Two Americans who play basketball in Iran may not be stranded in Dubai despite reports
Two U.S. citizens who play professional basketball in Tehran were said to be “stranded” in Dubai this weekend after Iran announced Americans would not be allowed to visit the country as a reciprocal measure in response to President Trump’s executive order on immigration last week.
But one of those players, former Tennessee and Arizona player J.P. Prince, used a series of hashtags — including #imnotstrandedimvacationing (I’m not stranded, I’m vacationing) and #icancomehome (I can come home) — in a Facebook post on Monday apparently to dispute those reports.
Prince, 29, and fellow American Joseph Jones, 30, who played at Texas A&M, are teammates on the Azad University Tehran team in Iran’s Super League.
The two were on a team trip in Dubai when Trump signed an executive order temporarily barring the entry of citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran.
In retaliation, Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced it would "will take reciprocal measures in order to safeguard the rights of its citizens until the time of the removal of the insulting restrictions of the Government of the United States against Iranian nationals."
Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif clarified on Twitter that “all with valid Iranian visa will be gladly welcomed.”
But on Sunday, Eric Fleisher, agent for Prince and Jones, told the Vertical of his clients, “At the moment they are stranded [in Dubai]. It’s a real hardship.”
Fleisher clarified the next day that Prince and Jones’ visas have expired and that is why they are not allowed back in Iran.
“The team unfortunately didn't do it properly and so now they have to renew the visas and the question becomes whether they will be allowed to renew their visa,” Fleisher said, according to the Associated Press.
“If not, they won't be allowed to enter back into Iran. Their things are still in Iran. They won't be able to continue for the remainder of the season with the club. If they can renew their visa, then presumably they'll be allowed to re-enter and everything will be OK, but I don't have an answer as of yet.”
But Prince’s Facebook post Monday seems to paint a different picture.
“Just living my life!” Prince wrote in the post, which also includes photos and a video from his trip and the additional hashtags #imgoodnostress (I’m good no stress) and #thanksforthethoughtsandprayers (thanks for the thoughts and prayers).
11:15 a.m.: This article was updated with a quote from Eric Fleisher clarifying that his clients’ visas had expired.
This article was originally published at 9:40 a.m.
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