It's been a busy week for an Iranian weight lifter who looks strikingly similar to the Hulk. After multiple reports from both Iranian news outlets and international media that Sajad Gharibi, also known as "the Persian Hercules," wants to go to Syria to fight ISIS, the bulky Iranian now denies he ever made those comments and says he has no intention of going to Syria, according to an article in The Observers.
The article, written in Farsi, claims that rumors about Gharibi's desire to fight ISIS alongside the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad started after an interview he gave an Iranian news outlet was taken out of context and then spread on social media. It also shows an image of what appears to be a statement from a social media account linked to Gharibi, where he writes a message to his fans to clarify rumors about his desire to volunteer to fight ISIS in Syria.
"I said before anything I'm a defender of my country and I'm a solider like anyone else," Gharibi allegedly wrote. "And whenever the security of my country is threatened, I would give my life for the pure soil of Iran, and I only serve Iran. There are a lot of rumors out there to hurt me, but I always forgive people."
In the statement, Gharibi also says pictures that show him wearing a military outfit on social media were from a recent music video appearance he made.
Although it appears Gharibi is denying he said he wants to fight ISIS in Syria, numerous media outlets both in Iran and around the world have reported that the 24-year-old bodybuilder wants to take on the militant group. "He says he wants to defend Shia Muslim shrines in Syria against IS and other attackers," the BBC reported. "The 'Persian Hercules' is planning to head to the terror group's self-declared caliphate alongside the Iranian military," the International Business Times said.
Although his Instagram account hasn't been verified, the video above the account linked to Gharibi seems to endorse that idea. More than 160,000 people are following that page, and it is updated frequently. However, Gharibi appears to now be distancing himself from it. According to the statement in The Observers, Gharibi allegedly wrote that some of his fans manage his social-media pages with his approval and now he won't be using Instagram anymore.