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Iranian Broadcast Censors World Cup Program Over Host’s Clothing

Maria Komandnaya, shown at a previous event with Sergei Gordeev, served as host of the World Cup draw broadcast.

Portions of the 2018 World Cup draw broadcast were censored in Iran because the authorities decided co-host Maria Komandnaya's clothing to be too revealing.

Iranian State broadcaster IRIB on Deceber 1 blocked the first part of the show from the Kremlin Palace in Moscow that featured Russian sports journalist Komandnaya and former England soccer star Gary Lineker.

IRIB broadcast only the portion of the program that featured the draw.

During the 2014 draw ceremony, Iranian TV cut out many parts of the broadcast because of what was considered revealing clothing worn by female Brazilian TV host Fernanda Lima.

Iranian soccer star Serdar Azmoun had called for Komandnaya to cover up on the program so the ceremony could be shown in full.

IRIB has “moral guardians” who immediately interrupt live programs when they believe a woman is wearing clothes deemed inappropriate.

During the ceremony presided over by Russian President Vladimir Putin, it was announced that Iran will be in Group B with Portugal, Spain, and Morocco.

Host Russia will meet Saudi Arabia in the opening match of one of the world's most-popular sporting event on June 14.

Russia is hosting the event at 12 stadiums in 11 cities on June 14-July 15.

Egypt and Uruguay will join Russia and Saudi Arabia in Group A.

Group C includes France, Australia, Peru, and Denmark.

Argentina Iceland, Croatia, and Nigeria will make up Group D.

Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, and Serbia will be in Group E.

Group F includes Germany, Mexico, Sweden, and South Korea.

Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, and England will compete in Group G.

Poland, Senegal, Colombia, and Japan will make up Group H.

As host, Russia automatically qualified for the World Cup. Absent from the tournament will be such perennial powerhouses as Italy, the Netherlands, and reigning South American champion Chile. The United States also failed to qualify.

Russia has appeared in three World Cups -- 1994, 2002, and 2014 -- since the collapse of the Soviet Union, but has not advanced beyond the first round.

With reporting by Radio Farda, dpa, The Mirror, and The Sun, Interfax, TASS, and AFP