BAGHDAD, Sunday, May 21, 2023 (WAFA) – The Iraqi national fencing team withdrew on Friday from the World Fencing Championship in Istanbul, Turkey, after finding out they would be competing against Israel.
"The Iraqi national team withdrew from the individual races in the World Fencing Championship, which is taking place in Istanbul and is a qualifier for the Paris Olympics, after the lottery set it against the team of the occupying Israeli entity," Iraq's Fencing Federation said in a post on Facebook.
"The decision to withdraw came in compliance with the law criminalizing normalization approved by the Iraqi parliament, in rejection of the occupying Israeli entity, and in solidarity with the Palestinian cause," the statement added.
In May 2022, the Iraqi parliament passed a legislation criminalizing all relations with Israel and making it punishable by death or life imprisonment. The law requires almost all officials, government institutions, and media to refrain from establishing relations with Israel.
The legislation also entails risks for companies working in Iraq and found to be in violation of the law, which applies to all Iraqis, state and independent institutions, as well as foreigners working in the country.