Gregg Berhalter, the manager of the United States national soccer team,

has expressed regret for using an altered rendition of the Iranian flag in social media posts.

In online visuals that were later removed, the US erased the Islamic Republic symbol from the flag .

The Iranian football association complained to FIFA about the situation.

The United States and Iran severed diplomatic ties in 1980, and the two countries' World-

Cup matchup takes place against the backdrop of protracted anti-government demonstrations in Iran.

The US government imposed penalties on Iranian officials for the crackdown, and

Iran has accused the US and other foreign rivals of orchestrating the protests.

In light of the widespread anti-government protests taking place in Iran,

the US claimed they chose not to use the country's official flag in the social media posts as

a sign of "support for the Iranian ladies fighting for basic human rights."