Women spectators arrested for attending football match in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium

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Reports indicate around 35  female football fans were arrested for attempting to enter capital’s Azadi Stadium to watch today’s Tehran derby between Esteghlal and Persepolis.

The state-run Tasnim news agency cited Interior Ministry spokesman as saying, “35 women who attempted to enter the Azadi Stadium were instructed to a proper place by the State Security Force.”

The same media reported today that two women, one carrying a Persepolis flag, who were attempting to enter the Azadi Stadium to watch 86th Tehran Derby were apprehended.

The Twitter page of OpenStadiums, an Iranian women’s movement dedicated to allowing women to watch sports in stadiums, said families had gathered around the Vozara Detention Center in Tehran and had been told “the girls” would be released at around 8 pm.

Iranian women are banned from entering stadiums. A few months ago, one of the top ayatollahs declared that the issue is out of question and women must not enter stadiums to watch men’s games, period.

Some of the regime’s officials in charge of women’s affairs had previously promised that the government would pass a “directive” on women’s presence in sports stadiums, but the state-run Fars news agency reported on December 9, 2017, that the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution has removed the issue of women’s presence in stadiums from its agenda, altogether and announced that women’s society faces numerous other problems that enjoy priority.

In its annual 2017/18 report Amnesty International cited the ban on women entering the stadiums. In the section entitled, “DISCRIMINATION – WOMEN AND GIRLS,” it wrote: Authorities defied ongoing public pressure to open football stadiums to women spectators.

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