At World Cup, U.S. soccer briefly scrubs Islamic emblem from Iran flag

It also comes when the United States is fighting Iran in a decisive world cup game, which has already been marred by the decades of enmity between the two countries and the national protests that have now called the theocratic government of Tehran.

The U.S. Soccer Federation said in a statement Sunday morning that it decided to leave the official flag on social media accounts to show “support for the women in Iran who are fighting for basic human rights.”

The US men’s team’s Twitter account displayed a banner featuring the squad’s matches in the group stage, with the Iranian flag only showing its green, white and red colors. The same can be seen in a post on his Facebook and Instagram accounts with the point totals so far in his group.

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By Sunday afternoon, the standard banner with the emblem was restored to the Twitter banner as attention to it grew.

“We wanted to show our support for the women in Iran with our graphic for 24 hours,” the federation said.

The US it. The soccer federation displayed the official Iranian flag in a graphic showing Group B standings on its website.

The brief absence of the emblem comes as months-long demonstrations have challenged Iran’s government since the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained by the country’s moral police.

The protests have seen at least 450 people killed since they began, as well as more than 18,000 arrested, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, an advocacy group following the demonstrations.

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Iran’s mission to the United Nations and its soccer federation did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press. As the comments played out online, Iranian state television described the U.S.

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Safiollah Fagahanpour, an adviser to the Iranian Football Federation, as saying that the “measures taken regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran flag are against the law” of FIFA competitions.

“They have to be responsible,” Fagahanpour said. “Obviously they want to affect Iran’s performance against the US by doing this.”

The Islamic Republic emblem, designed in 1980, is four curves with a sword between them. It represents the Islamic saying: “There is no god but God.” It also resembles a tulip or lotus.

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At the top and bottom of the flag, there are also 22 inscriptions of “God is great”, which honors the date on the Persian calendar when the Islamic revolution took hold.

The flag became a point of contention at the World Cup. Apparently pro-government supporters waved it off, shouting at the demonstrators over Amini’s death. Others at matches waved Iran’s lion and sun flag, an emblem of its former ruler, the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

More security forces could be seen in Iran’s last match against Wales. In the capital, Tehran, anti-Iranian police – the same ones who cracked down on protests – waved the Iranian flag after the Whales won, infuriating protesters.


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