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IOC confirms ban on Iraq

world Updated: Jul 24, 2008 19:56 IST

The International Olympic Committee has confirmed a ban on Iraq from competing in the Beijing Games in a major blow to seven Iraqi athletes who had hoped to travel to China this August, an IOC letter said.

In its July 23 letter to the Iraqi Minister of Youth and Sports Jassim Mohammed Jaffer the IOC said it was moving ahead with a ban first imposed on Iraq's athletes last month.

"In spite of all the joint efforts of IOC and OCA, over the last months to find a positive solution with the Iraqi government authorities, we regretfully inform you that the decision of the IOC executive board dated 4 June 2008 to suspend the National Olympic Committee of Iraq is confirmed," said the letter, a copy of which was obtained by AFP today.

"We deeply regret this outcome which severely harms the Iraqi Olympics and Sports Movement and the Iraqi athletes but which is unfortunately imposed by the circumstances.