Kolkata: The US wrestling team will be unable to participate in this year’s Freestyle World Cup, to be held in Iran in February, after visas were denied to its members, as per several media reports.
As reported by CNN, this decision comes after Iran declared that it would take “reciprocal measures” toward US citizens in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order to ban nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
The Islamic Republic News Agency reported the spokesman from the Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry as saying that the decision was taken after a special committee reviewed the case of the US Wrestling team, and “eventually the visit by the USA freestyle wrestling team was opposed”.
The spokesman further went on to say that, as a consequence of Trump’s policies, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was left with no option, and “was obliged inevitably to oppose the US Wrestling team’s travel to Iran”.
The decision comes at a very critical time, following the enactment of new sanctions on Iran by the Trump administration, in the wake of Iran’s test launch of a ballistic missile on the 29th of January.
Since the 1979 Iranian revolution, the US wrestling team has participated in 15 tournaments in Iran, and the governing body for US Wrestling issued a statement on January 30, stating that it planned to send a delegation to the Freestyle World Cup which will be held during February 16-17 in Kermanshah, Iran.
Interestingly, the US wrestling team issued a statement on Friday that it is yet to be officially notified about Iran’s decision to not allow entry to its wrestlers.
The organization, in its statement, said, “If these reports are true, USA Wrestling is extremely disappointed about this”, and added that “Wrestling is about competition and goodwill through sport, and is no place for politics”.
(With inputs from The Statesman)