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US wrestlers welcomed in Tehran

MEMBERS of a United States wrestling team went shopping at a Tehran bazaar yesterday, attracting Iranian well-wishers eager to have their photos taken with the first American sports team in Iran since the 1979 revolution.

The five sportsmen will take part in a two-day freestyle wrestling competition in Tehran starting today, a prospect that has raised comparisons with a ground-breaking visit of American table tennis players to China in the 1970s.

"The visit to the bazaar was terrific. People were very friendly.

"They said hello to us and asked for our pictures to be taken," said Larry Sciacchetano, president of USA Wrestling, the governing body of US amateur wrestling.

John Giura, a former World Cup champion, said he was thrilled with Tehran, particularly the snow-capped Alborz mountain range which overlooks the bustling city of about 7 million people.