Now that Iran has agreed to suspend its nuclear program (pending Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s recent ultimatum that Iran will only sign a final nuclear accord with six world powers if all sanctions against the country are lifted), the country can start focusing on more important things – like softening the ban on women attending sporting events.
Since Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979, the government has barred women from attending most sporting events involving men, deeming that mixed crowds watching games together was un-Islamic. Then, in January, the Iranian government eased up a little, saying it would allow foreign women to attend men’s matches, but it was still out of the question for Iranian women. Until now… sort of.
Following criticism from international sport federations and protests by Iranian women and women’s rights activists, Iran’s deputy sports minister, Abdolhamid Ahmad, announced that the government would partially lift the ban on women attending men’s sports matches.
And by “partially”, he means while women and families may be allowed to enter some sports stadiums, the rules won’t change for all matches because some sports are mainly related to men and “families are not interested in attending” them. Plus, some “masculine” sports, like wrestling or swimming, which leave little of the male figure to the imagination, are far too risqué for Iranian women.
And by “attending men’s sport matches”, Ahmad means women will most likely be assigned to special sections in the stadiums and perhaps some mixed seating will be available for families. Iranians consider the regular seating areas too rowdy and “not Islamic enough” for women.
Well, I guess progress is progress, no matter how small – plus, it’s more than Saudi women get. Now, if only Iran could ease up on hanging homosexuals from cranes and stoning women for adultery…