Iranian women protest not being let into World Cup match — as they watched Syrian women allowed into stadium

Iran's Bahar newspaper contrasts Syrian fans inside the stadium with Iranian fans outside (Twitter)

Iranian women protested outside Azadi stadium in Tehran this week after being barred from a World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Syria, as female Iranian MP’s publicly questioned why Iranians were forced outside even as female Syrian fans were allowed in. While Iran’s ban on allowing Iranian women to watch men’s matches is longstanding, women were nonetheless allowed to buy tickets for Tuesday night’s game due to what the Iran government later explained as a “technical glitch.”

“We were hopeful that they would let us in. We queued up for two hours. They said they needed to check if they could let us in, and at times we thought they were going to do so, and we saw Syrian female fans passing through without a problem, and then they said, ‘No, you can’t enter,’” said Shiva Nazar-Ahari, a women’s rights campaigner, said in a phone call with The Guardian.

News of the protests and discussion of the ban dominated national headlines in Iran, marking what is believed to be the first time that national papers had given the issue such prominent coverage. On the front page of the Bahar newspaper, images of Syrian women supporting their country inside the stadium were contrasted with photos of Iranian women protesting outside as the headline questioned why “the host was left outside behind the doors, while the guest went inside.”

On Twitter, Iranian MP Fatemeh Hosseini promised to question the sports minister on ending the “discrimination” against female fans, while MP Nahid Tajedin noted that “discrimination based on your nationality is being added to the gender discrimination already in place.”

At other Iranian soccer games, some women have risked arrest to get around the ban by dressing up as men.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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