Iranian media on Tuesday denied a report
quoting the head of the Iranian Olympic Mission as saying that Iranian athletes will compete against Israelis at the London Games.
"In a satanic step, Zionist media published the words of the head of Iran's Olympic Mission who announced that the Iranian athletes will compete against the Zionist regime's representatives at the Olympics," a Fars news agency report said. The report was quoted by other Iranian media outlets.
Fars claimed the Bahram Afsharzadeh's words were taken out of context. "He said nothing on the matter and did not name Israel," Fars said.
Afsharzadeh's statements gained widespread attention around the world Monday after the Associated Press suggested they were a sign that Tehran was changing its traditional boycott policy against Israeli athletes.
The statements appear to be a carefully planned move by Iran aiming to show a peaceful exterior amid the ongoing conflict between Iran and the West. The Iranians might also have taken into account the fact that an actual Iranian-Israeli face-off was unlikely to occur at the London Games.