10/23/2006versione stampabileprintinvia paginasend

US investigates American basketball players in Iran for embargo violation
The US Treasury Department is investigating some twenty American basketball players who have been playing in Iran over the past several years. The athletes may be guilty of having violated the sanctions that Washington has imposed for years on Teheran. The US cut off diplomatic relations with Iran in 1979. Each player faces a fine of 50,000 dollars for having ignored the embargo.

Un giocatore Usa del campionato iraniano Details of the investigation. The Treasury spokesperson gave no details on individual cases but confirmed that the Department is looking into the matter. According to the system put in place by the US, American citizens are prohibited from engaging in economic transactions or providing services to Iran without special permission from the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Over the past few weeks, agents from the Treasury have begun contacting US players in Iran and requesting information about the types of contracts they signed and who in the US negotiated them. One Iranian consultant for teams in the national championship told the BBC that the players never dreamed they were violating an embargo. Critics claim that the US law on sanctions, if followed to the letter, would prohibit economic interaction of any sort between US citizens and Iranians, even an American student in Iran who wanted to tutor English.

Alcuni tifosi sugli spalti di una partita a Teheran Basketball diplomacy. The basketball playoffs in Iran are popular. While the level of play isn’t particularly high, recent years have seen the participation of more and more second-tier US players—athletes willing to go anywhere in the world to play professional basketball even if it means joining a mediocre team. In a period of increasing friction between the US and Iran, many hold up these players as an example of how we can overcome political tensions, from the Khomeini revolution to the nuclear question. Last year, 20 US players took part in the Iranian championships. But already this season only two are left. For athletes at this level, 50 thousand dollars means an entire championship earnings. It seems clear, in any event, that next year’s games will be a strictly Iranian affair.
Alessandro Ursic
Topic: Politics, Sport
Area: Iran