Tehran May Name a Street After Muhammad Ali, Once Quoted Calling Iran ‘The Greatest’ Country

Tehran May Name a Street After Muhammad Ali, Once Quoted Calling Iran ‘The Greatest’ Country...
cnsnews.com 06/06/2016 People

Keywords:#American, #Ayatollah, #Cnsnews.com, #Fars, #Foreign_Minister, #Hossein_Jaberi_Ansari, #IRNA, #Imperialism, #Iran, #Iran-Iraq, #Iranian, #Iraq, #Islam, #Islamic, #Jaberi_Ansari, #Javad_Zarif, #Muhammad_Ali, #Parkinson, #Patrick_Goodenough, #Persian, #Tehran, #Tehran_University, #University, #Vietnam, #Vietnam_War

By Patrick Goodenough | June 6, 2016 | 4:24 AM EDT
This photo purportedly shows Muhammad Ali during a May 1993 visit to Iran. (Photo: realiran.org)

* * * (CNSNews.com) – As fans around the world remembered Muhammad Ali at the weekend, a member of Tehran’s city council suggested that a street in the Iranian capital be named after the American boxing legend, a convert to Islam who during a 1993 trip to Iran was quoted as calling the Islamic republic “the greatest.”
Addressing a meeting of the city council, Eqbal Shakeri described Ali as a “symbol of resistance to racism and U.S. imperialistic policies in the Vietnam War,” the IRNA state news agency reported – a reference to Ali’s refusal to be conscripted into the military in the 1960s in opposition to the war.
Shakeri, head of the city council’s civil committee, is a member of the hard line “principalist” faction that controls the council by a slim majority. The council has renamed streets after Westerners before, sometimes with an apparent political motivation.
Ali, the three-time world heavyweight champion, died Friday aged 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s syndrome.
As the world reacted to news of his death, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted, “May the Almighty receive Muhammad Ali – The Greatest in the ring and in the fight for justice, dignity and peace – in His infinite mercy.”
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari described Ali as a “Pahlevian” – an ancient Persian title of honor still awarded today to wrestling champions – and said he would remain “a constant reminder of negation of Imperialism and warmongering activities,” Fars news agency reported in a profile article.
Absent from the profile was any mention of the fact Ali visited Iran in 1993, when he campaigned for an exchange of soldiers still held captive after the Iran-Iraq war.
Ali laid a wreath at the tomb of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, who had died four years earlier, and joined worshipers at Tehran University for prayers.
On May 19, 1993, IRNA quoted him as saying: “'I have been to many countries and Iran is the greatest.”
---As fans around the world remembered Muhammad Ali at the weekend, a member of Tehran’s city council suggested that a street in the Iranian capital be named after the American boxing legend, a convert to Islam who during a 1983 was quoted as calling the Islamic republic “the greatest.” ---
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