Iran football official resigns after email to Israel

Football association's director forced to leave over mistake

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A top official in the Iranian Football Federation (IFF) was forced to resign after an email was accidentally sent to the Israeli Football Association wishing them a Happy New Year, Iranian press said on Sunday.

The official in question is the IFF's director of foreign relations, Mohammad-Mansour Azimzadeh, who was shamed after the email was sent on his behalf to Israeli officials, prompting the federation's president, Ali Kafashian, to express "deep remorse."

"The Iranian Football Federation has said that messages of congratulations are sent each year to all members of FIFA except the Zionist regime, which is why it was removed from the list of addresses for New Year messages," an IFF statement published by the Fars news agency said.

The statement added that a FIFA employee Amir Navan, an Israeli of Iranian origin, forwarded the Iranian wishes to the Israel association but Mohammad Ali Ardebili, head of the Iranian football union’s foreign relations, told Israel's Army Radio he sent the letter to all football unions around the world and said the email to the Israel Football Association was a mistake.

The email was sent on Friday, New Years Day, and prompted Israel to respond with a letter saying: "We thank you for you Happy New Year greeting and wish all of the good people in Iran a happy new year" with a wink added in the email.

Iran and Israel have no diplomatic or commercial ties and are currently at loggerheads over the Islamic Republic's alleged nuclear program, which the West believes is for bomb making but Tehran insists is for peaceful purposes.

The Iranian Football Federation has said that messages of congratulations are sent each year to all members of FIFA except the Zionist regime, which is why it was removed from the list of addresses for New Year messages

Iran Football Association