Iran’s chess federation avoided a direct risk of suspension from the International Chess Federation (FIDE) at today’s General Assembly. The FIDE delegates instead supported a motion from FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich that warned Iran while choosing to continue on a diplomatic path.
The sensitive topic of Iranian players not being allowed to play against Israeli players was discussed today at FIDE’s 91st General Assembly. For the first time, the meeting of FIDE delegates was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The topic regarding Iran had been placed on the agenda by English Chess Federation delegate Malcolm Pein and FIDE Vice President Nigel Short. They had prepared a motion (here in PDF) that stated:
Failure of the Iranian Chess Federation to instruct their players to compete against all countries in FIDE at any time with effect from 1 January 2021, or any future boycott from that date by an Iranian player of another player at the request or instigation of the Iranian Chess Federation, shall result in a mandatory suspension of the Iranian Chess Federation from all FIDE activities by the FIDE Council, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly in terms of Art 13.1 of the FIDE Statutes.
As in other sports, Iranian chess players almost never play against Israeli players. The Iranian government does not recognize the legitimacy of Israel as a state. An Iranian player usually forfeits their game if paired against an Israeli opponent—a pairing that was often avoided altogether by arbiters in the past.