Iran’s state-run media has recently published the story of the miserable life of one of Iran’s best athletes. The story of a deaf judoka of the country’s national team who had won the bronze medal in the Paralympics competitions in 2017 in Turkey.
This national hero Masoud Rastegar is now working as a street vendor in Kermanshah. From daily earning work to garbage collecting, he has done everything to support himself and his family. Seeing this situation and being frustrated at not being able to help the people around him brought him to stop his athletic work and work as a street vendor.
He complains about the government’s ignorance to support the athletes and said that “when we go to the sports office and say give us a handful of training clothes, they keep saying we don’t have any.”
In simple words, he explains the impertinence of the regime’s officials misusing the name and fame of the country’s athletes after they have won a medal and said: “The same officials, at the time of the championship, they greet me and put up a banner and take a photo under it.”
About the people’s support and moralities, he said: “In these few days, some people who came to buy something, looked at me and said, ‘Hero, peace be upon you for working and making halal bread, we are ashamed that we cannot give you some money right now or buy you a car;’ This is the grace of the people, but the officials should be ashamed that they do not take care of the athletes.”
In one sentence, this athlete stated all the facts, from one side the gratefulness of the people, and from the other side the shamelessness of the regime’s officials.
The migration of Iranian elites is not a new issue. From doctors and nurses to artists and athletes, they are forced to exile and emigration. They are forced to leave home and family with a broken heart and eyes full of tears. They had hopes and aspirations, but a government tainted with all kinds of corruption, not only destroyed their hopes and aspirations but also burned them and granted them a gradual death.
Iran is a country with many national heroes. The heroes who glorified the name and reputation of the Iranian people. Heroes who, according to themselves, love for the homeland and the people have been motivated them in their struggle in sports fields. But now, because of the constraints and pressures that the anti-people government imposes on them, they are either migrating or declining under the harsh pressures of life.
According to statistics published by the state media, ‘37% of the medal winners in the student olympiads, 25% of the members of the Elite Foundation and 15% of the ranks below 1,000 in the national entrance exams reside in other countries.’ This is in addition to the elite Iranian athletes whose stories have been published so far.
The champions who won Olympic medals and are now competing under the flag of another country. The fact is that with the process that the government has taken, the Iranian people will undoubtedly see more migration from the sport’s elite.
One of these elites is a master of chess. Alireza Firoozja, who participates in international competitions under the French flag. He is now ranked second in the world in chess. If these elites like him were under the dark rule of Velayat-e-Faqih (supreme religious rule), could they have won the championship?