Iran has reportedly banned USA Wrestling from competing at the 2017 Freestyle World Cup in response to American President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.
Bahram Qasemi, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, stated that the presence of the USA Wrestling team at the competition had been rejected.
Trump’s executive order, signed on January 27, prohibits citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – from being granted entry to the US for a 90-day period.
According to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Qasemi claimed President Trump’s policy made the Foreign Ministry inevitably opposed to the idea of the American team travelling to Iran to compete.
The competition is due to take place between February 16 and 17, with the World Cup viewed as one of the largest wrestling events.
Earlier this week, the sport’s governing body United World Wrestling expressed their desire to help ensure wrestlers have the opportunity to compete.
“While we have no insight into the political differences between the United State and Iran, the cooperation between their federations has become the gold standard for our sport,” UWW had stated.
“Wrestlers from these nations have always displayed the highest levels of sportsmanship and their heartfelt interactions captured in photos have become synonymous with our sport’s ability to transcend politics.
“Both national federations have expressed their interest to see the United States compete at the Freestyle World Cup.”
USA Wrestling had announced their intention to send a delegation of 13 athletes, two coaches, a referee, a medical staff member and a videographer to the event earlier this week, plus other official delegates.
The organization said they had a long tradition of competing with nations which may not have a strong relationship between their Governments, as well as sponsoring the first American sports team to compete in Iran after an absence of nearly 20 years.
This came when a freestyle wrestling team competed in the 1998 Takhti Cup in Tehran.
Since then, USA Wrestling has been to Iran 15 times to compete in wrestling competitions.
Iran have visited the United States to compete in wrestling events 16 times since the 1990s, USA Wrestling said
insidethegames has contacted UWW for a reaction.
By Michael Pavitt
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.