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No Badminton Diplomacy

To follow up on yesterday's post. From Reuters:

TEHRAN, Feb 4 (Reuters) -- Iran did not issue visas for a group of U.S. women badminton players to compete in the country this month, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, blaming a "time-consuming process" in handling such applications.

The U.S. State Department said on Monday eight players along with four coaches and managers would visit Iran on Feb. 3-9 to take part in a competition.

It would have been the first sporting exchange between the two foes since the Jan. 20 inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama, who has said he will pursue greater engagement with the Islamic Republic.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said they would now not be able to come to the country, which this month marks the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted the U.S.-backed shah.

-- Luke Allnutt

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