Friday, 17 July, 2020

Rare pictures of Muhammad Ali’s visit to Tehran: ‘Iran Is The Greatest’

Heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali once visited Tehran more than two decades ago.

In May 1993, Ali came to Iran to negotiate a prisoner exchange of combatants held since the Iran-Iraq War.

At that time, Ali told Iran’s official news agency IRNA that of all the countries he has visited, ”Iran is the greatest,”

”I have been to many countries and Iran is the greatest,” it quoted him as saying during a tour of the news agency’s Tehran headquarters.

IRNA then managing-director Fereydoun Verdinejad had asked Ali, who despite suffering from Parkinson’s syndrome was travelling extensively to promote Islam, to ”convey the Iranian people’s message of peace and friendship to American Muslims and Christians.

He also had placed a wreath at the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s revolutionary leader.

The deceased Ali converted to the Islamic faith in 1963 after becoming world champion, when he also changed his name from Cassius Clay.

Amateur boxing had thrived in Iran since 1989 when Ayatollah Khomeini’s successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, lifted a 10-year ban on the sport previously deemed too violent by Islamic leaders.

Most Americans don’t know how warm and welcoming the Iranian people can be,” Muhammad Ali wrote in a letter in 2011, seeking the release of two American hikers

One day, I hope I am able to return to Tehran to stand, greet and be among my Iranian brothers and sisters once again. Perhaps that day will come soon.”

 Muhammad Ali died Friday at age 74, according to a statement from the family.

Photos Credit: Iranian media

See also:

Iran’s Zarif offers condolence over death of ‘Muhammad Ali’




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