UK Politics

London Olympics: Cameron says Iran would not be missed

London 2012 Chairman Sebastian Coe in front of the London 2012 Olympic logo
Image caption The logo, here with 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe, has until now been criticised only for its design

Iranians "would not be missed" if they decided to boycott the London Olympics, David Cameron is reported as saying.

Last week, Iran threatened to stay away over claims the 2012 logo was racist as it resembled the word "Zion", a biblical term for Israel.

The prime minister told London-based paper Jewish News: "It's completely paranoid. If the Iranians don't want to come, don't come - we won't miss you.

"It would be a crazy reason for not coming," he said.

The London logo shows the numbers "2012" in four jagged figures and until now has only been criticised for its design.

'Embrace the spirit'

Iranian Olympic officals sent a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) highlighting the perceived link.

But IOC president Jacques Rogge dismissed the claims and said he would "quietly" reply saying the logo "has nothing to do with racism or any political connotation".

In the interview with the newspaper, Mr Cameron also warned that athletes unwilling to compete against Israelis in 2012 would not be welcome.

"They can't come if they're going to behave like that," he said.

"You shouldn't have that approach to sport. If you were going to come to the Olympic Games, you take part against everybody and if you're going to behave like that you're not welcome."

A Downing Street spokesman later said: "Any country participating in the 2012 Games will be welcomed, but it is absolutely essential that they embrace the spirit of the Games."

Iran won a gold and bronze at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing to finish 51st in the medals table.

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