In my opinion, the real reason why the Iranian regime decided to cut short the visits by Iran’s wrestling team to the US was because the initial leg of the visit in New York went so well.
“It was great,” U.S. Coach Zeke Jones said. “The competition was good and people were rocking and rolling in the arena, including the Iranians — they were going crazy.”
Now that was in NYC which has less Iranians than LA where the wrestlers were supposed to go next, but the regime decided to disallow them by abruptly ending their tour.
The last thing the regime wants is for its wrestlers to go back home and to talk about what amazing reception they also received in LA, from the authorities and from the Iranians who live there.
And has the regime tried to downplay Iranians success in the US before because of concerns that it could delegitimize its efforts to demonize the United States?
The regime only gave a lukewarm response to the Oscar victory by the Iranian actors and directors of the Movie “A Separation” in February 2012. Now you would have thought that a victory on US soil in the Oscars by Iranians would have been a cause for a massive celebration in Iran with the government lavishly praising the artists publicly. However this did not happen. Apart from verbally celebrating the fact that “A Separation” beat an Israeli competitor (among others), the regime did little else to emphasize this victory.
It has bigger concerns. For years it has tried to say that the American government is racist against Iranians and that Hollywood is run by “Zionists”. The last thing it would want is to delegitimize its own propaganda by celebrating an Oscar given by Hollywood on US soil to Iranians. This would be detrimental to its disinformation campaign.
I do not believe regime claims that the real reason for the withdrawal was because “The US government would not accept responsibility for the Iranian team”.
Nor do I agree with those who want to blame Iranian – Americans individuals who are accused of wanting to “hijack” the event by thinking of waving non Iranian regime flags.
America is a democracy. Non racist flags can not be banned. Nor are they a genuine reason for regime to cancel the event, as years of censorship have taught its TV people to censor “unwanted” flags and messages in the crowds, by introducing a delay in the live transmission of the games.
It has always been my belief that when it comes to the US, the current regime in Iran is more scared of peace than war. This recent event has reinforced this belief.