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The Iranian football federation sent its Israeli counterpart a new year's greeting on Thursday, Army Radio reported, in what a Tehran official described as a mistake.

Mohammad Ali Ardebili, director of foreign relations for the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, told Army Radio that he had not intended to send the missive to the Israel Football Association.

"It is a greeting sent to every country in the world," Ardebili said. He quickly then inquired: "Are you talking from Israel? I can't speak with you. It's a mistake, it's a mistake."

The greeting was received in Israel by the head of the Israel Football Association's legal department, Amir Navon.

"He came into my office asking me if I thought it was a mistake," said body spokesman Gil Levanoni. "So I told him that I didn't know, but that we should send in a reply."

Levanoni and Navon said they replied to the greeting with a "happy new year to all the good people of Iran," and said: "We also added a wink."

"We wrote them that we hoped that they would have a happy soccer year," Levanoni added."