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By ESPN Staff

FIFA lifts suspension on Iran

BERN, Switzerland, Dec 20 (Reuters) - FIFA officially lifted its international ban on Iran on Wednesday, soccer's world governing body said in a statement.

"FIFA officially informed the Iran Football Federation (IRIFF) that the suspension imposed on the federation on 23 November 2006 had been lifted," the statement read.

"Therefore, the IRIFF and its clubs, referees, officials, etc. may participate in all international football competitions and activities with immediate effect.

The decision by FIFA's emergency committee comes after its president Sepp Blatter said on Sunday the ban would be removed following talks ahead of Wednesday's draw for the 2007 Asian Cup finals.

FIFA's executive committee suspended Iran from all international competitions last month because of government interference in running the game in the country.