In an official letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Iran’s Secretary General of the National Iranian Olympic Committee, Bahram Afsharzadeh, complained that the 2012 Olympic Games logo is “racist” as it features the word “Zion,” and threatened to boycott the games. “There is no doubt that negligence of the issue from your side may affect the presence of some countries in the games, especially Iran which abides by commitment to the values and principles,” Afsharzadeh’s letter said.
Leave it to Iran to turn benign images or messages into a Zionist plot to take over the world, or in this case, the Olympics.
In an interview with the BBC, IOC president Jacques Rogge dismissed Iran’s claims. “No, it can’t be serious. We will quietly reply, telling [Iran] the logo has nothing to do with racism or any political connotation.” The IOC also released a statement, saying, “Our response is as follows: The London 2012 logo represents the figure 2012, nothing else.” Although, as Tehran Times noted, “if you read [the logo] counterclockwise from the bottom left it also looks like ‘Izzo,’ which may draw copyright complaints from Jay-Z.” Too true.
In all seriousness, Iran’s statement that it “abides by commitment to the values and principles” of the game is nothing short of ridiculous. For years, Iran has refused to compete against Israelis, forfeiting each game instead of embracing the “Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.” Let Iran boycott the games. The Olympics would be better off that way.