They attribute the policy change to the judge’s temporary block on Trump’s executive order
Last Friday, in response to President Trump’s immigration ban, Iran, which numbered among the seven countries affected, announced that it would, in turn, deny visas to U.S. wrestlers hoping to compete in the sport’s Freestyle World Cup, held in the city of Kermanshah from February 16-17.
Just two days later, following the temporary lift of the ban by a federal judge, Iran has stated that it will, in fact, be granting visas to the U.S. athletes and teams hoping to compete. Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif explicitly said, via Twitter, that it was the reversal of the ban in concert with formal requests from both the U.S. and Iranian wrestling institutions, that led to the country’s reversal of policy in the matter:
Following the court ruling suspending #MuslimBan & the requests from Iranian Wrestling Federation & FILA, US Wrestlers' visa will be granted— Javad Zarif (@Javad Zarif)1486275534.0
Previously, he had explained, also via Twitter, his issue with the Trump administration’s executive order:
#MuslimBan will be recorded in history as a great gift to extremists and their supporters.1/7— Javad Zarif (@Javad Zarif)1485634810.0
Collective discrimination aids terrorist recruitment by deepening fault-lines exploited by extremist demagogues to swell their ranks. 2/7— Javad Zarif (@Javad Zarif)1485634855.0
International community needs dialogue & cooperation to address the roots of violence & extremism in a comprehensive & inclusive manner. 3/7— Javad Zarif (@Javad Zarif)1485634877.0
#MuslimBan shows baselessness of U.S. claims of friendship with the Iranian people while only having issues with the Government. 4/7— Javad Zarif (@Javad Zarif)1485634911.0
While respecting Americans & differentiating between them &hostile U.S. policies, Iran will take reciprocal measures to protect citizens.5/7— Javad Zarif (@Javad Zarif)1485634935.0
Full statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the #MuslimBan. 6/7 https://t.co/Y3gAxT0B8m— Javad Zarif (@Javad Zarif)1485635032.0
Unlike the U.S., our decision is not retroactive. All with valid Iranian visa will be gladly welcomed. #MuslimBan 7/7— Javad Zarif (@Javad Zarif)1485635058.0
While diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States have been strained for decades, the sport of wrestling has served as a common ground of sorts. It ranks among the most popular sports in Iran, and American wrestling teams have competed in events hosted in Iran 15 times since 1998, according to Time.