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Iran Calls Foul: Country Demands US Be Ousted From World Cup After Altering Flag On Social Media

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Gretchen Clayson Contributor
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Iran’s state media called for the United States to be ousted from the World Cup after the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) altered the country’s flag on its social media platforms ahead of their Nov. 29 match, removing the Islamic emblem in support for protesters in Iran Sunday.

“By posting a distorted image of the flag of the Islamic Republic of #Iran on its official account, the #US football team breached the @FIFAcom charter, for which a 10-game suspension is the appropriate penalty. Team #USA should be kicked out of the #WorldCup2022, Iran’s state media Tasnim news tweeted.

The country’s soccer federation stated that by removing the “symbol of Allah” from the Iranian flag, the United States offended “the dignity” of Iran,  according to The Guardian. (RELATED: National Soccer Team Changes Crest To LGBT Colors For The World Cup In Qatar)

“According to Section 13 of FIFA rules, any person who offends the dignity or integrity of a country, a person or group of people shall be sanctioned with a suspension lasting at least 10 matches or a specific period, or any other appropriate disciplinary measure,” a legal advisor from the Iranian football federation complained to FIFA’s ethics committee, per The Guardian.

US Soccer admitted to altering the graphic stating,“We wanted to show our support for the women in Iran with our graphic for 24 hours.” When pressed as to whether the decision to alter the flag had been cleared by USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone, federation spokesman Neil Buethe replied, “This was a decision within the federation. I’m not going to get into who knew and who didn’t,” according to AP.

US defender Walker Zimmerman said that US players were not aware of the controversial posts, telling AP that they were “focused on Tuesday’s match” with Iran, but emphasized the team are “firm believers in women’s rights and support them.”

Last week, Iranian fans waving Persian flags were banned from entering the World Cup stadium as the flag was seen as a form of protest against the Iranian government.

While FIFA has not yet commented, sources believe that a ban is unlikely, according to The Guardian.