Iran soccer
Iran socceriStock

The US Soccer Federation displayed the Iranian national flag for a short period on social media without the emblem of the Islamic Republic.

According to the federation, the move was done in solidarity with protesters in Iran ahead of the two countries’ World Cup match on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

The match between the US and Iran will be played against a backdrop of decades of animosity between the two countries, and the ongoing brutal crackdown by the Iranian regime against protesters.

The US Soccer Federation released a statement on Sunday explaining that it had removed the emblem from Iran’s flag in a Twitter post to demonstrate "support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights."

"We wanted to show our support for the women in Iran with our graphic for 24 hours," the federation said.

The post by the US national team showed a banner with their upcoming matches that included the Iranian flag’s green, white and red background but not the Islamic Republic emblem. They also used the same flag design on their Facebook and Instagram accounts when posting about the team’s point totals.

In response, Safiollah Fagahanpour, an advisor to the Iranian Football Federation, told the semiofficial ISNA news agency that "measures taken regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran flag are against [FIFIA rules]” and said that the US Soccer Federation “must be held responsible.”