Iranwire – The U.S. football federation has temporarily displayed the Iranian national flag on social media without the emblem of the Islamic Republic, in a show of show solidarity with protesters in Iran.
The move came before the United States faces Iran on November 29 in a World Cup match amid decades of enmity between the countries and a nationwide protest movement against Tehran’s theocratic government.
The Iranian Football Federation will file a complaint against its U.S. counterpart to the FIFA Ethics Committee for “disrespecting the national flag”, Iranian media reported on November 27.
The wave of protests in Iran were sparked by the September 16 death of a 22-year-old woman in the custody of morality police. The unrest triggered a heavy-handed clampdown by security forces in which more than 400 people were killed and thousands of others were arrested.
A now-deleted graphic of the Group B standings posted across the United States Soccer Federation’s (USSF) official Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts on November 27 displayed the Iranian flag only bearing its green, white and red colors.
The banner on USSF’s Twitter page was also changed for 24 hours to feature the flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic — a stylized representation of the word God and a sword — in the middle.
The intent of the initiative was to show “support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights”, USSF said. Players were not consulted on the decision to change the flag.
The flag has become a point of contention at the World Cup, where some Iran supporters have waved pre-revolutionary Iranian flags with a lion and sun.