Iran says US ‘detained’ its volleyball team at Chicago airport for hours
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Iran says US ‘detained’ its volleyball team at Chicago airport for hours

Tehran official: ‘If America cannot host all the teams fairly and neutrally, it better stop hosting sport events’

Iranian volleyball players Adel Gholami (L) and Mahdi Marandi after losing a men's quarterfinal volleybal lmatch against Italy at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke/File)
Iranian volleyball players Adel Gholami (L) and Mahdi Marandi after losing a men's quarterfinal volleybal lmatch against Italy at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke/File)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran claimed Monday that the United States had “detained” its visiting volleyball team at a US airport for several hours.

The Islamic Republic’s foreign ministry’s director for North America told Swiss Ambassador Markus Leitner, whose country represents US interests in Iran, that the team was detained for about four hours at an airport in Chicago.

“If America cannot host all the teams fairly and neutrally, it better stop hosting sport events,” the official told the Swiss envoy.

Iran’s volleyball team is in the US for the 2019 Nations League final six.

The team is set to play against Poland on Thursday and Brazil on Friday, and two out of six teams will face off next Monday in the final.

Iran and the United States cut diplomatic relations after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Tensions between the two countries have escalated since Washington withdrew from a 2015 landmark nuclear deal last year and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

State news agency IRNA said Iran’s volleyball team had “visited the US in previous years for various friendly or official games and never had a problem before.”

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