By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
The Associated Press
Monday, February 28, 2011; 12:26 PM
TEHRAN, 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.
The London organizers said the design was launched in 2007 after testing and consultation.
"We are surprised that this complaint has been made now," the committee said.