The last World Cup clash between the United States and Iran 24 years ago is considered one of the most politically charged matches in soccer history. This time, the political overtones are just as strong and relations perhaps even more fraught as the U.S. and Iran face off once again on Tuesday in Qatar. Iran's nationwide protests, its expanding nuclear program and regional and international attacks linked back to Tehran have pushed the match beyond the stadium and into geopolitics.
Qatar and Germany signed a 15-year deal Tuesday to ship liquefied natural gas from Doha to the European economic powerhouse as it scrambles to replace Russian gas supplies that were cut during the ongoing war in Ukraine. Officials gave no dollar value for the deal, which would begin in 2026 and see Qatar send up to 2 million tons of the gas to Germany through an under-construction terminal at Brunsbuettel. The deal involves both Qatar Energy, the nation’s state-run firm, and ConocoPhillips, which has stakes in Qatar’s offshore natural gas field in the Persian Gulf that it shares with Iran.
The U.S. Navy on Tuesday dismissed Beijing’s protests over a "freedom of navigation operation” conducted near a Chinese-held island in the South China Sea, in the latest incident drawing new attention to one of the world's potential military flashpoints. In an unusual move, the Navy’s 7th Fleet issued a rebuttal to China’s objections to Tuesday’s mission, calling it “the latest in a long string of (Chinese) actions to misrepresent lawful U.S. maritime operations and assert its excessive and illegitimate maritime claims” in the South China Sea. China claims the area virtually in its entirety.