American wrestlers warmly welcomed in Iran's Kurdistan
KERMANSHAH, Iran (Kurdistan24) – American wrestlers were surprised by the warm welcome they received in Kermanshah (Kermashan), Iran’s Kurdistan, this week after the initial ban.
The United States wrestling team was initially prevented from entering Iran for the major international tournament in response to President Donald Trump’s travel ban of several Muslim-majority countries, including Iran.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif reversed the original decision and allowed the team to enter the Kurdish-majority province.
Two-time Olympian Jordan Burroughs, who beat Iranian Sadegh Goudarzi for gold in 2012, expressed his gratitude on his official Instagram page.
“I'm very thankful for the warm reception we received today and even more grateful that this trip was made possible,” he wrote. “We are very happy to be here in Iran and ready to compete!”
Bill Zadick, the US wrestling’s national freestyle coach and head coach of the team competing at the World Cup, said his team was “prepared [and] set to go.”
“When I heard that we were initially denied, it was disappointing,” Zadick stated.
“The diplomacy of the Iranian Wrestling Federation going to their government and lobbying on our behalf worked well,” he continued.
“I believe that the Iranian government themselves understand the significance of our sport to their own culture,” the US wrestling coach added.
The 2017 Freestyle World Cup will take place Feb. 16 and 17.
Wrestling is a beloved sport among Kurds and Iran has won the event five years in a row.
Last year, the event was held in Los Angeles and is scheduled to be held in Iowa City in 2018.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany