Iran's soccer federation has called for the U.S. to be expelled from the World Cup, claiming that the country "disrespected" Iran's flag in social media posts. The U.S. Soccer Federation, in a now-deleted post, included a graphic of the Iranian flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic, drawing ire from Iran, CNN reports.
The U.S. reportedly removed the emblem in support of the women protesting in Iran. It specified that it was a "one-time graphic," and that the unaltered flag is present everywhere else in its media. "The United States continues to find ways to support the Iranian people in the face of state-sponsored violence against women," the U.S. State Department told CNN.
"The action conducted in relation to the Iranian flag is unethical and against international law," said Safia Allah Faghanpour, a legal adviser to Iran's soccer federation. Iran also cites a violation of FIFA's regulation where a team would be penalized for offending the "dignity or integrity of a country, a person or group of people through contemptuous, discriminatory or derogatory words or actions," The New York Times reports. The Iranian soccer federation said it intends to file a complaint with FIFA's ethics board.
The Iranian team previously protested against its government by staying silent during the country's national anthem. The U.S. is set to play against Iran on Tuesday in a match that determines whether it can stay in the tournament.