Iran's former wrestling chief criticizes government

Iran's student news agency says the former head of Iran's wrestling federation is asking the country's diplomats to take responsibility and support athletes who refuse to compete against Israelis.

The government usually rewards athletes for such behavior but Rasoul Khadem says diplomats stop short of taking a position in the international sports community.

Saturday's ISNA report quotes Khadem as saying Iran's diplomats should defend the country's political positions in sport. He resigned from his position this week.

Israel and Iran are bitter adversaries and Iranian athletes traditionally refrain from competing against Israelis.

In November, an Iranian wrestler received a six-month ban by United World Wrestling after his manager ordered him to intentionally lose to avoid facing an Israeli wrestler. Iran's sports ministry praised the athlete for supporting "human values."