World Cup: Nike won’t supply Iran with soccer boots amid sanctions

Sports apparel giant Nike on Monday said it will not supply Iran’s national soccer team with boots for use in this month’s World Cup in Russia due to concerns about economic sanctions against the country.

Nike’s decision came weeks after President Donald Trump said his administration would withdraw from the Iran nuclear accord, which had been in place since 2015 and included Britain, Germany and France. Trump said the U.S. would re-impose sweeping, harsh economic sanctions on Iran.

"U.S. sanctions mean that, as a U.S. company, Nike cannot supply shoes to players in the Iranian national team at this time," the Oregon-based company said in a statement obtained by ESPN.

Nike supplied the Iranian national team with soccer cleats during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, despite existing economic sanctions tied to Iran’s nuclear program. It is unclear why Nike is now opting not to supply the footwear.

"Sanctions applicable to Nike have been in place for many years and are enforceable by law,” Nike added.

This isn’t the first time that economic sanctions have impacted a global sporting event. 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.

Members of Iran’s soccer team have resorted to asking other players to loan them footwear or individually purchasing cleats, ESPN reported. Iran will play its first match on Friday against Portugal.