Vahid Sarlak, right, and Shani Hershko exchanged messages of peace between Iran and Israel at the World Judo Championships ©Instagram/Vahid Sarlak

Coaches from Israel and Iran have come together at the World Judo Championships here in Tashkent to spread messages of peace between the countries amid the protests in Iran following Mahsa Amini's death.

Iranian trainer Vahid Sarlak, who leads the International Refugee Team, and manager of the Israeli women's team Shani Hershko were videoed hugging, shaking hands, and making genial remarks about the other's nation despite ongoing tension between the two Governments.

"To all the Iranian people I send my blessing, my heart, I hope very soon that you will be free and you can do whatever you want - women and men will enjoy life, enjoy democracy," Hershko said in an Instagram clip posted by Sarlak.

"The people of Israel love you and wish very soon that we will be able to visit each other."

Amini was arrested last month in Iran for not wearing a hijab as required by law.

While police say she had a heart attack, fell into a coma and died two days later, women who were detained with Amini said she was severely beaten by the authorities, which led to a cerebral haemorrhage and stroke.

Her death has resulted in a series of large-scale protests across Iran, which has thrust the country's institutionalised violence against women to the fore.

It is claimed that at least 76 protesters have been killed by Iranian security forces since the beginning of the unrest.

Sarlak commented in Persian, adding that "the Iranians are friends of Israel and respect Israel".

The coaches embraced at the World Judo Championships amid ongoing protests in Iran ©Instagram/Vahid Sarlak
The coaches embraced at the World Judo Championships amid ongoing protests in Iran ©Instagram/Vahid Sarlak

The 2000 Asian Championships silver medallist Sarlak captioned his post with: "Absolutely Iranians will be free!

"Not just Islamic regime, Iranians will be free of Islam."

Sarlak competed at the 2005 World Judo Championships in Cairo, but because of the Iranian Government's political issues with Israel, he was allegedly ordered to lose a bout so he would not face an Israeli opponent in the next round.

The 41-year-old has since left Iran and settled in Germany.

Former world champion judoka Saeid Mollaei commented on the post, saying "Iranian reall (sic) people like israil (sic) people".

The Tokyo 2020 silver medallist formerly represented his birth country of Iran before switching allegiances to Mongolia in 2019 and now Azerbaijan.

At the 2019 World Judo Championships, Mollaei was also ordered to lose to avoid facing an opponent from Israel.

This resulted in the International Judo Federation banning the Islamic Republic of Iran Judo Federation for four years.

Iran and Israel have been in an ongoing period of open hostility since the end of the Gulf War in 1991 and the two countries have committed multiple attacks on each other since.