Pin-Down Diplomacy: How Wrestling Promotes US-Iran Ties

Much as “ping-pong diplomacy” helped break the ice between the United States and China in the 1970s, “pin-down diplomacy” between the wrestlers of the United States and Iran has been instrumental in changing perceptions about Iranian and American society, and building bridges between sports communities and ordinary citizens. On February 2, The Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative hosted  a discussion about athletic exchanges between the United States and Iran and the role they have played and can continue to play in promoting better understanding between the peoples of these two long-time adversaries.
The Future of Iran Initiative’s.Acting Director Barbara Slavin moderated a panel featuring Gregg Sullivan, Senior Advisor for Public Diplomacy, Office of Iranian Affairs, US Department of State; James Ravannack, President, USA Wrestling; Christina ‘Kiki’ Kelley, Team Leader, USA Wrestling Greco-Roman Team; and Bahman Baktiari, Executive Director, International Foundation for Civil Society.<a href=""></a>