Iran denies entry to U.S. wrestlers

Antonio JonesFeb 04, 2017

"We have no official documentation that the USA Wrestling team will be denied the opportunity to participate at the Freestyle World Cup", the statement said.

At the time, Rich Bender, USA Wrestling's executive director, told the Wall Street Journal he was still "confident" the US team would be able to attend the Freestyle World Cup in spite of the news.

"Considering the policies adopted by the new USA administration, the foreign ministry was inevitably forced to refuse travel by the United States wrestling team to Iran", spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said to the media agency.

"The visa policy of the new American administration gave us no other option but to ban the wrestlers", Ghasemi told state TV.

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 U.S. for a 90-day period.

Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency also reported Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, vowed "we will not take permission from any country or global organization to develop our conventional defense power and we will confront any foreign interference in the defense affairs, including the Islamic Republic of Iran's missile power". In a competition with a Russian wrestler, Smith said, he was losing until an Iranian began beating a bass drum to encourage him. "We are now working to find a solution for the freestyle World Cup as soon as possible".

Wrestling is an extremely popular sport in Iran, and American athletes have competed in the country 15 times since the 1998 Takhti Cup.

"I love Iran. I love their people, and I don't get into politics, " he added. I wasn't going to make a political stance.

Though the meet would generally receive little attention outside of wrestling circles, it has become global news as an early indicator of how Trump's policies might impact worldwide athletic competitions.

"We have missile drills".

Khatami said the reiterating an "old message" from previous administrations, regardless of political party.

"Your message is aimed at confronting religion and Islam", he said.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday tweeted a message in which he insisted on improving the country's military program as a means of defence.

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