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US says emblem omitted from Iran flag to back protests, as Tehran rages

The US soccer federation says it is displaying Iran’s national flag on social media without the emblem of the Islamic Republic to support protesters in Iran ahead of the two nations’ World Cup match Tuesday.

Iran’s government has reacted by accusing America of removing the name of God from its national flag.

The US faces Iran in a decisive World Cup match, which was already made fraught by the decades of enmity between the two countries and the nationwide protests now challenging Tehran’s theocratic government.

The US Soccer Federation says in a statement Sunday that it decided to forgo the official flag on social media accounts to show “support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights.”

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

The US Soccer Federation displayed the official Iranian flag in a graphic showing Group B standings on its website.

Iranian state television describes the US federation as “removing the symbol of Allah” from the Iranian flag.

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

“They must be held responsible,” Fagahanpour says. “Obviously they want to affect Iran’s performance against the U.S by doing this.”

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