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U.S. Soccer briefly removed emblem from Iran flag to show support for protesters

The same could be seen in a post on its Facebook and Instagram accounts laying out the point totals so far in its group.

Two anti-riot police officers wave the Iranian flags during a street celebration after Iran defeated Wales in Qatar's World Cup, at Sadeghieh Sq. in Tehran. (AP)

The United States Soccer Federation temporarily displayed Iran’s national flag on social media without the emblem of the Islamic Republic as a show of solidarity with protesters in Iran ahead of the two teams’ World Cup clash on Tuesday.

A now-deleted graphic of the Group B standings posted on Saturday across U.S. Soccer’s official Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts displayed the Iranian flag only bearing its green, white and red colours.

Iran has been gripped by protests since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s death in September while in police custody after she was arrested for flouting the country’s strict Islamic dress code.

The intent of the posts was to show “support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights”, U.S. Soccer media officer Michael Kammarman told a news conference on Sunday. Players were not consulted on the decision to alter the flag.

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The Twitter account of Team U.S.A Shows the Iraninan flag without Islamic Republic emblem. (Source : U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team / Twitter )

“We didn’t know anything about the posts but we are supporters of women’s rights, we always have been,” U.S. defender Walker Zimmerman said.

“We’re focused a lot on Tuesday and the sporting side as well… but at the same time we’re firm believers in women’s rights and support them.

“And we know that it’s a lot of difficulties and a lot of heartbreak and in a very disturbing time.”

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The banner on U.S. Soccer’s Twitter page was also changed on Saturday to feature the flag without the emblem. It was changed back 24 hours later to the banner they had been using during the tournament.

Iran’s state-affiliated Tasnim News Agency said the Iranian Football Federation will file a complaint against U.S. Soccer to the FIFA Ethics Committee for “disrespecting the national flag” of the Islamic Republic.

First published on: 27-11-2022 at 17:58 IST
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