News / Middle East

Wrestling Diplomacy Cuts Tension at Nuclear Talks With Iran

Participants sit at a table during talks on Iran's nuclear program in Almaty, February 26, 2013.
Participants sit at a table during talks on Iran's nuclear program in Almaty, February 26, 2013.
Reuters
For a brief moment on Tuesday, the nuclear dispute between Iran and the United States took a back seat to sport.
        
U.S. diplomats found rare common ground with the Islamic Republic at a fresh round of nuclear negotiations between Tehran and world powers, noting Iran's victory in the freestyle wrestling World Cup held in the Iranian capital last week.
        
Sports officials from the two countries - which are at odds over the nuclear issue and many others - have expressed dismay at a surprise recommendation by the International Olympic Committee this month to drop wrestling from the 2020 Games.
        
"During the plenary, we did note Iran's success in the recent wrestling World Cup and our shared view that wrestling should continue to be an Olympic sport,'' a U.S. official said on Tuesday after the start of high-stakes nuclear talks.
        
Iran and six world powers are holding their first meeting in eight months in the Kazakh city of Almaty this week, to try to start resolving a dispute over Tehran's nuclear program that threatens to trigger another war in the Middle East.
        
Diplomatic ties between Iran and the United States have been cut since 1980 after Iranian students took 52 U.S. diplomats hostage in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution.
        
FILE - Jordan Ernest Burroughs of US (in blue) fights with Iran's Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi at the London Olympics, August 10, 2012FILE - Jordan Ernest Burroughs of US (in blue) fights with Iran's Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi at the London Olympics, August 10, 2012
x
FILE - Jordan Ernest Burroughs of US (in blue) fights with Iran's Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi at the London Olympics, August 10, 2012
FILE - Jordan Ernest Burroughs of US (in blue) fights with Iran's Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi at the London Olympics, August 10, 2012
But wrestling, one of Iran's most popular sports, has proven a rare arena in which the two countries have friendly relations.
        
U.S. wrestlers visited Tehran last week to compete in the World Cup, where 2012 Olympic gold medallist Jordan Burroughs was cheered on wildly by Iranian fans at the capital's Azadi stadium.
        
"Iran has amazing fans!'' Burroughs tweeted, posting a picture of Iranian supporters eagerly reaching down over a barrier at the stadium to touch his hand.
        
A second U.S. official told reporters in Almaty prior to the start of the Feb. 26-27 talks that Iran and the United States agreed that wrestling should continue as an Olympic sport.
        
"Although we cannot come to agreement yet where it comes to Iran's nuclear program, clearly our wrestlers get along just fine,'' the U.S. official said. "We and Iran agree completely that the Olympics should continue to have wrestling as a sport ... so we will be working vigorously with them to make that come to pass.''
        
There was no immediate reaction to the U.S. statement from Iranian diplomats. Wrestling is a major source of Iran's Olympic medals, and Iranian sports officials have said they will work with other countries to lobby for it to stay in the Games.
        
"The issue of removing wrestling from the Olympics is very serious,'' Mohammad Aliabadi, the head of Iran's Olympic committee, told state news agency IRNA this month.
        
"We must prevent this action with the help of many of the major countries in the world,'' Aliabadi said, without naming any specific nation.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More