February 4th, 2009
12:37 PM ET

American badminton team can't get visas to play in Iran

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TRAVEL/01/12/esta.visa.waiver/art.check.in.afp.gi.jpg]

The State Department confirmed Wednesday that the U.S. badminton team won’t be going to Iran as planned this week for a tournament.

“This is a very unfortunate situation,” State Department Spokesman Robert Wood said at his morning briefing. “Apparently the Iranian consulate in Dubai did not issue visas to the American team in time to participate in the tournament I believe scheduled February 5 through 8. The team is returning tonight.” Wood said.

Twelve Americans had planned on traveling to Tehran, including eight players, a coach, a manager and representatives of the American Badminton Federation.

The visit was seen as a low-level but important gesture to improve contacts between the United States and Iranian people at a time when there are no official relations between the two countries.

In recent years American wrestlers have competed in Iran and Iranians artists have come to Washington and toured the U.S. Wood said there had been no formal communication from the Iranians, through the Swiss government which acts as a diplomatic go-between in the absence of official U.S. representation in Iran. He said he believed the Iranian Badminton Federation had expressed “disappointment” that the visas were not granted. And Wood said he believed all the Americans’ paperwork was in order and on time.

Filed under: Global 360° • Iran
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Chris Collins

    It is essential that CNN pay more attention to the foreign press in its reporting.

    Example: an enormously significant story just broke in the Persian press about the surfacing of a dossier of assassinations of dissidents ordered by Ayatollah Khamenei over the decades. The newsis now furiously debated throughout the regional press. The documentation – the first of its kind – also states that so-called 'moderate' former president Mohammad Khatami was an acomplice to, and covered up, the assassinations. As the result of the publication of the dossier, Khatami is now backing away from declaring its candidacy in upcoming elections, paving the way for the continuation of Ahmadinejad in power. This is an extremely important development... and yet there is not a word on it from CNN. Kinda of pathetic, for a network that sees itself as a 'news' provider. For more information, readers can go to:

    CNN – Wake up!!

    February 5, 2009 at 5:08 am |
  2. Maria Teresa Fernandez

    You're doing a great job!

    February 4, 2009 at 11:59 pm |
  3. Terry

    I like the burka question....the Iranians never were going to approve it.... I'm sure they are just giggling about costing the group the money.

    February 4, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  4. michal landor

    you are so naeiv sorry for my mistakes, but i am just amased how you just realy do not grad what is going on. you play the fair, but u are not you are just some one who grew up in the usa u no nothing about life. i am amaised sorry i speak four laungues and i stell have mistales in english. i will love to argue with you. my daugther is a journllist. my father in law was the spokman for the israeli goverment
    i was in the israely army. and i just can understand how naeiv you are,

    February 4, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  5. Bill Skeat -- Athens, WV

    Would our women players have to wear burkas?

    February 4, 2009 at 8:37 pm |
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    February 4, 2009 at 7:57 pm |