The world throws plenty of parties. It just usually doesn’t invite Iran.
So here are the fans of Team Iran on Rua Comendador Araújo in front of Hotel Pestana, their team’s accommodations in Curitiba, Brazil, making up for lost time. There are flags, there are mohawks dyed bright green, there are noisemakers and fuzzy wigs and horns for going do-do-do-doot-IRAN!. There are crudely woven rugs with BRAZIL 2014 embroidered on them that team officials had been handing out, and of course there is greasepaint everywhere, calfpaint and hairpaint and cheekpaint and armpaint, always with the green and white and red.
But look closer, and you’ll see draped on the shoulders of the hundreds not one, not two, but three flags. That white space between the green and red stripe says a lot about who you are and why you have come to Brazil, and where you came from to get here. Some have the Islamic crescent of the current government, the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the white middle of the flag. Some have the old pre-revolution flag, with the lion of the Shah—this can come either with the crown of his house or not. Still others have a flag that is blank, in which they’ve maybe written Iran, or some other bon mot. The blank flags can be hard to get; in a pinch, you can just get a Hungarian flag and wear it upside down.