On Friday, Iran banned wrestlers from the United States from participating in Freestyle World Cup competition later this month. The denial of visas was in response to the executive order by President Donald Trump that forbids visas for any Iranians for the next 90 days, said the official Iranian news agency IRNA.
A senior cleric in Iran vowed that his country was going to continue its missile program even though it has received threats from the White House administration that new sanctions were being prepared.
Bahram Ghasemi a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry in Iran was quoted by IRNA as saying that a special committee had reviewed the case of the wrestling team from the U.S. and eventually denied the request.
The decision is the first action Iran has taken in response to the executive order announced by Trump banning visas for seven countries that are Muslim dominated. Early in the week, Iran promised retaliatory action.
Ghasemi announced that the policy of the new administration in the U.S. left Iran officials no alternative but to ban the U.S. wrestling team.
The competition, to be held in Kermanshah, in western Iran is scheduled to be held February 16 and 17.
USA Wrestling had announced that its team of wrestlers would be attending the most important competition in freestyle international wrestling.
Freestyle wrestlers from the U.S. have competed since 1998 in Iran, following close to 20 years of being absent. Since that time, Americans have attended 15 wrestling competitions hosted by Iran.
Iranians have attended U.S. hosted wrestling events 16 times since the mid 1990s.
Wrestling in Iran is an extremely popular sport and rooted in the ancient practice of combining it with other physical mediation and education.
On Friday, Tehran’s leader at Friday prayer, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami announced that Iran was continuing its missile program despite the opposition from the government of the U.S.
On Thursday, the White House said it was preparing to place new sanctions against Iran in its first punitive action against the Islamic Republic since it put the country on notice after a ballistic missile test was conducted last Sunday.
Khatami said the new administration in the U.S. was confirming its old message from prior administrations regardless of being affiliated with the Democratic or Republican parties.
He added that the U.S. message was confronting Islam and religion, as the U.S. has been against Islam for 38 years since the start of the Islamic Revolution.