BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The International Olympic Committee has banned Iraq from competing in the upcoming Summer Olympics because of what it says is the government's political interference in sports.
CNN received a copy of the letter, which was sent to Jassim Mohammed Jaffer, Iraqi minister of youth and sports, and Ali Mohsen Ismail, acting secretary general of the Iraqi general secretariat of the Council of Ministers.
"We deeply regret this outcome, which severely harms the Iraqi Olympic and Sports Movement and the Iraqi athletes, but which is unfortunately imposed by the circumstances," said the letter, signed by two IOC officials.
The move stems from an Iraqi government decision in May to suspend Iraq's Olympic Committee and form a temporary committee to handle its duties.
The Iraqi government thought the committee had not been operating properly and as a result undermined the sporting movement in Iraq.
The government said the original committee held meetings without quorums and had officials serving in one-year posts for more than five years. Many of the officials also lived outside Iraq, the government said.
Emmanuelle Moreau, a spokeswoman for the International Olympic Committee, said that the IOC in June suspended Iraq's national Olympic Committee after the government removed elected officials and put in people the IOC didn't recognize.
She said the IOC proposed to the Iraqi government that officials come to the organization's headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, "to discuss possible solutions."
But she said they didn't respond. "We're extremely disappointed with the situation. The athletes have been ill-served by the government in Iraq," she said.
Moreau said Iraq missed a Wednesday deadline for the entry of athletes to compete in archery, judo, rowing and weightlifting.
She said there is a chance that track and field athletes could compete if the original committee is reinstated. The deadline for the track team to register is at the end of the month. The Games begin August 8.
The seven Iraqi athletes who were to travel to China for the Games' start in August are disappointed by the decision, officials said. They include an archer, a weightlifter, a judoka, two rowers and two sprinters, one of whom is Dana Hussain. She became distraught when she heard the news, her coach, Yousif Abdul Rahman, said.
Hussain has been "crying for about two hours now," Abdul Rahman said. "She hasn't stopped. It's like finding out that a close relative has died."
The coach called the decision unfair and said he blames "everyone" -- the Iraqi government and the Iraqi and International Olympic committees.
In the end, Abdul Rahman said, the athletes are paying the price.
"It's a shame after all the efforts, ambitions, risks and dangers," he said.
"I wish from the bottom of my heart they would reconsider this unjust decision for the sake of the athletes."
CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq and Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report.
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