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Sports Diplomacy Halted: Iran does not grant visa for US women's badminton team

Report by ISNA

Iran will not grant visa for the US women's badminton team who was to take part in international tournaments in Tehran, Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said in his press conference on Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs had announced on Wednesday that it will send a delegation of 12 Americans, including eight female athletes, coaches, and managers representing USA Badminton, to Tehran, Iran, from February 3-9th.  The team will compete in the Fajr International Badminton Tournament at the invitation of the Iranian Badminton Federation.


Iran: no visas for US women's badminton team

Reuters - It was to be the first U.S.-Iranian exchange under the Obama administration and was seen as part of a new U.S. approach to engage Iran. The two countries have not had diplomatic relations since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and the hostage-taking at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Previous sports exchanges, which started in Jan. 2007, have included wrestlers and weightlifters as well as basketball, table tennis and water polo players. Since then, the department has sent 32 American athletes to Iran and brought 75 Iranian athletes and coaches to the United States, it said.

The Head of Iran's Badminton Federation Karbasian had already said on Tuesday that the team will receive visa through Iran's consulate in Dubai on Wednesday morning and will step in Iran for competitions.

The competitions are to take part on the occasion of the 30th year of Islamic Revolution victory during a ten-day national celebration.

The process for issuing visa for American nationals is a long-lasting one as that of the US for Iranian nationals and should go through certain stages, Qashqavi said.

The time needed for issuing visa did not make it possible for the team to take part in the international tournaments in Iran, he added.

... Payvand News - 02/04/09 ... --

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