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May 12, 2019
A letter from Iran over judo rules is being heralded by Israel and the International Judo Federation as a sign the Islamic Republic will allow its athletes to compete against Israelis. However, Iranian media outlets on Sunday called the response “baseless” and “strange.” Iranian judoka, like other athletes, routinely forfeit matches with Israelis as Iran does not recognize Israel as a country.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A letter from Iran over judo rules is being heralded by Israel and the International Judo Federation as a sign the Islamic Republic will allow its athletes to compete against Israelis.

However, Iranian media outlets on Sunday called the response “baseless” and “strange.” Iran’s local judo federation did not immediate answer calls for comment.

Iranian judoka, like other athletes, routinely forfeit matches with Israelis as Iran does not recognize Israel as a country.

The International Judo Federation posted the letter from Iran on Saturday night, which said Iran would “fully respect the Olympic Charter and its nondiscrimination principle,” without elaborating.

Moshe Ponte, the head of the Israeli Judo Association, told The Associated Press he welcomed “this courageous and correct decision” by the International Judo Federation to publish the letter.