Iran fencers leave U.S. in fingerprint row
TEHRAN, April 16 (Reuters) - Iran's junior fencing team pulled out
of the world championships in the United States and were on their way home
after immigration officials sought to fingerprint all team members, the
official IRNA news agency said on Sunday.
``The public relations department at the physical education organisation
said Iran's youth and junior fencing team refused to take part...to protest
a move by Chicago airport officials to have them fingerprinted,'' IRNA
It said the 12-member team then left for Turkey, en route back to Iran.
They were expected to arrive home on Monday.
Iran has bristled at enforcement against sports teams, scholars and
clerical delegations of an FBI policy to fingerprint arriving nationals
from Iran, Sudan and other countries accused by Washington of links to
terrorism -- charges Iran denies.
Last January's soccer rematch between Iran and the United States only
went forward after U.S. officials agreed to waive the fingerprinting.
The match, which followed Iran's 1998 win over the United States in
the World Cup in France, marked the first time America had hosted Iran
since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
The politically-charged World Cup match, for which both teams were later
given the FIFA Fair Play Award, was the first top-level sporting contact
between the countries since they broke diplomatic ties after the revolution
which toppled the U.S.-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.