Qatar is in talks to become a risk partner on the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) missile defense program with Germany and Italy, according to a source knowledgeable about the talks.

The gulf state started talks with Italy and Germany after the U.S. announced in February that it would leave the program at the conclusion of the development phase without procuring the system.

Qatar is interested in the program as it looks to security requirements for 2022 when it will host the soccer World Cup, the source said. The growing perception of an Iranian missile threat has also played a role.