Iran’s government on women in stadiums: No problem, but inappropriate
President Rouhani’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi says with the “current atmosphere” of stadiums, presence of Iranian women in stadiums “is not expedient.”
Two days after the death of Sahar Khodayari, female football fan who set herself on fire after receiving a prison sentence for entering the stadium, Vaezi said: “A few months ago we talked about this in the cabinet. We believe that if the atmosphere in stadiums is appropriate for the presence of women, we have no problems with it. But with the current atmosphere where fans of the teams curse at each other and fight, the presence of women is not expedient.”
“The Minister of Sports was asked to talk to the fan leaders of football teams to create an atmosphere where women can enter, and to make preparations for their sitting area and bathrooms. If the stadium atmosphere is morally appropriate, we have no problem with the presence of women in stadiums,” Vaezi continued.
At the same time, Ali Rabiei, the spokesman for the government of Iran said: “The issue of the departed Sahar (Khodayari) and the presence of women in stadiums were discussed. The government approves of women’s presence in stadiums and according to the Minister of Sports, all the infrastructure including the entrance and separate bathrooms are all available in all stadiums.”
He advised men to “behave morally so some concerns are lifted.”
Although the president of Iran’s Football Federation had assured women previously that they will be allowed to enter the stadiums for 2022 World Cup qualification matches, six women were recently arrested for trying to enter a stadium.
There are no laws in Iran against this issue, but the regime does not allow women to enter the stadiums.