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Explainer: the US-Iran dispute over flags and the World Cup

The US men’s soccer team posted an image of the Iranian flag with the word “Allah” removed from it.
The players of Iran line up for the national anthem prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The United States and Iran are in a war of words again, this time over an image of the Iranian flag and their upcoming soccer match at the World Cup in Doha. 

What happened: On Sunday, the US men’s national soccer team posted an image showing the standings in the World Cup’s Group B, which includes the United States, Iran, England and Wales. The flag of each country was shown; however, the Iranian flag’s emblem and writing were not visible. The red emblem in the middle of the flag reads “Allah,” which is Arabic for “God.” The white script reads “takbir,” which is an Arabic-language call that Muslims say to praise God. 

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