Iran General NewsIran denies visas for U.S. women's badminton team

Iran denies visas for U.S. women’s badminton team

-

ImageWashington Post: Iran did not issue visas for a group of U.S. female badminton players it had invited to compete in the country in events starting Friday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, citing the "time-consuming process" of handling such applications.

The Washington Post

By Thomas Erdbrink
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, February 5, 2009; A14

ImageTEHRAN, Feb. 4 — Iran did not issue visas for a group of U.S. female badminton players it had invited to compete in the country in events starting Friday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, citing the "time-consuming process" of handling such applications.

"They will not participate in the competition," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said during his weekly news conference.

The Iranian Badminton Federation, a part of Iran's Physical Education Organization, which is headed by Vice President Mohammad Aliabadi, had invited the eight players, along with four coaches and managers, to participate in a tournament during celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"We are disappointed and hope the Americans will forgive us," said Zahra Tayyebin, head of the Badminton Federation's public relations office. "They should know that the Badminton Federation did all the necessary follow-ups for the visas."

Thirteen other foreign teams, including squads from Malaysia, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, will take part in the tournament.

The Obama administration said it was mystified by the visa refusal, especially because the president and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have expressed a willingness to engage with Tehran. The badminton team's visit would have been the first cultural exchange under the new administration, but it was arranged as part of a concerted effort by the Bush administration since 2006 to promote cultural, medical and athletic contacts between two countries that have not had diplomatic relations for three decades.

The United States cut ties with Tehran during the 1979-1981 hostage crisis, in which a group of radical students held 52 Americans captive for 444 days after storming the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

"This is a very unfortunate situation," State Department spokesman Robert A. Wood said Wednesday.

"You know, as the secretary and others have said, when the Iranians unclench that fist, there will be a hand waiting to greet them," Wood added. "We are very interested in trying to improve relations between the American people and the Iranian people, and this is not a good step forward in terms of trying to promote people-to-people exchanges."

On Monday, the U.S. State Department had said it hoped to reciprocate the Iranian Badminton Federation's invitation by inviting Iran's national team to the United States in July.

Since January 2007, more than 75 Iranian athletes have taken part in wrestling, weightlifting, water polo and table tennis competitions in the United States, while 32 American athletes, including 20 wrestlers, have visited Iran, the Ettemaad newspaper, which is critical of the government, wrote Wednesday.

A total of 250 Iranian artists, athletes and doctors have visited the United States since the program started, according to the State Department.

Staff writer Glenn Kessler in Washington contributed to this report.

Latest news

Iran Regime’s Ministry of Culture’s Decision To Eliminate Children’s Intellectual Centers

With the so-called ‘Cultural Revolution’ which took place between 1980 and 1983, the Iranian regime tried to purge the...

Water Shortage Crisis and the Destruction of Iran’s Water Resources

Iran is currently suffering from a number of dangerous natural disasters. One of the most worrying is the drying...

Economic Freedom Under the Rule of the Mullahs in Iran

The Fraser institute published its annual report of the index of economic freedom on September 8, which measured the...

Iran’s Regime Continues Its Internet Restriction Project

This is part of the outlook of a document by the Iranian regime’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace, which has...

Iran’s Human Development Index Dropped Sharply

One of the most common questions asked in primary schools by teachers all over the world is, “wealth or...

Narcotics Iran Regime’s Income Source for Terrorism

Besides Iran’s malign activities, such as its regional interference, and missile and nuclear projects, drug trafficking plays a major...

Must read

Young man hanged in central Iran

Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Jan. 18 – A young...

Iranian Hackers Create New Angles for an Old Disinformation Campaign Against the MEK

By Jubin Katiraie Numerous reports have been published in...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you