Passport

Badminton diplomacy dead on arrival

The Iranian government has denied visas to the U.S. women’s badminton team, who were scheduled to take part in an international tournament in Tehran in February. Iran’s Foreign Ministry blamed a “time consuming” visa process. Given the diplomatic significance of the the trip, it seems like the ministry probably could have expedited the process if ...

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The Iranian government has denied visas to the U.S. women’s badminton team, who were scheduled to take part in an international tournament in Tehran in February. Iran’s Foreign Ministry blamed a “time consuming” visa process.

Given the diplomatic significance of the the trip, it seems like the ministry probably could have expedited the process if it really wanted to. You have to wonder if something about the event made Iranian authorities nervous. The tournament was already going to be restricted to only female spectators so that international players could wear their normal uniforms rather than the hijabs and long sleeves worn by Iranian players. U.S. and Iranian men’s wrestling teams compete frequently without any apparent visa difficulties.

Photo: LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/Getty Images

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