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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora