U.S. Soccer briefly removes emblem from Iranian flag at World Cup

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The U.S. Soccer Federation briefly displayed Iran’s nationwide flag on social media with out the emblem of the Islamic Republic, saying the transfer helps protesters in Iran forward of the 2 nations’ World Cup match on Tuesday.

Iran’s authorities reacted by accusing the United States of eradicating the title of God from their nationwide flag.

The determination by the U.S. Soccer Federation, also called U.S. Soccer, provides one more political firestorm to the Middle East’s first World Cup, one which organizers had hoped can be spared of off-the-field controversies.

It additionally comes because the U.S. faces Iran in a decisive World Cup match, which was already freighted by the many years of enmity between the 2 international locations and the nationwide protests now difficult Tehran’s theocratic authorities.

The U.S. federation mentioned in a press release on Sunday morning that it determined to forgo the official flag on social media accounts to point out “help for the ladies in Iran combating for primary human rights.”

The Twitter account of the U.S. males’s crew displayed a banner with the squad’s matches within the group stage, with the Iranian flag bearing solely its inexperienced, white and crimson colors. The similar might be seen in a submit on its Facebook and Instagram accounts laying out the purpose totals thus far in its group.

A U.S. soccer federation screenshot shows Iran’s nationwide flag on social media with out the emblem of the Islamic Republic. (Instagram/The Associated Press)

By Sunday afternoon, the traditional flag with the emblem had been restored within the Twitter banner as consideration to it grew.

“We wished to point out our help for the ladies in Iran with our graphic for twenty-four hours,” the federation mentioned.

The U.S. federation displayed the official Iranian flag in a graphic exhibiting Group B standings on its web site.

The transient absence of the emblem comes as months-long demonstrations have challenged Iran’s authorities because the Sept. 16 loss of life of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by the nation’s morality police.

At least 450 folks have been killed because the protests began, and greater than 18,000 have been arrested, in keeping with Human Rights Activists in Iran, an advocacy group following the demonstrations.

Iran has not launched casualty or arrest figures for months, and it alleges with out offering proof that the protests have been fomented by its enemies overseas, together with the U.S.

Tehran additionally restricts press entry and has detained greater than 63 reporters and photographers because the demonstrations started, in keeping with the Committee to Protect Journalists, making overlaying the unrest that rather more tough.

Iranian media weigh in

Iran’s mission to the United Nations and its soccer federation didn’t reply to a request for remark from The Associated Press. As feedback raged on-line, Iranian state tv described the U.S. federation as “eradicating the image of Allah” from the Iranian flag.

Iran’s semiofficial ISNA information company quoted Safiollah Fagahanpour, an adviser to the Iranian soccer federation, saying that the “measures taken relating to the Islamic Republic of Iran flag are in opposition to the regulation” of FIFA competitions.

“They should be held accountable,” Fagahanpour mentioned. “Obviously they wish to have an effect on Iran’s efficiency in opposition to the usby doing this.”

The Islamic Republic emblem, designed in 1980, is 4 curves with a sword between them. It represents the Islamic saying: “There isn’t any god however God.” It additionally resembles a tulip or lotus.

At the highest and the underside of the flag, there are 22 inscriptions of “God is Great,” which honours the date on the Persian calendar when the Islamic Revolution took maintain.

The flag has grow to be some extent of competition at the World Cup. Apparent pro-government supporters have waved it, shouting at these demonstrating over Amini’s loss of life. Others at matches have waved Iran’s lion and solar flag, an emblem of its former ruler, the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

More safety forces might be seen at Iran’s final match in opposition to Wales. In the capital Tehran, anti-riot police — the identical ones cracking down on protests — waved the Iranian flag after the Wales win, angering demonstrators.

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