US invites Iran for football friendly

Tehran Oct 5 (IANS) In another sign of thaw in Washington and Tehran's bilateral relations, the US football federation has invited the Iranian national team for a friendly match in the US.

"US football officials are interested in holding a four-team tournament, featuring the US, Iran, a South American team, and a European team," reported Xinhua citing Iranian Football Federation President Ali Kafashian Saturday.

"We have received approval from the US federation to attend the tournament," Kafashian said in reference to the invitation, while adding Iran would play the US for the third time.

The two teams have played twice earlier. Iran defeated the US 2-1 at the 1998 World Cup in France, and both sides played to a 1-1 draw in a match in Pasadena, California two years later.

Iran and the US have both qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

On Sep 28, when US President Barack Obama had a 15-minute telephonic conversation with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, it was a first high-level conversation in over 30 years between the heads of state of the two countries.

During their conversation Obama spoke of a "unique opportunity" to make progress with Iran's new leadership, amid a flurry of diplomacy over its nuclear programme. It was the first communication between US and Iranian leaders since 1979.

Meanwhile, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Saturday endorsed the diplomatic efforts of President Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly while terming the US "unreliable".

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