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Soccer-U.S., Iran may be enemies; at World Cup they work together


By Jeb Blount

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 14 (Reuters) - There may be no better indication of world soccer governing body FIFA's power than the ability to make the United States and Iran work together.

The two countries have not had diplomatic relations for 34 years, but referees from the U.S. and Iranian football federations officiated together on Saturday at the Colombia-Greece World Cup Group C match in Belo Horizonte.

The four-man officiating crew for the game was led by referee Mark Geiger backed by assistants - fellow American Mark Sean Hurd, Canadian Joe Fletcher and Iranian fourth official, Alireza Faghani.

Relations between the two countries have been deeply frozen since Iranian revolutionaries took 66 Americans hostage for 444 days in 1979. Despite signs of a potential thaw in recent months, they still face a tough standoff over Iran's nuclear program and lingering problems from the U.S. war in Iraq. (Reporting by Jeb Blount; editing by Justin Palmer)

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