Iran’s chief prosecutor: Women watching half-naked men play soccer is sinful
Iran’s Chief Prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri threatening officials who allow women to enter football stadiums has caused an uproar among Iranian activists.
Montazeri, the powerful head of the country’s judiciary, claimed that women should be banned from going to stadiums because it is “sinful” for them to watch “half-naked men play soccer.” He added that action will be taken if they continue to go.
Soccer stadiums have been off-limits for women for the past four decades in Iran, a ban that has divided Iran’s political establishment.
Iranian Revolutionary Guards leader, Abdullah Hajj Sadeqi, also shocked the public when he called on guards to prevent women from entering stadiums, and said that “women’s presence in stadiums is dangerous.”
“We first let women watch the World Cup on television, then we let them enter the stadiums to watch football claims. Next, women will want to mix with men and watch the games together. We must not lose our religious faith, and we need to be wary of our social behavior,” Sadeqi said.
Officials from the Azadi Stadium in Tehran had selected about 150 women to attend the football match between the Iranian and Bolivian teams on Tuesday, which ended with a victorious win for Iran.
Women were first allowed to attend football stadiums when FIFA demanded that the Iranian Football Federation allow women to watch the football games.
The Federation’s Cultural Advisor, Gholam Hussein Zanam Abadi, said: “FIFA requested that women be allowed in the stadiums. We could not risk being barred from the competition because of the ban.”
During the last football match, officials allowed some women entry into the stadium and banned others. They also prohibited photographers from taking any photos of female fans so as to prevent backlash from fundamentalists. However, pictures and videos of female fans were widely circulated on social media with captions encouraging more freedom for Iranian women.