Iran's football coach Carlos Queiroz has called on Nike to apologise to his team after the American sportswear firm said it could not supply the players with boots for the World Cup due to sanctions.
The backdrop to the development is the Trump administration's recent decision to withdraw from the global nuclear deal made three years ago, and to intensify the restrictions against Iran.
"The sanctions mean that, as a USA company, we can not provide shoes to players in the Iran national team at this time", Nike said in a statement Friday.
An ESPN report from Moscow said the Nike decision had left Iranian football officials baffled, noting that the USA company had supplied the team at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when similar sanctions were in effect.
There is some confusion among the Iranians, however, because Nike has supplied the team with gear in the past when the country was subjected to USA sanctions - including the 2014 World Cup. It is unclear why Nike is now opting not to supply the footwear.
Nike added that sanctions applicable to its business "have been in place for many years and are enforceable by law". Nike and tech giant Samsung decided not to supply certain goods to North Korean athletes due to United Nations sanctions against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime.
But Queiroz, whose Iran side play Morocco in their opening World Cup game on Friday, has hit out at the American sportswear company, claiming they should apologise for their "arrogant conduct".
Members of Iran's soccer team have resorted to asking other players to loan them footwear or individually purchasing cleats, ESPN reported.