Another Iranian athlete fleas Iran –
By The Free Iranian Staff
In a video published on his Instagram account, Amir Mohammad Shahnavazi, Iranian powerlifting silver medalist announced that he has defected to France. Shahnavazi won the Asian silver medal for press lift in 83kg class junior category in the UAE last year, said that the corruption and limitations on athletes in Iran has prompted his departure and he does not plan to return.
A native of the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan, Shahnavazi added: “I fled Iran via Turkey, and after 27 truly hard days and nights, illegally arrived in France, where I am seeking asylum.”
Powerlifting, a subdivision the Islamic regime’s Weightlifting Federation, did not provide a dormitory for any of any of the country’s powerlifters. While describing some of the country’s weightlifting events, he says that he only had enough money to make his way to his hometown, Zahedan, where he was forced to sleep in the freezing streets where the championships was held.
At the same time, in 2017, Tehran’s state-run media outlet IRNA reported that Shahnavazi won the Gold medal in Tehran’s Weightlifting games and was chosen as the “champion of the champions” to represent Iran in world championship that was being held in Germany.
Shahnavazi, also said that being an ethnic Baluchi in Iran, where widespread ethnic discrimination dominates the country has also made life difficult. He added: “Even wearing your Baluchi ethnic garment, you could encounter some problem or other and I’m not the only one who this is limited to. Mobin Kahrazeh, one of the boxers from of Iranian national team, also experienced this and ended up seeking asylum in Austria.”
Shahnavazi maintains his that he has never been politically active and asserts: “I love my country, and I participated in the national games in that spirit, but I had to leave my place of birth to in order to self-preserve.”
In a recent interview with Iran’s powerlifting website, Majid Talkhaei, powerlifting veteran and champion who coached Iran’s national team, said that the fate of his favorite sport mirrors Iran’s economy which has been exploited by a group of ignorant people.