Iranian men's volleyball team detained 'for four hours' at Chicago airport

“This is politics. I don’t know why they did it. Do our athletes have anything else to do but play sports? Their approach is not logical," said the president of Iran's Volleyball Federation.

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July 8, 2019 16:47
1 minute read.
iran volleyball

Members of Iran's men's volleyball team during the gold medal match against Japan.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The Iranian volleyball team taking part in the FIVB Volleyball Men's Nations League in the United States were allegedly interrogated for four hours at a Chicago airport shortly after landing, according to state-run Iranian media Fars News.

After a 30-hour flight, the team, according to the report was detained by law enforcement authorities upon arrival and apparently the same treatment was shown towards the Iranian volleyball competitors last year upon arrival in the United States.

"The FIVB Nations League is not organized in a proper manner. How can a team like Iran change continents once a week while teams from France, Bulgaria, Serbia, Russia, US, and Poland only travel to one or two continents? Why were our young team members not able to obtain a US or even an EU visa? This is not sports," said the coach of the Iranian National Volleyball Team Igor Kolakovic.

According to the coach, after the team was detained by authorities, some of the players had to answer "nonsensical questions" one by one brought upon by border control - while adding that the Polish team was able to leave the airport immediately, "with a smile on their faces and no formalities."

“This is politics. I don’t know why they did it. Do our athletes have anything else to do but play sports? Their approach is not logical," said the president of Iran's Volleyball Federation.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have risen in recent weeks, as the White House officially announced its intention late last month to end sanction waivers on eight countries that are continuing to buy Iranian oil, increasing the US’s “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic.

Threats have been heard from both sides and the military presence of the US Navy in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea has risen significantly in recent weeks in response to warnings about potential Iranian attacks on American interests and positions in the Middle East.

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