“I want to be able to walk into a sports stadium proud of my identity as an Iranian woman and a fan of my national team”
Despite the ban in place by the morality police, about 70 women tried to enter the Azadi stadium. Among us was a representative of the state secretary for women’s rights, who is part of president Hassan Rohani’s administration [editor’s note: Sara Ghasempour, a parliamentary staff member, who is wearing black in the photo below]. But the police wouldn’t hear us out. They turned us away, saying this was the decision of the provincial security council. This shows clearly that, on this issue, the Supreme Leader and Rohani’s government do not see eye to eye.
It’s not a security problem, as the police apparatus is sufficient. It’s an ideological position. But now we have hope, because the government is on our side.Iranian supporters outside the Azadi stadium.When we were turned away, women spontaneously organised protests near the stadium. If this goes on, it’s going to become a real security problem for the police. The next match for the Iranian team [editor’s note: against Italy on June 20, in Tehran] will be quite a challenge for the authorities, as many women were very disappointed that they could not enter the stadium to support their team. A good number are planning on trying to enter the stadium next time. If the authorities don’t make a decision soon, they could quickly become overwhelmed.I am not judging the women who managed to enter by wearing Brazilian jerseys, but I don’t want to have to resort to ruses in order to support my team. I want to be able to walk into a sports stadium proud of my identity as an Iranian woman and a fan of my national team.