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Will the FIFA World Cup help bridge Iran-US gaps? 

The US men's national soccer team is in the most politically charged group along with Iran and possibly Ukraine, among other teams.
Fans wave US and Iranian flags during the World Cup 2006.

At a time when tensions between Iran and the West are elevated and the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal hangs in the balance, a forthcoming athletic encounter resembling what pundits call “ping-pong diplomacy” is revitalizing hopes that there are still opportunities for narrowing gaps between the two sides. 

The draw for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar was announced in early April, and Iran, one of the four Asian representatives, was lined up to play the United States and England. The fourth team in Group B, dubbed the most politically charged group in the vaunted event, will be chosen through the European playoffs between Scotland, Ukraine and Wales. 

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