U.S. Wrestlers Receive Warm Welcome In Iran Despite Immigration Controversy

A video shows them carrying a gift from their host nation

U.S. wrestlers arrived in Kermanshah, Iran, this week for the 2017 Freestyle World Cup, feeling unsure about what reaction their presence would elicit. In the preceding weeks, President Trump’s executive order banning immigration from Iran resulted in the Iranian government denying visas to the American team. Iran only agreed to permit the Americans to enter the country after a federal judge temporarily lifted the U.S. ban.

Despite the bad vibes between the two countries, the American wrestlers were offered a warm reception by both media and fans upon landing in Iran. American wrestler Jordan Burroughs, who beat Iranian Sadegh Goudarzi in the 2012 London Olympics to win the gold, posted this picture to his Instagram account showing their arrival:

This video shows Burroughs and another American walking with roses given to them as a welcoming gesture:

Despite decades of icy diplomatic relations, both countries have repeatedly put aside political differences in the spirit of athletic competition—particularly for wrestling, a beloved sport in Iran. It’s heartening that the 2017 Freestyle World Cup serves as no exception.