US wrestling team denied visas for competition in Iran
Washington/Tehran: The US wrestling team won’t be able to compete in the Freestyle World Cup which will be held in Iran in February as visas were denied to its members, media reports said.
A spokesman from the Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry said a special committee reviewed the case on Friday and “eventually the visit by the USA freestyle wrestling team was opposed”, Tasnim News Agency reported.
The visa denial comes after Iran announced it would take “reciprocal measures” toward US citizens following President Donald Trump’s travel ban to nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, CNN reported.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was “obliged inevitably to oppose the US wrestling team’s travel to Iran” in the wake of Trump’s policies, the spokesman said.
The US wrestling team has been in Iran for tournaments 15 times since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and the sport’s governing body said on January 30 that it planned to send a delegation to the Freestyle World Cup on February 16-17 in Kermanshah, Iran.
The US wrestling team said on Friday it had not been officially notified that its wrestlers would be denied entry into Iran.
“If these reports are true, USA Wrestling is extremely disappointed about this,” the organisation said in a statement. “Wrestling is about competition and goodwill through sport, and is no place for politics.”
The move also comes as the Trump administration enacted new sanctions on Iran after the country’s test launch of a ballistic missile last weekend.