that having an Iranian athlete accused of being a terrorist compete at the Tokyo Games is “absurd and ridiculous,” adding pressure on the International Olympic Committee to investigate the allegations.
International critics have accused Javad Foroughi, who won gold in the 10-meter pistol on Saturday, of being a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a powerful paramilitary organization considered by the United States as a terrorist group. The IOC has challenged critics to show proof of his alleged ties to the IRGC, but it’s still unclear if any such evidence would surface.
South Korea’s Jin Jong-oh, a six-time gold medalist shooter who failed to qualify for the Olympics this year, was outraged by Foroughi’s participation in the event.
“How can a terrorist win first place? That’s the most absurd and ridiculous thing,” he told reporters at Incheon International Airport on Wednesday, according to the Korea Times.
The unproven allegations began spreading shortly after Foroughi won the first and only medal so far for his country in Tokyo.
The activist group “United For Navid,” which has long campaigned for Iran to be excluded from the Olympics and warned about the possible presence of military members at the event, described the 41-year-old shooter as a current and longtime member of the IRGC. The group — named after wrestler Navid Afkari, who was killed by the Iranian government last year — said awarding Foroughi a medal was “not only a catastrophe for Iranian sports but also for the international community, and especially the reputation of International Olympic Committee.”
“Awarding an Olympic Gold Medal to a member of a terrorist organization is an insult to other athletes and a black mark on the IOC. ‘United for Navid’ calls for an immediate investigation by the IOC, and until an investigation is completed the suspension of any medal award,” the group said in a statement.
The Trump administration designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization in 2019, saying the Iranian government uses the group as a tool for plotting terrorist attacks, including some that have killed U.S. citizens, as well as taking hostages and fueling violence across the Middle East.
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