The Islamic Republic of Iran’s regressive culture is on display again as one of the country’s best women soccer players has been forced by her husband to stay in the country.
Iran, which is ruled by a theocratic despot, has imposed a Sharia-like system of laws on its citizens since 1979. The sexist Sharia system grants very few rights to women outside the house, and they must be subservient to their husbands’ wishes.
Niloufar Ardalan told Nasim Online that she will not be suiting up for an upcoming match in Malaysia because her husband simply will not allow her to travel to the Southeast Asian country.
Ardalan is a one of the best futsal–an indoor variation of soccer that is played five versus five–players in Iran, and she was scheduled to join her team for a tournament in Malaysia from September 21-26.
But she did not receive consent from her husband to travel, as is required, so she cannot leave, according to the country’s primitive system of laws.
Ardalan’s husband, Mehdi Toutounchi, who works in sports media, has said that she cannot leave because she needs to be there for her seven-year-old son’s first day of school, which falls within the date range of the futsal tournament.
“My husband didn’t give me my passport so that I can [participate] in the games, and because of his opposition to my travel abroad, I [will] miss the matches,” she explained, according to an interview translated by Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
“I wish authorities would create [measures] that would allow female athletes to defend their rights in such situations,” Ardalan added.
She stressed that women should be able to freely compete on behalf of their country without having to first be granted permission to do so.
“These games were very important to me. As a Muslim woman, I wanted to work for my country’s flag to be raised [at the games], rather than traveling for leisure and fun,” she explained.
Shadi Sadr, a women’s rights advocate in Iran, told RFE/RL that the primitive laws in Iran “shows to what extent this law can impact a woman’s life.”
“Even if a woman reaches the highest ranks in politics, sports, or culture, she still needs her husband’s consent for one of her most basic rights–traveling abroad,” she added.