Here’s a video of Iranians cheering the U.S. wrestling team in Tehran

February 25, 2013

There's a long history of sports diplomacy serving as a kind of release valve for international tensions. Last week's international wrestling tournament in Tehran, where the Iranian and American teams took a low-stakes opportunity to show a bit of mutual goodwill, was a nice example.

Above, posted by CNN over the weekend, is a video of Iranian wrestling fans getting in on the love. As if performing a sort of corrective to the U.S.-Iranian antagonism that is increasingly costing their country, the fans made a big show of cheering the American team and one American in particular: star wrestler Jordan Burroughs.

"It was pretty cool," Burroughs told CNN. "Every time I step out there, once they see me, they're excited to see me, cheering my name and screaming my name and giving me praises. It's pretty cool."

Shortly after, a representative of the U.S. wrestling federation told reporters that he hoped the Iranian team would be able to attend a May tournament in New York's Times Square.

It would be easy to read too much into the implications of a few hundred or thousand Iranians cheering for one U.S. sports team at one event, but the event is nonetheless a reminder that Iranian views of the U.S. are more complicated than you might believe after watching, for example, the Academy Award best picture winner "Argo."

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Max Fisher · February 25, 2013