rivalry goes beyond the World Cup since the 50s

One of the greatest rivalries in the contemporary world may have an unusual outcome at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Geopolitical enemies, the United States and Iran are part of the same group in the competition and will face each other on the 29th, starting at 4 pm, at Al Thumama, in a game that will define classification for the next phase.

The last time the two teams faced each other was in 1998, in France, and the Gulf nation won, winning 2-1. In addition to the two, England and Wales close group B.

Off the pitch, however, the situation in both countries is one of tension and war, with the threat of direct armed conflict and the promise of revenge.

In 2020, the airport in Baghdad, Iraq, was bombed by American forces after a direct order from then-President Donald Trump. In that bombing, two of the most important Iranian leaders were killed, which generated a crisis between the United States and Iran. Among them are the commander of the Quds Forces, a special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Brigadier General Qasem Soleimani, considered the most relevant military figure in the country; and number 2 of the Popular Mobilization Forces (FMP), Commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

From that moment on, the Iranian government promised revenge and the mild climate between the two countries became unsustainable.

1953 coup d’état

However, even with the expectation of an imminent war, the relationship between Americans and Iranians was not always one of conflict. In fact, the history of friendship and alliance between the two is ancient, in which both lived in a friendly way. However, in 1953, the union between the two countries was threatened by a coup d’état programmed by the Americans to depose the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, restoring the monarchy in the country with the ascension of Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlevi.

Orchestrated by the CIA (American Central Intelligence Agency) with the help of MI6 (Military Intelligence Section 6 of the British Secret Service), the operation named ‘Ajax’ was successful and is still considered one of the pillars of animosity between the Iranians and the North. -Americans. The support of the United States for the authoritarian government of Pahlevi was the trigger that fueled the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Revolution of 79

In February, Iran welcomed back Ayatollah Ruhollah M?savi Khomeini, who until then had lived in exile in Paris because of his criticism of the government. Alongside leftists, liberals and traditionalist Muslims dissatisfied with Pahlavi’s corruption and authoritarianism, Khomeini initiated the overthrow of the monarch and the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In November of the same year, a group of protesters stormed the American embassy in Tehran, taking diplomats and American citizens hostage for 444 days. That incident furthered the long history of sanctions between the world’s biggest economic power and the Middle Eastern country. In 1980, the United States retaliated and severed any diplomatic relationship with Iran, which still occurs today. The 52 hostages were only released from captivity after the signing of the Algiers Accords, mediated by the Algerian government and signed in the city of Algiers in January 1981, which said, mainly, that the US would not intervene politically or militarily in Iranian internal affairs.

In 1984, during the administration of US President Ronald Reagan, Iran was declared the sponsor of terrorism, which led to new sanctions being launched by the United States, in addition to opposition to Iran receiving international loans and importing products. Iranians, mainly “dual-use” ones, intended for both civilian and military use.

As if that were not enough, even during the Reagan government, the US supported Saddam Hussein in the war between Iraq and Iran, from 1980 to 1988, which allowed Hussein to use chemical weapons against the Iranians. This support was frowned upon by the Iranian population and the image of the Americans deteriorated further.

Nuclear deal and economic embargo

Relations between the United States and Iran deepened during the administration of President Barack Obama. He and the then Iranian president Hassan Rouhani even maintained telephone contact, which had not happened since the 1970s. The two nations signed a nuclear agreement in 2015 between Iran and major world powers such as the USA, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The negotiations said that Iran was committed to stopping its nuclear program – and the consequent enrichment of uranium with the objective of producing atomic bombs – in exchange for the suspension of sanctions imposed by the North Americans and the agreement was fulfilled for three years, when it was broken by Trump after his election in 2018.

The effects of the embargo are visible in the economy of the Middle East until the present day and the tension between the two countries has been established again, since the United States threatens to invade Iran and the latter promises to close access to the Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf to the rest of the planet.

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