U.S. defeat Iran in World Cup match overshadowed by political tension

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DOHA (Reuters) November 30 The United States defeated longtime political rival Iran on the pitch on Wednesday, ruining protests in Iran and a match that has been plagued by decades of tensions between the two countries. won the victory.

The Qatari rivalry between the two countries, which severed diplomatic ties more than 40 years ago, has seen security tightened to prevent a resurgence of anti-government protests across Iran since the death of 22-year-old Kurdish prisoner Ms Mahsa.


Qatar, which has strong ties to Washington and friendly relations with Tehran, has used its reputation to facilitate the World Cup, increase security at Iranian games, and support Iran’s pre-1979 Islamic Revolution. It has banned items considered inflammatory, such as flags.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated since 2018 when then-President Donald Trump abandoned the international nuclear deal with Iran. Attempts by the Joe Biden administration to revive the 2015 deal have stalled.

Speaking in Romania, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken downplayed the relationship between games and political tensions, saying he hoped games would “speak for themselves” and looked to and support the country’s will.  

On the sporting side, Cristian Pulisic’s goal in the first half gave the USA a 1-0 victory and the USA advanced to the knockout rounds, while Iran was eliminated.

Despite the threatened Group B exit and the geopolitical backdrop, for the most part, the game was played cleanly, with no fouls from Hard on him or altercations between players. In his 1998 World Cup, the last time the nations faced each other, Iran beat her 2–1. Iran’s domestic politics and strained ties with the United States caught the eye of fans watching from all over the world attending the inaugural World Cup in the Middle East.

At the beginning of the second half, a group of fans briefly held up a letter bearing Masa Amini’s name to applaud the surrounding Iranian supporters. The guard signed but allowed me to stay in my seat.

Later in the match, his five members of the Russian activist punk group Pussy Riot, wearing a green balaclava and his T-her shirt with the slogan “Women’s Freedom for Life,” I stood in the stands of the stadium. On the back of the shirt were the names and ages of those killed in Iran, group member Nika Nikulshina told Reuters.

“This is our gesture of support for Iranian women and we want to emphasize that Iran is sending drones to Russia to kill Ukraine. I want to remind everyone that FIFA is not only fun, but war is on the way,” she said.

Stadium guards removed their balaclavas and “politely” escorted the women out of the stadium after the match, said Nikulshina, who invaded the field during the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow.

The Iranian team, pressured to publicly support protesters at home, refused to sing the national anthem in their first match against England, losing 6–2. But for Wales, she sang again before the second match, which she won 2-0, and again on Tuesday.

Protests in Iran are one of her boldest challenges to the theocracy. People chanted “Women, Life, Freedom” and “Thank you, US Team” from the roofs after the Americans won on Tuesday, two sources in Tehran’s Berenjak district told Reuters.