Media in Iran reports that on Monday around fifty people gathered outside the Iranian parliament to protest the latest decision to allow women enter the Azadi stadium and watch an international men’s soccer game.
Hardliner circles were advertising today’s gathering in recent days, but photos released attest that just a few dozen people showed up who were shouting slogans against the international football federation FIFA.
For the past 40 years the clerical rulers of Iran have banned women from watching men’s sports on religious grounds, although there is no written law in Iran against it.
This year, after intense pressure by FIFA, authorities finally agreed to sell tickets to women for the October 10 match between Iran’s national team and Cambodia. After tickets went on sale, women quickly bought all the 3,500 tickets offered to them in reserved sections of the stadium.
In September, a young woman died after self-immolation over the ban. She had been arrested trying to enter a game and later threatened with jail time. She poured gasoline over herself and set it on fire. A few days later she died in the hospital. This led to a public outcry, which intensified pressure from FIFA.
The international federation has promised to send a delegation to Iran to make certain that the government honors its pledge to allow women enter the stadium.