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American athletes get star treatment in Iran

Sports diplomacy is on the rise again between the United States and Iran, spearheaded by American wrestlers.
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“People look at me like I have two heads,” said James Ravannack, describing the reaction he gets when he explains to people what a fabulous time he had in Iran. Ravannack, president of USA Wrestling, told Al-Monitor that he “can’t wait to go back” and wants to take his family along to stay for a month.

Competing in May in a packed Tehran stadium in the World Cup for Greco-Roman wrestling, the American team is part of a revived spate of athletic and other US cultural exchanges with Iran. Both countries are opening the door for people-to-people diplomacy as their nuclear negotiators engage in a different kind of interaction and competition in Vienna.

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