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

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid