U.S. Soccer Takes Strong Stance On Social Media To Support Protesters

The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) took a strong stance when they altered the national flag of Iran in a social media post across various different platforms prior to the intense match for the U.S. men’s team against the Islamic Republic this past Tuesday at the World Cup.

This choice takes place smack dab in the middle of a highly controversial World Cup hosted in Qatar, marking the first time that the largest tournament for soccer has been held in the Middle East. The American team chose to temporarily alter its banner across social media, highlighting the standing for the teams and utilizing the Iranian flag with just the green, white, and red stripes, pointedly cutting out the emblem of the Islamic Republic normally seen in the center of the flag.

“We wanted to show our support for the women in Iran with our graphic for 24 hours,” explained USSF in a Sunday release, as reported by the Associated Press, going further to state that protesters and women alike were there “fighting for basic human rights.”

As of writing, the team has swapped it’s banner back on Twitter and replaced the original posts to use the version sporting the Islamic Republic emblem. Posts on both Instagram and Twitter from this past Friday used the emblem until the early morning on Sunday when they seemed to have been deleted. The official website for U.S. Soccer currently shows the flag sporting the emblem.

One semi-official Tasnim News Agency reportedly sounded the call to try and force FIFA to ban the United States from taking part in the world cup because of the event, demanding a minimum ten-game suspension. They claim that a FIFA rule issued a warning against “any person who offends the dignity or integrity of a country, a person, or a group of people.”

Mass protests all across Iran have intensified in the wake of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini as she was in the government’s morality police custody this past September. Since then, at least 416 total people have been killed in the protests, including a staggering 51 kids and 27 women, all by “security forces,” as reported by Iran Human Rights.

The notorious emblem which was removed by U.S. Soccer consists of four curves sitting around a sword and is a reference to a well-known Islamic saying, “There is no god but God.” The state media of Iran stated that the emblem was the “symbol of Allah.” The flag was utilized to make a political statement at this year’s World Cup, with some carrying around a version with the emblem, seemingly a highly pro-government group, and many others using the Iranian flag with a lion and sun, well known to be a flag from prior to the country’s revolution.

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