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Iran will issue visas for US wrestlers

February 05, 2017 17:12 IST

Bahram Ghasemi, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, issued a telegram message on Sunday noting that visas would be issued for the Americans partly because of the decision by a US federal judge to "halt the execution of discriminatory restrictions against the entrance of Iranian citizens to America", IRNA reported.

Wrestling

IMAGE: Wrestlers in actin (Image used for representational purposes). Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Iran will issue visas for a US wrestling team to attend the Freestyle World Cup competition, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported Sunday, reversing a decision announced Friday to ban visas for the team in retaliation for an executive order by President Donald Trump banning visas for Iranians.

Bahram Ghasemi, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, issued a telegram message on Sunday noting that visas would be issued for the Americans partly because of the decision by a US federal judge to "halt the execution of discriminatory restrictions against the entrance of Iranian citizens to America", IRNA reported.

On Friday US District Judge James Robart put on hold the travel ban for refugees and citizens of seven mainly Muslim countries called for in Trump’s executive order.

Ghasemi did not say whether Americans currently holding Iranian visas would be allowed entry to the Islamic Republic or if any new visas would be issued to US citizens.

The Freestyle World Cup is one of wrestling's most prestigious events and is scheduled for February 16-17 in the western Iranian city of Kermanshah. USA Wrestling had previously said it would send a team to the competition.

Meanwhile, a group of 72 academics from the prestigious Sharif University in Tehran signed a letter calling for the government to take the higher ground by offering visas-on-arrival to US citizens.

"(We) request our government to act differently in response to this ungracious action (by the United States)," the letter said, adding that US visitors should be encouraged to experience the "hospitality of peaceful Iranians and Muslims".

Tensions have ratcheted up between Tehran and Washington since Trump took office last month. On Friday, the Trump administration imposed new sanctions on Iran because of a ballistic missile test carried out by the Islamic Republic last weekend.

A Revolutionary Guards commander announced Saturday that Iran would be carrying out a military exercise. Home-made missile systems, radars, command and control centres, and cyber warfare systems were to be tested, state news agencies reported.

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