Iran beat the United States in a wrestling competition in Tehran on Thursday, the same day President Obama announced that the U.S. is extending sanctions against the Mideast nation for one year.
Six U.S. wrestlers are participating in the two-day Takhti Cup at Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) sports complex, Reuters reported, along with athletes from Cuba, Turkey and other nations.
The Iranians seemed to have a commanding home-field advantage, taking 10 of the competition's 12 medals, though one American one a bronze.
"We made some pretty critical mistakes," U.S. head coach Zeke Jones told Reuters after the first two U.S. defeats. "It is always a wonderful opportunity to compete with the Iranians. They are such a great wrestling country. It is one of the best tournaments in the world."
Jones also called the sport a "common bond for the people of America and Iran."
About 20 American wrestlers participated in the competition in 2007. Since 2006, 75 Iranians athletes have been to the United States in an exchange program, Reuters reported.
In February, however, Iran refused visas to a U.S. women's badminton team.
"This is a very unfortunate situation," State Department spokesman Robert Wood said at the time, adding that the U.S. had not received any official notification of the reason for the visa refusal.
While it is extending sanctions, the Obama administration has expressed a desire to engage in direct talks with Iran. Obama said the U.S. would "extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."