'London Olympics logo not racist'

London: International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge has dismissed claims by Iran that the London 2012 Olympics logo spells the word 'Zion' and is racist.

The Iranian National Olympic Committee complained this week that the logo, which was unveiled in 2007 and designed by brand consultants Wolff Olins, was 'definitely spawned out of some people's racist spirit'.

Iran has threatened to boycott the Games if the logo was not changed.

"Certainly other countries, including Islamic nations, will react to this racist logo and this would jeopardise the goals of the Olympic games in the world," Iran Olympic committee secretary general Bahram Afsharzadeh told the official Irna news agency.

"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."

The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Rogge, as saying: "The IOC response is quite clear. The logo of London means London Olympic Games 2012, nothing more and nothing less."

The word Zion was used in ancient times to describe the holy city of Jerusalem, Israel's largest city. Iran does not recognise Israel as a country.

The 2012 logo has been heavily criticised for its design. The animation version was removed from websites over fears it might trigger controversy.

Iran has a history of anti-Israeli protests at the Olympics.

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