US wrestling team denied visas for competition in Iran

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The US wrestling team won’t be able to compete in this month’s Freestyle World Cup in Iran because visas were denied to its members, the Iranian semiofficial Tasnim News Agency said Friday.

Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said a special committee reviewed the case Friday and “eventually the visit by the USA freestyle wrestling team was opposed,” according to the agency.

The denial comes after Iran announced it would take “reciprocal measures” toward US citizens following President Donald Trump’s order last week banning entry to nationals from seven countries, including Iran, to the United States.

Ghasemi said 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, according to the semiofficial FARS news agency.

The US wrestling team has been in Iran for tournaments 15 times since the Iranian Revolution, and the sport’s governing body said Monday it planned to send a delegation to the Freestyle World Cup on February 16-17 in Kermanshah, Iran.

Team USA Wrestling said Friday it had not been officially notified its wrestlers would be denied entry into Iran.

“If these reports are true, USA Wrestling is extremely disappointed about this,” the organization 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 Friday on Iran after the country’s test launch of a ballistic missile last weekend.