FRIDAY, March 01, 2024
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Blinken: No particular geopolitical aspects to Iran-US World Cup match

Blinken: No particular geopolitical aspects to Iran-US World Cup match

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he didn't see any particular geopolitical aspects in the forthcoming football match between the United States and Iran on Tuesday.

"I'm looking forward to the match between the United States and Iran. I will be cheering our team USA. I will watch the match later tonight," Blinken said.

Diplomatic foes the United States and Iran face off on the pitch at the World Cup on Tuesday in a match that some Iranians fear may see further run-ins with stadium security or clashes with pro-government fans over raging protests back home.

The contest between the two nations that severed ties over 40 years ago will be held with increased security to prevent a flare-up of tensions over the unrest that has gripped Iran since the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16.

In a show of solidarity ahead of the match, which starts at 1900 GMT, the US Soccer Federation temporarily displayed Iran's national flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic, leading Tehran to complain to FIFA, according to state media.

Qatar, which has strong ties with Washington and friendly relations with Tehran, has staked its reputation on delivering a smooth World Cup, beefing up security at Iran games and banning some items deemed inflammatory, like Iran's pre-Revolution flag.

US-Iranian ties have been especially strained since then-President Donald Trump abandoned Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers. Efforts to salvage the pact under President Joe Biden's administration have stalled.

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