One of the biggest upcoming events in the sport of wrestling is slated to take place at Globe Life Field next month in Arlington. Oklahoma State and Iowa will wrestle a dual alongside Team USA and Iran on February 12th.
This event has not come without its political controversy and this was elevated even more this week as the Jerusalem Post reported, “Iran’s wrestling president says ‘Death to America’ before US match”.
The president of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s wrestling federation, Alireza Dabir stated this in a television interview on Wednesday.
Sardar Pashaei is a Greco World Champion and former world team coach for Iran that now lives in the United State. He raises his concern with the state department issuing visas to Dabir.
“It’s painful for me as a wrestler and national team coach to listen to these words. When I and many other athletes who have been forced to leave their homeland due to pressure from the Iranian government see Alireza Dabir, the president of the Iranian Wrestling Federation, say ‘Death to America, while he has the US Green Card in his pocket.”
Pashaei oversees the United for Navid campaign. The organization seeks justice for Navid Afkari, a champion Greco-Roman Iranian wrestler, who the clerical regime executed in 2020 because he protested against the regime’s political and economic corruption in 2018.