Wrestling Bridges Iran-US Gap Days Before Nations Meet Over Nuclear Talks
ABC News anchor David Muir and his team have traveled to Iran for a special Inside Iran report from the streets of Tehran, revealing the effects of Washington’s tightening sanctions on the country.
By David Muir
(TEHRAN, Iran) — Twenty-four hours after a new report revealed that U.N. inspectors had found advanced centrifuges at one of Iran’s nuclear plants – allowing the country to speed up its timeline for a nuclear weapon, inspectors said – Iran pushed back.
On Friday, Iran said the world must recognize its right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, ratcheting up the tension before the start of nuclear negotiating talks with the United States and others scheduled for Tuesday in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
But amid the tough talk and the steep U.S. sanctions, we experienced a rare moment of harmony between the U.S. and Iran Friday.
After several requests and hours of waiting, we were allowed into a stadium in Tehran to see the U.S. wrestling team compete at the invitation of Iran.
We counted three women in the arena of 15,000, including an ABC News producer.
Jordan Burroughs, who trained in Nebraska for the Olympics, defeated an Iranian for the gold medal in London. The cheers for him were deafening — “Jordan! Jordan! Jordan!” — and he won.
He told ABC News that his parents had reservations about him coming to Iran.
“My parents were extremely scared,” he said. “They wanted me to Skype call them every day.”
“America’s a great country,” he said after the victory. “Iran is a great country, too. Hopefully, we can come together.”
Soon after, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared, waving to the crowd — and to us.
In the end, the Iranian team took the gold and the U.S., the bronze. Ahmadinejad shook hands with the U.S. team, leaving some Iranians shocked.
“We are all wrestling fans,” the signs read.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio