— Published 29 August 2023

An unwelcome presence at the Heads of Mission seminar

Nasty business. AFP reports that the President of the Iranian Paralympic Committee, Ghafoor Kargari, currently visiting France for the seminar for Paralympic Games chefs de mission organized by the Paris 2024 OCOG, is the subject of a double complaint. It has been lodged by two non-governmental organizations, the French Femme Azadi and the Swedish House of Liberty, which accuse him of torture and suspect him of crimes against humanity. Both present Ghafoor Kargari, 61, as a “former commander and prominent member of the Al-Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps” (IRGC), the ideological army of the Islamic Republic. This organization, considered a terrorist organization in the United States, Great Britain and Canada, has been under European Union sanctions since 2010. Filed with the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office, the complaint explains that the “IRGC and the Al-Quds group have been at the forefront of the violent repression of peaceful movements fighting for democracy, civil rights and equality between women and men in Iran.” Ghafoor Kargari is also presented in the complaint as one of the founders of the Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan, “an armed Shiite Islamist group in Azerbaijan supported and financed by the IRGC” in opposition to the ruling power in this neighboring country of Iran. Ghafoor Kargari’s visit to France, as part of the seminar for heads of mission at the forthcoming Paralympic Games, is “an affront and an insult to all the victims of Iranian repression, starting with women“, said Emmanuel Daoud, the lawyer for the two organizations behind the complaint. Questioned by France Info, the Paris 2024 OCOG explained that the composition of delegations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games was not its responsibility, but that of the IOC and the IPC.