“We have no problem with the American and British people,” Ghasem Ghanjani, who owns the flag factory, told Reuters. “We have [a] problem with their governors. We have [a] problem with their presidents, with the wrong policy they have.”
“The people of America and Israel know that we have no problem with them,” he said. “If people burn the flags of these countries at different rallies, it is only to show their protest.”
Because of those protests, the factory does a robust business. At its busiest, it makes about 2,000 U.S. and Israeli flags a month. That’s more than 1.5 million square feet of red, white and blue fabric to burn a year, according to Reuters.
The U.S. killing earlier this month of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, triggered a wave of instability across the region. Demonstrators burned U.S. and Israeli flags in the protests that followed. But after Tehran admitted to mistakenly downing a Ukraine International Airlines flight filled mostly with Iranians, anger on the streets turned in part toward the government. Images shared on social media showed people in public places intentionally stepping around American flags placed on the ground for trampling, in an apparent snub to Iranian state propaganda.