Iran’s hardline Prosecutor-General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said Sunday, in an interview subsequently translated by Radio Farda this week, he was “ashamed” to speak of the fact that women were permitted to watch a televised match of their soccer team competing at the 2018 World Cup in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium.
On June 20, Iranian women were allowed for the first time in nearly 40 years to enter Azadi Stadium to watch a broadcast of Team Melli’s competition against Spain. For years, the regime imposed a ban on allowing girls and women into sporting events.
“Unfortunately, some individuals have penetrated the key institutions of the country and are about to betray the revolution and the blood of our martyrs,” Montazeri said, according to Radio Farda. He reportedly noted that said “individuals” were wrong to believe they could implement their “satanic” policies.
The response to allowing the women into Azadi Stadium was overwhelmingly positive in the rest of the nation, described by Iran’s ministry of the interior as a “successful effort to respond to a ‘social demand.'” The move reportedly prompted Iran’s ministry of the interior to announce that women would again be allowed to enter the stadium on June 25 to witness Iran’s match against Portugal.
Iranian women who attended the World Cup events in Russia rejoiced at the ability to experience the freedom to attend the historic matches without facing punishment or arrest for doing the same thing in Iran’s Islamic Republic.
On Saturday, 18 famous Iranian women living abroad wrote a letter to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) urging it to demand Iran completely end its ban on women entering stadiums and sporting events. In their letter to the international football federation, the women reportedly called the ban a “fundamental violation” of one of the FIFA’s principles regarding discrimination.
“A woman’s right to attend events at stadiums is not the only rights violation women experience in Iran. Yet it is the same mentality that also prevents Iranian women from traveling alone or from having equal weight in a court of law,” part of the letter read. “By challenging this discriminatory behavior, one is challenging this mentality in all its applications.”