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Iran Bans US Wrestlers From Tourny as Payback for Trump Travel Ban

Image: Iran Bans US Wrestlers From Tourny as Payback for Trump Travel Ban

United States' Jordan Ernest Burroughs, celebrates after winning against Iran's Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi after the gold medal match at a 74-kg men's freestyle wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

By    |   Friday, 03 Feb 2017 12:24 PM

Iran has banned the U.S. wrestling team from participating in the Freestyle World Cup competition in Kermanshah this month as retaliation against President Donald Trump's executive order banning Iranian residents from entering America.

The country had previously announced that it would not allow U.S. citizens to enter the country after Trump's executive order, Reuters reported.

"A special committee in Tehran reviewed their cases and decided to oppose the visit by the U.S. freestyle wrestling team," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi was quoted by state television as saying, according to the wire agency.

Last month, Trump issued an executive order that imposed a 90-day travel ban on the citizens of Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, USA Today reported.

That order also suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days and prevents Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. indefinitely, the news site noted.

USA Wrestling, the sport's national governing body in the United States, issued a statement Friday saying that it has not been officially notified by Iran about the news.

"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. "The Freestyle World Cup is the annual World dual meet championship, one of the most important events that United World Wrestling hosts each year."

"If these reports are true, USA Wrestling is extremely disappointed about this, which we believe would be an unacceptable situation. Wrestling is about competition and goodwill through sport, and is no place for politics."

U.S. wrestler Jordan Burroughs, who won a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics and participated in the Rio Games last year, said he was "bummed" by the news that he would not be able to compete Feb. 16 and 17, according to NBC Sports.

"I just wanted to compete," he said. "It's been a while since I competed. I was excited to return to the mat. This was going to be a prestigious event that I got to do with my team members."

"No one out there — Donald Trump or the prime minister of Iran — is purposely slighting the U.S. wrestling team. This is a much bigger picture and a much bigger story than our wrestling tournaments, but I'm bummed because I think this was a great opportunity for us to show goodwill toward them by coming into a country where our governments may have opposed each other," Burroughs added.

Wrestling is a national sport in Iran and the country's teams have performed well in Olympic competition, winning a combined 11 medals at the last two Olympic Games — its most in any other sport.

The Washington Post reported that the U.S. wrestling team had been preparing for the international meet for months with a contingent of 20 people, made up of athletes and staff, scheduled to leave next week.

Officials said that U.S. wrestlers have taken part in Iranian meets on 15 other occasions dating back to the 1998 Takhti Cup in Tehran, according to The Post.

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Iran has banned the U.S. wrestling team from participating in the Freestyle World Cup competition in Kermanshah this month as retaliation against President Donald Trump's executive order banning Iranian residents from entering America.
iran, bans, us, wrestlers
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2017-24-03
Friday, 03 Feb 2017 12:24 PM
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