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Hardline Prosecutor Lashes Out As Women Demand Presence In Stadiums

Iranian football fans in Iran watching Iran Spain game via screen

Iran’s hardline Prosecutor-General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri denounced the presence of women in Tehran’s main football stadium Azadi saying he was “ashamed” of telling what has taken place there.

On June 20, Iranian women were allowed, for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, to watch a televised match of their national team against Spain at the 2018 World Cup.

Films published from the event shows that women have removed their scarves and started to sing and dance, Montazeri claimed in a speech on Sunday, June 25 and described the scenes as “disgraceful”.

“Unfortunately, some individuals have penetrated the key institutions of the country and are about to betray the revolution and the blood of our martyrs,” chief prosecutor said. They were wrong if they believed that they could implement their “satanic” policies, he added.

Iran’s ministry of interior had previously described the experiment as a “successful effort to respond to a ‘social demand’, adding that Iranian women will be allowed to enter the Azadi Stadium on Monday June 25 to watch the football match between Iran’s national team and Portugal.

The statements by the Prosecutor-General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri earned him some ridicule on the web. “The chief prosecutor has said that he is ashamed to say what has happened at Azadi Stadium. For a second, I thought, someone has sold his kidney there, or his child, or a woman has offered her body there due to poverty, and this is what has shamed the prosecutor. But no, he has said that the women have removed their scarves and danced! Oh, how shameful!”, writes an Iranian Twitter user in a post that has been liked by ca. 6000 people.

In recent years, Iranian women launched several campaigns urging the authorities to allow them to enter sport arenas to watch men’s games. Just on Saturday, June 23, 18 famous Iranian women living abroad wrote a letter to FIFA, the international football federation urging it to demand from Iran to completely end the stadium ban for women. They called the ban as a “fundamental violation” of one of the FIFA’s principles regarding discrimination and asked the world football federation to make Iran accountable for its lack of compliance.

Some Asian and international federations, including world volleyball federation have already sided with the Iranian women by threatening Iran with penalties in case it does not allow women in stadiums. As a result, a limited number of women have been allowed to watch some of volleyball matches of the Iranian national team. But, the ban has not been completely lifted yet.

So far, the officials under the pressure of conservative clerics have opposed that, arguing that the atmosphere of the stadiums were too “obscene”.

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