Wrestling for Friendship

ONE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONSHIP THAT HAS SOURED RECENTLY IS OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH IRAN. YOU MIGHT REMEMBER FROM LAST WEEK THAT IRAN IS ONE OF THE COUNTRIES IMPACTED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP’S TRAVEL BAN.

BUT DESPITE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN OUR TWO NATIONS, U.S. WRESTLERS GOT A WARM WELCOME WHEN THEY WENT THERE TO COMPETE IN THE WORLD CUP RECENTLY.
UP NEXT, FREDERICK PLEITGEN TELLS US HOW A COMMON LOVE OF WRESTLING CAN BRING TWO CONFLICTING NATIONS TOGETHER.

A TOUGH SPORTING MISSION - WITH A TWIST OF DIPLOMACY. AMERICA'S NATIONAL WRESTLING TEAM IS IN KERMANSHAH IRAN -FOR THE WORLD CUP. A TRIP THAT ALMOST FELL THROUGH BECAUSE OF TENSIONS BETWEEN THE U.S. AND IRAN… OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST JORDAN BOROUGHS SAYING THE TEAM IS JUST HAPPY TO BE HERE.

Kyle Snyder, Team USA Wrestling: "It was difficult being pawns in the game of political powers that were essentially deciding our fate. So it was difficult for a period of time but luckily we stayed the course we continued to train and now we finally made it."

IRAN ORIGINALLY REFUSED TO GRANT TEAM USA VISAS IN RETALIATION FOR THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S TRAVEL BAN THAT ALSO TARGETED IRAN. BUT AFTER U.S. COURTS BLOCKED THE BAN, THE VISAS CAME THROUGH.

Fred Pleitgen, Kermanshah Iran: "Of course there was a lot of uncertainty for the U.S. national Wrestlers not knowing for a very long time whether they would be able to come here to Iran at all. But they now that they have finally made it here, they want to compete hard and win big."

IRAN AND AMERICA ARE WRESTLING POWERHOUSES. MANY U.S. WRESTLERS - STARS IN IRAN… LIKE OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST KYLE SNYDER.

Kyle Snyder, Team USA Wrestling: "Every Iranian I have ever come in contact with has been extremely respectful, extremely polite. So there's a little bit of turmoil politically but you definitely don't see that within the sport. We respect each other as competitors and as people."

TEAM USA RECEIVED A RAGING WELCOME WHEN THEY ARRIVED HERE. THE HEAD OF IRAN'S WRESTLING FEDERATIONS TELLS ME POLITICS HAVE NO PLACE IN THIS SPORTING RIVALRY.

Rasoul Khadem, President Iranian Wrestling Federation: "We are the two very powerful international wrestling teamsm he says. Along with others we are trying to help the sport internationally, to promote wrestling throughout the world."

IRAN AND THE U.S. ARE CLASHING ONCE AGAIN ON THE WRESTLING MAT - AND NOW THAT THE DIPLOMATIC HURDLES HAVE BEEN CLEARED, THE ATHLETES SAY THEIR ONLY FOCUS IS TRYING TO WIN IT ALL.


Instructional Links


Encyclopedia Article: World Book Student, Iran | May need password.

Online Tutorial: U.S. Department of State, Diplomacy 101 | Learn about people, places & issues.

Website Article: United World Wrestling, Team Arrives in Iran for Freestyle World Cup

Interactive Lessons: iCivics, Diplomacy | Teachers must create accounts to use.

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