A billboard that was placed in Shiraz, Iran, to mark the Iran-Iraq war was the reason why the Iranian mayor had to apologize to the people of the city.
The billboard was highly insensitive as it featured soldiers from Israel, with which Iran has been hostile since the end of the First Gulf War in the early 1990s. The billboard was made in an apparent attempt to honor the Iranians who sacrificed their lives in a war with Iraq, also known as the “The Sacred Defense.” But it fell flat as the ad featured three male Israeli soldiers. In the original picture a woman soldier was also present but in this version she was cropped out.
According to reports, the billboard showed the male soldiers standing on a rocky outcrop and beside the picture was a quote from a classic Persian poem.
The brutal eight-year war that began in the 1980’s between the two countries claimed almost 680,000 lives.
"This mistake of putting up such a despicable banner during the Sacred Defense Week is unforgivable," said Mayor Heydar Eskandarpour. "In addition to apologizing to Shiraz's pious and noble people, I ask the authorities to investigate the roots of this suspicious act and promptly report to the people," he continued.
According to Fars news agency, two public relation officers were fired for the doctored image after it brew a firestorm on social media. People called for a swift punishment for the people behind this “heinous act.”
"M16 guns, straps, clothes, helmets: all clearly belong to Zionists. The best I can say is that you did something idiotic," wrote another user on Twitter.
Using Israel Defense Forces to commemorate the war was incredibly callous considering Israeli forces have attacked suspected Iranian military sites in Syria for years now.
Thumbnail / Banner Credit : Fatemeh Bahrami, Anadolu Agency, Getty Images