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U.S. Flag Not On Fire In Iran

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

33rd Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran
(photo by Islamic Republic News Agency)

The U.S. flag attracted a lot of attention this week at an international film festival in Iran -- not so much that it was unfurled, but because it wasn't being burned.

Some on social media suggested that the public display of the American flag at the Fajr International Film Festival was a first for the Islamic republic.

It wasn't.


It is true that U.S. flags being burned or stomped upon have been a common sight since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Carrying out the fiery act of defiance against the Great Satan has become a tradition at state-sponsored events like the Tehran Friday Prayers and annual celebrations of the revolution.

But, in recent years, the Stars and Stripes has been displayed on a number of occasions at sports and cultural events without being disrespected.

Here are a few examples:

Just last week, Iranian news sites posted pictures of the U.S. flag in front of a hotel in the city of Shiraz.

The pictures were widely shared on social media.


In June 2014, NBC reported from Iran from an international polo cup where "not only were the Stars and Stripes in full view, but Americans joined players from around the world in the sport's birthplace."

The U.S. flag was also displayed in May 2014 at the World Cup for Greco-Roman wrestling, where American athletes said they received star treatment by Iranians chanting: "U.S.A."

Also in May 2014, hard-line websites noticed the Stars and Stripes on display at an international puppet festival.

"These days when one walks by the city's theater in the heart of the capital, a raised American flag at the cultural complex can be easily seen," Seratnews.irwrote at the time.

A few months before that, in February 2014, Iranian news sites posted pictures of a U.S. flag at a livestock exhibit on the Island of Kish.

"The U.S. flag is raised in Iran after three decades," the caption reads.

Copyright (c) 2015 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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