VNL 2019: Iran national team detained for 4 hours upon arriving at Chicago airport
Iran national team experienced mistreatment upon the arrival at the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, ahead of the 2019 FIVB Nations League Final Six that will be played here on July 10-14.
According to the media in the USA and Iran, the delegation of Iran national team was detained by law enforcement authorities for four hours upon arriving at the O’Hare airport, while several players had to answer some questions that made them feel embarrassed, one by one. At the same time, Poland national team was allowed to leave the airport without a halt, media added.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman told CBS Chicago that their normal procedures were followed and that everyone was processed without incident.
Iran’s Ministry of Sports and Youths and the Iranian Foreign Ministry official for U.S. affairs filed a diplomatic protest against the USA and asked for the USA’s official apology. They did it through the Swiss ambassador in Tehran who represents the American interests in Iran, as the Asian country has no diplomatic relations with Washington.
“If the USA can’t host all sports teams fairly and impartially, it had better avoid hosting sports games,” the Iranian foreign ministry said for the Fars News Agency.
Of course, Dr. Ary S. Graça F°, the President of the FIVB, expressed his sincerest regrets in regard to the bad treatment that Iran national team.
“I, on behalf of the FIVB, express my shamefulness for what happened to Iran Men’s national team at the Chicago airport before they made their way to the Final Six of the Nations League,” Graça wrote in a letter addressed to the Iranian Volleyball Federation (IRIVF).
The FIVB President added that the governing body of an international volleyball has been in constant talks with various stakeholders including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), United States Olympic Committee (USOC), and the U.S. Volleyball Federation (USAV) to ensure that the Iranian delegation would have a smooth entry procedure.
“We were shocked when we heard that the Iranian team faced a long delay upon the arrival. Even the entities that had organized the coordination were upset,” Graça also wrote and stressed that the FIVB is seeking ways to prevent such incidents in the future.
Iranian delegation has settled in a hotel after the incident.
Sources: chicago.cbslocal.com, en.farsnews.com, en.irna.ir.