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Iran Drops Travel Ban, Allows US Wrestlers to Compete

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Copyright 2017 The Columbus Dispatch
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The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)

 

Iran has lifted a ban on U.S. wrestlers, allowing them to take part in the Freestyle World Cup later this month in the Iranian city of Kermanshah, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

The report by state TV quotes Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying that the ban was lifted after the "discriminative restrictions" on Iranian nationals travelling to the U.S. was suspended by a U.S. federal judge.

Two wrestlers with Ohio State ties -- junior heavyweight Kyle Snyder and former Buckeye Logan Stieber, a four-time NCAA champion -- will be among the Americans traveling to Iran for the tournament. Both will compete as reigning freestyle champs.

The wrestlers originally were banned on Friday from the Feb. 16-17 competition after President Donald Trump temporarily suspended travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran. The Trump administration is now appealing to reinstate the travel ban. On Sunday a judge in San Francisco rejected the government's request for an immediate reinstatement. Formal arguments in the case begin today.

Regardless of tensions between their governments, American and Iranian wrestlers have frequently hosted each other in competitions and have a working relationship that goes back decades.

At least one Iranian parliamentarian, Ali Mohtari, was critical of the original decision to ban the U.S. team. In a posting on Twitter, Mohtari argued that Iran should do the opposite of Trump and instead make a point of welcoming the American wrestlers.

Snyder is an Olympic gold medalist and is coming off an impressive victory in a freestyle tournament in Russia. He called the Freestyle World Cup "one of my favorite events."

Stieber won the freestyle world championship at 134 pounds in December at an international tournament in Budapest, Hungary.

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February 6, 2017
 

 

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