Report: Iran lifts ban on American wrestling team

Iran has lifted a ban on U.S. wrestlers, including Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder of Woodbine, allowing them to take part in the Freestyle World Cup later this month in the Iranian city of Kermanshah, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

The Sunday report by state TV quotes Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying that the ban was lifted after the "discriminative restrictions" on Iranian nationals traveling to the U.S. was suspended by a U.S. federal judge.

The International Wrestling Federation and the Iranian Wrestling Federation also lobbied to allow the U.S. wrestling team into Iran for the tournament.


The wrestlers were originally banned Friday from the Feb. 16-17 competition after President Donald Trump temporarily suspended travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran.

Snyder, a heavyweight competing at Ohio State, said USA Wrestling officials told him Friday afternoon not to give up hope on going to the meet.

"It's kind of a difficult situation, because at any moment, it could change," Snyder told The Baltimore Sun on Friday. "I was more hopeful early in the week, but it would be great if it happens. It's an important meet for us. It's an important meet for Iran. It's an important meet for the sport."

The Trump administration is now appealing to reinstate the travel ban. On Sunday a judge in San Francisco rejected the government's request for an immediate reinstatement. Formal arguments in the case begin on Monday.

Regardless of tensions between their governments, American and Iranian wrestlers have frequently hosted each other in competitions and have a working relationship that goes back decades.

At least one Iranian parliamentarian, Ali Mohtari, was critical of the original decision to ban the U.S. team. In a posting on Twitter, Mohtari argued that Iran should do the opposite of Trump and instead make a point of welcoming the American wrestlers.