Iran's Olympic committee has threatened to boycott the 2012 games in London because its members see a strong resemblance to the word Zion in the Games' logo.
The 2012 logo, unveiled nearly four years ago, is a graffiti-inspired graphical representation of the numbers 20 and 12, according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC); however, Bahram Afsharzadeh, secretary general of Iran's Olympic committee, says it spells out the letters Z-I-O-N, referring to Jerusalem and biblical Israel, a country that Iran does not recognize.
"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," Afsharzadeh wrote in a letter to the IOC.
The IOC acknowledges that it has received the letter, but it has rejected the Iranian claims and will not change the logo, according to the New York Daily News.
"The London 2012 logo represents the figure 2012, nothing else," the IOC said in a statement. The logo, created by Wolff Olins, was inspired by graffiti.
On her MSNBC program, Rachel Maddow wondered why Iran is objecting to the 2012 logo three and a half years after it was announced, calling it a "distraction" from a larger issue.
"Political opposition there say the two candidates who challenged [Iranian president Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad in the last election and have since become opposition leaders were just arrested. The opposition is calling for rallies tomorrow to defend them and protest the arrests. They say the two were not only arrested by the Iranian government but arrested along with their wives. Iran is denying it."
Here's Maddow's full segment on the logo conspiracy:
This is not the first complaint about the 2012 Olympic logo, although it is the most extreme. The logo "has in the past been compared to a swastika, and has inspired few to see sexual imagery while the animated footage of the logo triggered seizures," according to the International Business Times.