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Iran wrestling chief gives up US green card, slams mistreatment

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Wrestling Federation (IRIWF), Alireza Dabir

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Wrestling Federation (IRIWF), Alireza Dabir, says he has already returned his US green card to American immigration authorities, citing opposition to Washington’s policies.

“I received a green card at the Sydney (2000) Olympic Games, just like many other athletes, in the belief that we would study in the States. A large number of sportsmen and women got their own green cards in the 1990s and 2000s. I never used mine and abandoned it a few years ago,” he told a news conference in Tehran earlier this week.

He added, “Does a green card holder need to go to a US embassy to get a visa? Reception of a US green is very different from obtaining US citizenship at a naturalization ceremony, where the applicant takes the Oath of Allegiance. I returned my green card seven years ago."

Dabir stressed that Iran's national freestyle team would not participate in the forthcoming wrestling dual meet with its American counterpart, slated to be held in Arlington, Texas, on February 12, in case even one member of Iran’s squad is denied the entry visa.

“We hereby send out our invitation to the US team to travel to Iran. We will issue their visas upon arrival at airport,” he said.

Dabir also slammed the degrading treatment of immigration officials at the US Consulate General in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, towards an IRIWF member.

“I wrote strongly worded letters addressed to the consulate and the USA Wrestling. One of our companions was held [at the mission] for approximately 5 hours. How such a treatment could be justified before a friendly wrestling meet?” he said.

Earlier this month, Fox News Digital claimed in a report that Dabir, who won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the Olympics in Sydney, is a holder of a US Green Card, and yet urged "Death to America" in a television interview.

“We always chant ‘Death to America’ but importantly is showing it in action,” the Iranian wrestling federation chief said in the interview broadcast on January 5.

“A doctor [in Iran], he might even be wearing a tie, but he is doing his job well. He is saying ‘Death to America.’ Some talk a lot but don’t do much. We need to prove it [Death to America] with an action.”

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