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Saudi sought Iran’s support in World Cup bid, says MP  

August 23, 2023 at 2:39 pm

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (L) meets with Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud (R) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on August 17, 2023 [Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia has reportedly asked Iran for support in its FIFA World Cup bid, according to Iran’s official news agency, IRNA.

The agency cited a parliament lawmaker who is said to have been part of an Iranian delegation led by Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian who recently visited the kingdom, following the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries in March.

MP Shiva Qassemipour told the outlet on Monday: “The Saudis announced that they intend to host the World Cup. They asked Iran to help Riyadh and vote in favour of Saudi Arabia in international meetings in this regard.”

She also claimed that the Iranian diplomat’s visit to Saudi Arabia brought about constructive negotiations and agreements between the two sides, which, if implemented, will lead to “very positive results.”

According to Qassemipour, Saudi authorities have extended invitations to President Ebrahim Raisi to visit the kingdom, stating: “Once the negotiations and (memoranda of) understandings between the two sides are implemented, this trip will enter the operational phase, and the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran will also visit Saudi Arabia.”

However, the veracity of these claims have so far not been confirmed by Saudi or news outlets in the region.

Following Qatar’s historic hosting of the prestigious football tournament last year, becoming the first Middle Eastern country to do so, Saudi Arabia launched an unsuccessful joint bid with Greece and Egypt to host the 2030 World Cup, even going as far as to offer to build stadiums in the other two countries. The trio withdrew the bid in June with some reports claiming this was due to acknowledging that it was “the turn of Europe for hosting soccer’s prime international competition.” Recent reports suggest that Saudi Arabia is looking to proceed in a unilateral bid.

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