Jake Wallis Simons Jake Wallis Simons

Why Iranians don’t hate Israel

Iranian Mostafa Rajaei shakes hand with his Israeli opponent (Photo: IMWA World Masters Weightlifting Championship)

One is an oppressive regime that guns down its own people, promotes a radical Islamist theology and hangs gay people from cranes. The other is a liberal democracy that protects the rights of minorities, upholds the freedoms of speech and assembly, and grants equality to women and gay people.

Yet when weightlifters from the two countries shook hands after a tournament, it was the oppressive regime that reacted with fury.

Courage is readily found among Iranian sportspeople, as it is found among the Iranian people themselves

I speak, of course, of Iran and Israel.

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