Iran Threatens Olympic Boycott Over Logo

Iran doesn't like the logo for the London Olympics and is threatening to boycott if it isn't changed.

Iran doesn’t like the logo for the London Olympics and is threatening to boycott if it isn’t changed.

AP (“2012 London logo draws ire of Iran“)

Iran objects to the logo for the 2012 London Olympics, contending it is racist because it resembles the word “Zion” and warning of a possible boycott of the Games.

The secretary general of Iran’s National Olympic Committee said Iran sent a letter to International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge. The letter claims the 2012 logo spells out “Zion,” a biblical term widely recognized to refer to the city of Jerusalem.

In comments carried by the official IRNA news agency Monday, secretary general Bahram Afsharzadeh said the letter urges other Muslim states to oppose the “racist logo.”

“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,” the letter said.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel’s destruction and questioned historical accounts of the Holocaust.

Iranian athletes have refused to compete against Israelis.

The London logo shows the numbers “2012” in four jagged figures and until now has been criticized only for its design. The IOC said it received the letter and joined London organizers in rejecting Iran’s complaint.

“Our response is as follows: The London 2012 logo represents the figure 2012, nothing else,” the IOC said.

My first thought was that Iran’s boycott of the Olympics is win-win.

My second was that the logo reminds me of a swastika. A gay swastika. I’m not sure if that would be more or less acceptable to Ahmadinejad.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Looks more stupid than racist to me. Par for the course for logos for international sporting events, methinks.

  2. Franklin says:

    Let’s face it, it’s hard to please everyone. So do your darndest to please no one.

  3. D-NO says:

    I’m just fine with Iran not showing up.

  4. Gustopher says:

    It’s ugly. And it looks like it came from 1987.

    These would be fine reasons to boycott.