Skip to comments.IRAN: WOMEN DEFY BAN, ATTEND SOCCOR MATCH! (YOU GO GIRLS!)
Posted on 06/09/2005 10:44:18 AM PDT by areafiftyone
Prague, 9 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- It was a first in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Some 100 Iranian women watched a soccer match inside Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) stadium, surrounded by some 80,000 men.
In Iran, it is considered un-Islamic and incorrect for women to attend men's sporting events. Only in rare cases are foreign women, VIPs, female referees, or female football players allowed into sports stadiums in Iran.
Journalist Parastou Dokuhaki was one of those women who watched yesterday's match. She said she wanted to watch the game "to see how it feels." She told the "Rooz" newspaper that the women blocked the way into the stadium and kept chanting and singing until they were allowed in. The women chanted, "Freedom is my right, Iran is my country" and "How many steps toward freedom?"
Mahboubeh Abbas-Gholizadeh, a women's rights activist, was also among those who went to Azadi stadium. But she was not able to watch the game. Her leg was broken when guards tried to push her and the other women out by closing a gate.
Reza, a young soccer fan in Tehran, said he believes women should be allowed into stadiums. He said the presence of women would help calm the atmosphere.
"It's their right, like others. I think it's really good," Reza said. "Recently, the atmosphere has not been very good in the stadium. People are cursing and so on. And I think if women were there, the spectators would refrain from [using foul language]."
Reza said that after yesterday's game, during which Iran qualified for the World Cup in Germany, boys and girls cheered and danced together on several streets in Tehran.
More significantly, some girls even removed their head scarves. Women in Iran are strictly required to wear the Islamic hijab and to cover their hair and body.
Police did not interfere in yesterday's postgame celebrations.
Some observers said officials appear ready to soften their approach to social issues ahead of Iran's presidential election. Iranian leaders are eager for a large voter turnout on 17 June to prove the establishment's legitimacy.
Iran's eight presidential candidates are trying to secure the female vote by expressing support for women's rights. Some women had already been invited to attend yesterday's game as guests of Mohsen Mehralizadeh, the head of Iran's Sports Organization and a candidate for president.
Despite some campaigning by supporters of presidential candidates, yesterday's street celebrations remained largely free of politics. "Who cares about the elections?" a young woman was quoted by Reuters as saying. "We're going to the World Cup!"
No legs were broken, they preferred a bullet in the head...
I remember seeing that video played. Horrible!
The women then declared that Soccer is boring and demanded that the NFL package be carried on the IRNA satellite system.
Hope they're all alive next week.
'Freedom is my right, Iran is my country...
I see her happy face and I wonder if they beat her after she was arrested. The folks who protest in Iran are brave beyond words. My hats off to these women.