Iran insists on banning women from sports events despite protests

TEHERAN (DPA) – Iran intends to stick to banning women from attending sports events in stadiums despite a countrywide protest, a government official said on Wednesday (Sept 11).

“Under the current circumstances, the presence of women in stadiums is not advisable,” the news agency Mehr quoted the president’s Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi as saying.

In Iran, women have been banned from attending football matches in the stadium for four decades. A woman killed herself in protest earlier this week by setting herself on fire, triggering a wave of protests.

Mr Vaezi said while the government has no objections in principle, the “moral requirements” must be met in advance.

That was not yet the case because male fans continue to make “vulgar insults” in the stadiums.

Such an atmosphere is not suitable for Islamic women, President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff said.

The woman had who killed herself had wanted to watch a match by her favourite club, Esteghlal Tehran.

She tried to get into the stadium disguised as a man, but was arrested and later sentenced to six months in prison for insulting an official.

In protest against the conviction, the 30-year-old set herself on fire.

Her death led to protests across social networks against the Islamic Republic’s police and the judiciary.

The captain of the Iranian national team, Mr Masoud Shojaei, spoke of a “disgrace”.

His deputy Ashkan Dejagah urged those responsible to rethink their position.

“When will you finally stop with such things? Enough is enough,” the player wrote on Instagram.

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