Qatar 2022, Iran-United States: a clash that comes from afar

Tonight they take the field against, ai World Cup in Qatar. There is football but there is also much more. Iran and the United States they have always clashed. The West against the Islamic state, the interrupted relations, the sanctions, the nuclear threat and the clash over oil, the censorship of the escalation of violence in recent months and, on the other hand, the resistance to the interference of what the theocracy Shiite considers the great Satan of the world.

In the World Cup of contradictions, especially for the non-football aspects, the draw that pitted the United States and Iran against each other, in this historical phase and precisely in Qatar, seems almost a twist of fate.

Even before kick-off, history, geopolitics and civil rights pit the two national teams against each other. And the latest developments in Iran, with the repression of protests in the spotlight, have further complicated the scenario. The precedent of the last meeting in a World Cup helps to understand how much. It dates back to France ’98, when the two teams met in Lyon. The Iranian national team and the US national team posed for a group photo together before the start of the match. At the time, the president of the Islamic Republic was the reformist Mohammed Khatami, on whom the West had great hopes, and Bill Clinton sat in the White House. For the record, Iran won 2-1.

Today it is difficult to experience the match in the same climate as twenty-four years ago. The tension is high. Also fueled by the provocation of the counterfeit Iranian flag, without the symbol of the Islamic Republic, published on the official social networks of the American national team as a sign of support for the anti-regime protest, and by the Iranian reply, which even asked for the exclusion of the USA from the World Cup. On the field, returning to football, the two national teams play the qualification for the round of 16.