The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) sent a letter to Iran’s national soccer federation saying they will not be hosting international soccer matches in the country.
The Iranian federation rejected the notion that the country is unfit to host matches in a responding letter to the AFC.
“Iran is fully ready to host various teams as it has repeatedly proven during the past several years,” Amirmahdi Alavi, a spokesman for the Iranian federation, told Iranian media.
The AFC did not immediately respond to an inquiry from The Hill.
Iran has suffered economically under U.S. sanctions and has threatened to retaliate if United Nations member countries add sanctions themselves. Banning sporting events in the country could further hurt Iran’s economy.
The move from AFC comes as tensions rise between the U.S. and Iran.
The U.S. killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike on Jan. 3, prompting Iran to shoot missiles at two Iraqi bases that house U.S. troops the following week.
Iran also accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people on board. Officials initially blamed the crash on a technical issue and admitted responsibility three days later, after U.S. officials said there was evidence the plane was brought down by a missile.