‘How can a terrorist win gold?’: Korean criticises IOC over Iran shooting victory

The Korean marksman Jin Jong-oh has criticised the International Olympic Committee for allowing a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to compete and win a gold medal in the 10-metre air pistol event, saying: “How can a terrorist win first place? That’s the most absurd and ridiculous thing.”

In comments reported by the Korea Times, the six-times Olympic medallist added it was “pure nonsense” to allow Javad Foroughi to compete in the Tokyo Games given his membership in a militia of the IRGC, which was labelled a terrorist organisation by the US in 2019.

The campaign group United for Navid, set up after the execution of the Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari after he protested against the regime, has also urged the IOC ethics commission to launch an immediate investigation. It also warned that the IOC was “complicit in promoting terrorism and crimes against humanity” if it failed to act.

“We consider the awarding of an Olympic gold medal to Iran marksman Javad Foroughi not only a catastrophe for Iranian sports but also for the international community, and especially the reputation of the IOC. The 41-year old Foroughi is a current and longtime member of a terrorist organization,” it said in a statement.

“The IRGC has a history of violence and killing not only of Iranian people and protesters there, but also innocent people in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. It is a designated foreign terrorist organization by the United States.

“We call for an immediate investigation by the IOC, and until an investigation is completed the suspension of any medal award.”

The 41-year-old Foroughi, who has said he served in Syria as a nurse between 2013 and 2015, delivered a military salute on the podium.

In an interview before the Games he said he first tried pistol shooting in a hall located under the building of the hospital he was working in as a nurse. He had never seen a pistol before but, after being instructed on how to use it, was able to score approximately 85 points from 10 shots.

The Iranian paper Javan hailed his performance, calling it: “An unexpected medal … won by a Guards nurse who is at the same time a defender of health and of the shrine.”