The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reportedly approached the Islamic Republic of Iran seeking support for a World Cup bid, a member of the Iranian delegation that visited Saudi Arabia last week told IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency) Monday.
According to Shiva Qassemipour, an Iranian parliament lawmaker, the visit to Saudi Arabia “featured very good negotiations and agreements between the two sides” and was punctuated by the request that Iran support the Saudi bid to host either the 2030 or 2034 FIFA World Cup.
"The Saudis announced that they intend to host the World Cup. They asked Iran to help Riyadh and vote in favor of Saudi Arabia in international meetings in this regard,” Qassemipour declared.
The reports have yet to be confirmed by Saudi or regional news outlets.
Saudi Arabia initially announced a joint bid with Egypt and Greece to host the 2030 World Cup, though the bid was withdrawn in June. After Qatar became the first Middle Eastern nation to host a FIFA World Cup in 2022, Saudi Arabia may seek to continue to improve the nation’s status by successfully hosting the international tournament.
Saudi-Iranian relations turn a new page
Long-time regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran signed an agreement in March to normalize relations between the two Middle Eastern powers, culminating in Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian’s trip to the Saudi city of Jeddah on Thursday.
Amir-Abdollahian also spoke with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who helped broker the Saudi-Iranian normalization of relations, on Sunday after his visit.
Qassemipour, who was a part of this delegation, also told IRNA that Saudi Arabia has invited Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to visit the kingdom and that the visit may occur soon.
“Once the negotiations and 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,” Qassemipour declared.