AN Iranian weightlifter has been banned for LIFE.
That’s after “unforgivably” shaking hands with an Israeli opponent.
Mostafa Rajaei was axed by Iran despite finishing second at the World Masters Weightlifting Championships in Poland behind Austria’s Sargis Martirosjan.
He managed an incredible world record for the clean-and-jerk with a lift of 430lbs – beating the previous record by 2lbs.
However, Rajaei’s feat was quickly forgotten by compatriots after he shook hands with third-place athlete Maksim Svirsky, who hails from Israel.
Iran does not recognise its Middle Eastern neighbour.
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And all contact between Iranian and Israeli athletes is strictly prohibited.
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered Iranians “not to shake hands with a representative of the (Israeli) criminal regime to obtain a medal”.
As a result, Rajaei has been issued with a lifetime ban by Iran’s Weightlifting Federation for his “unforgiveable” act.
Head coach Hamid Salehinia has also been fired, while the committee for veteran Iranian weightlifters has been dissolved.
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A statement read: “The weightlifting federation bans athlete Mostafa Rajaei for life from entering all sports facilities in the country and dismisses the head of the delegation for the competition, Hamid Salehinia.
“[Rajaei] crossed the red lines of the Islamic Republic [after being] sent with the support of the federation.”
Speaking before his ban was issued, Rajaei said of his second-place finish: “I could not work well because of the pain in my elbow.
“But in the two beats of God and gratitude, I became the first, and moved the world record by one kilogram (2lbs).
“I came in second overall. Thanks to all dears who helped me in this way.”
Source: Athletics - thesun.co.uk