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Tehran Marathon Official Summoned To Court For Allowing Women To Run

File - Participants attend the first international Tehran marathon at Azadi Square in Tehran, April 7, 2017

The former head of Tehran's largest stadium, Azadi, has been summoned to court for allowing women to run alongside men in the Tehran Marathon.

Ali Akbar Shabanlou told ISNA on Tuesday July 9 that he had earlier been questioned at a first-instance court and was told that he had been cleared of all charges, but the judges must have changed their minds after photos of the marathon were made public.

Shabanlou was replaced in less than three weeks after the Marathon that was held on May 3. In all he held the post for less than six months.

Women's presence in athletic activities is limited in the Islamic Republic of Iran, although they take part in some athletic competitions with a full set of hijab that covers their hair and body curves.

Women were not allowed to run alongside men in the Tehran Marathon. However, a group of women started the race from another part of the city and joined the marathon at the stadium where they cheered the male runners at the finish line.

The authorities, however, frowned at women's presence, and Tehran's hardliners took the stadium's head to court for breaching the religiously-motivated segregation rule.

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    Behrouz Turani

    Behrouz Turani is a British-Iranian writer and journalist as well as a consultant on Iran's political dynamics and the Iranian media landscape.