Iran’s terrorism-linked karate team’s visa denied, won’t compete in World Games in Alabama
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Jerusalem, Israel – Iran’s national karate team has been denied a visa to enter the United States for the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama Fox News Digital can reveal.
Iran’s karate team has direct links to the terrorist organization, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and opponents of the regime have called for an immediate ban.
After Fox News Digital sent questions to the US State Department and the Department of Homeland Security on Sunday, Iranian regime-controlled media outlet Iran Student News Agency (ISNA) reported on Tuesday that the US government refused visas to the karate team.
A State Department spokesperson said Tuesday his response had not changed since Fox News Digital first questioned Sunday about the karate team and whether the United States plans to grant visas to Iranian athletes. . The spokesperson noted that “visa records are confidential under US law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases.”
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Critics say the martial arts team is filled with members and supporters of the Iranian regime’s terrorist organizations implicated in the killing of more than 600 US military personnel in the Middle East.
Among those expressing concern, a Gold Star family member who lost his brother in an IRGC-backed attack, and regime dissidents urged the Biden administration ahead of today’s announcement to ban the team from entering the country.
Beverly Wolfer, sister of Major Stuart Adam Wolfer, who was killed in Iraq on April 6, 2008 by an Iranian-backed terror cell, told Fox News Digital: “Allowing Iranian sports teams to compete in the legitimate United States a terrorist regime by flying its flag and playing its anthem on American soil. Ignoring their chants of ‘Death to America’, signing a nuclear deal that immunizes the IRGC from harm resulting from their terrorist acts and allowing their athletes to compete on American soil are slaps in the face to Star families. ‘gold of America.’
Dina Gielchinsky, an attorney with Osen LLC who represents Wolfer and the families of hundreds of US service members killed or injured at the behest of Iran’s IRGC, told Fox News Digital: “The Iranian regime is responsible for the death and maiming thousands of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past two decades, and that hasn’t changed.”
She continued, “Allowing its sports teams to travel to the United States only serves to legitimize the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism and signal to them and the world that America is fundamentally not serious about about terrorism.”
Sardar Pashaei, the former Iranian-American head coach of Iran’s national Greco-Roman wrestling team, first identified the team members’ ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“We believe that athletes who are part of the Islamic Republic’s system of repression and propaganda should not set foot on American soil. In Iran they say ‘Death to America and Israel’, but at the same time they apply for visas,” he told Fox News Digital.
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Pashaei and other elite Iranian athletes have urged the US government to act quickly to ban the entry of the karate team.
National karate team captain Zabihullah Poursheib told ISNA “America has not issued visas to travel to this country for various teams, including wrestling, which shows that the Americans involve non-sporting and political issues in sports and seek revenge.”
Open source reports, according to Iranian dissident Pashaei, reveal that Seyyed Hassan Tabatabaei, the head of the Karate Federation, said General Qassem Soleimani, the late head of the IRGC’s Al-Quds Force, was the “sun brilliance of karate”.
According to Karate News, an Iranian media outlet, Tabatabaei praised the performance of the IRGC and the Basij, saying, “I still consider myself a member of the Basij, and I hope there will be more interaction between the [Karate] Federation and the Basij with athletes than in the past.”
The Basij volunteer paramilitary militia is used by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to suppress dissent and any protest against the theocratic state.
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Pashaei, who runs the United for Navid campaign, which seeks justice over the execution of champion wrestler Navid Afkari in 2020, said: “Members of this [karate] team includes supporters of the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij [IRGC militia], and Iranian security forces. Among them, Seyed Hassan Tabatabaei, who was presented as the president of the [Iranian] The Karate Federation, is one of the official employees of the security department, which is under the supervision of the Revolutionary Guards and is directly affected by them. Shahram Heravi, who was introduced as the team’s head coach, is also an official employee of the security department.”
Christopher Holton, director of the State Outreach Center for Security Policy, told Fox News Digital, “It almost goes without saying that members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps should not be allowed to enter the United States.
“First and foremost, the IRGC has been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US State Department. Among other activities, the IRGC is the wing of the Iranian jihad apparatus responsible for supporting, supplying and train other jihadist terrorist organizations around the world,” he said.
Holton said the threat of Iranian terrorism is ever-present because the regime seeks to retaliate against the United States for killing the US-EU designated terrorist. “Ever since the US rightly killed IRGC General Qassam Soleimani in an airstrike under the Trump administration, the IRGC and Iranian leaders have issued repeated threats of revenge,” he said. declared.
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Holton said: “The IRGC is a particular threat to American security insofar as it was active during the American engagement in Iraq supplying jihadists with explosive-forming penetrators. [EFP] improvised explosive devices that killed and injured hundreds of US service members. »
Pashaei said that “the IRGC and the Basij are known international terrorist organizations, and the presence of their members, including Seyyed Hassan Tabatabaei and Shahram Heravi, poses a serious threat to the security of American citizens.” He urged the Department of Homeland Security to bar the entry of the karate team.
In January and February, Fox News Digital reported on Alireza Dabir, the head of the Iranian Wrestling Federation, who praised Soleimani and called for the violent destruction of America. After Fox News reports, the United States denied visas to Dabir and others to enter the United States for a double meet with the United States National Wrestling Team in Arlington, Texas. Dabir then canceled the meeting.
Heravi, the head coach of Iran’s national karate team, said: “Enemies [the West] thought they would breathe a sigh of relief with the assassination of General Soleimani, but Soleimani was no [isolated] individual, and he founded the Soleimani school in Iran with his ideology, which cannot be destroyed.”
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The United States government – under both Democratic and Republican administrations – has named Iran’s clerical regime the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism.
Fox News Digital sent press requests to the Department of Homeland Security, Iran’s Mission to the United Nations and World Games organizers.