Prepare the Basic Simple Syrup as directed, adding the strips of orange zest before bringing it to a boil. Remove from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain the orange syrup into a large measuring cup.
In a large saucepan, bring the cold water to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the tea bags; let steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled.
Pour the tea and pomegranate juice into a large pitcher. Stir in 3/4 cup of the orange syrup, or more to taste; refrigerate the rest for later use. Serve in 8 tall glasses over ice, garnished with a slice of orange.
The iced tea can be refrigerated in a covered pitcher for up to 2 days.
Look for firm navel oranges and wash them thoroughly before removing the zest. Use a sharp vegetable peeler and avoid as much bitter white pith as possible.